A 300-year-old book is among the many donations received for the Friends of Horowhenua Libraries' used book sale to be held next week.
This book sale always contains many treasures but the sale starting on Monday, July 19 features something very special: an early edition of a book that has been reprinted again and again over the centuries that followed its first publication in 1709.
"We have a book that was published in 1709. This is over 300 years old. How many of us have handled a book that old let alone had the opportunity to buy it," said Friends chairwoman Margaret Clarke.
The book is Expository Notes, With Practical Observations, on the New Testament by William Burkitt. It is the fourth edition of the book and was printed in London.
Williams Burkitt was considered a reformed Anglican churchman.
His early training was under John Goffe, an alumnus of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, at Bildeston, Suffolk, and then he attended the grammar school of Stowmarket and the Perse School, Cambridge, under George Griffiths. He dated his religious conversion from an attack of smallpox, while at the latter school, according to a biography that can be found online in Wikipedia.
On January 28, 1665 he was admitted as a sizar at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, his tutor being William Gibbs. In 1666, when Cambridge was visited with the plague, he was one of the few students who remained in residence. He graduated BA in 1668, MA in 1672.
He became chaplain at Bildeston Hall, and by Bishop Reynolds in 1671 or 1672. He was settled at Milden, Suffolk, first as curate in charge, afterwards as rector. In December 1692, he was preferred to the vicarage and lectureship of Dedham, Essex, where he ended his days.
He died on Sunday, October 24, 1703.
The book was printed at the request of Thomas Parkhurst, his brother-in-law, and was published posthumously and reprinted many times, including in 2018, and even abridged several times.
Famous 19th-century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon regarded Burkitt's commentary as a "goodly volume", and recommended "attentive perusal" of it, according to the Wikipedia article.
"The book is complete, and most likely in its original binding. While the page edges are tatty, the pages themselves are remarkably clean and clear given they were printed 312 years ago," said Margaret.
"We can't imagine where this book has been, what it's experienced, and how it came to end up in New Zealand," said Margaret, "but we are thrilled to be able to set it on the next step of its journey by offering it in the book sale."
A little of the book's story is told through owners' inscriptions, though. Someone named Simon Crook purchased it and resold it in a secondhand book sale to Joseph Holbrook in 1799.
The book was already 90 years old by then. It appears he paid the princely sum of 13 shillings and sixpence. The only other name of an owner is Woongs.
The book was given to Margaret's husband, Chris Clarke, several years ago and he has generously donated it to the sale.
While it needs some restoration, it is a very rare book so the Friends are asking $100 or near offer for it.
There are a few other interesting and unusual books in this sale such as a boxed limited edition The Life and Art of William Strutt, a huge doorstop of a book called The Complete Works of Michelangelo; and a rare and quirky The Soviet Arts Poster 1917-1987.
The Annual Winter Used Book Sale has around 10,000 books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and puzzles for sale. Most items are only $1 or less.
The sale is at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō library in Levin and runs from Monday, July 19 to Friday, July 23 J at 1pm. All proceeds go to libraries in Levin, Shannon and Foxton.
Eftpos is available. Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags.