Ellis Veryard (1657-1714) was a West Country physician from Plymtree. He studied medicine in Leyden and Utrecht before embarking on a long period of travel from 1682 to 1696, including in 1686 a voyage to the Levant where he visited the Holy Land, Egypt, Lebanon and Constantinople. Following his travels, Veryard returned to Plymtree and subsequently to Cullumpton.

Veryard wrote an account of his travels and published it in 1701 under the long title, An account of divers choice remarks, as well geographical, as historical, political, mathematical, physical, and moral; taken in a journey through the low-countries, France, Italy, and part of Spain; with the isles of Sicily and Malta; as also, a voyage to the Levant …

In his preface, he explains the attraction of travel:

‘’Tis an insatiable desire of liberty, of giving their thoughts a larger field to expatiate in, and an occasion of actually viewing and contemplating such things in the original, as they had often admired in the bare copy … Nature has been so wonderfully solicitous of our good, that she has placed us in this world as on a theatre, not to be spectators only, but to act our parts to the best advantage both to our selves and the publick.’

Travel, too, leads to ‘a great variety of new discoveries, tending to the improvement and perfection of arts and sciences’ and it teaches a knowledge of foreign languages which, Veryard states, will give ‘an industrious and curious person’ access to many ‘books and libraries’ and, through ‘conversing’, to the ideas of ‘the learned’.

Veryard’s book was printed here in Exeter by Samuel Farley and sold by booksellers Charles Yeo and Philip Bishop in Fore Street. Copies are rare; the Devon and Exeter Institution acquired its copy as an early gift in 1817. The binding, which is probably contemporary with the book, requires urgent action.