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´╗┐Title: Little Gidding and its inmates in the Time of King Charles I. - with an account of the Harmonies
Author: Acland, John Edward, 1848-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Gidding and its inmates in the Time of King Charles I. - with an account of the Harmonies" ***

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Transcribed from the 1903 S.P.C.K edition by David Price, email


                            WITH AN ACCOUNT OF
                              THE HARMONIES
                       DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED BY
                             NICHOLAS FERRAR.

                            J. E. ACLAND, M.A.

                       NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.;
                     43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.
                       BRIGHTON: 129, NORTH STREET.



"How happy a king were I, if I had many more such workmen and workwomen
in my kingdom!  Their art and ability is excellent.  Let them know I will
not forget them.  God's blessing on their hearts, and painful hands."

Such were the words and opinions of King Charles I., when speaking of the
happy and industrious family whose life and labours at Little Gidding are
described in the following pages, a family entirely devoted to good
works, under the able direction of Mr. Nicholas Ferrar, whose history has
happily been preserved for us with great accuracy, and which can hardly
fail to be attractive.

Although Nicholas Ferrar and Little Gidding are names that are invariably
associated with one another, it must not be imagined that he spent his
whole life there.  It was not, indeed, till he was thirty-three years old
that he left the busy and stirring scenes for which he seemed so suited;
and before describing the twelve years of seclusion with which he ended
his life, it is necessary to say something about his more active
employments as a young man.  They prove beyond doubt that he was endued
with abilities of the highest order, which might have led him to
positions of great public importance had his inclinations so prompted

Nicholas Ferrar was born in the year 1592, his parents being conspicuous
for their piety and charity, their conscientious discharge of every duty,
and their careful training of a numerous family in every point of virtue
and religion, special attention being paid to the study of the Bible,
large portions of which were committed to memory.

Mr. Ferrar was a merchant, connected with all the great centres of
commerce, especially with the East and West Indies; and being given to
most generous hospitality, he was on friendly terms with many persons of
eminence, such as Drake, Raleigh, and Hawkins.

Nicholas was the third son, and his talents began to develop themselves
very early.  His memory, which was naturally very retentive, was
carefully cultivated, and he was at all times eager and diligent in his
studies.  At the age of fourteen he was admitted to Clare Hall,
Cambridge; four years later he took his degree, and was before long
elected to a Fellowship.  But his health now broke down, and it was
considered that the only chance of his recovery lay in a complete change,
and in leaving England.  Just at this time the Princess Elizabeth was
starting for the Palatinate, after her marriage with the Elector
Frederick, and Ferrar was fortunate in obtaining permission to be
included in her suite.  They first went to Holland, but before long
Ferrar left the Royal party, as he had resolved on seeing some places not
included in the Royal programme.

We must, however, hurry over this part of Ferrar's life, very interesting
as it is, and it must suffice to say that in the course of five years he
visited many parts of Germany and Italy, then went to the south of
France, by sea to Spain, where he had several startling adventures, and
after travelling five hundred miles alone, and on foot, reached Saint
Sebastian, from which port he took ship to England.

The advantage of these travels to Ferrar was great in many ways.  He
thoroughly mastered the languages of the various countries; he studied
closely their forms of government, trade, and commerce, and acquired an
insight even into the handicrafts of the people.  He made himself
acquainted with the doctrines and discipline of the Churches and
religious sects, and procured, whenever he could do so, the assistance of
the ablest scholars to instruct him.  Being well supplied with money by
his father, he was enabled to collect, besides other things, a great
number of prints and engravings by all the best masters; in fact, it is
stated that he let nothing of this sort escape him that was valuable; and
being all relative to, or illustrative of, passages in the Bible, they
were utilized to great advantage when in his later years he compiled "The

On his return home, his natural inclination was to settle at Cambridge
and resume his work at Clare Hall; but, partly owing to his father's
advanced age, and partly on account of his elder brother having important
work in London in connection with the Virginia Plantation Company,
Nicholas Ferrar determined to settle there with them.  Here he soon
attracted much attention for his many eminent qualities, reports of which
had, indeed, been received from abroad, and before long Sir Edwyn Sandys
and Lord Southampton, both of them governors of the Virginia Company,
having discovered for themselves his great worth, proposed him as King's
Counsel for the Plantation.  He thus became deeply engaged in public
business; and as his work was continually produced in open court, his
reputation increased more and more.  Two or three years later his powers
were still further tested, for the Spanish party exerted all their
influence to overthrow the Company; and as Nicholas Ferrar was at this
time the deputy-governor, the chief burden of the defence fell on his
shoulders.  His efforts were, however, all in vain, and before long the
patent or charter was withdrawn, and the Company was dissolved, owing to
the false accusations brought against the managers and directors.

Ferrar was now elected Member of Parliament, and was able to bring before
the House and the public more fully the iniquity of these proceedings,
and by his skilful management cleared the directors, and brought their
opponents to justice and punishment.

This was the concluding act of Ferrar's public life, and we shall now
turn to a scene of a vastly different nature.  But it has been necessary
to say thus much to exhibit in its true light the force of character, the
wonderful diligence and activity of the man, who (as we shall now see)
decided on devoting the rest of his life to religious exercises, to works
of charity and usefulness, but living apart and without interruption from
the busy world.

There is evidence to show that this had long been his wish, in fact, that
from his earliest years some such ideas had been in his mind; but until
now he had not seen his way to carry them out.

The first and most necessary step was to find a place suitable for his
purpose, and hearing that the lordship of Little Gidding was for sale, he
went to inspect it.

It was in an obscure part of the county of Huntingdon, a large manor
house and a cottage for shepherds the only buildings, with the exception
of a dilapidated church used as a barn.  The air was healthy, and the
whole estate lay in pasture.

The spot seemed admirably adapted to his designs, and was accordingly
bought; and after settling his own business and also his brother's, he
moved to Little Gidding in the year 1625.

He now gathered round him a very large family party.  His father was
dead, but his mother, his brother, and his sister, who was married to a
Mr. Collett, with the children of both families, all joined under the one
roof.  When the establishment was completed and in proper working order,
it is said that they numbered forty persons, including schoolmasters and

The meeting between Nicholas Ferrar and his mother, who was now 73 years
old, is so characteristic that it must be related.  Within three or four
days of his arrival, and before the necessary repairs had been carried
out, Mrs. Ferrar rides to Gidding from her daughter's home, no great
distance off.  Nicholas Ferrar meets her outside the manor house, and
kneeling on the ground, asks and receives her blessing.  He then entreats
her to enter his dwelling and repose herself after the journey.

"Not so," she says; "yonder I see the church, let us first go there and
give thanks to God."

She is told she cannot even get inside the door, for there had been no
time as yet to clear out the hay which was in it.  But she persists in
her resolve, and thrusting herself in a little way, she kneels and prays.
Then sending for the workmen employed in the house, the hay is flung out
of the windows, and the church is cleansed as well as might be for the
present, and till this is done she will not set foot in her new home.

The following year, 1626, Nicholas Ferrar returned to London for a short
while to dispose of his house and bid good-bye to his friends.  He now
was able to carry out a resolution, which it is believed he had made long
before, and was ordained Deacon by Dr. Laud, the future Archbishop of
Canterbury.  Many people imagined that this was to enable him to seek
ecclesiastical preferments, and several valuable livings were soon
offered to him; but his sole object was that he might have the necessary
authority to carry on the spiritual work of his own home, and thus be of
greater use to his family.

He had doubtless by now worked out the general plan of life, and put his
house and the church into proper order.  Certain glebe lands and tithes
which had been alienated from their rightful owners were restored; and to
prove the honesty of his purpose he even pulled down a very large
dovecote upon the premises, which contained a great number of pigeons.
The reason for this was that all his property was laid out as pasture,
and therefore the pigeons fed on his neighbours' corn-fields.  In the
place of the dovecote he made a school-house, and permission was given to
the people of the towns and villages within reach to send their children
to be instructed under his supervision, and without payment or expense.
For this purpose he provided three resident masters; one was to teach
English to the poor children and Latin to his nephews and nieces, another
superintended the writing and arithmetic, while the third was for
instruction in the theory and practice of music.

There was also especial inducement held out to all children of the
neighbourhood to learn the Psalms by heart.  Each one was given a
Psalter, and had to go to Gidding on Sunday mornings to repeat his
portion learnt during the week.  There were sometimes more than a hundred
children, and they were given a penny for each Psalm learnt, and a dinner
served in the great hall.

It will be as well now to describe in detail the "particular and more
punctual actions of each day in the week," which we get with great
exactness from the records left us by John Ferrar.  To begin with
Sunday--early rising was encouraged on this day, as throughout the week,
namely, five o'clock in winter and four o'clock in summer.  The younger
children first assembled in the great hall, where was always a good warm
fire in the winter.  Here they found Nicholas Ferrar awaiting them, to
whom they repeated such chapters or Psalms as they had been given to
learn.  After this they returned to their rooms to make themselves "more
comely in their best attires."  Breakfast, and private reading or
conversation in their own rooms, went on till nine o'clock, when the bell
called them together again.  They all met in the great hall, and, having
sung a hymn, proceeded in decent order to the church.

The three schoolmasters led the way, wearing their black gowns, the
youths (also in gowns) following two and two, John Ferrar and Mr. Collett
came next, and then Nicholas Ferrar leading his aged mother; immediately
behind her came Mrs. Collett and the daughters, and the procession closed
with all the servants.

Each as they came into church made a low obeisance, and took up their
allotted places; Nicholas Ferrar, in surplice and hood, saying the
service.  This over, the "Psalm children" went to the manor house and
repeated their Psalms.

At half-past ten they went to the church again, when the minister of the
neighbouring parish came for the Communion Service and to preach.  That
done, dinner was served in the house, first for the "Psalm children"--old
Mrs. Ferrar herself very often bringing in the first dish--and afterwards
for the rest of the family.

Recreation or walking in the garden was permitted till two o'clock, when
the bell called them together again for evening service at the nearest
parish church.  Supper-time was five or six o'clock, and while it was
being prepared the organ was played in the great hall and an anthem was
sung.  After supper each one could occupy himself as he wished, indoors
or walking abroad, or "passing the time with good discourse."  At eight
o'clock there was more singing to the organ, followed by prayers, and
then the children, after asking the "old gentlewoman's" blessing, all bid
each good night.

Mr. Ferrar also made it his special care that no work in the house should
prevent the servants attending church; there were none left behind; and
on the Sundays when the Holy Communion was administered, "the servants
that had feasted with them in the church were not thought unworthy to eat
with them in the parlour," sitting at the end of the same table.

It would be tedious and uninteresting to attempt to follow the week-day
employments in the exact order in which they were carried out, but the
general plan may be given with advantage, as illustrating the principles
inculcated at Gidding.

The day began early--at four or five o'clock--by the children repeating
to Mr. Ferrar what they had learnt by heart the day before.  At six
o'clock the recitation of the Psalms began, and it was so planned that
"certain members of the family repeated certain Psalms at every hour of
the day, every one knowing his turn and hour of attendance; and thus,
without undue interruption of other work, the whole book of Psalms was
repeated once in the twenty-four hours."  In addition to this, the
children had to say one of the chapters of the Concordance, or Harmony of
the Four Evangelists, which was arranged purposely by Nicholas Ferrar, so
that it might be gone through once in every month.

Three times during the day the bell rang to summon them for a short
service in the church, on each occasion the proceeding being as described
for Sunday.

Every hour of the day had some special employment, some of the children
sitting in the great hall watched by Mrs. Ferrar, some in the new
school-house with the masters.  Their occupations were as varied as
possible: English, Latin, and other languages, writing and ciphering, and
learning by heart being interspersed with singing, playing the organ, and
other instruments, making the Concordances, bookbinding and gilding, and
embroidery.  At stated times the boys were encouraged in active outdoor
exercises, running, leaping, and archery.  As the girls grew up they were
made to perfect themselves in good housewifery.  A month at a time each
one had control of the housekeeping, all expenditure being carefully
booked; at the end of the month her accounts were looked over, and her
duties handed on to the next in rotation.

A room was set apart as an infirmary for any member of the family who
might require nursing, and another room for the reception of any poor
person who might be brought in sick or hurt.  The ladies were taught to
dress their wounds, and to do all things necessary for their relief, but
the prescribing of medicines Mr. Ferrar kept for himself, as he had many
years studied this science.  They distilled "cordial waters," and kept in
the dispensary a good supply of balsams, oils, and all things needful for
the cure of their patients.

At meal times the custom prevailed of reading aloud, the person whose
turn it might be, first having some light food, and after the reading was
finished, "in regard of his forbearance, always having the advantage of
some more food than his fellows!"

The reading was to be something "delightful and easy, such as stories of
sea voyages, descriptions of foreign countries, their rise and fall, and
illustrated by the particular actions of eminent persons."  And in order
that these stories might not be forgotten, it was further arranged that
notes (or "a summary collection") should be taken of everything worthy of
attention, and that these notes should afterwards be transcribed, and put
into language fitted to the capacity of the children, who then had, in
turn, to recite the stories.  This practice brought the boys into a habit
of delivering any speech with assurance and good manner, and of
expressing themselves in a becoming and elegant style.

They also became thoroughly acquainted with ancient and modern history,
and knew and understood the great affairs of life better than many who
lived more in the world.

Analogous to this, and no doubt a development of it, were "The
maiden-sisters exercises."  These were conversations or dialogues recited
by the Miss Colletts, illustrative of some special virtue, and always
enforced by examples taken from history.

The sisters, for this purpose, were known by such titles as The Patient,
The Cheerful, The Affectionate, etc., and formed themselves into what
they called "The Little Academy," of which Mary Collett was "The Chief,"
Mrs. Collett was called "The Moderator," John Ferrar "The Guardian," and
Nicholas Ferrar "The Visitor."

The subjects and the substance of the exercises were supplied by Nicholas
Ferrar himself, but the sisters were left to compile them in their own
words.  They were prepared some time beforehand, and after they had been
recited were transcribed into books kept for the purpose.

Four folio volumes of these "conversations" are still in existence, and
are, no doubt, in the handwriting of Mary and Ann Collett.  They are
bound in black leather, stamped with gilt lines, and with gilt edges, and
have been passed on from one member of the family to another to the
present owner, a Mr. Mapletoft Davis, living in Australia. {20}

Some idea of the general plan of these "exercises" may be gathered from
the following notes taken from the manuscripts.

The first meeting of the "Little Academy" was on Ash Wednesday, 1630,
when the subject was "The Folly of Delaying Repentance."  The next
meeting was on Easter Monday, a speech being made on "Happiness,"
illustrated by stories of King Philip of Spain, King Henry IV. of France,
and Popes Marcellus and Adrian.  On other occasions the following
subjects were selected: "Humility towards God, and moderation to equals
and enemies is most beneficial," illustrated by stories of Charles V.;
"We must overcome evil with good," illustration, John of Alexandria,
etc., etc.

At first it seems that the recitations were given on five festivals,
which days naturally provided suitable subjects, and afterwards it was
decided to increase the number to twelve days, and they pass the
following resolution: "Every day must handle a new matter, that's the
injunction; and because the days afford not any special occasion, the
particular names imposed on us shall be the subjects successively of our
several exercises."  The titles were (1) "The Chief" (who chose for her
subject "Humility"); (2) The Patient; (3) The Affectionate; (4) The
Cheerful; (5) The Submiss; (6) The Obedient; (7) The Moderate.  Generally
the conversations were enlivened by music and singing, but when the
subject was "Patience" this was omitted, and there was much less
anecdote.  The discourse was also somewhat longer, so that the virtue
which was being illustrated was at the same time practically enforced.
It is not quite clear how long the exercises were continued, but in the
second volume of the manuscripts it is stated that many home troubles had
helped to break up the "Little Academy," especially old Mrs. Ferrar's
death, which was in the year 1634, and that the actors were reduced to
three, when their cousin, young Nicholas Ferrar, "took upon himself to
revive their antient practises."  But after this the actors all appear
with fresh names.

Not content with the most careful and minute regulations for the
employment of every hour of the day in some secular or religious matter,
(for we read that "every hour had its company for the performance of some
special duty,") Nicholas Ferrar further arranged that those so inclined
should pursue their devotional exercises also at night.  Two were to
watch together in a room set apart for the purpose; the womankind had a
room at one side of the house, and the men had one on the other side.
The watching lasted from 9 p.m. till 1 a.m., and during those four hours
the whole of the Book of Psalms was said over carefully, verse by verse,

Mr. Ferrar himself generally watched twice in the week, the others never
more than once; and in the winter special precautions were taken to
prevent them suffering from cold.

At one o'clock, when the watch was finished, they lay down till six
o'clock, but did not actually go to bed at all, as on other nights.

It was apparently some account of the "Harmonies of the Four Evangelists"
which first attracted King Charles' attention to the family living at
Gidding, and about the year 1631, being not far off with his Court, he
sent a gentleman to ask for the loan of the book.  This was conceded with
some hesitation, and the King, having once got it into his hands, would
not part with it again, until he had obtained a promise that another
similar volume should be made for him.  The work was promptly executed,
and may now be seen in the British Museum.

The careful study of the Harmonies or Concordances is most interesting,
and even in these modern times one at least is used daily as a means of
instruction for the children of the family where the book has an honoured
home, in much the same manner as the children at Little Gidding used it
two hundred and fifty years ago.

No more need be said about the Harmonies here, as a full account of the
manner of their construction and the history and resting-place of all the
specimens that can be heard of at the present time will be related in
another chapter.

But in close connection with the making of the Concordances must be
mentioned the art of bookbinding, and embroidered covers for books, as
well as embroidery for other purposes.

The Concordances are all bound in velvet or leather, and are nearly all
stamped with designs in gold, on much the same plan.  The stamps chiefly
used are _fleurs-de-lis_, acorns, sprigs of oak, etc., and the amount of
ornamentation appears to depend upon the rank of the person for whom the
book was intended, and also partly upon the date when the book was made,
the earlier copies being much less elaborate than the later volumes.

It is also evident that books printed in the ordinary way were bound, or
re-bound, at Gidding.  One of the most remarkable of which there is any
authentic account is a large folio Bible, printed by Barker, of London,
in the year 1639.  It now belongs to the Marquis of Bute, and, as a rule,
is in his library at Cardiff; but he is most kind in allowing it to be
exhibited, and it has recently been shown at Bath, and before that at
Glasgow.  The binding is of blue silk, elaborately decorated with designs
in gilt and silver thread, and in the centre are the royal arms and
initials C. R., which prove clearly enough for whom the work was
originally done.  A competent authority, one of the great professional
connoisseurs, has declared the binding to be one of the most magnificent
specimens with which he is acquainted.

It would ill-befit one of the ruder sex to attempt to write critically
about the needlework of the maidens of Gidding, but we may sing their
praises for the skill, the industry, and the artistic results exhibited
by this branch of their daily occupations.

The specimen most easily examined by any one wishing to do so, is a cover
for a dressing-case in the South Kensington Museum; another similar piece
of work was lent by a gentleman in London to an exhibition in Dublin a
few years ago; he kindly supplied the information afterwards that he had
been for many years a collector and admirer of the Gidding needlework,
and had one or two Bible covers and some other pieces of their embroidery
in his possession.

A gentleman at Brighton has also a small 32mo New Testament, printed by
R. Barker, of London, A.D. 1640, which has a Gidding embroidered cover.
The design is a simple floral pattern worked in fine close stitches on
white silk, with a foundation of coarse canvas or holland, which was
perhaps glued on to the original boards.  He has also a portrait of
Charles I. made in the same kind of stitch on a satin ground, but it is
not certain whether this was worked at Gidding or not.  A great deal of
needlework of that date is wrongly attributed to the Miss Collets.

An altar cloth, shown at Dublin in 1888, was also stated to be their
work, and it is extremely probable that they would have done such things,
for it is mentioned "that they were expert with their needles, and made
them serve the altar and the poor."

In making the embroidery it would appear as if the pattern was first
drawn on paper, then cut out, and finally worked over, the designs being
for the most part in somewhat high relief.

It is worthy of remark that, almost invariably, whenever this embroidery
is put up for sale or is exhibited, it is marked as the work of the "Nuns
of Little Gidding."  Now, it may be said that all those who at the
present day take any interest in the life, methods, or work of Nicholas
Ferrar and his nieces, do so with feelings of admiration, and are, at
least, not to be numbered amongst their detractors.  Yet it is curious
how the one name which helped more than anything else to work their ruin
is even now, as a rule, attached to them.  Within a few years of Nicholas
Ferrar's death, some of his enemies had a pamphlet printed and
distributed "not by hundreds, but by thousands, and given into the hands
of the parliament men as they went daily to the House of Commons."  The
title was, "The Arminian Nunnery; a description of the newly erected
Monastical Place, or the Arminian Nunnery at Little Gidding."  The books
were also given to the Puritan soldiers when near Gidding to excite them
to offer violence to the family.  But why should the title "Nuns of
Little Gidding" be still the name most often given to the Miss Colletts?
Few persons can realize that it is the name invented by their enemies,
earnestly repudiated by themselves, and entirely devoid of truth.

This may be proved in several ways.  The house at Little Gidding
contained two _married_ families, the boys and girls all growing up
together.  The girls were purposely trained in such domestic matters as
would fit them for _good wives_, and five of them did eventually marry.
The two eldest alone, having reached the ages of thirty and thirty-two,
resolved to remain unmarried, but in no way took vows.  Nicholas Ferrar
himself was once taxed with having started a "nunnery," and replied that
the name of "nuns" was odious, and declared himself against such vows of
single life with great earnestness.

Again, a visitor to Little Gidding, describing the place and the family,
says, "I saluted the mother and daughter _not like nuns_, but as we
salute other women."

Probably when the phrase "Nuns of Little Gidding" is used at the present
time, it is used in no reproachful sense; but the name is misleading, and
should be avoided, if for no other reason, because it was invented by the
enemies of Mr. Ferrar's family and objected to by themselves.

The family, as a matter of fact, were by no means recluses; they went
about amongst their neighbours, and were "very well reported of by all
who knew them."  They purposely selected a quiet part of the country to
live in, that they might not be interrupted in their manifold
employments; but they appear to have been always ready to receive
visitors, and to treat them with hospitality.

Ferrar's rules for his own life were certainly somewhat austere, and as
time went on he increased its rigour, more especially after his mother's
death; but he never enforced on others what he did himself, and every
hour of the day appears to have been spent usefully and happily.

It may be interesting to give here the opinions of some of his more
notable friends.  Mention has already been made of the important persons
he lived amongst in his public life, and besides them at this time there
was Dr. Laud the Archbishop, who was so delighted to ordain "such a man
as he never had before nor believed he ever should again."  There was Dr.
Williams the Bishop of the Diocese, who often went to Gidding and "much
magnified all that Nicholas and Mrs. Ferrar had done;" and not to mention
others, there was George Herbert, "his very dear brother," who, "seeing
he could not draw Gidding any nearer to him, he would draw nearer to his
brother Ferrar," and was endeavouring to exchange his living merely to
carry out this wish.  These two good men were indeed very similar in
their religious views; they "loved and trusted one another most entirely,
and drove a large stock of Christian intelligence together," and when
George Herbert died, he sent his manuscripts to Ferrar to publish or to
withhold, as he thought right.  Chief amongst them were the poems now
such favourites in many a house.  These, when Ferrar had many and many a
time read over, he kissed and embraced them again and again, saying,
"they were most worthy to be in the hands and hearts of all true
Christians that feared God and loved the Church of England."

The words of the Royal Friend who once or twice visited Gidding in person
stand at the commencement of this sketch, and sufficiently prove what was
his estimate of Ferrar and his works.

It may be easily conjectured, however, that this unusual life, conducted
by a man so well known as Ferrar, attracted a great deal of
attention--and that in the days when religious differences prevailed to a
sad extent, there were many persons eager enough not only to find fault,
but to misrepresent what was done by this family; who, to say the least,
did a great deal of good to their poorer neighbours, and did harm to no
one.  But a closer acquaintance with Mr. Ferrar generally dispelled the
calumnies which report had spread of him and his ways.  And one gentleman
who went to Gidding purposely to make out their case as bad as possible,
came away full of their praises.

In the end, however, their enemies prevailed; for the Puritan soldiers
(about the time of King Charles's death) did drive the family away,
ransacked the church, plundered the house, and destroyed many very
valuable books and manuscripts, and, in fact, everything that had been
left behind in a somewhat hasty flight.  It is related that the organ
excited their anger more than anything, and that they relieved their
feelings by breaking it up, setting it on fire, and then roasting some of
Mr. Ferrar's sheep over it.

But he was not spared to see these distressful times himself, as he died
in December, 1637, having lived at Gidding about twelve years.  The
accounts of his last illness are very interesting, as throwing a strong
light on his intensely religious character.  In November, 1637, on his
return from the little church, he had an attack of faintness, and never
afterwards left the house.  He knew from the first that he would not
recover, and said to those around him, "In former sickness I have had a
strong desire to live, and an earnestness to pray to my God to spare me,
which He hath to this day done, when all hopes of life were past by the
judgments of the most skilful physicians; and I may further say to the
Glory of His great name, I never earnestly set myself to beg of God
anything, but He fulfilled the petition of His most unworthy servant.
But now and of late, I have not, nor do not find in my heart any
inclination to beg longer life."

During his illness he continually exhorted the family that they should
"constantly adhere to the doctrine of the Church of England, and to
continue in the good old way;" he forewarned them of coming oppositions
and of danger and trouble, and urged them to shrink not to rely on God,
to serve Him with soul and body, for "He made both, and both must worship
Him in sincerity of devotion."  "He will have both inward love, and
outward reverence of body and gesture."

About three days before his death, he made John Ferrar mark out the place
for his grave seven feet from the west end of the church, leaving space
for his elder brother's grave nearest the church.  He then directed that
all the books of comedies, tragedies, love-hymns, etc. (three great
hampers full, which had been locked up for many years), should be burnt
on the place marked for his grave.  There were many hundreds in various
languages, which he had collected when a young man, but which he had
abjured as dangerous, full of idolatry, and apt to undermine the
Christian religion.

He retained full power of mind, and suffered no pain throughout the whole
illness, and passed away at one o'clock on the Sunday night, the very
hour that he constantly rose up every morning to praise God, and to pray
unto Him.

The family carried on all the good works in the which they had been
instructed, until they were driven away by the military zealots of the
Puritan party; but in later and more peaceful times they again assembled
in the old home, though there is no authentic account of the date, nor of
the particular members of the family that returned; but their exile does
not appear to have been of long duration, as there are entries in the
register of Gidding church, and inscriptions on brasses or tombstones,
which record events in the family history of the Ferrars and Collets
(such as baptisms and burials) as early as the year 1650--and at frequent
dates afterwards.  The Gidding estate, which had originally been bought
by old Mrs. Ferrar, passed to her eldest son John, which is proved by his
being described on his tombstone as "Lord of this Manor," and he was
succeeded by his eldest son, who was resident there in the year 1715, as
stated by Dr. Mapletoft in one of the Concordances.


Of all the work carried on at Gidding, nothing attracted more favourable
notice at the time, than the Concordances of the Four Evangelists, and of
other portions of the Bible, and at the present day they are also highly
valued by those who possess them, partly no doubt from a feeling of
admiration for Nicholas Ferrar himself, who designed them, but no less
for their intrinsic worth, and for the skill and industry employed in
their making.

Even in the books which treat of Ferrar's life with the greatest
exactness, reference is made to some six or seven Harmonies, but several
of these have been either lost or destroyed, or cannot now be traced;
while within the last few years, several not mentioned in the printed
biographies have been discovered, and in the following pages much
interesting matter will be brought forward about them, and the histories
of the various volumes will be given. {35}

The notoriety attaching to the Concordances can be easily accounted for
by the great interest shown in the work by King Charles I.  There does
not appear to be any evidence to show that the King knew Nicholas Ferrar
personally, before he first heard of the Concordance which was in daily
use at Gidding.  The family had settled there the very year King Charles
I. began to reign, but in Ferrar's early life, as already stated, he was
a distinguished public servant and Member of Parliament, and had,
moreover, travelled in the suite of the King's sister; so that in all
probability Ferrar's name and character were not unknown to him.

But in order to prove the real value of the work, not only as a clever
contrivance, but as an aid to religious instruction, and to the study of
the Gospel history, it is necessary to put on one side the prestige of
the royal patronage, and to give an accurate description of some one

The Harmony selected for this purpose is one of the earliest, and least
elaborate; it was made for a private friend of the Ferrars, and is no
doubt almost an exact reproduction of the volume which was used every day
by the children at Little Gidding; for it was a part of their daily duty
to repeat portions of the Harmony to Mr. Ferrar--the book being so
divided that "beginning still at the first day of the month, and ending
at the last day of the month, all the heads or chapters were said over in
every month's time."

The principle of the work was this--to make one continuous history of all
the actions and discourses of our Lord wherever related, and this to be
so arranged that the Gospel of any one Evangelist could be read straight
through from first to last.

To do this without confusion was no easy task, for every word of all four
Evangelists is in the Harmony, and yet in reading them as one connected
story there is no repetition.  The whole of the Gospel history is divided
for this purpose into one hundred and fifty heads or chapters, each
chapter containing some special subject, and being made complete by the
bringing together the words of each Evangelist treating of that subject.

The following selection will show the manner in which the subjects were

54.  Christ's second going about Galilee and sending the Apostles.

55.  John's beheading.

56.  The five loaves.

57.  Jesus walking on the sea.

58.  Discourse of the Bread from Heaven.

The method adopted throughout the work was very simple and ingenious.  It
was this: the words of each Evangelist were marked in the margin by a
distinguishing letter, viz. St. Matthew, by A; St. Mark, by B; St. Luke,
by C.; St. John by D, so that to read any one Gospel straight through, it
was only necessary to read all the passages marked by the same initial
letter, omitting all the others.  But when, as often happens, two or more
writers use identical language, the words which had been inserted before,
were put in different type.  The body of the work was given in ordinary
Roman type, but the words which occurred a second time and were,
therefore, unnecessary for the continuous history were given in old
English lettering.

To make this contrivance quite clear the following directions were
written at the beginning of the concordance--

"If you would read the Evangelical History keepe on still from one of the
marking letters to another, reading onely that which is in the Roman
letter.  But if you would read the Evangelists severally, then you must
keepe still from section to section in the same letter with which you
begin, reading both context and supplement, that is the Roman letter and
the Inglish letter annexed.  Where you find any one word or more streaked
under, you are to omit it in the reading of the context to make the
clearer sence; but it is necessarily left remaining for the reading of
the Evangelist severally."

To carry out this scheme in the first instance required a complete
acquaintance with the text, a clear idea of the sequence of events, an
ingenious head to plot out the work, and no small amount of purely
mechanical skill to bring it to a successful result.

Nicholas Ferrar himself planned the whole Concordance, and also
superintended his nephews and nieces while they did the work; but the
system adopted may well be given in the words of the old manuscripts.  A
large room was set apart purposely for the work, and called "the
Concordance room," which was all coloured over with green, pleasant
colour, varnished for the more pleasure to their eyes, and round the
upper part of the walls were sentences written, suggested by each person
of the family and some good friends, such as "Glory be to God on high,"
"Prosper Thou, O Lord, the work of our hands," "Innocency is never better
lodged than at the sign of labour," "The industrious man hath no leisure
to sin; and the idle man hath no power to avoid sin."

In this room Mr. Ferrar "every day spent one hour in contriving the
Concordance, and directed his nieces that attended him in what manner
they should cut the pieces out of the Evangelist, and so, and so, to lay
them together as to make and perfect such a head or chapter.  When they
had first cut out those pieces with their knives or scissors, then they
did neatly and exactly fit each verse that was so cut out, to be pasted
down on sheets of paper; and so artificially they performed it, that it
looked like a new kind of printing, when it was finished; so finely were
all the pieces joined together, and with great presses for that purpose,
pressed down upon the white sheets of paper."

Even this description scarcely conveys an adequate impression of the
labour involved, for in many cases only two or three words are taken out
of one Evangelist, and added to the account given by another.

And, besides the letterpress, every page is supplied with engravings,
relating to the subject in hand; and when, as often happened, they could
not find an engraving to suit exactly, parts of different prints were
combined, so as to make a suitable illustration; and so cleverly is this
"splicing" carried out, that it is almost impossible to be sure where the
pictures join.

It will give some idea of the work if a few details are given from the
volume under consideration.  In one place the narrative is composed of
five verses from St. Matthew, seven from St. Mark, and four from St.
Luke; but there are forty-four separate cuttings pasted in; in another
case seventeen verses required fifty-three cuttings, and in another,
fifteen verses from the four Evangelists are inserted with thirty-four

But even when whole verses, or perhaps whole chapters, could have been
put in entire (as would occur in the discourses related only by St.
John), the Miss Collets did not save themselves trouble if the appearance
of the page could be improved.  Some of the most attractive sheets are
those where each line has been cut out, and pasted in again in the
original sequence, but with open spacing, so as to occupy the full page.
In one case fifty-six lines have been treated thus, in another
fifty-eight, in another fifty-one, where each passage might have been
inserted entire.

                                * * * * *

Some instances may now be given to show the clever compilation of
connected sentences out of the accounts of different Evangelists,

    "And came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan, into the place
    where John at first baptized, and there He abode, and great
    multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there, and as He was wont
    He taught them again" (_vide_ St. Matt. xix. 1; St. John x. 40; St.
    Mark x. 1),

which reads as if it was one sentence, but is in reality four extracts
from three Evangelists.

Again--At the supper at Bethany--

    "She annointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair,
    and she brake the box, and poured it on His head, and the house was
    filled with the odour of the ointment" (_vide_ St. John xii. 3; St.
    Mark xiv. 3).

Or this:

    "Ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her, whereon never man
    sat; loose them and bring them unto me" (_vide_ St. Matt. xxi. 2; St.
    Mark xi. 2).

In both these extracts a little incident supplied by St. Mark is
introduced into the main narrative of another Evangelist, who had not
mentioned it.

The following also is interesting, taken from the gospels of St. Matthew,
St. Mark, and St. Luke--

    "Is not this Joseph's son?"  "Is not this the carpenter's son?"  "Is
    not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?" (_vide_ St. Luke iv. 23;
    St. Matt. xiii. 55; St. Mark vi. 3).

It must not be thought that in the Concordance these extracts are printed
straight off, as they read here.  If that were the case, it would be open
to objection that something like a new Gospel history was being compiled;
but in every case, without exception, wherever words are introduced from
another Evangelist, a space is left, a fresh line commenced, and the
distinguishing letter placed in the margin.  One short extract, printed
as in the original, will make this quite clear.

C. 8.  23.                But as they sailed He fell asleep.
A. 8.  24.                And behold there arose a great
                          tempest in the sea.
C.                        And there came down a storm of wind
                          on the lake.
B. 4.  37.                And the waves beat into the ship, so
                          that it was now full.
C.                        And they were filled with water, and
                          were in jeopardy.

Thus far the instances have been given to illustrate the plan of making
the Gospel history continuous.  One or two examples may now be selected
to show how the two distinct types of print were used, which became
necessary for the reading of any one Evangelist alone.

                          THE TRANSFIGURATION.

C. 9.  28.                And it came to pass about an eight days after
                          these sayings, he took Peter and John and James.
A. 17.  1.                And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James,
                          and John his brother and bringeth them up into
                          an high mountain apart.
B. 9.  2.                 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter
                          and James and John,
                          And leadeth them up into an high mountain apart
                          by themselves,
C.                        And went up into a mountain to pray.

                          THE TEMPEST STILLED.

A. 8.  25.                And his disciples came to Him, and
                          awoke Him saying
B.  4.                    Unto him, Master, carest thou not
                          that we perish.
A.                        Lord save us, we perish.
26.                       And he saith unto them, Why are ye
                          fearful, O ye of little faith.  Then
                          he arose and rebukes the winds and
                          the sea, and there was a great calm.
C.  8.                    Then he arose and rebuked the wind
                          and the raging of the water, and they
                          ceased and there was a calm.  25. And
                          he said unto them
B.  39.                   And he arose and rebuked the wind and
                          said unto the sea, Peace, be still;
                          and the wind ceased, and there was a
                          great calm.  40. And he said unto
                          them, Why are ye so fearful?  How is
                          it that ye have no faith?
C.                        Where is your faith?  And they being
                          afraid, wondered, saying one to
                          another, what manner of man is this?
A.  27.                   But the men marvelled, saying, What
                          manner of man is this that even the
                          winds and the sea obey him?
B.  41.                   And they feared exceedingly, and said
                          one to another, What manner of man is
                          this that even the winds and the sea
                          obey him?
C.                        For he commandeth even the winds and
                          water, and they obey him.

It is interesting to read these passages in the various ways intended by
the compiler, first taking the Evangelists separately, and reading all
the verses marked with the proper letter, in both sorts of type, and then
reading only the common type, straight on, irrespective of the marking

There is still another way in which the value of the Harmony may be
tested.  It is of course well-known that the historical sequence of
events varies greatly in the records of the different Evangelists.  To
reconcile these discrepancies, is often a very difficult matter, and when
combined with the other principles on which the Harmonies were
constructed must have caused a great deal of trouble, and required much
skilful adaptation.  This part of the work can be tested by examining
some one chapter of the Authorized Version, and we can then discover how
the subjects are treated.  The eighth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel will
be a good example--

Vers. 1-3: "A general account of Christ's ministry and followers," appear
on p. 102 of the Harmony.

Vers. 4-15: "Parable of the Sower, and explanation," come on pp. 90-93,
being composed of the narratives of the other two Evangelists
interpolated with St. Luke's.

Vers. 16-18 follow in natural order, but

Vers. 19-21: "Christ's mother and brethren," are found on p. 90, _before_
the Parable of the Sower; while

Vers. 22-25: "The Storm on the Lake," come still earlier in the Harmony,
on p. 45.

Vers. 26-39: "The herd of swine drowned," following on p. 47.

Ver. 40.  Stands by itself on p. 50, preceeding the events recorded in
St. Luke's fifth chapter.

Vers. 41-56: "The raising of Jairus' daughter," come prior to the events
narrated in St. Luke's sixth and seventh chapters, and appear on p. 56 of
the Harmony.

If we may take Nicholas Ferrar's chronology to be correct, it is clearly
seen that the Harmony is a most valuable aid to the study of the Gospels.

Mention has been made already of the engravings with which the
Concordances are nearly all supplied.  On the title-page, after
describing the contents of the book, these words always occur: "to which
are added sundry pictures, expressing either the facts themselves or
their types and figures, or other matters appertaining thereunto."

These "pictures" are in many cases delightfully quaint, and are probably
of considerable value, having been collected by Nicholas Ferrar on his
journey through Holland, Germany, Italy, and Spain in the years 1613 to
1618, it being expressly stated that they were by the best masters of
that time, and that he let nothing valuable of this sort escape him.

Unfortunately, many of these prints have been cut, to make them fit into
the pages, but on others there are the names or monograms of the artist
and engraver.  On one the date 1564 appears after the name M. Heern,
invent.  Other names occurring are M. de Vos, Joannes Strada, Th. Galle,
Phl. Galle, Crispin Van de Passe, Brvegel, etc., etc.

The most usual arrangement is for the engraving to occupy the upper half
of the page, and the letterpress to be put in two columns underneath; but
occasionally there are two or three prints in the same page.  In the copy
under consideration now, being one of the smaller volumes, there are 138
folio pages, and about 220 prints, varying in size from 12 inches by 8,
to small delicate engravings of about 2.5 inches by 1 inch.

It would be useless to attempt to describe the pictures, so as to give an
adequate idea of their interest, but some of the subjects may be

There is a series of small engravings of the eleven Apostles (a blank
space being left in a conspicuous manner for Judas), which represent each
one with his proper emblem, and in the background of each picture a very
small illustration of the manner of his death; for instance, St. Peter on
a cross, upside down; St. Thomas being killed by the spears of savages;
St. Simon being sawn asunder.  Near the beginning of the volume is a
print of the Blessed Virgin with a sword piercing her body, and
surrounded by seven medallions, showing "the seven griefs."  The parable
of "The mote and the beam" is quaintly depicted by two men standing near
together, one with an enormous log of wood, equal in length to a third of
his height, projecting unsupported from his own eye, attempting to pull a
small bit of straw from the eye of the other.

In the pictures of the Resurrection is one with a small representation in
the background of our Blessed Lord appearing to his mother, "who had
remained at her own home."

                                * * * * *

Perhaps enough has now been said to give a general description of the
design of the Concordances.  They were all made on one plan, but no two
were exactly alike.  The actual sizes vary considerably, and the number
of pages also, from sixty-five up to four hundred.  By far the greater
number deal with the Gospels of the four Evangelists, but in addition to
these there are Concordances of the Books of Kings and Chronicles, and
the five Books of Moses.

Some slight account may now be given of all the volumes known to be in
existence at the present time.  With the exception of the original book,
made for the instruction of the home family, which was in daily use at
Gidding, the splendid copy made for Charles I. is the earliest of which
there is any authentic history.

As stated on a previous page, it was at the King's urgent request that
this was put in hand, and, after twelve months' hard work, was safely
delivered to his Majesty, who declared it to be a "rich and rare jewel,
and that there was no defect in the skill, care, and cost used in it, but
a superlative diligence in all about it."

This fine volume is now in the British Museum, having been sent there
from Windsor by George II.  It is a large square folio, measuring 1 foot
7 inches by I foot 2 inches, and has 287 pages, bound in leather, with a
great deal of gilding on the sides; the date on the title-page is 1635.

The Concordance described on pp. 36-47, and from which the extracts were
taken, has the same date on the title-page, and the words "done at Little
Gidding" added also.  It is much smaller than the Royal copy, with less
than half the number of pages.  Its history is not quite so clear, but on
the inside of the cover appear the arms of Sir R. Cotton, who commenced
the library given by his grandson to the nation.  The Cottons were near
neighbours of the Ferrars, and nothing is more likely than that a lover
of books should have procured one of the earliest of the works which were
rapidly becoming famous.  From the Cottons it passed to the family of
Bowdlers, one of whom married a daughter of the last baronet; and the
grandson of this Mr. Bowdler left the book to the father of the writer of
this sketch, now living in Dorchester, who still makes use of the book in
the religious instruction of his children.

The next volume made was a Harmony of the Kings and Chronicles, the idea
being originated by Charles himself.  He is reported to have asked for it
at the very time he received his first Harmony, saying, "I would gladly
have these skilful persons to make me another book that might be so
ordered, that I might read these stories of Kings and Chronicles, so
interwoven by them, as if one pen had written the whole book, and to make
it a complete history; yet so ordering the matter that I may also read
them severally and apart."

This was faithfully carried out.  The date on the title-page is 1637, and
the book is now at the British Museum.  It is bound in leather, curiously
gilt, rather smaller than the first volume, and without any
illustrations; but a great deal of care was taken in its compilation,
especially in the construction of three tables relating to the contents
and to the various passages related in the Books of Kings and Chronicles
"severally or jointly."

A third volume was also sent to the British Museum by George II., as
being a Little Gidding work; but it is not, strictly speaking, a
Concordance, being in many ways different to all the other Gidding works.

It contains merely the Acts of the Apostles and the Revelations of St.
John.  The title-page is very fully and curiously decorated; there is no
date, and the form of title which occurs with very little alteration in
every other specimen is also absent.

As the King took so much interest in these works, and valued them so
highly, it followed as a very natural result that the young Princes
should demand similar volumes for themselves; though it is perhaps
doubtful if they would have appreciated a Concordance without any

Prince Charles asked the King to give him the first Harmony, but was met
with the reply "that he might not part with it, as he used it daily."  A
request was therefore sent to Gidding that a Harmony might be prepared
for the Prince, and Mr. Ferrar being dead, the Miss Colletts and their
cousin, Nicholas Ferrar (junior), decided to complete a Concordance
similar to the first, but in four languages, English, Latin, French, and
Italian.  The book was ready and taken to London by young Ferrar just
before Easter, 1640, which date is affixed to the title-page.  It was
first submitted for the King's approval, and, being greatly admired, was
then taken to Prince Charles at Richmond, who was intensely delighted
with his new acquisition.  It is, indeed, a splendid volume, containing
over 200 pages, bound in green velvet, with designs of _fleurs de lis_
and sprigs of oak stamped in gold.  The book measured 2 feet by 1 foot 5
inches, and has "a store of rare pictures to delight the eye."  The four
languages are arranged in four parallel columns in each page.

It is now in Lord Normanton's library at Somerley.  The name by which it
is commonly known is "Monotessaron," which word, in Greek characters,
stands at the head of the title-page.

One work led on to another; and no sooner had Prince Charles become the
happy owner of an illustrated Harmony, than the young Duke of York, who
was with his brother at Richmond, must needs want one for himself.
Nicholas Ferrar assured him that he should have one "with all good
speed."  "But how long will that be?" said the Prince.  "I pray you tell
the gentlewomen at Gidding I will heartily thank them if they will
dispatch it."

And, in accordance with the promise, another work was no doubt taken in
hand; but young Ferrar did not live to see it completed, dying (as he
did) at the early age of 21, within a very few weeks of his visit to
Richmond, and it is almost certain that the Duke of York never had it
given to him.  But the Marquis of Salisbury has at Hatfield a Harmony of
the Four Gospels, there being no record of the person for whom it was
made.  Now the appearance of the binding and the evidence of considerable
care being taken in its preparation would lead to the conclusion that it
was originally intended for a member of the Royal family.  It is bound in
purple velvet, sprigs of oak and _fleurs de lis_ being prominent in the
decoration of the outside.  There is no date on the title-page, and the
earliest authority as to the owner is the book-plate of "the Right Hon
James Cecill, 1704."  In all essential points it is identical with the
copy made for Charles I., and may be considered as the book intended for
the Duke of York.

The King and his suite visited Gidding in the year 1642, and while there
was shown another splendid Concordance, which he had heard was being made
for Prince Charles' use, but which was not quite ready for presentation
at the time.  If the conjecture is correct (and there seems very little
doubt that it is so), that this is the volume now in the possession of
Captain Gaussen, of Brookmans Park--near Hatfield, it is no wonder that
several years were occupied in its completion.  One of the King's
attendants remarked at the time, it was the "gallantest greatest book in
the world," adding, "I never saw such paper before.  I believe there is
no book of this largeness to be seen in Christendom," and as the Royal
party were at this time making a somewhat hasty journey northwards on
account of the disorders prevalent in the country, the book would have
been a very unsuitable addition to their baggage.  The writer can vouch
for the fact that it is quite as much as a man can do to carry it
comfortably across a room.  It is magnificently bound in purple velvet,
with the usual gilt stamping, chiefly in patterns made of small crowns.
The measurements are 2 feet 5 inches by 1 foot 8 inches, and there are
nearly 450 pages of the thickest paper, besides which every page is
profusely illustrated by the pasting on of engravings, in the same manner
as the other Gidding works.

The contents of this volume are, however, different to any yet mentioned.
The first part deals with "the whole law of God as it is delivered in the
five Books of Moses" methodically distributed into three great
classes--moral, ceremonial, and political--and each of these again
subdivided into several heads, etc.  There follows an "harmonical
parallel between the types of the Old Testament and the Four Evangelists'
relations of our Lord and Saviour;" also a "discourse of the estate of
the Jews," by Dr. Jackson, "The destruction of Jerusalem," and long
extracts from a work entitled "Moses unveiled," besides other matter.

The history of this book is very obscure.  The account from which the
above is taken concludes with these words, "This book hath been preserved
at Gidding, and attends the happy hour to be delivered into the right
owner's hands."  This was probably written about 1653.  The next piece of
evidence is a note made in the book itself, that the Rev. J. Bourdillon
bought it in the year 1776, but did not then know who had compiled it.
There is then another break in its history, until the beginning of the
nineteenth century, when it was found walled up in a cupboard at the
house now belonging to Captain Gaussen.  But within the last few years
the "gallant book" has had another interesting and dangerous experience,
as its home was burnt to the ground.  The Concordance was, however,
rescued from an untimely fate.

A somewhat similar volume, but much smaller, is to be seen in the library
of St. John's College, Oxford.  It is dated 1640, and contains only the
"Five Books of Moses," treated in the same manner as that last described.
There is good reason for saying that it was made for the Archbishop of
Canterbury (Laud), and sent by him to Oxford.  It is illustrated
throughout, and is handsomely bound in purple velvet.

The late Bishop of Bath and Wells, Lord Arthur Hervey, had another
specimen of Gidding handywork.  It is one of the smaller volumes,
containing only 66 pages, bound in leather, and with the usual style of
engravings.  It is a Harmony of the Four Gospels, and the different
names, or book-plates, of the various owners show that it has been in the
Hervey family from the first.  The last line of the title page is as
follows: "Done at Little Gidding, A.D. 1640, by Virginia Ferrar, age 12."
It would be interesting to know how much was actually "done" by this
young lady.  She was daughter of John Ferrar, and sister of Nicholas
Ferrar, junior, and was given her name "out of affection to the
remembrance of the plantation of Virginia, and that they might daily have
the memorial of it, as not to cease praying for the prosperity of it, and
that looking upon her they might think upon both at once."  This book is
now in the possession of Lord Bristol, at Ickworth, Bury St. Edmunds.

Mention has now been made of nine Concordances; and of the two that still
remain to be noticed there is this interesting fact to be stated--that in
all probability they were originally made for members of the family, and
that until a few years ago they belonged to their descendants, who, for
this very reason, regarded them with special affection.  They are both
Harmonies of the Four Gospels; one, dated 1640, is a small work, and
belonged to Miss Heming, of Hillingdon, a descendant of a Mr. Mapletoft,
who married one of the Miss Colletts, it is now in the possession of
Colonel Garrat, Bishop's Court, Exeter.  The other is a somewhat larger
book, now in the British Museum, recently in the possession of a Mr.
Mapletoft Davis, living in New South Wales, who also had the four volumes
of the "Exercises of the Little Academy" previously described; all these
works, and some other relics of the Ferrars, having passed on through
different branches of the family to the late owner.  An inscription in
this Concordance is worthy of reproduction here; it runs as follows:
"This was the book of my honoured aunt, Mrs. Mary Collet, compiled at
Little Gidding by the direction of her uncle, Mr. N. Ferrar, and bound, I
believe, by herself.  It was given to me by my good and dear cousin, Mrs.
Elizabeth Kestian.  I give it to my son, and if he dies without issue, to
my daughter Eliz. Gastrell, and I desire it may be preserved in my family
as long as may be.  There were never above two more of the form that I
ever heard of--one was presented to Charles the First . . . the other to
King Charles II., 1660, by John Ferrar, who is now owner of Little
Gidding.--John Mapletoft, Jan., 1715."

It is certainly a curious fact that this Dr. Mapletoft should have
thought that there were only three Concordances made; and the same
mistaken idea was entertained by the owner of Colonel Garratt's copy,
words almost identical being written in that work by another Dr.
Mapletoft in the year 1764.  The John Ferrar referred to as giving the
Concordance to Charles II. must have been the son of John Ferrar, brother
of Nicholas; so it is evident that the estates of Gidding were enjoyed by
the family for many years after their return from the flight caused by
the Parliamentary soldiers.

It is not known how long the business of making Concordances was
continued at Gidding.  There is a letter from John Ferrar printed, in
which occurs a remark that perhaps if "noble or learned personages knew
of them, they would desire to have some made for their own use, or for
some library, as rarities in their kind."  He also says that this work,
"which costs much time and labour, might be an answer to the libel that
no work was done at Gidding, but all the time spent in contemplation, as
it would make the world believe."  There is also a request to a Dr.
Basire for two copies each of various editions and translations of the
New Testament in many different languages, so it is certain that the work
was to be carried on and developed as far as possible; and in all
probability it only ceased when the "handy workwomen" went away from
their united home to marry, and devote themselves to more serious, and
perhaps less pleasant, occupations.

In the library of Magdalen College, Cambridge, may be seen all the
materials for a Concordance similar to that at St. John's, Oxford, viz.
"The Five Books of Moses."  There are two big bundles of folio sheets,
designed and plotted out for engravings and letterpress; but no progress
had been made with the work, except (curiously enough) the title-page,
which was completed, and finishes with the words, "Done at Little
Gidding, A.D. 1641."

This method of bookmaking is not exactly in accordance with modern ideas,
but it may throw a little light on the fact that although we know the
King's Concordance took a whole year to complete, there are no less than
four volumes dated 1640, and one of these is the great Harmony in four
languages.  Until this unfinished Concordance was brought to light, it
was always difficult to explain why four works were dated the same year.

Before we leave this subject, a few words must be said on some wonderful
productions of the younger Nicholas Ferrar, which are reported to have
been shown to the King when "the Monotessaron" was presented to Prince
Charles; but they were afterwards taken back to Gidding.

There was, first, "The Gospel according to the holy Evangelists in eight
languages, viz. Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, High Dutch, Saxon,
and Welsh, interpreted with Latin or English, word for word, and at one
view to be seen and read."

Second: "The New Testament in twenty-four languages," each language
written in its proper characters;

Third: "The Gospel of St. John in as many languages as there are chapters
(_i.e._ each chapter in a different language), and interpreted word for
word into Latin or English."

These were not printed books, but all in the handwriting of young Ferrar,
who at the early age of twenty-one had apparently mastered twenty-four

This brief sketch must now be brought to a close, with the hope that it
may prove interesting to some who are unable to peruse the longer
narratives on the same subject, and which are, indeed, very scarce at the
present time.  Should the writer's hopes be fulfilled, it will surely be
to them, as it is to him, a matter of great satisfaction that at least a
part of the work carried on at Little Gidding should have been of such a
permanent nature that, after 250 years, the result can still be seen and
enjoyed almost in its original freshness, and can, indeed, be actually
used for its original purpose.

The workmanship of the Concordances was so excellent in every detail,
even to the paste used for their construction, that the volumes may well
last for another period of 250 years.  And as we turn over their pages
and admire the method, the neatness, and the skilful design therein
exhibited, our thoughts are carried back to the days and the scenes of
their creation, and we picture to ourselves more vividly the happy and
religious family which day by day met in the great Concordance room, the
well-ordered procession wending its way to the little church at their
gate, the meals in the great hall, enlivened only by the "historical
anecdote, easy and delightful," the daily repetition of David's Psalms,
and the frequent singing to the organ, which was tuned so low as to be a
disturbance to no one, and the words of the hymn which was frequently
sung every day--

    "So angels sing, and so sing we,
    To God on high all glory be,
    Let Him on earth His peace bestow,
    And unto men His favour show."

But though our fancy naturally dwells on the younger and more active
members, we must by no means forget the mother of the family, the source
of all the virtues exhibited in her children and grandchildren.

Living to the age of seventy-nine, Mrs. Ferrar "at her dying day had no
infirmity and scarce any sign of old age upon her."  "There were few
women, as all that knew her can testify, that exceeded her in comeliness
of body and excellent beauty; of fair, modest, and sober deportment,
grave in her looks, humble in her carriage towards all people,
superlative in discretion; of few words but when she spoke (as occasion
offered itself) no woman passed her in eloquence, in judgement, and
wisdom.  Great was her devotion to God, and her love to God's word,
constant her reading of the Scriptures, and her singing of the Psalms,
when she sat at work with her children and maids about her."

An inscription in the great parlour, written by her in the last year of
her life, may well be given here as a fitting conclusion to this
imperfect narrative:--

                               I. H. S.

He who by reproof of             And            He who, by a cheerful
our errors, and                                 participation and
remonstrance of that                            approbation of that which
which is more perfect                           is good, confirms us in
seeks to make us                                the same is welcome as a
better, is welcome as                           Christian Friend.
an Angel of God.
He who any ways goes             And            He who faults us in
about to disturb us                             absence, for that which
in that which is and                            in presence he made show
ought to be amongst                             to approve of, doth by a
Christians (tho' it                             double guilt of flattery
be not usual in the                             and slander, violate the
world) is a burden                              bands both of friendship
whilst he stays, and                            and charity.
shall bear his
judgement, whosoever
he be.
                           Mary Ferrar, Widow,
                          Mother of this family,
                     and aged about fourscore years,
           who bids adieu to all fears and hopes of this world
                      and only desires to serve God,
                            set up this Table.



{1}  The details of the life at Little Gidding contained in the following
pages are derived chiefly from "Two lives of Nicholas Ferrar, by his
brother John, and by Dr. Jebb," Baker's MSS., edited by Dr. Mayor, of
Cambridge, and from "Life of Nicholas Ferrar, by Dr. Turner," Bishop of
Ely.  Both these works are now out of print.  The accounts of the various
Harmonies or Concordances are derived entirely from personal examination
of the separate volumes, or from direct communication with their owners.

{20}  Three of these volumes are now in the British Museum.

{35}  The most accurate accounts are those in "Nicholas Ferrar," edited
by Canon Carter, published 1892, and in a paper by the present Author,
prepared for the Society of Antiquaries, and printed in _Archaeologia_
for 1888.  Even these accounts are not quite accurate at the present
time, some of the volumes having changed hands in the last few years.--J.
E. A.

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