A very interesting surprise.

Kia ora koutou

We have had a very lucky find.

Last week, the Library received a donation from an estate.  In looking thorough the books to see if any were likely candidates for the J.C.Beaglehole Room.  I found a number of interesting books, but the most interesting by far was a handwritten dairy dated 1734-36. 

The writing in the front pages indicated that it was the diary of Sarah Savage.  It then passed to her daughter Sarah Newnham, who left it to Catherine Hayter, granddaughter of Sarah Savage and probably daughter of Sarah Newnham.  Catherine left it to her niece Ann Savage, a great grandaughter of the original Sarah.  It came into the hands of Sarah Morrison (another great granddaughter) who gave it to Peter Bannell (great great grandson) in 1840.  There we lose the trail – for now.

My inner terrier perked up.  What else could we find about Sarah Savage?  We found that she was the daughter of one Philip Henry, “incumbent of Worthenbury, in the County of Flint, who was ejected therefrom by the Act of Uniformity in 1662″ (1).  Her notebooks are held in the Library at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, which itself has an interesting history. It was originally  the Warrington Academy, a dissenting academy, then moved to Manchester and later – after an 1889 Act of Parliament abolishing religious tests at Oxford – moved to Oxford, but it was not until 1996 that it was granted a Royal Charter and became the 39th college of Oxford.

But I digress – back to Sarah.  I e-mailed the Librarian at Harris Manchester College about the diary, who put me in touch with the Director of the Dr Williams Library in London, which also has Sarah’s letters and one of her diaries.  He is keeping track of the various holdings and copies around the world, and was quite excited by this one.

As are we!  I think it has potential as a candidate for digitisation, although I think the OCR software might struggle a bit with her handwriting.

All the best

(1) Lawrence, Sarah, 1844.  The descendants of Rev. Philip Henry incumbent of Worthenbury, in the County of Flint, who was ejected therefrom by the Act of Uniformity in 1662.  Leamington: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. John Merridew, 1844

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