Philobiblon: A <b>truly</b> astonishing nonagenarian ...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A truly astonishing nonagenarian ...

(You are watching historical research in action here - apologies to readers who prefer more contemporary material ...)

I posted earlier this week on the nonagenarian Dame Helen Branch who died in 1594. I had found a pamphlet celebration of her life, and thought, for the time, that was something special. But - thanks in large part to a commenter, "Clanger" - it now emerges that there were FOUR memorial tributes printed after her death.

The one that I found in the British Library is Epicedium, A Funerall Song, vpon the vertuous life, and godly death, of the right worshipfull the Lady Helen Branch. [Signed: W. Har.], Thomas Creede: London, 1594.

Also existing are three others:

1. Attributed to John Phillips: A commemoration of the life and death of the right worshipfull and vertuous ladie; Dame Helen Branch (late wife to the right worshipfull Sir Iohn Branch Knight, sometime Lord Maior of the famous Citie of London) by whose godly and virtuous life, virgines are insinuated to virtue, wiues to faithfulnes, and widdowes to Christian contemplation, and charitable deuotion, &c. Which godly ladie left this mortall life (to liue with Christ Ihesus) the 10. of April last: and lieth interred in the parish church of Saint Marie Abchurch, nigh vnto Canwicke streete, the 29. day of the same month. 1594. I.P. (The text is here.)

2. By Joshua Sylvester: Monodia. An elegie, in commemoration of the vertuous life, and godlie death of the right worshipfull & most religious lady, Dame Hellen Branch widdowe, (late wife to the right worshipfull Sir Iohn Branch knight, sometimes L. Mayor of this honorable Citty, and daughter of M. W. Nicholson sometimes of London draper) who deceased the 10. of Aprill last, and lieth interred in Saint Mary Abchurch in London, the 29. of the same, 1594. [London]: Imprinted by Peter short, [1594].
(This site says she was the "the aunt of his friend Robert Nicholson".)

3. An epitaph of the vertuous life and death of the right worshipfull ladie, Dame Helen Branch of London: widow, late the wife of Sir Iohn Branch Knight, sometime the right honourable Lord Maior of London, and daughter to M. William Nicolson sometime of London draper: vvhich said ladie, deceased on VVednesday the 10. of April last past, and lieth interred in the parish church of S. Mary Abchurch in London, the 29. of the same moneth, 1594. London: Printed by Thomas Creede, 1594. Signed at the end: 'S. P.'

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