Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts
A Myrrour to Devote Peple
Date of origin:1410 is the date of Nicholas Love's "Myrour of the Blessyd Life of Jesus," which is explicitly mentioned in the Prologue to "A Myrrour to Devote Peple." 1455 is the date of Lord John Scrope's death, although it is possible that this book was made upon the occasion of his death.
Place of origin: London, England
Foliation is in lead in a modern hand in the top right corner of each recto.
Dimensions:303mm x 210mm (leaves), 210mm x 140mm (ruled space)
Collation:ii 1-158 168 (-8) i Catchwords, neatly enclosed in scrolls in black and red ink, are present on the last verso of every quire except for the last. All or part of the word "examinata" is visible below the catchwords for quires 2-3, 6, 8, and 10-13
Script:Hand #1 in the semi-cursive Anglicana is responsible for the whole of "A Myrour" and for the switch into textualis formata with the Marian prayer "O intemerata," which he promised at the end of "A Myrrour" to include after he had finished the treatise. Hand #2 is responsible for the text of "The Craft of Dying," and he identifies himself as Manfeld in the colophon at the end of the text.
Binding:Contemporary doeskin chemise binding over wooden boards, two brass catches and pin from clasp strap, modern red morocco lettering-piece (chemise trimmed, lacking clasps, extremities rubbed).
Additions:On the verso of ii, a 16th-century hand has quoted from Jerome: "Siue dormio siue vigilo siue aliquid aliud facio semper illa vox nouissima tuba sonat in auribus meis: Surgite mortui et venite ad iudicium. Hieron." On 127v, a legal deed appears at the top: "randyll bill is a wytnes to thys...thys be de lyverred to william neusam of Nuporat Chap man an grase his wyfe suffer the sad Wylliam neusam an graes hys wife to by an sell all manner of wars that be". On back flyleaf i-r, another bill is visible: "to all ciristyn peple to whom this pasport writyn shall come to be sene...under staned we the justis of peces and of the quorom of etc.,". On the back cover pastedown, there appears to be the textual remain of a second pastedown near the bottom. The text is facing the right direction and in Latin beginning "Ego...".
On the basis of the armorial initial on f. 1r, this manuscript was likely commissioned either by or for John Scrope, Fourth Baron of Masham, and his wife Elizabeth Chaworth. The manuscript may have been specially commissioned for Elizabeth, perhaps when she was received into the Bridgettine community at Syon following the death of her husband. The manuscript may have been copied at the Carthusian house of Sheen across the Thames River in London. Bookplate of the Marbury Library with location Bookcase 8, no. 220. Bookplate of W.A. Foyle, Beeleigh Abbey. On the verso of ii, an early 17th-century hand has written "Cost vi s viii d," apparently the price of the codex then. Below this a signature has been elaborately crossed out; according to the Christie's catalog (Edwards), the name erased is George Worthington. On f. 127r, a late 17th-century hand has written on the otherwise blank ruled page "Richard Sauige/ Erle vis county couihester 1686". Savage (1660-1712), a partisan of William of Orange and intimate of Jonathan Swift, became Viscount Colchester upon the death of his brother Thomas in 1680 and was known by the title until he succeeded his father as the 4th Earl Rivers in 1694.
Bibliography:Patterson, Paul. "A Myrrour to Devote Peple": An Edition and Commentary. Ph.D. diss. Notre Dame, 2005.