About the blog

Home pageEchoes from the Vault is the official blog of the Special Collections of the University of St Andrews. Here you can find posts about unique or exciting finds amongst the vaults in our day-to-day work, bringing to light voices that have remained quiet for many years. This blog will also feature news and events happening within the Special Collections Division and the University Library.

The Special Collections Division of the University of St Andrews is composed of four main collections: Manuscripts, Muniments (the insitutional archive), Photographs (over 700,000 images) and Rare Books (over 200,000 volumes). As libraries themselves are experiencing their largest sea-change since electronic cataloguing was introduced, special collection departments are slowly becoming what defines one library from another. It is our hope that we can reawaken the potential of these books, manuscripts and photographs as research and educational resources by getting them in the hands of students, staff and researchers.

5 responses to “About the blog

  1. In view of the article I attach a copy of a piece that I recently submitted to the Editor of The Heraldry Gazette.

    I hope that it will be of interest to you?

    Armorial Playing Cards

    In 1644 the 6-year old King Louis XIV of France issued a license to print certain educational cards, the issuing of which sparked off a fashion which quickly spread to Holland, Germany and England. In 1659, in Lyon, the re-issuing of Brianville, “Arms of the Sovereigns of Europe” was probably the inspiration for this pack of cards.

    Entitled, “Arms of English Peers” a facsimile pack was produced in 1978 by Harry Margary of Lympne Castle, Kent (in association with Guildhall Library, London). This pack of fifty-two cards of thirteen Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades were mainly illustrated with the Arms of Barons, Bishops, Earls, Viscounts and Dukes. Each card bore a number and the suit with “P” for Prince (being the Jack), “Q” and “K”. The King of Diamonds had the Arms of France and Ireland while the King of Hearts had England and Scotland.

    It was lavishly illustrated and a sample of the cards is attached. I have the full facimile set.

    Since writing this I have discovered that there is no way of uploading them. Sorry!

    (Dr) Bernard Juby Hon FHS

  2. Back on 24/10/2011, your blog featured “The mystery of Edward Gwynn”, a collection of books with the initials EG with an ongoing search for more. I don’t know any additional books but have encountered a contemporary shoehorn from London, originally the property of Francis Hinson in 1600 with a later addition of the initials EG branded in the back. I’m unable to tell if there is any connection but it is an interesting coincidence. We only have firm provenance from the mid 1820s. I’m interested in following this up if there’s any further information available.

    • Dear Wayne, this sounds like a great find, and it would be fantastic if you could prove a link. At the moment we don’t have any further information on Edward Gwynn – for us he still remains something of a mystery! We have identified a further 24 bindings which bear the armorial stamp of the Gwynn family, a list which can be found here. Additionaly one of our readers left the following comment on the blog post: “An Edward Gwynne of Furnivals Inn gentleman left a nuncupative will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 12 February 1649/50. This seems likely to be the same man. He left all his possessions (specifically including books) to an Alexander Chorley”. I hope this is of some help to you.

      • Hi Briony, the short link to my blog post on this particular shoehorn is http://wp.me/pyUAz-pC. I can place a Richard Hinson (b. 1580, d. 1638) at Barnards Inn Hall in 1620, it’s circumstantially promising, but I really can’t tell if these are even the same family as the shoehorn recipient. The only Frances Hinson I’ve been able to find is the mother of a child, Ann in about 1605 in Oxford.

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