Newport: R.H. Johns Limited, 1953. First edition. Octavo, original maroon cloth, maroon top edge, cartographic endpapers, original dust jacket. Minor spotting to edges of the text block, modest edge-wear to bright, unclipped dust jacket. Very good indeed. Item #774
"THE GOLDEN THREAD OF AN UNDYING AND UNCONQUERABLE FAITH"
Scarce first edition of Godfrey Anstruther's study of the Vaux family—an authoritative portrait of the English Catholic Recusants and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
Searching both public repositories and private collections, the English Dominican was able to consult numerous contemporary documents to weave a definitive picture of English Catholics struggling with the harsh burdens imposed in the aftermath of the Oath of Supremacy. The book consists of three sections: Part I. The Cedar, Part II. Winter's Powerful Wind, Part III. The Axe. A concluding Epilogue is followed by a series of eight appendices (lettered A-H) and References to Sources (Principal Sources. A. —Manuscript, B. —Printed). With a brief Preface defining the origins of the Recusancy ("A Recusant is one who refuses") and a short Introduction by D. Wyndham Lewis in appreciation of the literary value of the storied Vaux family: "The 'Gothick' school would have loved them dearly , and one may pleasurably imagine the glitter in the eyes of a Horace Walpole, the dignified flutterings of a Mrs. Radcliffe, the delighted grunt of a Scott, an Ainsworth, or a Macaulay had any of them lighted on the documents which nourish this book."
The color-illustrated dust jacket depicts a detail of a stained-glass window in the Memorial Chapel at Harrowden. The book is illustrated with repeating endpaper maps ("The Harrowden Country"), a frontispiece sketch ("Harrowden Hall") by Dudley Brown, and nine additional plates. With Anstruther's dedication to Grace Lady Vaux, the eighth Baroness (and the only woman to hold the barony). Lady Vaux was succeeded by her son, Father Gabriel Gilby, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey. Lord Vaux of Harrowden took his seat in the House of Lords in 1962, and thereby became the first Benedictine monk to do so since 1559.