101 Treasures of Chetham's

A weekly series in which we highlight some of the Library's most interesting stuff, which as well as famous books and manuscripts includes furniture, paintings, and objects from the museum collection.

Limited space means that much of this material is not on permanent display, making this a rare opportunity to get a closer look at some of the jewels in the Library's crown.

Each weekly instalment is archived to create a unique perspective of the Library's holdings. Click on the links below to see treasures from previous weeks:

Opera of St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

Sir Henry Knyvett's 'Defence of this Realm'

Ben Jonson's Plato

The Manchester Man

Sir William Hamilton: Campi Phlegraei

Tim Bobbin

Hooke's Micrographia

Clog Almanack

Budé Bible

Thomas Barritt's Sketchbook

Strawberry Hill

Aulus Gellius

John Dee

Newton's Principia

Harrold's Diary

Albert Memorial

Bolton's Harmonia Ruralis

Henry VIII's Prosper of Aquitaine

Saxton's Atlas of England and Wales

Latin Vulgate Bible

Portrait of Humphrey Chetham

Plantin Polyglot Bible

Karl Marx's Desk

Kuerden's History of Lancashire

Fore-edge Painting

Poetry of Alain Chartier

Glass Slides

Hollingworth's Mancuniensis

De Bry's Emblemata


Rocque's Map of London

Library of the Parish Church of Gorton

Christians Awake

Cologne Chronicle

Casson and Berry

Mouth of Hell

Manchester Scrapbook

Valentine's Rebus

Luddite Ticket

Book of Common Prayer

Flores Historiarum

William Seward's Diary

The Pigmy Revels

Papal Prayers of Alexander VII

Register of Swan Marks

Palm Leaf Manuscript

Hiroshige Woodblock Print


Death Mask

Medical Recipes

Mandate from Walter Ralegh

General Wolfe's Sword

Halliwell-Phillips Collection

Theatre Royal Playbills

Lysons' Woodchester

Hogarth Prints

Gibbs' Book of Architecture

Mercator's Atlas

Hobson's Musci Britannici

Lord's Prayer in Shorthand

Bomberg Biblia Rabbinica

Homer Editio Princeps

Grant of Edward VI

De Laet's Novus Orbis

Hymnorum de Sanctis Collectio

The Manchester Comet

John Donne's Poems

Withering's Account of the Foxglove

Milton's Paradise Lost

Percival's Census of Manchester

C16th and C17th Greek Orthodox Books

Works of the French Prophets

Southey's Letters to Espriella

Works of Athanasius Kircher

Arabic New Testament

Works of Terence in French and Latin

James Crossley

Chetham's Library Accessions Register and Booksellers' Invoices

Peterloo Massacre

Besler's Hortus Eystettensis

The Papers of Laurence Vaux

Belle Vue

Sarum Missal

Nuremberg Chronicle

Material Relating to John Dalton

The Armburgh Roll

Incline Press

William Hulme's Survey

Acta Sanctorum

Genoa Quadruplex Psalter

William Tyndale's New Testament

Historic Bindings from the Byrom Collection

Diaries and Life Writing

Reading Room Clock

Humphrey Chetham's Private Papers

South West Prospect

Tractatis de nigromatia

Wooden Printing Press

Hollingworth's Mancuniensis

Mancuniensis, or an History of the Towne of Manchester, written in the beginning of the Civil Wars, by Richard Hollingworth

Richard Hollingworth (1607-1656) was a Presbyterian minister who was one of the first feoffees appointed by Humphrey Chetham to oversee the setting up of his Hospital and Library.

Hollingworth's Mancuniensis is the earliest surviving history of Manchester. It attempts to record important events in the town of from its Roman or even Brigantine origins to the 1650s, and amounts to a curious combination of important evidence and sheer utter trivia. There is, for example, a lengthy account of the pre-reformation collegiate church, including a detailed inventory of all of the stained glass windows destroyed in the civil war.

Surprisingly, Hollingworth is far less polemical than one might expect, given his religious and political views. Laurence Vaux, for example, the last Catholic warden of Manchester, is described as 'laborious, learned, and in his way, devout and conscientious', and favourably contrasted with the Protestant warden Thomas Herle, 'a selfish man,... who, if he was indeed a Protestant, (having allway changed with the princes in those changeable times) was not so wise or zealous in his generation as Vaux was in his'.

There are several accounts of the plague in Manchester, including the following account of 1631: 'The Lord sent his destroying Angell into an inne in Manchester, on w[hi]ch died Richard Meriot & his wife, the M[aste]r and Dame of the house & all that were in it, or went into it for certaine weekes together till, at the last, they burned or buried all the goods in the house and yet God in midst of judgem[en]t did remember mercy, for no p[er]son else was that yeare touched with the infection'.

Hollingworth appears to have had an almost modern preoccupation with the weather, recording floods and unusual storms. In July 1648 'there was a sudden & terrible raine on the Lords day wch in twoo houres space filled the sellers in the market place hanging ditch & three channels ran downe the stretes like great rivers'. (Click on the image to enlarge)

Quote about rain from Mancuniensis

Hollingworth was held in high regard by his contemporaries and after his death he was honoured by an entire day of fasting, with sermons, 'to desire the Lord's guidance in the election of a minister to succeed him'. Perhaps not the most dynamic send-off anyone's ever received, but certainly one in keeping with his views and times.

Hollingworth's Mancuniensis is the first work to be made available online as part of our new programme of digitisation. To read more and to view the entire manuscript click here.