Davy's Armory of Suffolkand Gipps' Antiquitates Suffolcienses

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 139
  • Dates of Creation
      c 1827 [transcript]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      Volumes 1-2 241 x 190 mm, Volumes 3-4 223 x 170 mm. 4 volumes (229 folios, 193 folios, 110 folios, 126 folios);

Scope and Content

This composite manuscript is based on a manuscript copy made in 1812 from the Antiquitates Suffolciensis manuscript of Sir Richard Gipps. There are ninety leaves of this manuscript in each of the four volumes and these have been interleaved with additional folios of notes, sketches and pedigrees, made by George Bitton Jermyn and taken from various sources, including the 'Leman MS' and all the arms recorded in Davy's list of arms.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Elisha Davy (1769-1851) was a Suffolk antiquarian. Educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, he developed an interest in the local history of Suffolk and began collecting manuscripts with a friend and fellow Suffolk antiquarian, Henry Jermyn. Jermyn died in 1820, and on Davy's advice his Suffolk manuscripts were bought by Herbert Gurney and presented to the British Museum in 1830. Davy himself continued to add to his collection up to his death, but had long since abandoned the idea of publication. He does not appear to have been a member of any academic or antiquarian society, and was mainly an author of articles for periodicals such as the Gentleman's Magazine and the Topographer and Genealogist. He also served as a magistrate and receiver-general of the Suffolk earlier in his life. He died unmarried and intestate at Ufford, near Woodbridge, in Suffolk in August 1851, at the age of eighty-two.

Source: J.M. Blatchly, 'Davy, David Elisha (1769-1851)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/7310.

Sir Richard Gipps (1659-1708) was a London lawyer and Suffolk antiquarian. He joined Gray's Inn as a law student in 1667 and was made master of the revels there in November 1682, with a knighthood by Charles II soon following. He later retired to his family estates in Suffolk and took to studying the local history. He wrote a large number of notes upon the subject, of which the originals are at the British Library and the Bodleian Library.

Source: J.M. Blatchly, 'Gipps, Sir Richard (bap. 1659, d. 1708)'; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/10767.

Thomas Leman (1751-1826) was an antiquary from Norfolk. He corresponded extensively with other antiquaries, mainly about British prehistory and the Roman period, and in 1788 was elected FSA. Leman's reputation as a scholar greatly impressed contemporaries, and contributions were sought by, or sometimes offered by him to, writers of county histories. He wrote short chapters or supplied materials for the histories of Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Essex, and co. Durham which appeared in his lifetime. Leman died at his house in the Royal Crescent, Bath, on 17 March 1826.

Source: Gordon Goodwin, 'Leman, Thomas (1751-1826)', rev. A. E. Brown, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/16421.

Reverend George Bitton Jermyn (1789-1857) was an antiquarian with a Suffolk focus, writing voluminous collections for a genealogical history of the county. However, although a Suffolk man by birth and interest, he served as curate in a variety of parishes in Cambridgeshire before dying in 1857 on the island of Maddelena near Sardinia.

Source: Gordon Goodwin, 'Jermyn, George Bitton (1789-1857)', rev. Myfanwy Lloyd, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/14779.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from Poole and Pemberton in August 1916.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography articles on David Elisha Davy, Sir Richard Gipps, Thomas Leman and George Bitton Jermyn.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 139).

Related Material

The JRUL also holds English MS 138, Transcript of Sir Richard Gipps' Antiquitates Suffolcienses (GB 133 Eng MS 138).

Davy's manuscripts relating to the history of Suffolk are held at the British Library, David Elisha Davy Suffolk Collection (GB 058 Add. MSS 19077-19207).

Leman's Suffolk genealogical and heraldic collections are held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (GB 161 MSS top Suffolk c 5-6).

Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds Branch, holds heraldic collections made by George Bitton Jermyn and his wife Catherine (ref.: GB 174 1174). Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch, holds letters from David Elisha Davy to George Bitton Jermyn, 1830-40 (ref.: GB 0173 qS929.2).

Additional Information

The original versions of Gipps' antiquarian manuscript collections and notes can be found at the British Library (GB 058 Harleian MS 4626) and the Bodleian Library, Oxford (GB 161 Tanner MSS).