Today I had the pleasure of witnessing a lost manuscript from Cambridge University Library‘s Hengrave Manuscripts reunited with the collection after nearly 70 years. A beautifully written and bound manuscript in French, dated 1682 and entitled ‘Conduite pour la Confession’ (‘Conduct for Confession’) and ‘Conduite pour la Communion’ (‘Conduct for Communion’), was brought back together with its sister manuscript ‘Testament de l’âme chrestienne’ after the two volumes were separated in the sale of the contents of Hengrave Hall in October 1952. Both manuscripts were copied by Sir Thomas Bond, 3rd Baronet (1709-34) as a labour of love for his French mother Marie Peliot. The Bond family was doubly linked by marriage to the Gage family of Hengrave Hall, and when the Bonds died out in 1767 some of the family’s papers made their way to the library at Hengrave, and hence to the University Library in 1952. However, some manuscripts were separated from the main collection. When one of the current owners of this manuscript contacted me in January this year I immediately recognised what the manuscript was and its significance, and I am delighted that the owners have now generously decided to donate it to Cambridge University Library where it can be reunited with its sister manuscript.
This is the second manuscript I have helped reunite with the Hengrave Manuscripts, after the Rookwood Book of Hours in 2014. I shall be writing in more detail about the Bond family’s devotional manuscripts for Cambridge University Library’s Special Collections Blog in due course.