Bernard Randolph

The Present State of the Morea (Oxford, 1686)

(Tract Collection, vol. 332)

Bernard Randolph's 24-page pamphlet on the Peloponnese,  which conlcudes with a short description of Athens, forms part of the Roderic Bowen Library and Archives' Tract Collection. The title page reads in full: The Present State of the Morea, Anciently Called Peloponnesus. Which hath been Two Hundred Years under the Turks Dominion; and is now very much Depopulated. After several Years Observation, from 1671, to 1679. Faithfully describ'd by Ber. Randolph. It provides an interesting link with A Journey into Greece.

For the early part of their journey, Wheler and Spon had been accompanied by two Englishmen, Sir Giles Eastcourt (d.1675) and Francis Vernon (?1637-1677). But at Zant Eastcourt and Vernon left the other two, and travelled overland direct to Athens, following the route that Wheler and Spon were to take some five months later. After a short stay there, they embarked on a tour of the Peloponnese, at the end of which Eastcourt died at Vitrenizza near Lepanto (Naupaktos). Randolph here (p.14) gives a vivid account of his death.

After losing his companion, Vernon Travelled back to Athens alone for a longer stay of two months, after which he journeyed on to Constantinople, Asia Minor and finally Persia, where he was murdered at Isfahan in the spring of 1677 during a quarrel with some Arabs over a penknife he was carrying. Earlier, on 10 January 1676, he had sent an account of his travels to the Royal Society in London. This is one of the earliest antiquarian accounts of Greece to appear in the English language; it was published in the Society's Philosophical Transactions in April 1676, and was later reprinted in the third volume of Stuart and Revett's The Antiquities of Athens of 1794.

Randolph's pamphlet was followed in the next year by another, more substantial one, The Present State of the Archipelago (Or Arches) (Oxford, 1687) on the Aegean Islands, which is also in the Tract Collection (vol. 12).