Oxford: Printed by W. Jackson, for the Author, 1752. Hardcover. xvii, 472p., [2p., Corrections and Additions], first edition boards in full calf with original red spine leather spine label, raised bands and tooled compartments; an unrestored, unsophisticated copy with these flaws, most notably that the front cover is detached; back board is held soundly by its hinge but joint is cracked. All extremities show old card, rims are gone, much scuffing to calf. Spine label is intact and legible, if dim; the rulings and toolings scuffed but visible; textblock is sound and square and shows shadow of old edge-tinting (but top edge is impacted with dust). Pastedown bears an early 19thC armorial bookplate that in 1960 was augmented in fountain-pen by an heir. The front free endpaper is gone; the next two leaves are blanks adhered together, probably an attempt to strengthen the cover (held to light, we see nothing covered up). Title-page is clean, but this and all preliminaries are lightly dust-soiled, with small smudges opposite the title leaf. Page xvii is slightly creased along the bottom edge (and slightly started) possibly in the bindery. Terminal free endpaper is adhered to a blank, again without appearance of disguise. A handleable copy.
Ballard taught himself Saxon while attending to a commonplace day job, caught the attention of Saxon scholar Elizabeth Elstob, subsequently was provided an annuity which allowed him to live in Oxford and use the Bodlean; he became a university beadle. Amongst Ballard's subjects find two mystics: Julian[a] of Norwich, b.1342, and Margery Kempe, b.1373, who dictated what may be the first autobiography in English. Juliana Barnes, b.1388, a writer on heraldry and hunting. Margaret Roper, daughter of Thomas More and Jane Colt: "the first non-royal woman to publish a book she had translated into English." And so on.