BEDWELL, William (1563-1632, editor). The Turnament of Tottenham ... written long since in verse by Mr. Gilbert Pilkington ... taken out of an ancient manuscript ... by Wilhlm [sic] Bedwell. - BEDWELL, W. A Briefe Description of the Towne of Tottenham High-Crosse in Middlesex. London: John Norton, 1631. 2 parts, 4° (180 x 136mm). Part one in verse, 8 blanks inserted between the two parts. (Some soiling and staining, corner of E1 torn away slightly affecting manscript notes.) Early 18th-century calf (rubbed, joints cracked). Provenance: extensive early 18th-century manuscript notes in one hand (on title verso, B1, B3, blank verso of B4, on 14 of the 16 interleaves, and in margins of the 2nd part) -- Later note on a4v concernng Thomas May -- Markham John Thorpe (two inserted letters, dated Lombard street, 4 October 49, referring to the present 'Tottenham manuscripts ... I consider these interesting in a much greater degree than such things usually are') -- ms glossary on end blanks -- [Henry Sotheran, printed description of the book, laid down on notepaper dated 5 June 1893 and addressed to 'Mr. Howard')].
THE EARLIEST KNOWN WORK ON TOTTENHAM published by William Bedwell, vicar of Tottenham High Cross from 1607 to his death, a prominent mathematician, translator of the Bible and arabist. The poem, a burlesque upon the old feudal custom of marrying an heiress to a knight who vanquished all his opponents, was lent by George Wither. Thomas Pilkington was in fact the transcriber not the author. THIS COPY WITH COPIOUS MANUSCRIPT NOTES, treating the tournament as factual and adding to the available information about Tottenham. The founder of Tottenham Almshouse is named as 'A Spaniard ... Belshazzer Lancez' on title verso, and the period of the tournament is said to be 'about the beginning of Edward the firsts Reign' on B1r. Reprinted in 1718. No other history of Tottenham followed until the end of the century. RARE. No sale recorded since 1980 in on-line ABPC. STC 19925; Upcott II, p. 587.