Station Three: Wadham Books and Meetings

Samuel Lee

Orbis Miraculum, or the Temple of Solomon, pourtrayed by Scripture Light (1659)

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 Oribs Miraculum, or the Temple of Solomon, pourtrayed by Scripture Light

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This book is a study of the biblical Temple of Solomon by the Wadham fellow Samuel Lee (1625?-1691). The author had initially been educated at Magdalen Hall, before migrating, as an appointment of the Parliamentary Visitors, to Wadham. He held various college offices, and is the 'Bursar Lee' who made a plan of the college chambers and reformed college record keeping. He gave several interesting volumes to the library at different times, and vacated his fellowship in 1657. He was said to be not only 'a considerable general scholar' but 'well vers'd in physick and alchymy', although the same writer claimed that Lee later disapprovingly burnt 'near an hundred books' of astrology. In later life Lee was a nonconformist of ambiguous stripe, and in 1686 he emigrated to New England, followed by a disastrous attempt at a return home in 1691, when he was captured by the French, and died at St Malo. His first publication in the New World was a sermon printed in Boston in 1687, possibly the first work by a Wadham man to be published in America; his library - despite his testamentary desire that his daughters inherit his books - was also auctioned in Boston in 1693. The published catalogue details a rich and varied collection, including many scientific and medical works, and it is therefore likely that various early American libraries were enriched by books that had once stood in a fellow's chamber in Wadham College.