MS 254: John Pointer, Additions to Musæum Pointerianum, Vol. 4.

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 473 MS254
  • Dates of Creation
      England, 18th c. (ca. 1730-1731?)
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English Latin Spanish French Welsh
  • Physical Description
      Chiefly paper mounted on paper, but with some vellum inserts. Dimensions of inserted items vary but those leaves integral to the volume are ca. 369 x 245 mm. Text area: varies considerably. Fol. i + 60 + i leaves with several loose inserts. (Later pencil foliation throughout on top right of rectos dated 1994 on fol. xxivr: i + 42 + ii-xxiv leaves (fols 39-42 being loose inserts). Also an integral pagination on rectos only beginning on fol. 1r and ending on iir: 46 pages). Binding: 18th c? strengthened paper, part covered with marbled paper. Black ink inscription on front cover “Additions of Curiosities to Col: IIIIth” in Pointer’s hand. Binding dimensions: 372 x 248 mm.

Scope and Content

Album forming additions to MS 253, a miscellaneous collection of autographical, linguistic and palaeographic curiosities formed by the antiquary John Pointer (1668-1754), and kept with it. The printed items, and the Gujarati manuscript, have been catalogued more fully elsewhere, the former on the Oxford University on-line catalogue (SOLO), and the latter in Savage-Smith's Descriptive Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts at St John's College, Oxford (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Fols 1-42: Pointer, John, Additions to Musæum Pointerianum, Vol. 4. (from front cover). Captions in English, but items often in other languages. Single 18th c. hand in black ink (Pointer's own).

1) Fol. 1: Printed declaration by Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector, A declaration of His Highnes with the advice of the Council, in order to the securing the peace of this Commonwealth . 1655. Wing (2nd ed.), C7075; ESTC, R225689. For full details see SOLO. [fol. 2r blank].

2) Fol. 2v: Pasted vellum slip (56 x 302 mm) in 17th c. mixed hand, with Pointer's caption: "An English writ in Oliver Cromwells time". Writ in the name of the Protector ordering the Sheriff of Oxford to attach Calvert Wright of Nuneham Courtenay and bring him before the Upper Bench at Westminster. Dated July 4th, 1655.

3) Fol. 3r: Latin indenture on vellum with 2 serrated edges (166 x 240 mm, now loose). 13th c? Coxe supplement lists this as a "tripartite indenture between James de Haurell on the one part and Roger Duke, Thomas Bukerell and John fitz Vitalis on the other, concerning the sale of premises in the parish of St Michael Queenhythe, London, 1224-5". Pointer's caption, also on verso, "An Old Leafe bearing Date of ye 9th year of K. Hen. 3d."

4) Fol. 3v: Pasted slip (147 x 187 mm) in 17th c. hand. A warrant allowing John Pointer to journey from London to Huntingdon, dated October 9th 1643. Signed by "R. Mainwaring[?]", perhaps Randall Mainwaring (1588-1652) or Robert Mainwaring (1607-1652), both Parliamentarian activists and militia officers operating in London in 1643. Pointer's caption: "A Pass granted in time of the Civil Wars."

5) Fol. 4r: Pasted slip (112 x 139 mm) in 17th c. hand. Gives the password for the night of February 3rd 1660, which is "Derby". Signed by "[J?] Buckering." Pointer's caption: "The Watch-word for such a night."

6) Fol. 4v: A pasted slip (142 x 184 mm) in a 17th c. secretary hand. English. Coxe supplement: "A bond in £35 from Ralph Starkey of London,merchant, to William Hancocke of Coventry, mercer." Dated November 17th, 1614. Pointer's caption: "An Old Bond."

7) Fol. 5r: Printed brief, regarding charity for those affected by a fire at Water Stratford in Buckinghamshire in 1654, collected in the parish church at Aylesbury. See SOLO. Pointer's caption: "An Old Brief. Collected in the Parish-Church of Ailesbury, Bucks in ye year 1654, 36 s." [fol. 5v blank.]

8) Fol. 6r: A tipped in letter (208 x 198 mm) in a 17th c. mixed hand. English. Dated "from my Castle at Warwick this 30. August. 1642", Pointer's caption reading: "An Order by ye Lord Brooke [i.e. Sir Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke (1607-1643), Parliamentarian Officer] Governor & Proprietor of Warwick Castle, to Clement Fisher & Wm. Westly Esqrs for raising some Dragoons to protect the Country against the Insolencies of some Soldiers that plundered ye Country."

9) Fol. 6v: Tipped in letter (290 x 193 mm) English, but with some sections in a numerical code. Dated "Bifore Bristoll 5th Sept. 164[5?]". From Colonel John Massie regarding military intelligence and the Parliamentarian siege of Bristol, then under the control of Prince Rupert. Pointer's caption: "A Private way of writing by Figures instead of Words."

10) Fol. 7r: Pasted vellum? slip (60 x 179 mm). Latin. 16th c. clerical? hand in black & red ink. Coxe supplement describes as "Letters of confraternity from the convent of Carmelite friars at Northampton to William Hoswymer and Catherine his wife, 1506."

11) Fols 7v-8r: Fol. 7v has a printed sheet (ESTC R220213, Wing 2nd ed. F236) tipped to it, a pass filled out to permit passage to Edward Westley, dated 24th June 1646, and signed by Thomas Fairfax (1612-1671, Parliamentarian commander). See SOLO. With Pointer's caption on 8r: " A Pass granted to Mr Edw. Westly B.D. by Genal. Fairfax." [fol. 8v blank].

12) Fol. 9r: Tipped in letter (290 x 203 mm) English. 17th c. hand in black ink. Dated "Sarum, June 30. 1683". From Seth Ward (1617-1689) as Bishop of Salisbury to Rev. Nathaniel Shute, Rector of Great Cheverel, Wiltshire, requesting him to preach the sermon at the Bishop's visitation of the Deaneries of Potterne and Avebury at Devizes on 14th September 1683. Address and remains of seal on verso.

13) Fols 9v: Pasted slip (88 x 116mm). Printed fragment of bookseller's catalogue? See SOLO. With a red wax seal affixed. Pointer's caption: "The Impression of a Silver Seal Ring found at ye Abbey of Abingdon."

14) Fol. 10r: Printed sheet, folded. "Proposals for publishing by subscription, twenty four perspective views, of the present state of the most noted abbies, religious foundations, castles &c: in the counties of Worcester, Stafford, Hereford. and Salop." 1731. See SOLO.

15) Fol. 10v: 3 circular pocket-almanacs pasted in. The first (114 x 105 mm) is hand drawn and comprises a moving volvelle pinned in place, and a cutaway window showing the month June [17?]30. The other two are either hand-drawn, or possibly engraved, and comprise circular tables (104 x 89 mm & 98 x 79 mm respectively). Pointer's caption: "A Monthly Pocket-Almanac, shewing ye Day of the Month every day of ye Week, It shou'd be engraven on a Plate."

16) Fol. 11r: Sheet (311 x 383 mm folded to fit volume). A table of distances "between all the cities & most of the shire-towns in England" with instructions on how to use it, all in Pointer's hand. Dated 1712.

17) Fol. 11v: Printed sheet, folded: "Almanac, ò, Kalendario del año del Señor de 1710, para toda Castilla, y Real Chancilleria de Valladolid, en que ay vinea general de Carceles todos los Sabados del año." See SOLO. Mounted on sheets from an English Newspaper bearing adverts and general news items. Pointer's caption: "An Italian Almanac."

18) Fol. 12r: Printed sheet, folded: "Almanach pour l'an de grace de Notre Seigneur 1720" See SOLO. Pointer's caption: "A French Almanac." [fol. 12v blank].

19) Fol. 13r: Tipped in sheet (306 x 196 mm). A set of notes in Pointer's hand entitled "An acct. Of the Grecian & Roman Statues & curious Pieces of Antiquity, in the Rt. Hon. Ld [Lempster?] Earl of Pomfret's [i.e. William Fermor, Baron Leominster, 1648-1711, art connoisseur] Gardens near Towcester in Northampsh. [i.e. Easton Neston]."

20) Fol. 13v: Circular paper slip pasted in (diameter 160 mm), with Pointer's caption: "The size of a Pewter Trencher Plate in use in Q. Eliz. Days." Also a pasted slip (65 x 150 mm) with "A piece of the Tape-worm" affixed.

21) Fol. 14r: Printed sheet, folded. "A catalogue of the antiquities of the late ingenious Mr. John Kemp, F.R.S. consisting of two of the finest mummies (esteem'd so by the curious) ... with a valuable collection of books of antiquities: will be sold by auction, at the Phenix Tavern, next door to his museum, the lower end of the Hay-Market, and the corner of Pall-Mal [sic], St. James's; on Thursday the 23d of March. ... .." 1720-1. ESTC, T163697. See SOLO.

22) Fol. 14v: Pasted slip (90 x 239 mm). Pointer's drawing of an "Irish Knife us'd at the Massacre in 1642."

23) Fol. 15r: Pasted slip (194 x 306 mm). Pointer's drawing of "A Dagger or Ponyard found in the Rev. Mr Hastings Grounds at Daylsford in Glo'stershire. Given to Sr Hans Sloan of Gresham College, London in 1737." [fol. 15v blank].

24) Fol. 16r: Pasted slip (115 x 162 mm) with a "Penis of a Snail, 5 inches long. Part of it broken off" affixed.

25) Fol. 16v: Tipped in letter (20 x 297 mm folded). English? 17th c. hand in black ink. Pointer's caption: "This Letter was sent by a young Lady that is both Deaf & Dumb, in which there is scarce any-thing intelligible only it be the Superscription, wch is directed to Mr James Day Taylor in Chipping Norton."

26) Fol. 17r: Printed sheet. "Britannia Romana, or, A map of the old Roman roads & camps in Britain". See SOLO. With some country boundaries picked out in red ink?

27) Fol. 17v: Tipped in sheet (260 x 215 mm). Blank. Pointer's caption: "Paper made of the Bark of Trees."

28) Fol. 18r: Tipped in sheet (148 x 158 mm). Blank. Pointer's caption: "Paper made of ye Bark of Trees." Two loose inserts of the same (218 x 180 mm & 155 x 141 mm respectively).

29) Fol. 18v: Pasted slip (98 x 199 mm). English. 18th? c. hand. Note to another lady requesting the preparation of "two Doses of Physick for Molly", dated May 24th and signed by "M. Cope". Pointer's caption: "The Hand-writing of Sr Jonathan Cope's Lady of Bruerne [possibly Mary, nee Jenkinson, 1690-1755, wife of Sir Jonathan Cope, 1st Baronet, ca. 1691-1765] in Oxfordshire."

30) Fol. 19r: 4 pasted autograph slips taken from letters? with the single caption, "The Hand-writing of Thomas Whitmore Esq. Member of Parliament for Bridgnorth in Shropshire" at the head of the page, but with different names and hands on each. 1. (43 x 116 mm) Thomas Whitmore. 2. (59 x 76 mm) Signed "Litchfield." 3. (28 x 69 mm) Thomas Ashby. 4. (40 x 62 mm) Thomas Sebright. [fol. 19v blank].

31) Fol. 20r: Inserted slip (198 x 317 mm). Pointer's drawing of a "Knife or Ponyard (together with the scabbard) with which the Duke of Buckingham [i.e. George Villiers, 1592-1628, Royal favourite] was stab'd by Lieut. J. Felton [d. 1628, his assassin] ... Given me by Richard Wykeham, Esq." [fol. 20v blank].

32) Fol. 21r: Tipped in letter (314 x 400 mm folded). English. 17th c. hand in black ink. Dated Lyme Regis, June 30th [1685?], and signed John pole and Thomas Pratt. Addressed to Colonel Hollier requesting news on the progress of the Monmouth Rebellion. With remains of red wax seal.

33) Fol. 21v: Tipped in note (226 x 182 mm). English 17th/18th c. hand in black ink. "The Humble petition of John [Hunsdon?]" to the Mayor, Alderman, Assistance and Bailiffs of the City of Oxford seeking charity to pursue business in London.

34) Fol. 22r: Tipped in slip (204 x 163 mm), addressed to Pointer in Chipping Norton, possibly part of a letter, from Robert Clavering (1675/5-1747) as Bishop of Peterborough, with red wax armorial seal affixed.

35) Fols 22v-23r: A selection of autographs on separate slips. Fol. 22v. 1.) A label (146 x 28 mm) in Pointer's hand "The Hand-writing of Velters Cornewall [fl. 1730-1755] Esq. Member of Parliament for Hereford", above another slip (72 x 27 mm) with Cornewall's autograph. 2.) Slip (75 x 26 mm) bearing the autograph of [Hope?] Hopton (i.e. Sir James Hope of Hopetoun? 1614-1661), with "one of ye 16 Scotch Peers" written alongside in pencil, possibly by Pointer. 3.) Slip (66 x 38 mm) with the signature "Macclesfield". 4.) Slip (94 x 31 mm) with the signature "Cha. Clarke". 5.) Slip (60 x 22 mm) with the signature "P.H. Warburton". 6.) Slip (80 x 36 mm) with the signature "[J?] Wentworth". Fol. 23r. 1.) Slip (79 x 20 mm) with the signature "Frank Cotes". 2.) Slip (30 x 41 mm) bearing a red wax armorial seal, with the pencil legend "Counsellor Whites arms." [fol. 23v blank].

36) Fol. 24: Tipped in leaf from a 14th/15th c? manuscript. Opening leaf, or opening to a division, of a prayer book? Not described in Hanna. Vellum. Latin. Overall 155 x 105 mm, in double columns. Each column 110 x 30 mm, with 10mm between columns, in 24 lines to the column. Bounded and ruled in red ink. In a gothic textura script in black ink with a heading in red. Illuminated initials: the first a four line gilt letter on blue background; subsequent initials 2 line gilt letters with alternating blue and red backgrounds; also numerous 1 line gilt and decorated initials. Gilt and illuminated border to recto. Some staining which may indicate that this was previously used as a pastedown.

37) Fols 25-35: A 17th? c. Gujarati manuscript including a map of the Gulf of Khambhat, with a legend in Pointer's hand describing it as "A Chinese MS." Paper. Described in full in Savage-Smith's Descriptive catalogue of oriental manuscripts at St John's College, Oxford , entry no. 41, pp. 121-127.

38) Fol. [35a, or possibly forming a bifolium with item 36]: Tipped in leaf from a 14th/15th c? manuscript. Vellum. Latin. Probably a slightly trimmed (152 x 85 mm) leaf relating to item 36, as similar hand, layout, decoration and staining. Not described in Hanna. Vellum. Latin.

39) Fol. 36: Tipped in charter. Not described in Hanna. 13th c? Grant of land by Thomas, Earl of Warwick (1208-1242) to Simon fitz Simon. Vellum. Latin. 145 x 188 mm. Text area: 117 x 183 mm. In long lines, in a legal hand?, with 17 lines to the page.

40) Fol. 37: Tipped in ecclesiastical letter, dated 25th March 1679, and signed by Peter Mews (1609-1706) as Bishop of Bath & Wells, conferring the office of Sub-dean of Wells to William Levinz (1625-1698, President of St John's College, Oxford). Vellum. Latin. 218 x 353 mm. Text area: 155 x 305 mm. In long lines in a 17th c. cursive mixed hand. Pointer's caption on verso: "This judgment was sign'd by Bp Mews."

41) Fols 38-39: 2 fragments of an 18th c? Welsh Bible. Now in protective pouch. With a fragile plastic or metallic sheet between them [Rubbish?] See SOLO.

42) Fols 40-41: 2 red wax seals on separate loose slips. One shows the front of St Peter's, the other a portrait of Pope Benedict 13th (so dating between 1724-1730).

43) Fol. 42: A minute silhouette of birds and flowers cut in red paper (12 x 30 mm) and affixed to a loose slip (98 x 160 mm) with Pointer's caption, "Birds & flowers cut in Paper. Inest sua gratia Parvis." [Fols ii-xxiiir blank].

44) Fols xxiiiv-xxivr: 'Index'. A sequential listing of most of the chief items in Pointer's hand. [Fol. xivv blank].

Additional item:
A typescript letter, dated 5th November 1925, to the President of St John's and signed by R.T. Gunther, describing the importance of the Pointer natural history collection, its current state and giving quotes for re-housing in a cabinet. 3 sheets. Paper. 225 x 175 mm. Kept separately.

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Other Finding Aids

This catalogue entry derives from Stewart Tiley's unpublished descriptive catalogue of the post-1500 western manuscripts at St John's College, Oxford (2018). This entry was uploaded to ArchivesHub in May 2023 as part of the St John's College Library digitization project. To learn more about the project and to find digital resources, please visit the Digital Library

Custodial History

1. Pencil shelfmark inside front cover.


Costin, W. C., 1958. The history of St John's College, Oxford, 1598-1860 . Oxford University Press, p. 188.
Gunther, R. T., 1925. Early science in Oxford . Oxford, For the subscribers. Vol. 3.
Savage Smith, Emilie, 2005. Descriptive catalogue of oriental manuscripts at St John's College, Oxford. Oxford University Press . Entry no. 41, pp. 121-127.
Sheikh, Samira, 2009. 'A Gujarati map and pilot book of the Indian Ocean, c. 1750.' Imago Mundi , vol. 61, pt 1, pp. 67-83.

Geographical Names