Happily, a large number of them have found a
home either in the boundless collections of Sir Thomas Phillipps,
or the British Museum, in the latter of which, at least, they will
be safe from further spoliation. It seems as though they had been,
from time to time, freely lent and never returned. On the deaths
of the authors or scholars who used them, they were probably found
by their executors, without evidence of ownership, and so sold
with other assets. If the information given me be correct,
Bloomfield had free access to this Collection in preparing his '
History of Norfolk,' for I am told that numerous charters
are among his papers, with the distinguishing mark appointed by
Sir Edward to designate his own manuscripts, .
No doubt he borrowed them, and on his death the right ownership
was unknown, and they are to this day in Bloomfield's Collection,
as I am informed, mingled with his other papers. Seal-collectors,
too, have been cruelly unsparing in their plunder.
But, with all these drains and spoliations, a grand
collection still remains, amply testifying to the lavish zeal and
ardour of its founder, and sufficient to secure the gratitude and
admiration of every scholar.
In examining them, the diligent antiquary and genealogist will be
rewarded by the discovery of many facts which have hitherto
escaped research, and will find abundant materials for elucidating
those which are already familiar to us.
As an interesting picture of the mode in which many
country gentlemen of that day employed their time, I cannot
refrain from giving here the following extract from a letter
written in the year 1639, in which Sir Edward's cousin, the
learned Sir Roger Twysden, invites him to Roydon Hall, to discuss
the propriety of starting their cousin Sir Harry Vane (the
Treasurer) for the county, in the forthcoming Parliament.
'' Where you speak of coming over hyther
(though, with an