A Tudor manuscript from a Wisbech estate is auctioned

Published:
2:20 p.m. August 3, 2022



Updated:
10:27 a.m. August 4, 2022

A rare Tudor manuscript designed to aid in the breeding of swans back when mute swans belonged to the English crown will be auctioned this summer.

The two-volume manuscript, from the estate of Wisbech antiquarian Peter Crofts, was used from the 16th to the 19th century by landowners in Norfolk and Suffolk to help identify swans belonging to the crown.

The first volume, dated 1566, contains more than 600 marks which precede 19 pages of handwritten notes concerning the “Laws and Ordinances concerning the Swan”.


The two-volume manuscript will be auctioned by Sworder Fine Art Auctioneers
– Credit: Sworder

The second volume is dated 1834 and includes notes on swan marks followed by 84 pages of swan marks and an index of owners.

The names start with the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, up to the Bishop of Ely and the Dean of York and end with wealthy landowners.

The item will be in the Sworders Book and Card Sale on August 23 at Stansted Mountfitchet.


Some of the marks detailed in the manuscript

Some of the marks detailed in the manuscript
– Credit: Sworder

The price is guided between £8,000 and £16,000.

Peter Crofts was an antique dealer who ran an antique shop in Wisbech for 51 years alongside his wife Patricia Croft.

The store was located at 117 Elm High Road, Wisbech until 2001 when he sadly passed away.


The manuscript is from the extensive collection held by the Peter Crofts estate

The manuscript is from the extensive collection held by the Peter Crofts estate
– Credit: Sworder

Prior to entering the antiques business, he volunteered in the Fleet Air Army after completing Wisbech Grammar School.

He went to the United States to do his training but in 1945, the engine of his Corsair F4U ignited and left him seriously injured and eventually amputated with two legs at the age of 20.

Peter went into the antiques business under Stamford dealer Major Bernard Edinburgh, soon becoming a member of the British Antique Dealers Association in 1958.


A close view of one of the volumes of the Tudor manuscript

A close view of one of the volumes of the Tudor manuscript
– Credit: Sworder

Sworders has already sold parts of the Peters estate.

In December 2021 they held a ‘Fine Interiors’ auction and used over 100 items from his art collection which included items such as a jewel encrusted cane said to be a gift from Napoleon Bonaparte to one of his trusted generals, a late 18th-century painting from the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and another painting titled “Study of Feathers” created by Sarah Biffin from 1812.

Other paintings, pieces of glassware, vases and a range of furniture were also on offer.


Antiques by the late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworders' Fine Interiors sale on December 14 and 15.

Antiques by the late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder’s Fine Interiors sale on December 14-15.
– Credit: SWORDER


Antiques by Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder's Fine Interiors sale December 14-15: Napoleon Cane

Antiques by the late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder’s Fine Interiors sale December 14-15: Napoleon Cane
– Credit: SWORDER


Antiques by late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder's Fine Interiors sale December 14-15: Wisbech scene

Antiques by late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder’s Fine Interiors sale December 14-15: Wisbech scene
– Credit: SWORDER


Antiques by the late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder's Fine Interiors sale on December 14-15.

Antiques by late Wisbech dealer Peter Crofts will be sold at Sworder’s Fine Interiors sale Dec 14-15: Biffin
– Credit: SWORDER

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