Oxford: Printed at the Theatre; for James Fletcher and Joseph Potte, 1745-4. The greatly revised second edition of the works of John Leland first published in 1710. With a large, folding copper-engraved plate in Volume VIII. Engrqaved vignette of the Sheldonian Theatre on title-page of Volume I. Spines a bit rubbed, with hand-lettering mostly worn off, a few hinges with minor spilits. Minor wear to covers. A remarkably fine, uncut set. Original marbled boards with vellum backstrips. Nine volumes, octavo in fours. Item #15671
Leland (1506?-1552) has been called "the father of English local history." He established the county as the basic unit for studying the local history of England. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, All Souls College, Oxford, and in Paris, and at different times had the patronage of Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell. He was appointed prebendary of Wilton Abbey in 1535 and received two adjacent benefices. In 1533 he was apparently entrusted by the kind with a document which authorized him to examine the libraries of all the religious houses in England, and he made numerous lists of significant books in these libraries, for the most part before they were dissolved. He subsequently made many journeys, including five major itineraries to various regions of Britain, and on these he kept notebooks, writing down information he gleaned from personal observation, from books, charters, and oral sources. Though Leland's Itineraries remained unpublished until the eighteenth century, they provided important source material for Camden's Britannia (1586) and many other works. His other works included Latin poetry, a treatise on King Arthur, the "New Year's Gift" (a letter addressed to Henry VIII), a biographical dictionary of famous British authors, and others.