The Vampyre Regency Ball 2019

Close Up 9

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of John Polidori’s novel The Vampyre. John Polidori was a London born writer and physician who famously accompanied Lord Byron on his trip through Europe in 1816, where they encountered Mary Wollstonecraft and her soon to be husband Percy Bysshe Shelly at Lake Geneva, Switzerland. It was this encounter which inspired Polidori to write his gothic novel The Vampyre.

First published in The New Monthly Magazine in April 1819, The Vampyre was falsely attributed to Lord Byron despite both Byron and Polidori denying that he was the author. Later in 1819 it was published in book form and called The Vampyre: a Tale. It was still falsely attributed to Byron and was only corrected in later editions. A first edition copy of this book is available to view at Guildhall Library. 

The Vampyre

This is the front page taken from our copy of The Vampyre 


To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of The Vampyre, we invite you to attend The Vampyre Regency Ball which is to be held on Friday 6th of September. Discover for yourself what it might have been like to attend a Regency Ball in a historical setting with expert dance tuition from Mrs Bennet’s Ballroom and live Regency music from Fortuna Trio. Regency dress is encouraged.


Friday 6th September


Livery Hall Guildhall, Basinghall Street

London, EC2V 5DH


£40 plus booking fee.

£30 Full time students

To book: or in person without the booking fee at:

Guildhall Library

Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH.

020 7332 1871 or 020 7332 1868.


New Library Exhibition: Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy.

Gresham scan 1

Portrait Illustration of Sir Thomas Gresham Taken from The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College

Find out about Sir Thomas Gresham and some of the treasures from Gresham College library on display at Guildhall Library from Monday 3rd of June to mid-September.

Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-79) is possibly the best known of all sixteenth century English merchants and financiers. Gresham served four Tudor monarchs, managed to keep his head, and all the while made money. Sir Thomas helped to make London a great international financial centre by importing from Antwerp the idea of a ‘bourse’ or ‘exchange’ for items such as shipping and insurance. He installed the first English shopping mall or bazaar as the first floor in the Royal Exchange. His Will challenged the domination of Oxbridge in higher education at the time.

Gresham scan 2

Illustration of the original Gresham College taken from The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College

Part of the Library of Gresham College (founded in 1596 under the provisions of the will of Sir Thomas Gresham) the collections were deposited in Guildhall Library 17th December 1958 by the Joint Grand Gresham Committee, a joint committee of the City of London Corporation and the Mercers’ Company, and are held under an agreement of 6th January 1959.

The collections consist of two parts; one of miscellaneous works, mainly travel (circa 381 printed items); and one of music, mainly scores, parts, etc., based on a collection formed at the College by Edward Taylor (1784-1863), Gresham Professor of Music from 1837, and covering principally English and other European music, 16th-18th centuries (circa 324 printed books, plus 123 manuscripts). No new items have been added in recent years.

Purcell Close up

Close up of Henry Purcell’s book of solo songs which is on display at Guildhall Library

The Fletcher’s Company Library at Guildhall Library


An illustration of an archer from Archery its Theory and Practice by Horace A. Ford

First established by the Worshipful Company of Fletchers in 1973, this unique collection of items relating to archery is one of our lesser known collections. It comprises of a variety of items on the history and practice of archery. While most of the items focus on the history of British archery, books on Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Native American archery can also be found in the collection.

Royal Company of Archers David Earl of Wemyss

A copy of a painting of David, 4th Earl of Wemyss from The History of the Royal Company of Archers by James Balfour Paul

The word fletcher comes from the French word ‘fleche’ meaning arrow. Therefore, a Fletcher is a person who makes arrows, in particular the feathers attached to the end of the arrow which help keep it aerodynamic. A number of books in the collection contain illustrations of various arrow types in particular the different types of arrow heads.

Archery Its Theory and Parctice arrow heads

Illustrations of the various types of arrow heads from Archery its Theory and Practice by Horace A. Ford

The Fletchers and Longbowstringmakers of London by James E. Oxley is an account of the history of the Fletchers’ Company. There is no mention of the company until 7th March 1371 when the Fletchers petitioned to the Lord Mayor to separate the trades of Fletchers (arrow makers) and Bowyers (bow makers). With their petition granted, the Worshipful Company of Fletchers was founded. As far as we know the Company has never received a charter and is therefore a Company by prescription. A Grant of Arms was awarded to the company on the 12th of October 1467.

Fletchers Coat of Arms

The Fletchers Company Coat of Arms (MS 21116)

The military importance of the bow is a key theme running throughout the collection, in particular British battles in which archery played an important role. A good book to look at is The British Archer or, Tracts on British Archery by Thomas Hastings which lists some of the important battles which were won by British archers. It also lists some of the Monarchs killed by an arrow, such as William II who was accidentally killed whilst hunting in the New Forest and Richard I who was mortally wounded whilst besieging a castle in France, as well as a brief description of some of the monarchs who were noted to have had great skill in archery.

Book of Archery Henry VIII and Elizabeth I

Illustrations of Henry VIII and Elisabeth I from The Book of Archery by George Agar Hansard

Another theme which runs through the collection is the story of Robert Fitzooth. More commonly known as Robin Hood, his story mentioned in several different books in the collection. Anecdotes of Archery by E. Hargrove, for example, includes a family tree of Robin Hood and explains why his name changed from Fitzooth to Hood. In the Ballads of Archery by James William Dodd a number of songs about Robin Hood, Marian and Little John.


Robin Hood Family Tree

The family tree of Robin Hood from Anecdotes of Archery by E. Hargrove


By Lindsey Keeling

Customer Services Apprentice

Guildhall Library

Menus from the Newall Dunn Collection at Guildhall Library

One of the highlights of unpacking our new collection has been the discovery of these beautifully designed menus which complement our internationally important food and drink collections.

This menu was printed by the Parisian company Lemercier and produced with ready-made spaces for the shipping company to fill in the dishes of the day. This particular menu was completed for the 1st Class passengers aboard the mail boat “Yarra” for 29th April 1890.

This Norddeutscher Lloyd breakfast menu offers quite a feast. The dishes offered include Saratoga Chips – a nineteenth-century crisp. This menu, written in German and English, was eaten and hopefully enjoyed aboard the steamer “Jahn” on 17th July 1899.

In the twentieth-century the Union-Castle Line produced beautiful menus to reflect their destinations including series depicting South African flowers and animals. The collection also offers a variety of menus depicting birds such as the waxwing and the kingfisher.









Union-Castle employed artist Will Owen (1869-1957), of Bisto Kids fame, to design a series of menus for their tourist-class, fancy-dress dinners. These portrayed literary characters from Shakespeare and Dickens; those below depict Falstaff, Dolly Varden and Sam Weller.

We have four volunteers and Guildhall Library staff working on listing, cataloguing and conserving the Newall Dunn Collection to enable us to make it accessible to library users. In the meantime, you can get a preview of just some of the collection by visiting our exhibition “Merchant Navy Treasures” which continues until 24th May. This offers displays on Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Lines but the wider collection covers international cargo and passenger ships as well as smaller vessels such as tugs and fishing boats.

The Newall Dunn Collection was built by shipping historian Peter Newall and was gifted to Guildhall Library in 2018.

Jeanie Smith, Assistant Librarian.

Merchant Navy Treasures: An Introduction to the Newall Dunn Collection at Guildhall Library

The New Year finds us busy preparing our next exhibition and looking forward to showing you our new maritime collection. Many of you will have seen and consulted the Lloyd’s Marine Collection at Guildhall Library, a valuable source of information about ships, shipping movements and marine news and casualties. In the coming months, we will be able to offer shipping historians and enthusiasts a superb addition in the shape of the Newall Dunn Collection, which comprises one of the world’s richest photographic and ephemera resources for Merchant Shipping history.

This treasure trove offers material from about 1880 to the turn of the twenty-first century, featuring an extensive series of images of ocean-going liners, cruise ships, cargo vessels – in fact vessels of all types and sizes.

In addition, there are over three hundred information files consisting of press releases and cuttings going back to the early 1930s, shipping company brochures, menus & other ephemera representing a wide-ranging pictorial history.

The collection was built by shipping historian Peter Newall and was gifted to Guildhall Library in 2018. The resource he compiled includes material and photographs amassed by several previous shipping enthusiasts and writers. The most important of these was writer and artist Laurence Dunn but also includes work created by Captain Emile Sigwart of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and photographs of ships on the Thames by Jeffrey Curtis taken in the 1930s.

In the coming months and years there is a good deal of work to be done to catalogue and conserve the collection and gradually make it all accessible to users – volunteers welcome! The forthcoming exhibition will offer a flavour of what is to come, and we hope many of you will find time to drop by to take a look and come to the accompanying talk and workshops. While you are with us, we would like as many of you as possible to share stories and memories of your own journeys by sea or of Merchant Navy Service, and there will be space in the exhibition for you to sit and write these as well as look through some of the collectors’ publications which are held by Guildhall Library.

The exhibition opens on Monday 28th January 2019 and is on until 24th May. We haven’t space to highlight all the strengths of the collection but for this initial introduction we will be showing material on the Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Lines. We are honoured that Stephen Payne, designer of the Queen Mary II will be launching the exhibition with an evening talk on 29th January. His talk is on the subject of his recent publication, co-authored with the late Peter Newall, on “Orient Line: The Last Great Liners”. You will find further details and can book your place via or by contacting us on 020 7332 1871.

Jeanie Smith, Assistant Librarian

Women, Work and the City of London

They have a cheek I’ve never been asked to by Emily Ford, 1908 Copyright Museum of London

As part of the Women, Work and Power celebrations taking place across the City of London the Guildhall Library’s new exhibition looks at the Women, Work and the City of London. Women fighting for equality at the start of the 20th century were looking for examples from the past to counteract the Victorian rhetoric of the day about the “natural” woman’s place being that of a homemaker. Activists wrote about the conditions of employment for women of the working class and how that needed to be improved. Historians and economists looked at how women’s work had changed with the rise of capitalism and industrialisation. One of the key texts on this topic is Alice Clark’s Working Women of the Seventeenth Century, first published in 1919. The book has been reprinted many times and remains a source frequently quoted by modern historians.
Alice Clark’s research focused on women working in the seventeenth century. At the time of her research women were no longer able to join many of the guilds, so discovering women had been able to do so in the past strengthened her views that women should have greater opportunities in the present.

Alice Clark from the Women’s Library LSE

Following on from Alice Clark’s example, this exhibition will look at the different roles women had within the London Guilds how their work was recorded in or, as in some cases, left out of the official records.
The exhibition features manuscripts from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The earliest is the Porlond manuscript from the Brewers Company. Written 600 years ago between 1418 and 1438. It shows that a third of the membership were women either working independently or in partnership with a husband. Between 1418 to 1424 there were between 78 and 152 women who paid their company dues each year.

Image from the Porlond Manuscipt, London Metropolitan Archives, City of London, Ref CLC/L/BF/A/021/MS05440

The exhibition also looks at women as apprentices and mistresses, often joining guilds that weren’t related to the trade they were practicing. The guild manuscripts give us a picture of how women were able to learn a trade and carry out their businesses within the City of London.
Many events associated with the exhibition have already sold out but there are still tickets for the following events, including the exhibition launch on the 18th of September.

Exhibition launch: Work and freedom: women in the London companies
Tuesday 18th September 18:00-20:00
The City of London was unique in England in requiring women as well as men to take the freedom of the city in order to trade within its jurisdiction. The records generated by that process allow unusual insight into the nature of urban women’s business activity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Feminist historians in the early 20th century discovered this evidence and used it to reinforce arguments for women’s suffrage and employment rights. Today further research is recasting the history of women’s work in early modern London.

Walk Suffragette City (of London)
Tuesday 25 September 17.30-19.00
This walk by Laura Miller celebrates centuries of women working, trading, influencing and helping to build the City. In this walk suffragettes are part of a rich historic tapestry. On our way we’ll meet rowdy individualists, steely businesswomen and skilled artisans. Wandering through alley ways, and grand thoroughfares we’ll encounter women who have thrived, survived and left their mark, if you know where to look, on the streets of the City. We’ll also run into Queens, aristocrats and, of course, suffragettes along the way.
£10 on the day no advance booking required.
Meet next to The Monument, Fish Hill Street, EC3R 8AH.

The exhibition is open now until January 2019.
Melanie Strong, Assistant Librarian

State Trials at Guildhall: Henry Garnett or Garnet 1555-1606

Henry Garnet
From a portrait by Jan Wiericx

Following on from a blog last summer about the trial of Lady Jane Grey at Guildhall, I would like to explore the trial of Henry Garnett, a Jesuit priest, which took place at the Guildhall in 1606.

Henry Garnett (1555–1606) was an English priest of the Catholic Jesuit order.
The Jesuits were a religious order founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. Loyola was a nobleman and former soldier, who discovered his spiritual devotion after being wounded in battle. Members of the Jesuit Society were expected to accept orders anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Thus, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for “whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God” (

In 1586, Garnett and another Jesuit Robert Southwell were sent to England to succeed to Jesuit Superior in England, should anything happen to Weston, the incumbent. The Jesuits were banished from England in 1585 so Garnett and other Jesuits ministered and worshipped in secret. There were very few Jesuits in England and most had been imprisoned. The Jesuits needed a network of safe houses to protect them from raids. The government increased surveillance and renewed persecution of the order in the wake of the discovery of the Babington Plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and the planned invasion of England by Philip II of Spain. Weston was captured and arrested within a month of Garnett arriving in England and accordingly Garnett became the Jesuit Superior in England.

Anti-Catholic sentiment was high after the successful defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the government wanted to formulate an oath whereby Catholics could proclaim their allegiance to the queen. The government required Catholics to deny the pope’s authority in England. However, Catholics argued that they would show the queen the same obedience owed to any secular prince and would do so until such a time as a papal bull excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.

Being the leader of the banned Jesuits in the face of increased government persecution weighed heavily on Garnett’s shoulders. Things went from bad to worse after capture of his friend Southwell in June 1592. Garnett wrote: ‘While I cannot help myself in my sadness and anxiety … deprived as I am now of my companion, my dearest father and my helper [I await] his greatest achievements yet’ (Caraman, Garnet, 151).
At Southwell’s trial prosecutor Sir Edward Coke attacked the Jesuit for his use of the controversial doctrine of equivocation. Equivocation was a Jesuit logic that allowed Catholics to avoid incriminating themselves or others, without lying in the eyes of God. This included techniques such as not speaking in complete sentences and finished them by adding any qualification silently in one’s head, with the object of misleading the auditor. Unsurprisingly, English authorities distrusted equivocation: they viewed it as sinful and lying and an attack on language and meaning.

Southwell was executed at Tyburn on 21 February 1595. Garnett implored the Superior General of the Society of Jesuits, Claudio Acquaviva, to send him an assistant who would succeed him as superior. Henry Walpole was sent. Captured soon after his arrival in December 1593, Walpole was executed in York on 7 April 1595.

Upon the accession of James I, Garnett was enthusiastic about Catholic prospects in England. He wrote to fellow Jesuit Robert Persons on 16 April 1603: ‘Great hope [there] is of toleration: and so general a consent of Catholics in the [King’s] proclaiming [that] it seemeth God will work much’ (Caraman, Garnet, 305).

Ahead of his accession to the English throne, James had courted English Catholics and hinted at, but not promised, religious tolerance. Expectation among Catholics quickly turned to disappointment and anger. Rumours of Catholic plots and conspiracies even reached Rome. The Superior General of the Jesuits ordered Garnett to do everything he could to prevent Catholics from resorting to violence.

On 25 July 1605, in confession, and therefore under oath not to disclose anything from his penitent, Garnett learned of a plot from the Jesuit Oswald Tesimond. Tesimond, Robert Catesby’s confessor had been given permission by his penitent to discuss a ‘case of conscience’ with his confessor and superior Garnett. However, despite his admonitions, and warnings, Garnett failed to prevent the Gunpowder Plot. The date of the fifth of November will ever be remembered in English history and continues to be marked by bonfires and firework displays today. The discovery of the plot ended any chance of religious toleration of Catholics and provoked a frantic search for the conspirators and their associates.

On 15 January 1606 the government issued a proclamation for Garnett’s arrest along with Tesimond. It described Garnett as:
of a middling Stature, full Faced, Fatte of body, of Complexion faire: his Forehead high on each side, with a little thinne Haire comming down upon the middest of the forepart of his Head: the Haire of his Head and Beard griseled: of Age betweene fiftie and threescore: his Beard on his Cheekes cut close, on his Chinne but thinne, and somewhat short: his Gate upright, and comely for a Fatte man.
Larkin and Hughes, 133

Garnett was arrested on the 27th Jan and appeared for his first examination on 13 February. He was transferred from the Gatehouse prison to the Tower of London the next day. In early March he was charged with complicity in the Gunpowder Plot and tortured. His trial in the Guildhall began on 28 March. Among those on the bench was Sir John Popham who had known Garnett before he had become a Jesuit and was now chief justice of the king’s bench. According to Coke, Garnett, the instigator of the plot:
hath many gifts and endowments of nature, by art learned, a good linguist and, by profession, a Jesuit and a Superior as indeed he is Superior to all his predecessors in devilish treason, a Doctor of Dissimulation, Deposing of Princes, Disposing of Kingdoms, Daunting and deterring of subjects, and Destruction.
Caraman, Garnet, 403

The Arraignment of Henry Garnet from A Compleat collection of state-tryals and proceedings upon impeachments for high treason and other crimes and misdemeanours 1719 vol. 1.
Guildhall Library Store 62

Garnett defended himself against all Coke’s charges and explained Catholic teaching on papal power and equivocation which Coke had attacked during the trial. The court found Garnett guilty as charged and sentenced him to death. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered on 3 May 1606 in St Paul’s Churchyard, London.

Very soon after his execution, London theatregoers were reminded of the sinister reputation Garnett’s defence of equivocation had earned to him in protestant eyes. The porter in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, welcomes imaginary visitors, an equivocator (Garnett) and a farmer (Farmer was one of Garnett’s pseudonyms) at the gate of hell (Inverness Castle), making mocking references to Garnett and his trial: ‘Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven’ (Macbeth, ii.iii, 7–11).

Venerated by English Catholics as a martyr, there were even relics associated with Garnett, one being the famous ‘straw’, upon which a drop of Garnett’s blood bore a strong resemblance to his face which was later lost during the French Revolution. Superior General Acquaviva allowed Garnett’s cause for canonization to be initiated but the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773 halted its progression. While Garnett’s name was originally included in the list of martyrs submitted to Rome in 1874 by the archdiocese of Westminster, it was subsequently removed because of fear of possible political involvement, and it has yet to be reintroduced.

By: Isabelle Chevallot
Assistant Librarian, Guildhall Library

Philip Caraman, Henry Garnet, 1555–1606, and the Gunpowder Plot (1964)
Guildhall Library Shelfmark: B:G 235

J. F. Larkin and P. L. Hughes, eds., Royal proclamations of King James I, 1603–1625 (1973)
Guildhall Library Shelf mark: 348:02

Shakespeare Third Folio
Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, and tragedies : Published according to the true originall copies…and unto this impression is added seven playes, never before printed in folio: viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London prodigal. The history of Thomas Lord Cromwel. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The puritan widow. A York-shire tragedy. The tragedy of Locrine. Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
London : printed [by Roger Daniel, Alice Warren, and another] for P[hilip] C[hetwind], 1664.
The third folio.
Guildhall Library Shelf mark AN 19.3.4 (Please note you will need to bring one form of ID, such as a passport or driving licence or any library or archive membership card, with you when you visit in order to consult this item as is designated rare.)

A link to examination of Henry Garnett from the National Archives