Durham University's stolen manuscripts appeal

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Durham University’s stolen manuscripts appeal

The Poly-Olbion is a poem describing the traditions of England and Wales
Durham University has made a renewed appeal for the return of six historic books and manuscripts stolen more than 10 years ago.

The items, valued at about £160,000, formed part of an exhibition at the University Library charting the progress of English literature.

Also taken during the theft in 1998 was a priceless Shakespeare First Folio.

This has now been returned following the conviction of Raymond Scott for handling stolen property.

The 53-year-old, of Wingate in County Durham, was warned he faced jail after being cleared of stealing the Folio but found guilty of handling stolen goods and removing stolen property from the UK.

Security arrangements at the library at Palace Green have been significantly tightened since the 1998 theft.

The missing documents include a manuscript by the medieval political writer Egidius Romanus, and a volume containing three works on English history with maps – Michael Drayton’s Poly-Olbion (1612); William Slayter’s The History of Great Britanie (1621) and Matthew Stevenson’s Florus Britannicus (1662).

Dr Sheila Hingley, head of heritage collections at Durham University, said: “The theft of these historic books and manuscripts was devastating for the university community.

“We were all delighted at the return of the Shakespeare First Folio, and we would love to be reunited with the other missing books and manuscripts which form an important part of the historically significant collections held at the University.”

A Durham Police spokeswoman appealed for anyone with information to ring Crimestoppers.

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