The vale-royal of England, or, the county palatine of Chester illustrated. Wherein is contained a geographical and historical description of that famous county … adorned with maps and prospects … performed by William Smith, and William Webb, gentlemen. Published by Mr.Daniel King. To which is annexed, an exact chronology of all its rulers and governors … also, an excellent discourse of the Island of Man (etc).
London, “printed by John Streater, in Little S.Bartholomews, and are to be sold at the Black-Spread-Eagle at the West-End of Pauls” 1656.
Folio. Engraved title leaf, (10) + 99 + (1) + (6) + (239) (numbered 1-130, 129-132, 135-6, 139-146, 145-239, complete thus) + (1) + (10) + 55 + (1) + (6) + 34pp, (19) engraved plates (including folding maps of Cheshire and of Isle of Man, plan of Chester, and 11 plates of coats of arms), 1 full-page engraved illustration of coats of arms, 3 engraved vignettes. Early eighteenth century full calf, gilt spine. From the library of the Earls of Macclesfield, with mid nineteenth century Macclesfield bookplate, dated 1860, and Macclesfield armorial blind stamp on first three leaves (as customary with books from this library). A good copy.
A good and pleasing copy of this notable volume devoted to the history and antiquities of the county of Cheshire, put together by Daniel King (c.1616-c.1661), a Chester-born painter and etcher. Although King wrote the preface and organised the volume’s publication, the component parts of its text were assembled by King from a number of sources, and the best of the volume’s illustrations were provided not by King but by his eminent contemporary Wenceslaus Hollar. The text proper is principally based on hitherto unpublished manuscripts written many years previously by William Smith, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, and by William Webb, a clerk in the Mayor’s Court at Chester (Webb’s narrative is more detailed and more vividly written, and includes a thorough description of Chester Cathedral), rounded off by an essay on Cheshire’s early rulers, earls and bishops, from a living contributor, Samuel Lee. For the record, an engraved vignette illustration of Crewe Hall must be one of the very earliest illustrations in a printed book of a post-mediaeval English country house.Additionally, King includes at the end of the volume a separately paginated treatise on the Isle of Man, with its own title leaf, written by James Chaloner (c.1602-1660), who had been sent to the Isle of Man in 1652 as a representative of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, to whom the island had been given by Parliament as a reward for his services as commander of its army during the English Civil War. Chaloner was himself to become Governor of the Isle of Man, and his treatise, with interesting accompanying illustrations by Hollar, is a significant element in the published literature about the island. Good copies of King’s book, complete with all the plates, are now not at all easy to locate. Upcott, vol.i, pp 61-3.