London: Printed by R.W. for John Patridge, 1647. Folio. [xxiv], 171, 176-335, 5 pp., including errata and contents (complete and continuous despite pagination error). FIRST EDITION. Full-page woodcut of Fairfax’s coat of arms, large folding plates of Fairfax’s army at the Battle of Naseby, folding table, but lacking the folding portrait of Thomas Fairfax. Woodcut initial, head- and endpieces. Contemporary calf, spine label; interior excellent with only minor browning around the margins. From the library of the Earls of Macclesfield with the dated armorial book plate of the North Library (with the motto “Sapere aude”), 1860, and a small blind-embossed stamp of armorial on first three leaves. There is also an ownership inscription on title of Theophil[us] Pickering, (1700-1747), a reverend in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Item #17572
First edition of Sprigge’s most important work, basically a compilation of the newspapers and pamphlets issued during the period from approximately 1645 to 1647. The book was published one year before the Independents, a faction of radical Puritans led by Oliver Cromwell, took over the Long Parliament. There is a particular focus on the Parliamentarian army led by general Thomas Fairfax. An exceptionally large foldout engraving in excellent condition depicts the Battle of Naseby, one of the most important battles of the English Civil War, where Fairfax defeated the army of Charles I. There is also a folding table detailing the activity of Fairfax’s troops between April 15, 1645 to August 19, 1646.
Sprigge (1618-1684), was a preacher and Independent theologist. A theory propounded by Clement Walker (d. 1651), a critic of the Independent movement and an ally of William Prynne, states (in his History of Independency series, 1647-51) that the real author of Anglia rediviva was Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, another officer in the Parliamentary army. This theory is based on the portion of the text justifying Fiennes’s surrender of Bristol in 1643. Walker apparently believed that Fiennes wrote the book as vindication for his actions, despite even though there is no other evidence to support this claim (see DNB, Vol. XVIII, p. 835).