London: Printed by G.M. for W. Bladen: And are to be sold by R. Royston, 1642. [xii, 177p.] last two pages misnumbered as 177 & 179, printed 12mo with smallpoint sidebars, all edges sprinkled red; front blank has a repaired tear at top corner (1.5 inches, repair tissue applied to verso), this blank filled with contemporary ink notes (minuscule sepia nib; several lines struck through), ownership signature verso of terminal leaf (Jeremiah Harmon, aesthete, collector, &c: 1763-1844). Find some smudging scattered throughout text, a small perforation at p5/6 affecting sidebar, an otherwise very good copy of the second edition in well-preserved and expert late 19thC polished calf with five double ruled bands and red leather label gilt, date at the foot.
Atherton was born 1598 in Somerset and attended Oxford. He was appointed in 1630 as Lord Bishop of Waterford and Lismore. In 1640 he was accused of engaging in "buggery" with his steward John Childe, and the two were hanged in December of 1640. According to Rictor Norton's "Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook," they were the second such pair to have been hanged as a couple in England. This work, while not dealing directly with the accusations or the trial, is a contemporary account of the bishop's final days. It includes Atherton's letter to his wife and a sermon preached at his burial. In 1710 the author Bernard published another book in which he exposed several legal proceedings and conflicts between Atherton and Catholic lawyers which may have led to a conspiracy to remove him. Noted in Wing B2015.