Surveyinge. Anno Domini, 1567. John or Anthony FITZHERBERT.

Overseeing the Manor

Surveyinge. Anno Domini, 1567.

Title within architectural woodcut border incorporating the date “1534.” Largely printed in black letter. 67 leaves, [8] pp. Small 8vo, antique calf by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, spine gilt, red leather lettering pieces on spine. [London: Printed by H. Wykes?], 1567.

An early edition of the first text on surveying printed in English. The first edition was printed by Richard Pynson in 1523; all early editions are rare, as copies were used to death. Our copy is most unusual as it is fine and large with a number of lower edges uncut.

Fitzherbert’s book is concerned primarily with giving instruction to land stewards and overseers of the manor. The authorship of this work has long been disputed: was it Anthony Fitzherbert (ca. 1470-1538), judge and legal writer, or his older brother John (d. 1531)? The current scholarship supports John Fitzherbert as the more likely author.

The book is “addressed to the landed interest and is an explanation of the laws relating to manors. Fitzherbert sets forth the relation between the landlord and the tenant with observations on their respective moral rights and mutual obligations to each other. The author is also concerned with the best means of developing and improving an estate to the advantage of both the lord and the tenant…

“As defined by Fitzherbert, the duties and functions of the surveyor were many and varied. In the preface he states that the surveyor should prepare his findings in a small book or put them on a large piece of parchment. This parchment or book should show the ‘buttes’ and ‘bounds’ of all the holdings as well as the leases, grants, and tenures. Along with this information he should state the number of buildings and their location and give a description of the lands, specifying whether they are meadow, grainland, or woodland, and by whom held. He should also record the value of all properties along with their rents and fines. The author then goes into considerable detail in giving the form for the preparation of this information…

“The author states that the word ‘surveyor’ is from the French, signifying an overseer, and that the surveyor must appraise and make recommendations to the lord of the manor.”–Richeson, English Land Measuring to 1800: Instruments and Practices, pp. 33-34.

Fine copy.

❧ Fussell, I, p. 6–“contains a great deal of matter of service to farmers in particular as well as to the agricultural community in general.” ODNB.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 6566