A rare antique book about Bury St Edmunds Abbey has been handed in at the town’s Oxfam book shop by a mystery donor.
The 164-page work contains two volumes entitled Antiquitates Rutipinae (Antiquities of Richborough) and Antiquitates S. Edmundi Burgi ad Annum MCCLXXII Perductae (Antiquities of St Edmundsbury to 1272).
It is written by John Battely and was published posthumously in 1745.
Antiquitates S. Edmundi Burgi, is understood to contain the first history of Bury St Edmunds Abbey ever published.
“The book was handed in two weeks ago and is on display at the shop at the moment,” said Sue Thompson, the shop’s lead for cCurious and collectable items.
“The donor didn’t leave any details and though we do occasionally get rare editions, this one seemed very special.
“Published in 1745, it is a second edition, suggesting it was popular and is half-calf bound with marbled boards, which was paper fashionable in the 18th century, using a technique of floating the paper in oil paints.
“A couple of us in the store have elementary Latin and it appears to be about the history of the Abbey, containing floor plans, illustrations and lovely little maps.
“We have priced it at £250 and it would be wonderful to see it go to a good and local home.
“We would also like to thank the donor for the generosity.”
John Battely, also spelt Batteley, who lived between 1646 and 1708, was an English antiquary and clergyman, and Archdeacon of Canterbury between 1688 and 1708.
Battely was born in November, 1646, in the parish of St James. After attending King Edward VI Grammar School, he gained a place at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1662.
Antiquitates S. Edmundi Burgi ad Annum MCCLXXII Perductae tell the story of the Abbey up until 1272.