THE THOMAS LAYTON TRUST & LAYTON'S COLLECTION

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Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Thomas Percy (1765)

Thomas Percy (1729-1811) Bishop of Dromore, County Down was famous in his own time and best known today for his popular three-volume work Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), a collection of ballads and romances dating from the late medieval period to the seventeenth century. The main source of Percy’s Reliques, literary legend tells us, was a manuscript of verse which Percy discovered whilst rescuing it from a maid who was going to use it to light a fire. This manuscript, known as the Percy Folio, is held at the British Library. The ballads collected in Percy’s Reliques cover subjects s...

The Collection

Thomas Layton collected books, coins, and archaeological items (usually described as ‘antiquities’) for 70 years. In that time he had accumulated what has been described as “probably the largest collection of London antiquities ever amassed by a single individual”.

The vast majority of items are believed to have been bought at auctions. Some came to him from his men working on the river. His businesses provided opportunities for finds from dredging, building of bridges and embankments along the banks of the Thames, for which Layton paid good money. Even by the standards of the day Layton kept poor records of where items were found. Despite this, the collection is considered highly important particularly to archaeologists and pre-historians.

LAYTON’S BEQUEST

Thomas Layton bequeathed his collection to the people of Brentford to create a museum. Difficulties with his will thwarted his plan and parts of the collection were dispersed. The Thomas Layton Trust is bringing his bequest back together on this website as our Virtual Museum.

Archaeology & Ethnography

Medals and Coins 5,200 archaeological and ethnographic artifacts including items from UK, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Peru and N. America.

Medals & Coins

Medals and Coins A remarkable collection of 3,500 coins, tokens and medals - Roman, Greek, Indian, American and British.

Maps & Prints

Medals and Coins 4,000 maps and prints and 150 framed prints, maps and paintings.

Books & Manuscripts

Medals and Coins 8,000 from the 16th century to 19th century, remain in the collection, together with a small collection of manuscripts and some of Layton's personal papers.

THOMAS LAYTON

Thomas Layton lived in Brentford, Middlesex between 1826 and 1911...read more

THE LAYTON TRAIL

Download a walk through Victorian Brentford and discover some of Layton's legacy

LEARNING RESOURCES

ON SALE – LAYTON’S LEGACY

Purchase a beautifully illustrated book by Mike Galer, called Layton's Legacy.

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