This work had been published in the 1770’s in London. Penned by Thomas Percy and concerning his family.
This edition is of special interest as it was produced by James Catnach of Catnach Press, Alnwick, Northumberland (the seat of the Percy family), Catnach Press has a special position in the history of English printing. The illustrations from wood cuts by Thomas Bewick who would become famous for his beautiful natural history engraving particularly birds. Catnach was to publish a work based on Buffon.
Special provenance … owned by George Skelly September 19th, 1861 who was an expert on Catnach and lived at The Market Place, Alnwick. If you have never been there, then you should it’s a magical place. There is an inscription from Skelly to Charles Hindley dated Alnwick June 9th, 1876. Hindley a prolific author was to write the definitive history of the Catnach Press and separately James Catnach. He records his thanks for assistance given by Skelly in both.
The Hermit of Warkworth a Northumberland Ballad in Three Fits (Parts), 170 four line verses in all. Marked as a second edition but dated as the first 1806. Dedication to the Duchess of Northumberland dated October 1805. Small octavo, 102 pages, the equivalent of the last three pages has been bound in in manuscript. Exceptionally neat and in the hand of gift giver George Skelly. The work also contains a short poem to the Duchess; and an “Advertisement” referencing Warkworth Castle and the Hermitage (another special place … more so) and Brinkburn Priory; and the Postscript which deals with the history of the Hermitage. At the end of each “Fit” are a few pages of notes regarding the use of language, places, historical events etc.
We must give you a few lines from the First “Fit”.
Dark was the night, and wild the storm,
And loud the torrent’s roar;
And loud the sea was heard to dash
Against the distant shore.
Musing on man’s weak hapless state,
The lonely hermit lay;
When, lo! He heard a female voice
Lament in sore dismay.
With hospitable haste he rose,
And wak’d his sleeping fire:
And snatching up a lighted brand,
Forth hied the reverened sire.
All sad beneath a neighbouring tree
A beauteous maid he found,
Who beat her breast, and with her tears
Bedew’d the mossy ground
O weep not, lady, weep not so;
Nor let vain fears alarm;
My little cell shall shelter thee,
And keep thee safe from harm.
The Hermit of Warkworth – Based on a True story – and another Magical Place … we love it!