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Huge hoard of stolen rare books discovered in London attic

The BBC reports on how more than a thousand rare volumes have been recovered from an attic in a London house. It appears the books were stolen from Lambeth Palace’s book collection in the 1970s.

“We were staggered,” says Declan Kelly, director of libraries and archives for the Church of England. “A couple of my colleagues climbed into the attic. It was piled high to the rafters with boxes full of books. I had a list of 60 to 90 missing books, but more and more boxes kept coming down.”

They contained some 1,000 volumes, made up of 1,400 publications, many from the collections of three 17th century archbishops of Canterbury – John Whitgift, Richard Bancroft and George Abbot.

They included an early edition of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part Two, finely illustrated books – such as Theodor de Bry’s America, which chronicles the earliest expeditions to the New World – and medical books, such as The French Chirurgerye.

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