The Bodleian volume 4º Rawl. 566 is a bound set of 217 broadside ballads printed in the seventeenth century. The broadsides, half-folio sheets typical of ballad publications at the time, are attached by their left-hand edges and thus form an oblong book with the ballads reading on the recto of each leaf.
A vellum binding, damaged at the spine, encloses the volume, with Rawlinson’s bookplate inside the front cover.
The source of the volume before it came into Richard Rawlinson’s possession has not yet been discovered. The ballads themselves are in a fragile state. Several are torn or damaged, and some are repaired.
Inscriptions on the reverse of some ballads in the volume appear to show that, wherever it was held at the time, it was used on Sept. 23, 1720, by Benjamin Osborne and Elizabeth Townsen [Townsend?] to practice writing.
The image gallery below gives access to the full-resolution images of inscriptions in this volume.
The antiquary, author and bibliophile Anthony Wood (1632-1695) left, among other collections, several volumes of broadside ballads to the University of Oxford. These were bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum and transferred in 1858 to the Bodleian Library.
Some of the broadside ballads in this collection bear manuscript annotations of various kinds, from childish pen trials to reference notes. The annotations are described and mostly transcribed in Nicolas Kiessling’s catalogue, The Library of Anthony Wood (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 2002), in which Ballads are items 367-843.
What follows is a list of annotations found on the reverse of ballads in one volume, shelfmarked Wood 401. References are given to the entries in Kiessling’s catalogue in which the annotations are transcribed. An image gallery at the end of this post gives access to the full-resolution images.
Most of the ballads in the volume have been attached in the middle of the sheet, and thus occupy two numbered leaves of the volume, with the printed ballad visible on the verso of the first leaf and the recto of the following leaf. Annotations relating to each ballad are usually on the recto of the first leaf, i.e. on the blank page (in this volume) before the printed ballad.
The shepherd and the king, and of Gillian the shepherds wife
MS note on reverse: vide Malmsburiens. de Reg. Angl. lib. 2 – fol. 23. see ye 2d part of R. Parsons his conversions cap. 6. p. 418-419. [i.e. William of Malmesbury, Chronicle of the kings of England, and Persons, Robert, A treatise of three conversions of England … (1603)].
Robin Hood and the tanner; or, Robin Hood met with his match
With a page attached in Wood’s handwriting, citing historical and poetical references to Robin Hood by John Major and Michael Drayton
The wofull lamentation of Mistris Jane Shore, a Goldsmiths wife in London, sometimes King Edward the seconds Concubine, who for her wantan life came to a miserable end. Set forth for the example of all lewd women.
Woodcut pasted to recto of fol. 45
A memoriable [sic] song on the unhappy hunting in Chevy Chase between Earle Piercy of England and Earle Dowglas of Scoland [sic]
Annotations on a slip attached between fols. 46 and 47, and on recto of fol. 47
A true relation of the life and death of sir Andrew Barton, a pyrate and rover on the seas
Annotations on recto of fol. 55
The most rare and excellent history of the duchesse of Suffolks calamity
Annotations on recto of fol. 57
The dolefull dance and song of death; intituled, Dance after my pipe
Annotations on recto of fol. 60
Lord Willoughby; or, A true relation of a famous and bloody battel fought in Flanders
Annotations on recto of fol. 67
“The story of the Ld Willoughby following, is to be und[er]stood as done by Peregrine Bertie Lord Willoughby of Eresby, about 29. Reg. Elizab.\”
The life and death of famous Thomas Stukelie an English gallant in the time of Queen Elizabeth
The lamentable ditty of the little Mousgrove, and the Lady Barnet
Iohn Arm-strongs last good night
Murder upon murder, committed by Thomas Sherwood, alias, countrey Tom: and Elizabeth Evans, alias, Canbrye Besse
The initials A W in MS below the woodcut on the right side of the sheet; on the reverse of the backing paper is a MS note by Anthony Wood, showing descent of Holt family.
Britaines honour. In the two valiant Welchmen, who fought against fifteene thousand Scots, at their now comming to England
Pen-trials by Wood on the front of the ballad. On the reverse (fols 131 recto and 132 verso) are verses, drawings, and pen trials. A Bodleian note states that these were uncovered in 1881.
A new Spanish tragedy. Or, More strange newes from the narrow seas
Date “1640- or 41” on the front of the ballad. On the reverse (fols 137 recto and 138 verso) are verses, drawings, and pen trials, and one signature of Anthony Wood.
Images of most of the pages described, which are either the direct versos of the printed ballads, or the reverse of the blank papers onto which the ballads were pasted, are in the gallery included here.
Printed books belonging to Anthony Wood are found by the shelfmark ‘Wood’ in the online catalogue.
Wood’s manuscripts kept in the Bodleian are described here: