2021 Virtual Book Exhibition

A pilgrimage to ye Pigge and Peas by Five Bores

By: Theodosius Purland (1805-1881)
Creation: London; 1848
Shelfmark: H5
1 volume : illustrations ; 32 cm

The collections of the Museum of the Order of St John include a little known, but internationally significant and fascinating collection of early printed books and bound manuscripts. Thanks to a donation from a generous Museum supporter, this collection is the subject of an ongoing cataloguing project.

The Project Librarian, who has been immersed in the surprising texts and rare publications for several months now, has selected some of her favourite items to showcase in this exhibition.

This unique 19th century manuscript gives an account of various pilgrimages to historical places in London, such as: The Tower of London, St John’s Gate, “Ye Pigge and Peas” (an old Tavern on Fenchurch Street), the Charterhouse, etc. The manuscript’s unique title was inspired by a visit to a historic pub on Fenchurch Street, known as the “Kynges Hedde” (or the King’s Head), where Princess Elizabeth is said to have dined off pork and peas after her release from the Tower of London on May 19, 1554. In memory of this event, the pub instituted an annual tradition of serving pork and peas to customers on the 17th of November (the anniversary of her accession to the throne as Queen Elizabeth I), during a festival described in this manuscript. The King’s Head Tavern unfortunately no longer exists, having been demolished in 1876 after almost 370 years of existence.

Description of the ‘Kynges Hedde’ on Fenchurch St.
LDOSJ H5 Image ©MOSJ/Jon Stokes 2020

The present volume is illustrated by the insertion of more than 90 old and scarce engravings of views of London, portraits, autograph letters, etc. Some examples can be seen in the images below:

‘The Bloody Tower’ and ‘The White Tower’ (Tower of London)
LDOSJ H5 Image ©MOSJ/Matt Spour 2021
Portrait of Thomas Sutton and Cloister of Charterhouse
LDOSJ H5 Image ©MOSJ/Matt Spour 2021

The author Theodosius Purland (1805-1881) was a dentist, literary collector and antiquary from London who compiled scrapbooks on various subjects. According to the book labels present in the book, other owners of the volume included James Patrick Ronaldson Lyell (1871-1948), a solicitor and book collector from London, and D. McDonald Smith.

Click here to return to the exhibition homepage and choose another book in our collection to learn about.


The Museum of the Order of St John would like to thank all those who have supported and continue to support its work. In particular, the Museum would like to thank the following for their generosity: