Banbury Chap Books - And Nursery Toy Book Literature
by Edwin Pearson
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[Transcriber's Note:

This book has over 800 small black-and-white illustrations. They can be found in the "images" directory associated with the html version of this file, in two forms:

thumbnails, named in the form "thumbNNNN.png" numbered sequentially within each page (without leading 0's) larger images, named "picNNNN.png"

For this plain-text file, each illustration or group of illustrations is identified by number, omitting the "pic" or "thumb" component and the "png" extension.

Misspellings have generally been left uncorrected. They are listed at the end of the text.]

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[of the XVIII. and Early XIX. Centuries]

with Impressions from Several Hundred ORIGINAL WOOD-CUT BLOCKS,

By T. & J. Bewick, Blake, Cruikshank, Craig, Lee, Austin, and Others.

Illustrating Favourite Nursery Classics, with their Antiquarian, Historical, Literary and Artistic Associations:


With very much that is Interesting and Valuable appertaining to the early Typography and Topography of Children's Books relating to Great Britain and America.


Jack the Giant Killer, Cock Robin, Tom Thumb, Whittington, Goody Two Shoes, Philip Quarll, Tommy Trip, York and Banbury Cries, Children in the Wood, Dame Trot, Horn Books, Battledores, Primers, etc.


LONDON: Arthur Reader, 1, Orange Street, Bloomsbury, W.C. 1890.

Only 50 copies Large Paper, 500 " Small.



"Banbury Cakes," and "Banbury Cross," with its favourite juvenile associations, with the Lady with bells on her toes, having music wherever she goes, are indissolubly connected with the early years not only of ourselves but many prior generations. In fact, the Ancient Cross has been rebuilt since the days, when in Drunken Barnaby's Journal, we are made familiar with the puritan "who hanged his cat on a Monday for killing of a mouse on a Sunday." The quaint old town and its people are rapidly modernizing; but they cling to the old traditions. Both in pictorial and legendary lore we have some Banburies of another kind altogether, viz., Banbury Blocks, or in plain English, Engraved Woodcut Blocks, associated with the Local Chap Books, Toy Books, and other Histories, for which this quaint old Oxfordshire town is celebrated. The faithful description of the Blocks illustrating this volume has led to numerous descriptive digressions, apparently irrelevant to the subject; it was found however that in tracing out the former history and use of some of the "Bewick" and other cuts contained in this volume, that the Literary, Artistic, Historical, Topographical, Typographical, and Antiquarian Reminiscences connected with the early Printing and Engraving of Banbury involved that of many other important towns and counties of Great Britain, and also America. A provincial publisher about the beginning of the present century would reflect more or less the modus operandi of each of his contemporaries in abridging or reproducing verbatim the immortal little chap books issued from the press of John Newbury's "Toy Book Manufactory," at the Bible and Sun (a sign lately restored), 65, Saint Paul's Church Yard, near the Bar.

This again leads to the subject as to who wrote these clever little tomes. In my "Angler's Garland," printed at the Dryden Press, 1870 and 1871, I fully announced my intention of issuing a reprint of the first edition of "Goody Two Shoes," but the intended volume was published by the firm at the corner, "Griffith, Farren, Okenden, and Welsh," now in the direct line of business descent from worthy and industrious John Newbery: Carman, Harris, Grant and Griffith. Mr. Charles Welsh of the present firm has taken a warm interest in the Antiquarian and Historical Associations of the Newbery firm. The premises have been lately rebuilt, the Sign and Emblems adopted by Newbery restored, and C. Welsh has reprinted "Goody Two Shoes" in facsimile, since which there has been added to it a Standard edition of Goldsmith's Works, edited by Mr. Gibbs. I had the pleasure of making many researches respecting the old London publisher (Goldsmith's friend), John Newbery, respecting his Lilliputian Classics, and I have been enabled to introduce several of the Quarto early editions to the firm, and have had great pleasure in writing and placing on record numerous facts and data, since utilized in the very interesting "Life of John Newbery, a last century bookseller." The connection of Oliver Goldsmith's name is indissolubly associated with the juvenile classics industriously issued by Newbery. Dr. Johnson himself edited and prefaced several children's books which I have seen in the Jupp and Hugo Collections. The weary hours of adversity, through which "Goldie" passed at Green Arbour Court, top of Break Neck Steps and Turn Again Lane—I remember them all well, and the Fleet prison walls too, when I was a boy—and in refuge at Canonbury Tower, near the village of Islington, these are the places where Goldsmith wrote for children. Sir Joshua Reynolds tells how, when he called on the poet at Green Arbour Court, he found the couplet:—

"By sports like these are all their cares beguiled, The sports of children satisfy the child."

see "The Traveller." He was surrounded by children in this unsavoury neighbourhood, where he had his humble domicile: a woodcut in Lumburd's Mirror depicts it very correctly. Bishop Percy, author of the "Reliques," called on him, and during the interview the oft repeated incident occurred of a little child of an adjacent neighbour, "Would Mr. Goldsmith oblige her mother with a chamber pot full of coals!" Truly these were hours of ill-at-ease. The largest collection of the various relics of woodcuts used in the chap book literature, "printed for the Company of Flying Stationers, also Walking Stationers,"—for such is a portion of the imprint to be found on several of the early Chap Books printed at Banbury—is to be seen in the Library of the British Museum; but the richest collection of these celebrated little rarities of Toy Books is in the venerable Bodleian Library. Among the very interesting block relics of the past are the pretty cuts to Mrs. Trimmer's "Fabulous Histories, or The Robins:" these were designed by Thomas Bewick, and engraved by John Thompson, his pupil, who enriched Whittingham's celebrated Chiswick Press with his fine and tasteful work. A numerous series of little fable cuts by the same artist are to be found in this volume. One of the quaintest sets engraved at an early period by John Bewick (the Hogarth of Newcastle), are to "The Hermit, or Adventures of Edward Dorrington," or "Philip Quarll," as it was most popularly known by that title a century ago. The earliest edition I have seen of Philip Quarll is as follows: "The Hermit, or the unparalleled sufferings and surprising adventures of Mr. Philip Quarll, an Englishman who was lately discovered by Mr. Dorrington, a Bristol merchant, upon an uninhabited island in the South Sea, where he lived above fifty years without any human assistance, still continues to reside, and will not come away," etc. Westminster: Printed by J. Cluer and A. Campbell, for T. Warner in Paternoster Row, and B. Creape at The Bible in Jermyn Street, St. James's, 1727. 8vo, xii pp., map and explanation, 2 pp., and 1 to 26 appendix, with full page copper plate engravings. He was born in St. Giles', left his master a locksmith, went to sea, married a famous w——e, listed for a soldier, married three wives, condemned at the Old Bailey, pardoned by King Charles II., turned merchant, and was shipwrecked on a desolate island on the coast of Mexico, etc. Other editions in the British Museum are 1750; 1759 (third); 1780 (twelfth); 1786 (first American edition, from the 6th English edition, Boston, U.S.A.); 1787 (in French); 1795 (seventeenth); 1807; and also in a "Storehouse of Stories," edited by Miss C. M. Yonge, 2 vols, 8vo (Macmillan, 1870-2), Philip Quarll (also Perambulations of a Mouse, Little Jack, Goody Two Shoes, Blossoms of Morality, Puzzle for a curious Girl), and others are given. The text is useful to refer to, as the originals are rare: the woodcuts of several of them are in this volume. "Philip Quarll," Miss Yonge says, "comes to us with the reputation of being by Daniel Defoe; but we have never found anything to warrant the supposition. It must have been written during the period preceding the first French Revolution." There is also in the Museum an edition printed in Dutch in 1805.

In 1869, Mr. Wm. Tegg reprinted the Surprising Adventures of Philip Quarll, entirely re-edited and modernized, with only a frontispiece and vignette on title as illustrations. The quaint old cuts on next page probably illustrated an early Newcastle, then York, and finally Banbury, edition of this oft published work.

The Blocks designed and engraved by John Bewick, for "The Hermit; or Philip Quarll," (circa 1785.)

Tegg's edition of 356 pages, 12mo, is to be seen in the Reading Room of the British Museum, and gives the full text and history of these. This curious book would well bear representing with the original Bewick cuts, after the manner of the present Newbery firm, who have revived Butterfly's Ball, Grasshopper's Feast, Goody Two Shoes, Looking Glass for the Mind, and contemplate others in the immediate future. Tegg in his reprint of the Book on Philip Quarll, states that he was born in St. Giles' Parish, London, 1647, voyaged to Brazil, Mexico, and other parts of America, was left on an island, nourished by a goat, and other surprising adventures. Edward Dorrington communicates an account (see p. 1 to 94 inclusive) of how the hermit Philip Quarll was discovered, with his (E. D.'s) return to Bristol from Mexico, Jan. 3, 1724-5; but is about returning to Peru and Mexico again (p. 94). This is of both American and Bewick interest. Besides these representatives of this Chap Book, we are enabled to give in this collection impressions from the blocks of other editions fortunately rescued from oblivion and destruction.


"Old Story Books! Old Story Books! we owe ye much old friends, Bright coloured threads in memory's wrap, of which Death holds the ends, Who can forget ye? Who can spurn the ministers of joy That waited on the lisping girl and petticoated boy? Talk of your vellum, gold emboss'd morocco, roan, and calf, The blue and yellow wraps of old were prettier by half."

—Eliza Cook's Poems.

In 1708 John White, a Citizen of York, established himself as a printer in Newcastle-on-Tyne, bringing with him a stock of quaint old cuts, formerly his father's, at York, where he was Sole Printer to King William, for the five Northern Counties of England. He entered into partnership with Thomas Saint, who on the death of John White, at their Printing Office in Pilgrim Street, succeeded in 1796 to his extensive business as Printer, Bookseller, and Publisher. In this stock of woodcuts were some of the veritable pieces of wood engraved, or cut for Caxton, Wynken de Worde, Pynson, and others down to Tommy Gent—the curious genius, historian, author, poet, woodcuter and engraver, binder and printer, of York. We give some early examples out of this stock. Thomas Saint, about 1770, had the honour of introducing to the public, the brothers Thomas and John Bewick's first efforts in wood-engravings, early and crude as they undoubtedly were. They are to be found in Hutton "On Mensuration," and also in various children's and juvenile works, such as AEsop's and Gay's Fables. We give some of the earliest known of their work in this very interesting collection of woodcuts.

Some years ago a collection was formed of Newbury and Marshall's Children's Gift Toy Books, and early educational works, which were placed in the South Kensington Museum, in several glass cases. These attracted other collections of rare little volumes, adorned with similar cuts, many of which are from the identical blocks here impressed, notably the "Cries of York," "Goody Two Shoes," etc. They are still on view, near the George Cruikshank collection, and during the twenty years they have been exhibited, such literature has steadily gone up to fancy prices.

Charles Knight in his Shadows of the Old Booksellers, says of Newbury, (pp. 233), "This old bookseller is a very old friend of mine. He wound himself round my heart some seventy years ago, when I became possessed of an immortal volume, entitled the history of 'Little Goody Shoes.' I felt myself personally honoured in the dedication." He then refers to Dr. Primrose, Thomas Trip, etc., and adds further on, "my father had a drawer full of them [Newbury's little books] very smartly bound in gilt paper." Priceless now would this collection be, mixed up with horn-books—a single copy of which is one of the rarest relics of the olden time.

Chalmer's in his preface to "Idler," regards Mr. Newbury as the reputed author of many little chap books for masters and misses.

Mr. John Nichols brings forward other candidates for the honour of projecting and writing the "Lilliputian histories, of Goody Two Shoes, etc.;" and refers to Griffith Jones and Giles Jones, in conjunction with Mr. John Newbury, as those to whom the public are indebted for the origin of those numerous and popular little books for the amusement and instruction of children, which have ever since been received with universal approbation.

The following are two of the identical cuts engraved by John Bewick, and used in the Newbury editions of Goody Two Shoes, London, 1769 to 1771.

It will be seen on contrasting these cuts with the other two, on the following page, from early York editions, how wonderfully even in his early years Bewick improved the illustrated juvenile literature of his day. No wonder when Goldsmith the poet had an interview with Bewick, that delighted with his cuts, he confessed to writing Goody Two Shoes, Tommy Trip, etc. Bewick's daughter supplied this information.

Here are two early examples of Thomas Bewick. They were used in a York edition of "A Pretty Book of Pictures for little Masters and Misses, or History of Beasts and Birds by Tommy Trip," etc.

There was an American edition of Goody Two Shoes, and is very interesting indeed, having a woodcut frontispiece engraved by Thomas Bewick, and was printed at Worcester, Mass., U.S.A., by Isaiah Thomas, and sold wholesale and retail at his book-store, 1787. A copy of this little book sold in London for L1 16s.

We also give two other specimens from the J. Newbery editions of Tommy Trip and Goody Two Shoes, both engraved by John Bewick.

The packmen of the past [see frontispiece of a pack-horse in First Edition only of Bewick's Quadrupeds, 1790] carried in their packs the ephemeral literature of the day, Calendars, Almanacks, and Chep-Books. The Leicestershire pronunciation to this day at markets is "Buy Chep" for Cheap, hence the Chep-side, or Cheape-or Cheapside; otherwise derivation of Chap Men, or Running, Flying, and other mercurial stationers, peripatetic booksellers, pedlers, packmen, and again chepmen, these visited the villages and small towns from the large printers of the supply towns, as London, Banbury, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc. The "History of John Cheap, the Chapman," "Parley the Porter," "Stephen of Salisbury Plain," and other favourite tracts, with John Bewick's and Lee's square woodcuts were written by the quaker lady, Hannah More, about 1777, and were first published in broadsheet folio. Some were done by Hazzard, of Bath, others by Marshall, of Bow Lane, Aldermary Church Yard. A most curious collection of chap books did they print, reviving the quaint old "Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green," "Guy, Earl of Warwick," "Seven Champions," "Mother Shipton's Life and Prophecies," "Wise Men of Gothan," "Adam Bell," "Robin Hood's Garland," "Jane Shore," "Joaks upon Joaks," "Strapho, or Roger the Clown," "Whetstone for dull Wits," "St. George and the Dragon," "Jack Horner:" and hundreds of ballads, garlands, carols, broadsheets, songs, etc., were in the collection.

The "Great A and bouncing B Toy Book Factory," was somewhere near Little Britain, the proprietor being John Marshall, who published the famous "Life of a Fly."

The "Memoirs of a Peg Top," "Perambulations of a Mouse," 2 volumes with cuts by John Bewick, and a number of other works, some by Mrs. Trimmer, under various pseudonyms, were published in Bow Lane, also many quaint broadsheets, the cuts of which are in this volume.

Hazzard, printer of Bath, who published many works for Dr. J. Trusler, with woodcuts by John Bewick, Lee, and others, also published the cheap repository tracts.

All the following little wood blocks were used in several toy books, sometimes with Bewick's name on the titles, and done from 1787 to 1814, in Dutch flowery and gingerbread gilt paper binding, just like Newbery series.

Early John Bewick Cuts.

In Blade's Life of Caxton, the reader will find interesting examples of the earliest woodcut blocks illustrating the quaint and rare tomes issued by the Almonry, Westminster, also at Oxford. The Robin Hood Garland blocks (circa 1680 or earlier), is one of the earliest provincial blocks with a distinct history. We can trace them in varied collections used by early London and Provincial printers, and in the London Bridge printed Chap Book Literature.

Sutton, printer of Nottingham, issued a curious quarto volume of old woodcuts. He was descended from the celebrated T. Sutton, who founded the Charterhouse. Some twenty-five years ago I went over the very quaint collection with the proprietor, and suggested a volume being issued, but the idea had already been matured by him.

Robert White, the poet and local historian of Newcastle upon Tyne—by whose favour I reprinted Tommy Trip in 1867—has one of the choicest, most comprehensive, and rarest libraries of local stories, garlands, ballads, and chap books, and North country folk-lore children's books, almanacks, primers, "A. B. C.," horn books, battledores, etc., that were ever gathered together. I am glad to place on record, that by his will, his collection will remain intact. The special opportunities afforded him at the time for collecting them have entirely passed away.

I believe he was descended from John White, printer for the five northern counties of England to King William. This is referred to by Mr. Dodd in his preface to a quarto volume of woodcut impressions. William Dodd fully appreciated the local interest, by producing a limited impression of the quaint blocks in his possession.

The Rev. Mr. Hugo had a very large and important collection of blocks and books, and at his death I arranged and catalogued them for Messrs. Sotheby, according to the wish of his widow. The Rev. gentleman had wished his collection to be purchased by the trustees of the British Museum, but some little hitch occurred and this was not accomplished. In his collection the Robin Hood block, perforated with worm holes, realized quite a fancy price.

Among the relics of ancient woodcutting, are some so early and crude in their execution—quaint as the period they illustrate—as to really entitle them to the literal name and meaning of woodcuts, rather than wood-engravings, which they really became in the hands of the two Bewicks and their numerous school of pupils. Other provincial publishers were not so favoured as those at Newcastle-on-Tyne, as to have a Bewick trying his prentice hand on similar series, as used by J. Bell and others.

The Cock Robin blocks in this collection are certainly the earliest series I have seen among the thousands I have examined. The York Cries, Tom Hickethrift, Jack the Giant Killer, and many kindred cuts, are evidently from the collection of John White, the early printer, and are as quaint, as funny and droll in crudity of execution, as any of Thomas Gent's, the unique York engraver and bookseller.

The rarity and interest of a collection like the present, with their varied associations, may be fairly estimated when we consider that the country printers in those days were not particular in making the same woodcut do duty in most incongrous and inapplicable positions and subjects.

We have met with a block in a child's book, then the identical woodcut on a ballad, catchpenny, or last dying speech and confession, setting at defiance any suitability of illustration, or adaptability to the text matter. Of course now, some of these examples are exceedingly ludicrous, and do not fail to excite merriment, and often add to the intrinsic value of the article, as may be judged by numerous examples that have occurred in our literary auction marts during the last half century.

Besides it must be taken fair notice of that a genuine wood-engraving, or woodcut block may soon become a curiosity of the past, owing to the improved methods of illustrating children's books. Many of Bewick's blocks are veritable paintings on boxwood, and are as much classical works of art as work by Josiah Wedgwood, and his able coadjutor, J. Flaxman are in Fine Art. These early crude, quaint, droll little pioneer wood blocks will ever remain of great and even historical interest as showing the progress and influence on the illustrated literature of the civilized world.

Many of our readers have heard of Banbury Cross and Banbury cakes, and other famous juvenile associations, as the lady with bells on her toes, but it was also connected with the production of books for juvenile readers. A great portion of the blocks in this volume are Banbury blocks used for illustrating the toy books, children's histories, etc., for which this quaint old Oxfordshire town was famous. Many of them are connected with the early printing and engraving carried on in this and other towns of England. A quantity of the blocks were used in the books printed by John White of York, who established himself, as before mentioned, as a printer in Newcastle-on-Tyne, bringing with him a stock of quaint old blocks formerly his father's [at York], where he was sole printer to King William, for the five northern counties of England.

Boswell has recorded several conversations of Oliver Goldsmith with Dr. Johnson, in which the warm-hearted poet expressed a wish, "to make fishes, animals, birds, etc., talk, or appear so to do, for the amusement and instruction of children." In the National Collection is "The Valentine's Gift, or a Plan to enable children of all sizes and denomination to behave with honour, integrity, and humanity, very necessary to a trading nation: to which is added some account of Old Zigzag, and of the Horn with which he used to understand the language of birds, beasts, fishes and insects," etc., "Printed for Francis Power, (grandson to the late Mr. J. Newbery) and Co., No. 65, St. Paul's Churchyard, 1790, price sixpence, bound in gilt dutch paper binding, 105 and iii pages".

Numerous books were sold by Francis Power, No. 65, near the Bar, in St. Paul's Churchyard, London; his list comprises "Giles Gingerbread," "Tom Thumb's Folio," "The London Cries, taken from the Life," "The Lilliputian Auction," by Charley Chatter, "Nurse Truelove's Christmas Box," "New Year's Gift," "The History of Little Goody Two Shoes," new edition, "Adventures of a Bee," "The Little Lottery Book," "A Pretty Plaything for Children," "The Lilliputian Magazine," "The Picture Exhibition," "Lilliputian Masquerade," "Juvenile Trials for Robbing Orchards and Telling Fibs," "Pretty Poems by Tommy Tagg, for children three feet high," "A Pretty Book of Pictures, or Tommy Tripp's History," "The Drawing School by Master Angelo," "Poetical Flower Garden," "Tommy Trapwit's Be Merry and Wise," "Lecture upon Toys," 2 vols; "Pretty Poems for children six feet high," "The Museum," "Polite Academy," "Poetical Flower Basket," "Mother Goose's Fairy Tales," "A Spelling Dictionary, Rhetoric; Logic; Arithmetic; History; Chronology; Geography;" "Vicar of Wakefield." Most of the latter except "Vicar" formed a circle of the sciences licensed by approval of the King, each dedicated to a youthful nobleman, by "John Newbery." The size was "snuffbox," or waistcoat pocket (capacious in 1790, see "School for Scandal," etc., Costume, etc.) Documentary evidence and receipts in Goldsmith's handwriting, acknowledging various sums for writing the "Rhetorick," and others of the above exist. Goldsmith also did numerous Abridgements of the Old and New Testaments, Robinson Crusoe, Pamela, Clarissa Harlow, Sir Chas. Grandison, all in this juvenile series for J. Newbery.

This was a most popular juvenile brochure, at end of eighteenth century. The early editions of J. Bunyan's Works, 2 vols, folio, had the Divine Emblems at end of vol 2, with quaint old woodcuts. These were industriously copied in reduced sizes, and published from 1d. to 6d., by various London and Provincial "toy book" manufacturers. The above is a solitary representative of the illustrations of one of these rare editions of "Bunyan."

John Evans, 42, Long Lane, West Smithfield, circa 1791, brought out some singular little farthing children's books, printed on coarse sugar paper, also ballads, single-sheet songs, and "patters." One, "The tragical death of an Apple Pye, cut in pieces and eat, by twenty-five gentlemen, with whom all little people ought to be very well acquainted."

J. Drewey, Irongate, Derby, brought out some entertaining fables, in which the following woodcuts were used again.

Blocks used in Red Riding Hood.

Blocks used in "Jack and the Giants" and "Tom, Tom, the Piper's son," etc. From John White's stock, at York.

Cuts used for "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son," etc.

Cuts to "Whittington and his Cat."

John Evans issued "Cock Robin, a pretty gilded toy for either girl or boy," in which the early cut on page 12 was used. This rare edition has the following comical variation from the orthodox version:

"Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a pole, Wiggle-waggle went its tail, and p—p went its hole."

Very Early Cock Robin Set, from John White's York Stock.

That quaint divine Dean Swift of St. Patricks, Dublin, edited some curious poetry for "A Royal Primer," sqr. 32mo, published in the Seven Dials, of Dublin ("Rainbow Court").

"Ech, ech, my dear'y, and Ach, ach, my love. "There was a little man who had a little gun, and "There was a little maid who was very much afraid To get wed, wed, wed," etc.

This is long and curious, and was greatly altered and abreviated in early 19th Century Editions.

"The Royal Primer," from John White's York and Newcastle Stock.

From Dean Swift's Royal Primer, Dublin, circa 1770.

From Evans's edition of Cinderella.

Very Early "Cock Robin" Series, "Postboy" by Bewick for a Newcastle Newspaper, "Wife Joan," etc., from J. White's Stock.

Early "Mother Hubbard:" J. Evans, Long Lane, circa 1770.

Early "Goody Two Shoes," "Jack and Jill," "Cock Robin," The Fables, early Bewick School.

All Evans's style of woodcut, Catnach, etc., all used at Rushers Banbury Press.

Providing ourselves with a variety of pens and ink, we select two of the best and proceed to describe the Banbury Printer's old stock of cuts.

Banbury, Oxfordshire, was one of the chief provincial towns noted for its Children's Books, Chap Books, Battledoes, Reading Easies, etc., also for locally printed works, notably for two, viz., Dr. Johnson's Rasselas, and White and Beesley's workon Bees, thin 12mo volumes, boards, printed in a curious phonetic character, called "Rusher's Types." Rusher, printer of this town, had some ingenuity and originality of his own, and was not such a plagiarist and imitator as some of his contemporaries. Many of the tales he cleverly adapted to the locality, which have become very valuable. His edition of the Rasselas realized L5 5s. This book was written by Johnson in a week to defray his mother's funeral expenses.

We give several extracts from some of Rusher's Penny Books which will show how well he adapted them to his town.

[Early John Bewick,] Rusher's Lilliputian Library, Banbury, circa. 1810.

At Rusher's fam'd Warehouse, Books, Pictures and Toys Are selling to please all The good girls and boys.

For youth of all ages There's plenty in store, Amusement, instruction, For rich and the poor.

From the New House that Jack Built.

See Jack in his study, Is writting a book, As pretty as this is In which you may look;

The price is one penny, For girls or for boys, There's more too at Rusher's, And Pictures and Toys.

Poetic Trifles.

Sing see-saw, Jack thatching the ridge, Which is the way to Banbury-bridge? One foot up and t'other foot down, And that's the way to Banbury town.

As I was going to Banbury Upon a summer's day, My dame had butter, eggs and fruit, And I had corn and hay, Joe drove the ox and Tom the swine, Dick took the foal and mare: I sold them all—then home to dine From famous Banbury Fair.

Here's something new Dear child for you, I will please you in a trice A halfp'ny chuse, Now don't refuse, A penny is the price.

Tho' basely born Pray do not scorn A Tale no worse than many For I'm afraid More say in trade, A halfp'ny's made a penny.

Good things to engross, Near Banbury cross Where Tommy shall go on the nag, He makes no mistake, Buy a Banbury Cake, Books, Pictures, and Banbury Shag.

Little Robin Redbreast Sat upon a tree He sang merrily As merrily could be.

He nodded with his head And his tail waggled he As little Robin Redbreast Sat upon a tree.

Now each lad and each lass Both sister and brother May have books for each class For Father or Mother.

And when with much pleasure You've read them all o'er, Then hasten to Rusher's, He's printing some more.

Where each daughter and son And each nephew and niece, Each good child may have one, For a penny a piece.


Here's Finiky Hawkes, As busy as any, Will well black your shoes, And charge but a penny.

The following little "Banbury Cake" Book is so excessively rare, we give the text verbatim.

* * * * *


An Entertaining Book For Children.

BANBURY: Printed and Sold by J. G. RUSHER, Bridge Street.

Price One Penny.


It will be thought very odd, I doubt not, by each little boy and girl into whose hands this book shall fall, that a Banbury Cake should be able to write (as it were) its own life; but as they advance in years, they will find that many strange things happen every day—I shall therefore without more words to the bargain proceed with my story.


I was born or made (whichever you please, my little reader) at Banbury in the county of Oxford, as you can plainly conceive by my title, where great numbers of Cakes are brought into being daily; and from whence they travel by coach, chaise, waggon, cart horse and foot into all parts of this Kingdom: nay and beyond the seas, as I heard my maker declare that he had, more then once sent some of them into France.

Soon after I was made, and while I was yet warm from the oven, I was sold by my maker's fair daughter to a person on horseback for twopence.

With this person I took my first journey to Oxford; he rode a very fine Black Horse. As soon as he came home, he gave me to his son a lovely little boy, about seven years of age, and one as I found to my comfort not only lovely in person but in temper also. His name was Tommy, and he was praised and loved by all that knew him, and had often presents of cakes, toys and little books, and other things that are proper for children of his age; the books he kept with great care as things of value and worthy of his notice, but other trinkets he seemed to despise.

Tommy and his cousin were taken to see Mr. Polito's collection of wild beasts and birds, which were then exhibiting at Oxford, among which were a large lion, an eagle, and many other natural curiosities, which sight was very entertaining, as Tommy and his cousin had never seen such before. They afterwards walked into the Colleges, round Christ Church College Meadow, and indeed saw all the curiosities about Oxford.

(The Banbury Cake).

* * * * *

We give a Bibliographical List, as perfect as is possible to date, of the "Halfpenny Series" of little History and Story Books issued at Rusher's Banbury Press, some even with the same titles as the "Penny Series," yet totally different in arrangement and woodcuts, used, as comparison in the Bodleian Library will readily show: Mother Hubbard and her Dog; Nursery Rymmes from the Royal Collections; Poetic Trifles for young Gentlemen and Ladies; The Cries of Banbury, London, and Celebrated Stories; Children in the Wood, Historical Ballad (Norfolk?); Children in the Wood, Restored by Honestus; Hermit of the Forest (Cumberland); Jack the Giant Killer, a Hero, celebrated by Ancient Historians (Cornwall); Robinson Crusoe; Nursery Poems from the Ancient and Modern Poets; Jack and Gill and Old Dame Gill; Read who will, They'll laugh their fill; Dick Whittington and his Cat; The History of Tom Thumb (Middlesex); Death and Burial of Cock Robin; Renowned History of Dame Trot and her Cat; London Jingles and Country Tales for Young People; Tom, Tom, the Piper' Son; Cinderella and her Glass Slipper; Jack Spratt and his Wife Joan, etc. etc.

Bewick School, used in Rusher's Banbury Toy Books.

Used by Rusher in his Banbury Horn Books, Battledores, Galloping Guide to A, B, C, Primers, Reading Made Easy, Spelling Books, etc.

Rusher's Banbury Battledore and Reading Made Easy blocks, show the next improvement on the old Horn Books. Then Rusher published a Galloping Guide to the A B C., for which see next page.

[Transcriber's Note:

Beginning with D, each letter has its own illustration, printed in sets of three. The alphabet is printed continuously down the left and right margins. A page break separates the "Judge" illustration from its line of text. The complete pages can be seen as "pic30all.png" - "pic32all.png"]

A was an Acorn, that grew on the oak; B is a Boy, who delights in his book. C is a Canister, holds mamma's teas; D is a Drum, you may sound if you please.

E is an Eagle, that soars very high; F is a Fox, that is crafty and sly.

G is a Griffin, of him pray take heed; H is a Hare, that can run with great speed.

J is a Judge, that the law oft obeys; K is a Key, that no secret betrays. L is a Lamb, often freaks o'er the lea; M is a Mermaid, that sings in the sea.

N is a Nightingale, dwells in the wood; O is an Ox, whose beef roasted is good. P is a Peach, that did grow very high; Q is a Quince, makes a savoury pie.

R is a Raven, rapacity charms; S shining Sun, is the Banbury Arms.

T is a Trumpet, your merit to raise; V is a Vulture, on other birds preys. W a Wren, that was perch'd on a spray;

X was King Xerxes, well known in his day. Y is a Yew Tree, both slender and tall; Z Zacaariah, the last of them all.

The above woodcut of a Fugitive Soldier (designed by Craig, and engraved by Lee) was used on the back of the cover of this little book, as issued by J. G. Rusher at Banbury.


[Illustrations: 341 - 348, 351 - 357

Who killed Cock Robin?

I, said the sparrow, With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin!

This is the pie That saw him die.

Who caught his blood? I said the fish, With my little dish, I caught his blood!

Who made his shroud? I, said the Eagle, With my thread and needle!

This is the Owl so brave That dug Cock Robin's grave.

Who'll be the parson? I, said the Rook.

Who'll be the clerk? I, said the lark.

Who'll carry him to his grave? I, said the kite.

Who'll be the chief mourner? I, said the swan.

Who'll bear his Pall? We, said the wrens.

Who'll toll the bell? I, said the Bull.

Who'll lead the way? I, said the martin.

The birds of the air fell a sighing and sobbing, When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.]

Mother Hubbard and her Dog.

Designed by George Cruikshank (early work), and engraved by Branston.

Dame Trot and her Cat.

Early Cruikshank School.

The History of Robinson Crusoe.

Designed by Cruikshank, engraved by Dranston.

The Life of Jack Sprat and his Wife Joan.

Cruikshank School.

Cinderella and her Glass Slipper.

Published by Rusher, circa 1814. Designed by Cruikshank, and engraved by Branstone. A copy is in the Bodleian Library.

Jack and Jill.

Dick Whittington and his Cat.

Designed by Cruikshank, and engraved by Branstone; published by Rusher about 1814. An original copy is in the Bodleian Library.

"The Cries of York, for the amusement of Young Children, decorated with cuts printed by T. Kendrew, Collier Gate, York." These York Cries have not been mentioned by any writer on juvenile literature and the same may be said of the Banbury Cries. T. Kendrew of York, brought out many interesting penny and other children's books. He published "Giles Gingerbread, a little boy who lived upon learning, by Tom Trip," this was an abbreviation of Newberry's Edition of the "Silver Penny." The series was illustrated with the early and prentice work of the Bewick School. One of the rarest is "The Cries of York," the cuts of which afterwards travelled to Banbury and appeared in "Banbury Cries." The series we are enabled to give complete.

Cuts belonging to York Cries.

Appended are the words to many of the foregoing Cries.


Ventured across the main behold, "Buy Baskets," solemn Face, He sells for Lust of Naughty Gold, Which is a Common Case.


(Peaseholme Green Postern) Hark! who is this, the Tinker Bold, To mend or spoil you Kettle, Whose wife, I'm certain is a Scold, Made up of base metal.

Buy my Clocks and Weather Glasses! Buy Shirt Hand Buttons! (Walmgate Bar)

"If I'd as much money as I could tell; I never would cry young lambs to sell." (Thursday Market)

"Buy my Anchovies. Buy my nice Anchovies."


With drawling tone, Brush under arm, And Bag slung o'er his shoulder, Behold the Sweep, the Streets alarm, With Stentor's voice and louder.


Hot Muffins and Crumpets too, For Breakfast and for Tea; I've only a very few left, In Basket as you may see.

Buy Banbury Cakes! By fortune's frown, You see this needy man, Along the street and up and down Is selling all he can.


Behold Poor James at York again, His Cockles all alive, O! Alive, Alive, he cries amain, Come buy that he may thrive, O!

"Buy my fine Larks." (Catching Larks)

"Sixpence a Score Oysters." (Ouse Bridge)

"Come Buy my Roasting Spits."

"Rabbits! Rabbits!"

"Buy my fine Writing Ink."

"The City Bellman." (Hay Weigh)

"Buy my Cranberries, fine Cranberries."

"Sweet China Oranges." (Pavement)

"Buy my Capers. Buy my nice Capers, Capers."

"Buy my nice Banbury Cakes."

"Buy my Windmills, a halfpenny-a-piece." (Monk Bar)

"Fine Kidney Potatoes."

"Threepence a Mart Ripe Gooseberries."

"Come buy a true Calendar." (Castle Gates)

"Razors, Knives, and Scissors to grind."

"Acomb Sand."

"Race Lists."

The Cries of York is distinctly different from The Cries of London issued by Kendrew though the same set of Cuts are utilized.

London Street Cries have always had a fascination peculiarly their own. Madame Vestris used to bring down the house with "Cherry Ripe," and where are happier efforts of the favourite home Artists than "London Cries" by A. Morland, Wheatley, Stodhard, and others, which are so eagerly sought after by connoiseurs? The pretty plaintive Cries too, would we had the 'music' to them, so familiar in the streets in those charming old English days.

A most interesting and quaint old relic is the one from which annexed impression is given, from Dyche's Spelling Book: an exceedingly clean, choice and crisp copy of this book, in the original sheep covers,—a veritable "old shopkeeper," which for nearly a century had escaped its intended destiny in Rusher's varied stores, at length found a resting place in Sir Thomas Bodley's venerable receptacle for bibliographical treasures in the Bodelian, Oxford. The present example—a portion of which was broken away many years ago,—is probably the sole surviving one of the quaint series of cuts, doubtless admired by our great-grand-parents over 100 years ago.

The following are curious examples of Fable Cuts, which were used in Dilworth, Cocker, Fisher, and others.

Early Fable Cuts, used at Banbury in Spelling Books.

History of Joseph, designed by Isaac Cruikshank.

Clever little vignettes, by Thomas and John Bewick and Pupils, used first at Nicholson's, Ludlow, circa 1787, and afterwards, circa 1814, used in Rusher's Banbury Books.

Woodcuts of the Bewick and Cruikshank Schools, from Ludlow and Ploughwill, afterwards used at Banbury.

Used in various Rusher's Penny Banbury Children's Books.

By Bewick's Pupils, used in Children's Books at Banbury by Rusher.

By Bewick and Pupils, from Ludlow, all used at Banbury.


To Banbury came I, Prophane one, Where I saw a Puritan Hanging of his cat on Monday For killing of a mouse on Sunday.

A Gentleman wrote to one of the newspapers some time ago, detailing a curious incident that happened to himself, showing how these very interesting prints and blocks are being scattered and destroyed. He says "In the old days when Catnach was King of the ballad world, boys used to steal the woodblocks of Mr. Bewick the wood-cutter, and sell them to the great song singer. Yesterday, for a halfpenny, I picked up in a bye street in London one of the prints of a very beautiful block of this kind heading a song called 'The Wealthy Farmer's Son.' I wonder whether anybody has ever thought it worth while to collect these pictures." This interesting pursuit of collecting and illustrating with extra cuts, pages of child book literature of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th century, would indeed be a charming recreation. On this subject there appeared a long article in the Graphic, where the writer says, under the initials 'C. H.,' "There are few more agreeable occupations for anyone who has sufficient leisure at his disposal, than that of embellishing a favourite book with illustrations appropriate to the subject, and thereby endowing it with additional interest and value. To those who cultivate this fascinating pursuit with taste and intelligence, there are two indispensible conditions of success. The task of collecting the materials is a labour of love, and every fresh discovery in some out-of-the-way corner, of a long-sought desideratum, a delight which the patience and industrious enthusiast alone can appreciate." Then follows much genial advice on tasteful and judicious collecting, and how to illustrate. In the present case the interest and value could only be realized or conceived on the completion of a choice collection of extra cuts, and cuttings of articles, portraits, views, autograph letters, etc., carefully mounted on cartridge paper, paged to correspond with the text, and then handed to a judicious binder—this is a very important item—who would carefully encase it, and make it form a select and an exceptionibly valuable addition to the library.

That this interesting idea may not be considered unworthy of adoption—which by the way the few large paper copies of this book are admirably adopted—we give a short list of those who have collected and treasured with care these little brochures. In the South Kensington Museum on exhibition, is a collection of Horn Books and Battledores, exhibited by Kenneth, R. H. Mackenzie, Esq., F.S.A., who read a paper on this subject before the Society of Antiquaries. There is another collection which includes many curious Horn Books or Battledores, from circa 1750, 1784, 1800 to 1810, including photo and facsimiles of one of the Middleton Horn Books now in the Bateman Museum. There is also a curious poem on the Horn Book by a Gent. suffering from the gout, printed at Dublin by T. Cowan, 1728, small 4to, only a few leaves. Another very neat Horn Book with the Horn in front, hence its name, is also on view. The scarcity of these quaint early educational books may be understood from the fact that Mr. Hone, author of the Every Day Book, etc., sought for an original Horn Book for years without success. Mr. Coleridge had one or two cases on exhibition, with numerous examples of Newbury and Marshall's little books, but we believe these are withdrawn. There is also a selection of early educational books; but the largest collection formed is still on exhibition. In conclusion, it may be said that the present volume contains many precious relics of the Bewick, Newbury, Goldsmith, Newcastle York, Banbury, Coventry, and Catnach presses, and a representative collection of the stock of workable woodcuts of a provincial printer in the latter part of the 18th century, and to those who would like to inspect the rentable copies of those valuable and interesting little books, and some of the original Horn Books, etc., let them see the Coleridge, Kenneth Mackenzie, and Pearson collections in the South Kensington Museum.

Since writing the above, there appeared in the catalogue of books belonging to William Bell Scott, Esq., recently sold at Messrs. Sotheby, a small 4to Album containing a collection of wood engravings by Bewick, Clennell, and others, which with some newspaper cuttings made quite a dainty extra illustrated volume.

If so eminent an artist could find pleasure and recreation in this pursuit, others may certainly rely upon finding it equally attractive, but he would have found his task much easier if he had had a large paper copy of this work interleaved. This is recommended to any person desiring to take up this charming recreation.

Illustrations of Children's Books, used by Rusher at Banbury.

All used by Rusher in his Children's Books, Banbury.

All used in Rusher's Banbury Books.

Used by Rusher.

All used in Rusher's Books.

Bewick School, all used in Rusher's Banbury Toy Books.

Used on Local Tracts and afterwards, issued at Rusher's Press, Bridge St., Banbury.

Used by Rusher.

All used in the Banbury Juvenile Series.

Engraved by Bewick School, used in the Children's Books.

All used in Rusher's Banbury Toy Books.

On Early Tract Society Publications.

Used for illustrating early Tracts.

All used in Educational Tracts, Banbury.

Used in Early Tracts, Banbury.

About 1820, many curious Tracts were issued by various Societies with the illustrations which follow. Some of these Tracts relating to Social and Religious questions of that day had been edited by Hannah More and her sister—at "Barley Wood," near Bath—also by Rowland Hill, the eccentric divine of old Surrey Chapel, and others; these are now quite ephemeral literary productions, notably some on the "Sunday Question." Several of the following cuts were used contemporary with Timothy Spagg's (Charles Dickens's) Sunday Under Three Heads. One of these, an 8vo pamphlet, has on the title, a large woodcut by Thomas Bewick, commencing;—Here we have Bewick, I declare, etc. Many of the original cuts to the Bristol series of Tracts issued from 1805 to 1820 are in this volume.

Cuts used in Educational Tracts written by Hannah More and Mrs. Trimmer, circa 1810. Engraved by Anderson, Thompson, Williams, and others.

Used on Local Tracts and Juvenile Literature, by Rusher.

Used on Tracts by Hannah More and Rev. Rowland Hill, circa 1814, and afterwards in Rusher's Books.

Vignettes by Sears, engraved after Williams and others, and used on cheap Repository Tracts, etc., and books issued from Rusher's press.

These cuts were used in a series of Tracts published by Chilcott of Bristol. Afterwards by Rusher at Banbury.

Cuts by Sears after Williams, used on Cheap Repository Tracts, and on Local Banbury Ephemeral Literature.

Used on Rusher's Educational and other Local Pamphlets.

Engraved by Lee—used by Rusher.


"Billy Buttons" ride to Brentford, and other Catnach 'Catches,' used by Rusher.

Used by Rusher at Banbury.

Used by Rusher.

Cuts used by Rusher at Banbury.

Newspaper and Heraldic cuts, 18th Century.


"Children's Games," and other Toy Books published by Darton and Harvey, Gracechurch Street, and afterwards by Rusher, Banbury.

Published by Darton and Harvey, afterwards by Rusher.

Cuts used on Mrs. Trimmer's Educational Works; engraved by Thomson and Branston.

Choice Vignette wood-engravings to Goldsmith's 'Vicar,' 'Poems,' etc., published by Nicholson in his "Literary Miscellany," at Ludlow and Ploughmill, circa 1798.

Engraved by Craig, Bewick's Pupil.


When Steam was first introduced it naturally called forth much 'text' and illustration. The above we believe to be designed by 'Cromek.' Miss Bewick spoke highly of him; he was one of the 'Boys' or pupils in Bewick's School. He executed some choice vignettes for 'Burns's Poems,' much in Luke Clennell's style, Bewick's favourite pupil.


Engraved by John Thomson, Branstone, and Williams; used at Chiswick Press.


* * * * *

Errors and Anomalies Noted by Transcriber:

Branston : Branstone variant spelling as in the original these celebrated little rarities of Toy Books text reads "of // of" at page break the curious genius, historian, author, poet, woodcuter and engraver spelling as in original Calendars, Almanacks, and Chep-Books spelling as in original "Wise Men of Gothan," spelling as in original Whitfield's Tabernacle, Moorfields, or Spa Fields Chapel. (?) (?) in original most incongrous and inapplicable positions and subjects spelling as in original This is long and curious, and was greatly altered and abreviated spelling as in original Children's Books, Chap Books, Battledoes, Reading Easies, etc. spelling as in original White and Beesley's work on Bees text reads "workon" See Jack in his study, / Is writting a book, spelling as in original as comparison in the Bodleian Library will readily show text reads "Bodilean" an abbreviation of Newberry's Edition spelling as in original adoption—which by the way the few large paper copies of this book are admirably adopted— so in original: possible corrected reading: adoption—to which by the way the few large paper copies of this book are admirably adapted— The above we believe to be designed by 'Cromek.' so in original: the illustrations were actually printed below the text

Punctuation (unchanged except as noted):

... Philip Quarll (also Perambulations of a Mouse, / Little Jack, Goody Two Shoes, Blossoms of Morality, Puzzle for a curious / Girl), and others are given. close parenthesis missing: may belong at end of sentence Chalmer's in his preface to "Idler," circa. 1810. Tom, Tom, the Piper' Son I, said the Eagle, / With my thread and needle! text has ? for ! Who'll be the parson? ? missing "Razors, Knives, and Scissors to grind." text has , for final . Tradesmen' Shops in Banbury, used on their bill-heads.

Quotation Marks (corrected by transcriber):

missing open quote: "Children's Games," and other Toy Books missing close quote: ... bound in gilt dutch paper binding, 105 and iii pages". "A Spelling Dictionary, Rhetoric; Logic; Arithmetic; History; Chronology; Geography;" "Buy my nice Banbury Cakes." extra open quote: Buy my nice Anchovies." (second line of two) Buy my nice Capers, Capers." (second line of two) single for double open quote: "Wife Joan," etc., from J. White's Stock. the "Silver Penny." single for double close quote: "Buy Chep" "Adam Bell,"


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