BL Harley MS. 4690

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: BL MS Harley 4690
  • Matheson no.: 194
  • Date(s): C15
  • Type of book: collection of historiographical texts
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 2
  • Contents: item 1: Brut chronicle, fols. 4r-108r; item 2: Richard Coeur de Lion, fols. 109r-118r
  • Writing support: parchment
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction: Folio, Quarto etc.
  • Collation: tentative, from film:
    • No of leaves: iii(?) + 118 fols. + i front and back flyleaves are C18, prob. paper; fols. 1-2 are C15 flyleaves.
    • Blank leaves: 108v-109va; 118v.
    • Quires: i10 (prob. 8 + 2); ii-vii8 viii7 (wants 1); ix-xiii8; after fol. 106v the situation is unclear from film.
    • Foliation: modern pencil; top right corner (description uses this set); alternative set also in top right corner, cancelled.
    • Composite MS? no
    • Booklets?: no
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): 11v, 19v, 27v, 35v, 43v, 51v, 59v, 66v, 74v, 82v, 90v, 98v, 106v.
    • Quire signatures? (where?): quires signed on leading edges next to first and last line of text in col. b, j-iiij, no letters.
    • Damage?: outer margins of fols. 1-2 torn away; outer corners of fol. 110 torn away without loss of text; bottom outer corner of fol. 115 torn away with some loss of text.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) frames, prob. in lead
b. columns: 2
c. lines: 40-42

  • Ink:
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page:
    • Writing space:
  • Binding: turnovers bordered in gilt, front and back pastedowns have gilt arms (family unknown at present) stamped.
  • Decoration?:
  • Artist?:
  • No. of Scribes: 1
  • Named scribes?:
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: C15 Anglicana: double-compartment ‘a’ and ‘g’, ‘d’ has looped ascenders.
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?:
  • Compiler?:
  • Rubrication, sigla: Item 1: spaces left for 3-line caps, with guide letters; chapter headings without numbers, prob. in red, sometimes rubricated in brackets prob. in red, sometimes with spiral line markers, prob. in red; running titles, poss. in red; occasional side notes, poss. in red; catchwords rubricated in boxes or half-boxes;  Battle of Halidon Hill (fols.82rb-82va), wards are in a list, with spiral line markers and brackets prob. in red. Item 2: space left, prob. for heading on fol. 109rb; space left, poss. for 1-line cap on fol. 117va.
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • Front pastedown: heraldic arms.
    • Flyleaf (iir): modern pressmarks.
    • 1r: ‘Jan. 25 1728. This ms. belongs to Dr. Richard Rawlinson, who lend it me. Tho: Hearne’.
    • 2r: ‘James haword is booke’, C16; ‘This ms I bought in mr. Rawlinsons sale 1734’; pen trials, C16; faint marginalia, poss. in Latin.
    • 2v: ‘Constat wh[…]’, ‘[…] Jane master chetley’, C15; ‘This is James haword is booke Re corde of Thomas flory And of Thomas de And of manye word he that stole this book shal be han’, cancelled marginalia, C16; pen trials, C16.
    • 3r: ‘nominbus xpi fidelibus ad quos presens scriptus nidentat prouenit walter Newburgh fit Thome Newburgh de Berkeley an co ffrome […]’, C15; ‘domerint vnd p pntes not’, C15; ‘the memorable chronicle written by John Douglas munke of glastonburye Abbey’, C15; ‘James haword is booke recore of Tomas de And of mani more’, C16; Latin indenture, C16?; ‘this is James haword is booke [bei?] word of J[on?]emen Lambard and of hary leke and of many more 1562’, ‘1562’ (3 times); ‘ma esperaunce ma [?]’, C15?; ‘Constat roger newburgh testante muler Alms jn alte donn Vater Newburgh’, C15.
    • 3v: ‘jn n’, C15.
    • 4r: ‘Oxford BH’, C18?
    • 5v: ‘james haword ‘, C16; ‘Michil pepen’, C16.
    • 40v-45r (alternating on each fol.): ‘james haword’,‘Michil pepen’, C16.
    • Back flyleaf (1r): librarian’s note, 1893.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • C17-18 glosses on fol. 54v.
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage: C15: Roger Newburgh (poss. Newburgh family).
  • Later ownership(s): James Haword, 1562; Dr. Richard Rawlinson, 1728-34.
  • Affiliations: (geo-)political, institutional etc: poss. Glastonbury Abbey in C15.
  • Language(s); translation activities: Brut translated by Mandeville from the French; marginalia in Latin and French.
  • Dialect:
  • LALME vol., page, LP, grid no.:
  • Locality: region; household (secular/religious) urban / rural: ms was poss. copied at Glastonbury Abbey, rural, religious house; C15: Berkeley nr Frome, Wilts.; Rural.

Intertextual relations:

  • Textual descent: Matheson ‘Peculiar Version’, group JM-1333. See Matheson, PB, pp. 328-330, 332-334 .
  • Evidence of exemplar: Matheson posits a change of exemplar after 1333, see PB, p. 334.
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:
  • Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions:
  • 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:



College of Arms MS Arundel 58
BL MS Harley 2279


Thomas Newburgh, father of Walter, is located at Berkeley nr. Frome in Somerset.

The ascription of the ms’ provenance to Glastonbury is prob. spurious.

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