Richard Lanceter's Theological Manuscripts

Scope and Content

The volume contains manuscripts of theological works by Richard Lanceter, who is described (folio 29) as M.A.: sometimes of Cajus Colledge in Cambridge and Ministr : of Moulton in Norfolk.

(i) folios 1-28v, Galli Cantus, in three parts: 

  • (a) folios 1-6, Galli Cantus seu Præcursor Gallicinii Primus. Containing two Addresses, The one to the King, the other to the Parliament. Together with a Postscript about the affaires of Religion of most high Concernment. By R. Lanceter, Author of Gallicinium now in ye Presse;
  • (b) folios 7-18v, Galli Cantus seu Præcursor Gallicinii Secundus, Conteining The making good of those four dreadfull Proposals laid down in Galli Cantu primo;
  • (c) folios 19-28v, Galli Cantus seu Præcursor Gallicinii Tertius, Tending to the better awakening of secure, dead Sleepers, and also to the fuller satisfaction of ye awakened, about some things objected against, in Galli Cantu Primo et Secundo. And further shewing that the true way of Salvation, consists wholly and alone, in what are therein pointed unto: and in the rejecting of them and abiding still in the present estate, is absolutely the state of Wrath and Damnation. By the Author of ye former, R.L.
(ii) folios 29-198, Gallicinium, the Cock-Crowing or the giving warning of ye day of Christ approaching, in two Parts:
  • Part I (folios 29-55) comprises a Preface (The Shepheard to the Reader, folios 30-30v), at the end of which is the note Here next followes, to be inserted, ye printed part, presumably ye printed part consisted of Sections I and II, for immediately following (folios 31-55) is Section III, named Scotoesus;
  • Part II (folios 57-199) has the title-page Gallicinium the second Part, Phosphorus, and is likewise divided into three Sections, namely: The first Section, Introductive and Philosophicall, contained in Six Positions (folios 57-80v); The Second Section, Discussive Theoligicall [sic] in ten Chapters (folios 81-181v); and The Third Section, Conclusive Theosophicall, Containinge six Conclusions drawne from and grounded uppon ye former Præmises contained in the sections Præcedent (folios 182-198), ending Finis Phosphori Jun: 8th, 1660, and followed (folios 198-99) by verses beginning: Thus far ye work now done dare challenge Hell.
 A note on folio 34v indicates that the whole manuscript was copied from ye Author's Copy.

Galli Cantus... primus and Galli Cantus...secundus were printed in London in 1660, the latter with the incorrect reading primus on the title-page; another copy of the latter, also showing this incorrect reading, is recorded in the Bodleian Catalogue as having been published in 1659. No record of a printed copy of Galli Cantus... tertius or, in spite of our copyist's remarks, Gallicinium, has so far been traced.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Lanceter was born in 1603/4 in Norfolk. He attended Caius College, Cambridge, matriculating in 1625, and was awarded a BA in 1628-9 and an MA in 1632. He was licensed as a schoolmaster at Diss, Norfolk in 1629. Source: Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses.

Thomas Kerslake (1812-1891), bookseller, was born in July 1812 in Exeter. He was educated in Exeter and married Catherine Morgan of Bath. In 1828 he moved to Bristol, and began business as a secondhand bookseller in Barton Alley, with his brother-in-law Samuel Cornish. In 1839 the partnership was dissolved and Kerslake moved to a shop in Bristol. He retired shortly after 1870.

Following his retirement Kerslake devoted himself to antiquarian studies. His main interests were in the hagiology and the Anglo-Saxon period of south-west England. He published a number of articles on these subjects, usually at his own expense, as well as contributing papers to local and national archaeological societies. His writings often contained original theories and complex and sometimes controversial arguments. Kerslake died at Clevedon on 5 January 1891.

Source: J.A. Marchand, 'Kerslake, Thomas (1812-1891)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the bookseller J.E. Cornish in March 1927.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, with reference to:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Thomas Kerslake;
  • J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922-54).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937-1951 (English MS 1157).

Custodial History

Former owners: John Rawdon (folio 6), who also adds the date June 8, 1660 at the foot of the title-page of Galli Cantus...primus and subscribes his initials at the end of that piece; BL 474 (front fly-leaf). i.e. the Bristol Library of Thomas Kerslake; J.E. Cornish, bookseller. Pasted on a front fly-leaf is the printed press-mark Gg.


Geographical Names