Within our collections at SCOLAR we have several editions of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. Two of our earliest date from 1508 and 1517 and were both printed by Jocodus Badius Ascensius (1462-1535) in Paris. The title pages bear the trademark illustration of his printing shop, known as the Prelum Ascensianum.
The edition from 1517 bears the signature of Dr Thomas Tanner and the date 1696; this was the year he became a Fellow of All-Souls College, Oxford. Thomas Tanner was a renowned antiquarian and the author of Notitia Monastica (a history of the monastic houses in England and Wales) and Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica (a dictionary of pre 17th century British authors); educated at Queen’s College Oxford, he went on to take holy orders in 1694. His career progressed steadily until he became the Bishop of St Asaph in 1732, although he was to die only three years later. He bequeathed his collection of manuscripts and many of his books to the Bodleian Library in Oxford.