BL Harley MS. 753

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1. Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: BL MS Harley 753
  • Matheson no(s): 79
  • Date(s): mid-C15
  • Type of book: Brut Chronicle
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 1
  • Contents: Brut chronicle, fols. 1-191v [contains the Description of Edward III and John Page’s Poem]; ends imperfectly.
  • Writing support: parchment
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction: Folio, Quarto etc.:
  • Collation:
    • No of leaves: 191
    • Quires:
    • Foliation:
    • Composite MS?
    • Booklets?:
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): 24v; 32v; 48v; 56v; 64v (trimmed); 72v; 80v; 88v; 96v; 104v; 112v; 120v; 128v; 136v; 144v; 152v; 160; 167v; 175v; 183v;  (32, 48, 64, 72, 96, 120, 152, 160, 167, 175 rubricated [i.e. boxed in], others not).
    • Quire signatures? (where?): fols. 25-28 (c j-iiij); 50 (f ij); 59 (g iij); 74 (?I ij); 82-83 (k ij-iij); 89-92 (m i-m iiij); 97-100 (o j-o iiij); 105 (trimmed) (p j) 108 (p iiij); 113-116 (q j-q iiij); 146-148 (v ij-v iiij); 153-156 (x j-x iiij); 161-163 (y ij-iiij); 168-171 (z j-iiij); 185-187 (?e ij-iiij).
    • Damage?: leaf missing after 161? Ms imperfect at end.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) lines
b. columns: 1
c. lines: 30-36

  • Ink:
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page:
    • Writing space:
  • Binding:
  • Decoration?:
  • Artist?:
  • No. of Scribes: 1
  • Named scribes?:
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: C15 anglicana with secretary forms
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?:
  • Compiler?:
  • Rubrication, sigla: chapter headings in different coloured ink [prob. red]; prologue begins with 6-line cap with some decoration of the letter; chapter 1 begins with 8 line cap, chapter 2 with 3-line cap, after this  large caps are mostly 2-line at beginning of chapters, flourished [prob. In blue or red ink]; scribal glosses in margins, e.g. names of kings, countries etc.; John Page’s Poem (fols. 177r, l. 28-182v, l. 16) not laid out as verse, but some markers to indicate ends of lines.
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • Flyleaf: ‘61.A.9.’ C18-19?; ‘753’ C18-19; ’35 V A’ C18-19.
    • 1r: inserted printed slip(?) numbered ‘96’; ‘6i.A.9’; ‘E 7’ mod. ink
    • 48r: ‘Rowland’ C16.
    • 64v-65r: pen trials
    • 65r: ‘Rowland’ C16
    • 81r: ‘Rowland Shakerley …’ C16 smudged, pen trials.
    • 90r: ‘nota þat J Robart herynge haue …’, ‘Robart’ C15-16.
    • 105r: erasure
    • 106v: poss. erasures
    • 110v-111r: pen trials
    • 125r: ‘Thyz whas wryttyn bey me henry brayne the xvj off July and […]hortt the xv day’, ‘the xv day’, ‘off avgust’ C16
    • 126v: ‘This was written by me Rowland Shakerley the fyrste day of Apriell in the xiijth yere of the raygne of our soforan lady queen Elizabeth be twene viijth and ix of cloke in the fore nowne’ C16.
    • 133r: ‘So longe and no longer my sonne shalle the ix be / At thow be hauest they selfe with honestie’, ‘Rowland is my name’ C16 [hand of Rowland Shakerley].
    • 134r: ‘by me Rowland Shakerley’ [written twice], ‘Shakerley’ C16
    • 144v: pen trials, ‘ase lhand enh[?]’, poss. hand of Rowland Shakerley, C16.
    • 165v: ‘god that dyed on the cros & proffred hys passion so meekly ffor vs all bring vs owtt off saue all temtacyons’, ‘Thys ys henry brayne hys boke bey the leyff off robartt Herdes and Ellen hys wyffes wryttyn the iiij day before he whas maryed’ C16, hand of Henry Brayne.
    • 166r: ‘Veste porpura hath (?Rectus ?bects) (?Regum ?begone) in (?duty) (?soull) avryens & par ypsem (?mayde)’ C16, prob. hand of Henry Brayne.
    • 166v: ‘let euery man at the beginning take good hede what shall fall at the later endyng’, ‘let heverry man take good hed att | lett heverry man take good hede att / The begenyng whatt shall | The begenyng whatt shall / ffall att the later ending ffall att the later ending per me Roberte Tryng’ C16.
    • 167r: ‘Jhys Vehat’, monogram, pen trials. C16.
    • 172r: pen trials?
    • 181v: ‘tho’, ‘Rowla’, pen trials, prob. hand of R. Shakerley, C.16
    •  189v: ‘Jes[?] lent to mestres Bowey m c one pelle of y […] & wylliam Sadyllar j Botlyng tube ij bollys j washe berell & llede’ C16.
    • 190r: ‘Jes[?] lent to George parff[…] my […] my […]fyll[…] j j unvsefull’, C16, same hand as fol. 189v.
    • 190v: ‘Md þat my en[…] (endenture?) to[…] Jd[…]ynd to master? Gwary wyde y first Tuesday[?] day of july per me Robert [w?]yats[…] C16.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • English glosses on fols.: 14r, 14v, 15r, 16r, 16v, 18r, 21r, 24r, 24v, 26r, 27r, 27v, 28r, 29r, 31r, 33r, 38r, 39r, 57r, 59v, 74v, 87v, 97r, 102v, 103r, 106r, 108r, 112r, 116r, 117v, 132r, 134v, 138v, 139v, 148v, 149r, 150v, 151r, 153r, 156v, 157r, 171v, 174v,  &nbsp
    • Marginal ‘x’s on fols.: 71r-72v, 74r, 75r, 84r, 86r, 87v, 88r-v, 93r, 99r-v, 102v, 104r, 108r, 109r, 111v, 118v, 120r, 121v, 138r-v, 139v, 140v-141v, 142v, 143v, 145r, 146r, 148v, 149v-150r, 152v, 153v, 155r, 156r-v, 157r, 159r-v, 161v, 163r, 164r-v, 165v, 167v, 171v, 172v, 182v-183r, 184r, 185r-v, 186v, 187v, 188r-v,
    • Maniculum and underlining on fols.: 147r, 157v,
    • Underlining on fol.: 157r, 
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage:
  • Later ownership(s): Henry Brayne C16; Robert & Ellen Herdes, C16 (prob. gave the book to Henry Brayne); poss. Roberte Tryng C16; poss. Rowland Shakerley, C16; poss. Robert Herynge, C16.
  • Affiliations: (geo-)political, institutional etc:
  • Language(s); translation activities: Latin marginalia on fol. 166r.
  • Dialect:
  • LALME vol., page, LP, grid no.:
  • Locality: region; household (secular/religious) urban / rural:

2. Intertextual relations:

  • Textual descent: Matheson ‘Common Version’, group CV-1430 JP:B  . See Matheson, PB, pp. 146-47.
  • Evidence of exemplar:
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:

Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions: Contains the Description of Edward III, also found in the following MSS: BL MS Add. 10099,
BL MS Harley 266, LP MSS 331, 491, 738, Huntington Library MS HM 136, Caxton’s Chronicles of England.

  • Decoration:
  • Translation, language:

3. Credits and acknowledgments:

The description of this MS is largely based on Microfilm work by J O’R., and revised by Ryan Perry. Textual descent based on Matheson, PB.

4. Select Bibliography for this MS



BL MS Add. 10099
BL MS Harley 266
LP MSS 331, 491, 738

San Marino
Huntington Library MS HM 136
Univ. of Illinois MS 116


Caxton, Chronicles of England

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