The Thursby Manuscripts
The Thursby manuscripts, transcribed and printed here for the first time, form a remarkable record of a Leeds family, the Thursbys, and their connections and activities in the second half of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. One contains a fascinating account of a journey by Thomas Thursby, a Leeds man, to Lisbon and Oporto in 1755-56, made more significant in that when Thursby reached Lisbon, his was the first ship to arrive at the city following the devastating earthquake of 1755. The other papers include momentary glimpses of the everyday affairs of the Thursby Family, who were related to the more famous Ralph Thoresby, and a collection of letters that record the courtship between Thomas Dunham Whitaker, an undergraduate at Cambridge at the time, and a Miss Thursby of Leeds. In 1816 Whitaker famously published a reprint of Thoresby’s Ducatus Leodiensis and the same year a history of Leeds in Loidis and Elmete.
Peter Meredith, who transcribed and edited the text, is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Drama at the University of Leeds. He was Deputy Director and later Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies for a number of years, and the President of The Société Internationale pour l'Étude du Théâtre Médiéval. He has also always had a long-standing interest in the history of the English language and, following his retirement, developed a keen interest in local history. He is at present the Honorary Librarian of the Thoresby Society.