MESSINGHAM, Thomas. Florilegium Insulae Sanctorum seu Vitae et Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae. Quibus accesserunt non vulgaria monumenta Hoc est Sancti Patricii Purgatorium, S. Malachiae Prophetia de summis de summis Pontificibus, Aliaque nonulla quorum Elenchus post Praefationem habetur.


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Paris: Sebastiani Cramoisy, 1624. Folio. pp. [xlvi], 441, + errata. Bound by Clarke & Bedford in nineteenth century full brown morocco, covers framed by blind and gilt fillets with gilt and blind inner and outer fleurons. Spine divided into seven compartments by six gilt raised bands. Title and place of publishing in gilt on brown morocco letterpieces in the second and third, the remainder tooled in gilt. Fore-edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt. Cream endpapers. Red and gold double end bands. All edges gilt. The Huth Library copy with their oval dark green morocco bookplate tooled in gilt on front pastedown. Some light wear, otherwise a superb copy. Very rare.
COPAC locates 6 copies only. WorldCat 7.
Thomas Messingham, born at the close of the sixteenth century, a native of County Meath, educated in Paris where he became a secular priest and later Moderator of the Irish College in that city. In 1620 he published Officia S.S. Patricii, Columbae, Brigidae ... &c. This was followed four years later by his Florilegium which contains the lives of the chief Irish saints with commentaries including that on St. Patrick from Jocelin, St. Columba from Adamnan, St. Brigid from Cogitosus and Capgrave, etc. There is an account of St. Patrick’s Purgatory, and the Prophecies of St. Malachy of Armagh. In his introduction he gives a preliminary treatise on the names of Ireland, written by David Rothe, where it is proved from single Irish authors who flourished from the fourth to the thirteenth century that ‘Ireland was known by the Name of Scotia, and the Irish by the Name of ‘Scotts’ (A controversial point with Caledonians to this day!). There is also a collection of poems on the saints of Ireland by the following Irishmen (including the author), Eugene Sweeney, Peter Cadell, Hugh O’Reilly, John Colgan, Hugh Ward, Edmund Dwyer, William Coghlan, Patrick Cahill, Roger Molloy, Lawrence Sedgrey, James Delaney, Thomas Guyer. A most beautiful example of early printing with the title in red and black, four portraits drawn by Messingham and engraved by Gaultier, numerous decorated capitals and woodcuts throughout the text.

[L1 4B]


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