Blencowe Families' Association Newsletter Vol. 22 No. 1 February 2007

News from Oxford

My neighbour, Nancy Brown sent me a copy of The Bodleian Library Record (vol. XIX No.1, 2006) that included an interesting reference to Anthony Blencowe, the Provost of Oriel College. The policy of “no lending” persists to this day and if you want to read a book you have to sit in one of the reading rooms!

“The 1610 Statutes firmly reflected Thomas Bodley's opinion that the lending of books led to the 'ruin and destruction' of libraries. The prohibition on lending was vehemently worded, and several times in his letters to his Librarian, Bodley stressed that this was not a matter that was open to negotiation. In July 1605, he wrote: 'The lending of any booke out of the Librarie may be assented to by no meanes; neither is it a mater that the Universitie or Vice Chancelour are to deale in.' He refused again in March 1610, 'For still the like may be alleaged [a precedent] in other cases heerafter, to the abuse of all good order & totall ruine of the Librarie”.

“When the Provost of Oriel, Andrew [Anthony] Blencow, asked for the loan of a book, Bodley again refused to contemplate a breach of the no-borrowing rule, but followed up his refusal by sending from London a book on the same subject, telling James to give it to the Provost, and 'when he hath done with it, I pray yow receave it and place it in the Librarie' – a pragmatic solution to the problem of meeting the reader's needs without breaking the Library's rules.”
Jack Blencowe

Nothing to do with Blencowe affairs but it attracted the attention of national television: Nancy Brown wrote of her friend and near neighbour, “For the past few months I have been involved with Jean Preston's illness and the long aftermath of her death. You have probably seen the media accounts of the 'discovery' of the Fra Angelico pictures. These were two small 15thC paintings hanging in her friend's spare bedroom; they are expected to fetch more than a million pounds when sold at auction!”


Blencowe Families' Association   Vol. 22 No. 1 February 2007
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updated: 21 March 2007