Category Archives: Book scans

The Gunpowder-Treason: with a discourse of the manner of its discovery

Go straight to the scanned book

Although this work was published many years after the events it describes, and its main content is reprinted, it also contains the first printing of a number of letters relating to the plot.

It is not a scarce work, and there is at least one other online copy (in the HathiTrust digital collection), but the margins are frustratingly narrow, making it difficult to scan.

I’ve done my best to scan each page fully, and the book can be viewed HERE. As with my other text-searchable PDF scans, the page may take some time to load. If it refuses to load at all on one browser, try opening it on another. I’m working on dividing these PDFs into smaller, more easily loaded, sections, but it all takes time!

Click HERE for a bit more detail about the book and its contents.

A True Copy of the Journal of the High Court of Justice, for the Trial of K. Charles I.


This full-page frontispiece is prefaced by the following poem:

These lines speak for themselves, describing “Albion” as “Three Nations doom’d t’eternal slavery”, symbolized by the figures crushed under the wheels of the hellish chariot that represents the Interregnum and Cromwell’s Protectorate.

The coat of arms at the top of the chariot is the flag used during the period of Cromwell’s rule of the English Commonwealth.

That gives a pretty clear idea of where this book is coming from. The proceedings of the trial are taken from the official records, but accompanied by a lengthy introduction and copious commentary, leaving the reader in doubt but that the whole thing was nothing short of a heinous murder.

For a text-searchable scan of the whole book, click HERE.

For related texts and further details, click HERE.

A 15th-century manuscript book of hours

Go straight to the scanned PDFs

This week’s book scan is a bit different from my usual fare. It’s a manuscript, it’s from the 15th century, it’s not primarily related to suffering and – because of the limitations of OCR (optical character reader) software – it’s not text-searchable.

But if you have any interest in this kind of thing I think you’ll find it’s worth taking a look! Here are a few sample pages, just to whet your appetite…

This is one of two full-page paintings by an unknown artist. It depicts the Annunciation.
The canonical hours – matins (nighttime), lauds (early morning), prime (first hour of daylight), terce (third hour), sext (noon), nones (ninth hour), vespers (sunset / evening), compline (end of the day) – are introduced by a lavishly-illuminated page like the left-hand page above, which shows the start of prime.

A page from the litany of saints.

For a “guided tour” of this Book of Hours, click here. To see scans of the entire book, click here.


It’s a common enough tale, I suppose. Young man goes to Cambridge, studies law, goes to the inner Temple to complete his training, gets converted to Catholicism and ends up being hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

Maurus Scott was one of some 355 Catholics who were either put to death or died in prison during the early modern period, 40 of whom were subsequently canonized, while a further 242, of whom Scott was one, were beatified.

I don’t have anything in particular to say about him. The little that is known can be gleaned easily enough from Wikipedia or other sources, and I created a short entry for him on the Discourses of Suffering website.

The reason I’m posting is because I’ve just scanned his biography (published in 1657, 45 years after his death) and uploaded it in text-searchable form.

I’d like to say dive over there, everyone, and get the lowdown on Maurus Scott, but Narratio mortis in odium fidei Londini in Anglia illatæ R.A.P. Mauro Scotto is in Latin, which limits its readership somewhat. I made a start on translating it, and I uploaded that too, but I haven’t got very far and (let’s be honest!) I probably won’t have the stamina to work right through it.

The OCR works reasonably well, though – in addition to the problems of early modern spelling conventions – there are occasional misreadings (“o” and “e” sometimes get misread as “c”, for example).

There’s already a copy of this available in Google Books (with many of the same problems when it comes to scanning), but the more online copies the merrier!