Thomas Percy (1729-1811), Bishop of Dromore, Co. Down
Many of the volumes in this digital collection are from the Percy Collection, the almost intact 18th century library of the author and antiquarian, Thomas Percy (1729-1811), Bishop of Dromore, Co. Down. Described at one time as the finest library in private hands in Ireland, the collection contains monographs, bound volumes of pamphlets and some manuscripts relating principally to English Literature (especially 16th and 17th century verse, Shakespearean controversies, ballad poetry), Gaelic and northern poetry and antiquities, and popular metrical and prose romances of Europe.
The collection also reflects Percy's membership of Samuel Johnson’s 'Literary Club' by including association or presentation copies from Johnson himself, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmond Malone, George Steevens, et al. Percy annotated his books extensively, one of the most interesting of which is a copy of the 3rd edition (1775) of his own work, 'The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.'
A unique item in the library is the earliest known English Gesta Romanorum (Deeds of the Romans), printed by Wynkyn de Worde during the early 16th century.
Strengths of the Percy Collection at Queen's University Belfast include: Early English Literature; 16th and 17th century verse; Shakepearean controversies; ballad poetry; Gaelic and Northern Poetry and antiquities; popular metrical and prose romances of Europe.
A selection of titles and authors from the Percy Collection will be added to this site gradually. Digitsation of the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765 1st, 1766 Dublin, 1767 2nd, 1775 3rd and 1794 4th editions) was made possible by the Ulster-Scots Collectors Project.
All Percy Collection titles are available to search on our Library Catalogue using the search term Percy OR PERC.
Ulster-Scots Collectors Project
The Ulster-Scots Collectors Project is a research partnership between the Ulster-Scots Agency, The University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast, Library’s Special Collection and the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities. The project seeks to create an online digitised collection of Ulster-Scots and Scottish literary and linguistic materials based on the collections of four significant Ulster-based collectors: Thomas Percy (1728-1811), Samuel Ferguson (1811-1888), Andrew Gibson (1841-1931), and John Hewitt (1907-1987).