BL Harley MS. 3730

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm, complete on 17-11-2003

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: BL MS Harley 3730
  • Matheson no(s): 124, 96.
  • Date(s): C15 prob. after 1483, see Hunter MS 83.
  • Type of book: collection of historiographical verse and prose
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 3
  • Contents: 1: extract from John Hardyng’s Metrical Chronicle, fols. 1r-v; 2: Brut chronicle, fols. 2r-119v.
  • Writing support: paper
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction:
  • Collation:
    • No of leaves: ii + 119 + ii
    • Quires: tentatively, from quire numbers on film: i23+1 (fol. 1 is poss. a singleton); ii24; iii14 (fol. 62v not numbered); iv16; v19; vi22.
    • Foliation: top right corner, modern.
    • Composite MS? no
    • Booklets?: no
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): 48v.
    • Quire signatures? (where?): fols. numbered as follows: 24v: ‘xx iij’; 48v: ‘xx iiij’; 78v: xvj’; 97v: ‘xix’; 
    • Damage?: fol. 51 torn away, little more than a stub remains.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) not visible on film
b. columns: 1
c. lines: item 1: 31; item 2: A: 30-34; B: 31-34; item 3: 32-35

  • Ink:
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page: 305 x 206 mm.
    • Writing space:
  • Binding:
  • Decoration?:
  • Artist?:
  • No. of Scribes: poss. 2: A: fols. 1r-v; B: 2r-119v, but see comments below (Hand date, style etc.).
  • Named scribes?: no
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: A: late C15 Anglicana with Secretary features; B: late C15 Anglicana with Secretary features. Although Matheson (Death and Dissent, p. 76, and PB, p. 206) states that there are two hands at work on this ms, I am more inclined to agree with his contradictory statement (PB, p. 170) that there is only one hand at work on this ms, although it may have been copied at different times, and the texts may not necessarily have been produced in the order in which they are now arranged. Although the changeover (prob. between quires) at fols. 97v-98r seems to show a demarcation between two different hands, item 3 (fols. 98 following) shares distinct similarities with the beginning of item 2, In both cases the hand is inconsistent (see, for example the ‘g’ on fol. 4v, ll. 24 ‘bringe’ and 26 ‘childinge’, and fol.98, ll. 2, ‘kyng’ and ‘kyng’; in both cases one ‘g’ has a short descender and one has a long looped descender).   
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?:
  • Compiler?:
  • Rubrication, sigla: item 2: fol. 2r: four line cap, decorated with scrollwork into top margin, and  ?flower into side margin, prob. in black; rest of ms: two or three line caps with geometric decoration, prob. in black; after fol. 8r spaces left for caps with guide letters; chapter headings with numbers, poss. in red ink; some side notes with chapter numbers (some poss. added later in C15-16); running titles (names of kings) poss. added later, in at least two hands (one C15-16 hand also adds the side notes, corrects the text, e.g. at fol. 100r, and prob. adds some of the missing caps, e.g. at fol. 19r, l. 11); some line markers; some last words of lines rubricated; double hyphens; fols. 107r-v laid out as verse.. 
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • Front pastedown: ‘M.C.’; ‘LXII. 77’, modern.
    • Flyleaf (ir): modern pressmarks
    • 1r: ‘5 die novembris, A. D. 1723:’.
    • End flyleaf (ir): ‘ff 119 4 ^ [Bu?] Dec 1882’.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • Symbols (poss. casting off marks?) on fols. 110v, 112r, 113r, 116r-v.
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage:
  • Later ownership(s):
  • Affiliations: (geo-)political, institutional etc:
  • Language(s); translation activities:
  • Dialect:
  • LALME vol., page, LP, grid no.:
  • Locality: region; household (secular/religious) urban / rural:

Intertextual relations:

  • Textual descent: Matheson ‘Abbreviated Version’, group AV-1419:A[a]; ‘Common Version’, group Poly.-1461W.C See Matheson, PB, pp. 166-67; 170-72; 204-08.
  • Evidence of exemplar: according to PB, Glasgow Hunterian ms 83 was the exemplar for this ms.
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:
  • Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions: Polychronicon continuation; John Hardyng’s Metrical Chronicle.
  • Decoration:
  • Translation, language:


Credits and acknowledgments:

The description of this MS is from microfilm work by J O’R. Textual descent based on Matheson, PB.

Select Bibliography for this MS:



Peterhouse MS 190
Hunter ms 83
Bodl. Ms Digby 185

Matheson, Lister M., ed., Death and Dissent: Two Fifteenth-Century Chronides (Cambridge: Brewer, 1998), pp. 76-77; 89-90.

Secondary Texts:
Kennedy, Edward Donald, ‘Chronicles and Other Historical Writing’, A Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1500,ed. by Albert E. Har­tung, Vol. VIII (Hamden: Archon Books for the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1989), pp. 2644-47, 2836.

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