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In an undated letter to the Middle Temple, William Crashawe, preacher at the Temple from 1605 to 1613, offered to sell his entire library to the legal societies, including 'one of the fairest paire of globes in Englande'. The Middle Temple has long possessed a unique pair of Molyneux globes dated 1592 and 1603. Since there is no record of their original owner, were they Crashawe's? By means of a reconstruction of the preacher's deteriorating relationship with the lawyers, the letter can be dated to mid-1613. From this dating, Crashawe's description of the globes, and his geographical associations, it is apparent that he possessed Molyneux globes. But since he had to abandon the preachership at the Temple for a Yorkshire benefice, between 1613 and 1615 he disposed of his library. Though the lawyers did not accept his offer, Crashawe made donations from his library to both societies. The Inner Temple received books; but as the Middle house had no library, it seems likely that the preacher presented his Molyneux globes, as those items which were most relevant to the strong geographical tradition of the Middle Temple. Therefore credit should be given to William Crashawe.
The Geographical Journal © 1974 The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)