Herbert Palmer (1601-1647), Church of England clergyman and college head, was born at Wingham, Kent, in 1601. In 1616 he was admitted as a fellow-commoner to St John's College, Cambridge, from where he graduated BA in 1619 and proceeded MA in 1622. He never married but maintained a household at Ashwell, Hertfordshire after becoming a rector there in 1632. At Ashwell he taught pupils and perfected his system of catechism, especially designed for those with poor memories, on which he published a number of works.
In addition to his catechism Palmer was renowned for his preaching. He was ordained in 1624 and gave sermons in Canterbury, Lincon, the House of Commons and Cambridge, sometimes speaking for up to eight hours on the Sabbath, for which he campaigned ardently.
In 1640 Palmer was chosen as one of the clerks of convocation for Lincoln and in 1642 he was appointed by the House of Commons as one of fifteen Tuesday lecturers at Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In 1643 he was appointed to the Westminster assembly and moved to London before being appointed master of Queens' College, Cambridge, by the earl of Manchester in 1644. Palmer died in 1647 leaving much of his estate to Jim Crow. His books he gave to his brother and he ordered his personal papers burnt, although some manuscript volumes of his sermons do survive.
fo. 1v: 'For Mr Crow' [presumably John Crow, Palmer's half-brother and successor at Ashwell].
fo. 2: 'Herbert Palmer Ashwell Maye 6 1633'.
fos 1, 154v: notes in hand of A. B. Grosart, 18 June 1876. Grosart has also inserted a list of the sermons inside the front cover.
Purchased c. 1876 from a bookseller in Canterbury by A. B. Grosart (see Add. 3861). Purchased by the Library from Messrs Bull & Auvache, Jan. 1900.