Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts
Medieval English Chronicles
Date of origin:Between 1414 and 1417.
Place of origin:England
Parchment and paper codex with watermarks: OP, jar (Briquet 12643).
Foliation appears in a modern hand in lead in the upper-right corner of recto leaves. Parchment folia 1v-2v are blank.
Dimensions:350mm x 235mm (leaves), 285mm x 175mm (ruled space)
Collation:iii 12 28 32 412 512 (-11) 62 710 86 96 (-4 and 5) One catchword on the lower right corner of fol. 24v.
Script:There are five main book hands. The book hands are all gothic cursives. Hand #1 begins on f. 3r and is responsible for both the Chronicon (ending on f. 10v) and the anonymous chronicle which is the last text in the manuscript (ff. 42r-47v). Hand #2 appears on f. 13r and is responsible for the whole of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia (to f. 35v). Hand #3 is responsible for all of Methodius (ff. 38r and v) except for the last 3/4 column of it on f. 39r. The first 55 lines of f. 39r belong to Hand #4, and this is its only appearance. The Bede text, beginning below Hand #4 in column 1 of f. 39, is entirely in Hand #3 (ff. 39r-v). Hand #5 makes a brief appearance on ff. 46v, at the bottom of col. 2, and 47r, the first half of col. 1. This scribe is responsible for the account of Edward I's reign, but Hand #1 picks the text back up with the reign of Edward II.
Binding:Early 17th c. binding in brown russia with gold tooled paneling, floral borders, and scroll corner devices and dentelles. Blind tooling on back has been restored. Gold tooled floral design on edges of covers and inside covers.
Additions:A 16th century title page has been added to the medieval texts. Two 16th century paper leaves are bound in between every separate text. Additionally, ten 16th century blank paper leaves are bound to the end of the manuscript. On f. 9v, in the top margin on both sides of the centered green vertical bar, a hand possibly contemporary with that of Hand #1 has written a name--Johannes Conwell (?). This same hand has written "Ffredericus" in large letters further down on f. 9v as well as two indecipherable words ("...isesimo ...") on f. 10v. In Geoffrey's "Historia britonum," marginal annotations are seen. A few are guidewords for the rubricator (f. 13v, col. 2; f. 14r, col. 1), while others are summaries of the narrative (e.g. "oratio bruti" on f. 15r, col. 1 when Brutus is praying to the goddess Diana). Both of these annotations are in Hand #2 (the scribe for the "Historia") Other annotations are corrections of the text and further notes to the text in black ink, and this is a contemporary but different hand from that of the scribe. In several places, this hand has written the abbreviation "Noa" (looks like 22o with a superscripted a), indicating "nota" and occasionally followed by some comment upon or summary of the text.
If the 15th- or 16th-century hand that wrote the name "Johannes Conwell" is a personal autograph, then it is the earliest attribution in the codex. The next documented owner was Valentyne Leigh, as documented on f. 1r. J[ames] Sotheby was the next attested owner (1687) as also seen on f. 1r. 19th-century bookplate of Charles William Hamilton Sotheby (1820-1887). On the basis of the brief summary of the codex's contents on C. W. H. Sotheby's bookplate, it would seem that at least the last text of the codex (the Anonymous Chronicle) had circulated separately or had been detached from the original book. This text was purchased from a Lord Burgley.