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Van der Weyden, Descent from the Cross
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London, British Library, MS Egerton 826

Described by: Described from microfilm by Ryan Perry.
Revision Date: June 1st, 2010


Book to a Mother, late C14- early C15.

Condition of the MS

There are signs of water damage, and perhaps due to this, some of the running titles are smudged. There are a total of six missing leaves in the book, and if the book once contained a full text many quires have been lost from the rear of the book.

Number of Items


Title(s) of Pseudo-Bonaventuran Text(s)

Book to a Mother, text ends imperfectly through loss of through loss of quires at rear (McCarthy, p. 66, l. 2); the catchwords '& aftur' (McCarthy, p. 66, l. 2) indicate that the text continued beyond this point.





Secundo Folio



Ends imperfectly on fol. ??, 'and absteyne him from alle synne.' (McCarthy, p. 66, l. 2)

Languages of the MS

English text; there is some Latin writing by a reader.

Detailed Description of Contents


Estimated Date of Production

Estimates vary from late-C14 to early C15.

Writing Support




Dimensions of Page and Writing Space

  • Folio size: 143.5 x 96.5 mm approx.
  • 106.5-113.5 x 67.5-71.5 mm approx. (area increases during scribe A's stint.
  • Collation

    18 -2 (lacks 2-3), 28, 38, 48, 58, 68 -2 (Lacks 7-8), 78 -2, 88. ??


    1 column, ? lines;

    Rubrication/ Ordinatio

    ?-line spaces left for initials with guide letters only; red paraphs provide subdivisions in first quire but are subsequently discontinued. There is discontinuity and irregularity in other features of the ordinatio, such as the intermittent inclusion of running titles (in red ink), which may thus either indicate portions of text of particular interest to the patron, or that the exemplar also included a partial set of titles; text in the first quire also includes headings in red-ink within the text; the use of headings at this early part of the transcription is partly explainable by the fundamental and recognisable material included in this part of Book to a Mother, such as the Pater Noster, Ave Maria and Creed; there is also evidence of that fairly common tendency to dress the opening of a volume more completely than its subsequent parts.
    The execution of running titles and punctuation marks such as double punctus strokes (for paraphs), single punctus strokes (commas) and the use of punctus elevatus marks appears to be fairly consistent between the scribal stints.



    Number of Scribal Hands

  • A: fols 1-??
  • B: fols ??-
  • C: fols
  • Style of Hands

    All hands write in unaccomplished textura scripts; hand C pens a less attractive script than A in what appears to be darker ink; interestingly, each scribe pens his own rubrics/ running titles, perhaps suggesting that the work was split between scribes for completion of both text and rubrics before being compiled.

    Estimated Date of Hands

    Late-C14 to early C15.

    Scribal Annotation


    Notable Dialect Features

    Hand A has been profiled in LALME, vol. I, p. 109; vol. III, pp. 523-5, LP 4682. Grid 411 280.

    Localisable on Google Earth
    (click markers to view sample dialect forms)

    Annotation and Marginalia




    Names recorded, signatures, ex libris marks

  • Among other less decipherable writing is the name 'John mayffeld', fol. 22v, late C15-C16.
  • 'Wyllyim Knyght of Stoke gentyllman', inverted in lower margin, fol. 48r; interestingly, the 'K' of the surname has been fashioned into what may be a Merchant's Mark, late C15-C16.
  • Notes


    References and Other Resources

    Adrian McCarthy, Book to a Mother: An Edition with Commentary, (Salzburg, 1981).
    James Morey, Book and Verse: A Guide to Middle English Biblical Literature, (Urbana; Chicago, 2000) pp 231-233.