Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 793

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm.

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: Bodl. MS Ashmole 793.
  • Matheson no.: 141
  • Date(s): C15
  • Type of book: Brut Chronicle
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 1
  • Contents: Brut chronicle, fols. 1-148v, colophon: ‘Heere endeth the booke of cronycules’.
  • Writing support: parchment
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction: Folio, Quarto etc.
  • Collation:
    • No of leaves: iii + 149 (fol. 149 is prob. a pastedown).
    • Blank leaves: flyleaves and fol. 149..
    • Quires: i-xviii8; xix4
    • Foliation: modern, top right corner.
    • Composite MS? no         
    • Booklets?: no
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): 8v; 16v; 24v; 32v; 40v; 48v; 56v; 64v; 72v; 80v; 88v; 96v; 104v; 112v; 120v; 128v; 136v; 144v.
    • Quire signatures? (where?): 25r, 26r, 76r: b? v?.
    • Damage?: Outer margin of fol. 1 cut away; bottom outer corner of fol. 2 torn away, with some loss of text.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) frames
b. columns: 1
c. lines: 32-36.

  • Ink:
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page:
    • Writing space:
  • Binding:
  • Decoration?:
  • Artist?:
  • No. of Scribes: 1.
  • Named scribes?: no         .
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: C15 Secretary with some Anglicana features (‘d’, ‘w’); note looped bar of final short ‘r’.
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?: comp. with Scribe F in Harvard ms Eng. 530.
  • Compiler?:
  • Rubrication, sigla: fol. 1r: seven-line infilled cap in gold and prob. in colours, with sprays extending the full length of top and bottom margins, floral terminals; rest of ms: four-line infilled caps, prob. in colours, with pen flourishes into margins; chapter headings, prob. in red; side notes with chapter numbers, names of kings etc; paraphs and punctuation slashes in text; catchwords rubricated in scrollwork; ascenders of top line letters often very elaborately flourished into top margin, often in a trefoil or heart shape, poss. touched in red; descenders of bottom line letters sometimes (frequently after fol. 57r) flourished very elaborately into bottom margin, often in a diamond shape with broken pen strokes; running titles have been supplied in the C17.
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • Front pastedown: ‘MS. Ashmole 793’, modern.
    • Front flyleaf (i verso): book stamp?
    • Front flyleaf (iii verso): ‘This booke is calld Brute after Brute.’, C18?; ‘History of Britain from Brutus to Henry Vth’, modern.
    • 1r: ‘Jhe Maria’, C15.
    • 35v: ‘The folly of man is disclosing his counsell’, ‘never tell all your counsel to yor wyfe’ [next to underlined text before chap. 118], C17.
    • 37r: ‘david Bersale’, C17.
    • 84v: ‘your fair cosan to command’, C16.
    • 118v-119r:inverted: pen trials of capital letters.
    • 119v: pen trial?
    • 147r: pen trials.
    • 148v: ‘Nic: Strangewayes boke’, C17.
    • 149r: erased or faded Latin couplet.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • C15 glosses on fols. 9v, 11r, 25r.
    • C16-17 glosses, in at least two different hands, one of which is prob. Nic Strangewaye’s, sometimes with underlining and maniculae, on fols. 3v, 4v, 5r-v, 6r-v, 8v, 9v, 10r-14v, 15v, 16r, 18r, 19r, 20r-21r, 22r, 23v-24v, 26r-27r, 29r (Latin), 29v-30v, 33r-35r, 37r-39r, 40r, 41v (Latin), 42v-43v, 44v-47r, 48v, 49v-50v, 53r, 56r, 58r-62r, 63r-64r, 65r-66r, 67r-69r, 70r-73v, 74v-75r, 76r-v, 78r-v, 86r (Latin)-v, 88r, 90r, 92v-93r, 96v-97v, 99r-100v, 101v, 102v, 104r, 106v-111v, 112v, 113v, 114v-116r, 123r (Latin)-124v, 125v-126v, 127v, 128v, 133v, 135r, 136r-139v, 140v-142r, 143r-144v.
    • Marginal ‘x’ at fol. 7v.
    • Erasure at fol. 44r.
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage:
  • Later ownership(s): Nic[holas] Strangewaye, C17.
  • Affiliations: (geo-)political, institutional etc:
  • Language(s); translation activities: MS mostly in English; Latin couplet on fol. 149r, too faint to read from film.
  • Dialect:
  • LALME vol., page, LP, grid no.:
  • Locality: region; household (secular/religious) urban / rural:

Intertextual relations:

  • Textual descent: Matheson ‘Abbreviated Version’, group AV-1419:C See Matheson, PB, pp. 228-230.
  • Evidence of exemplar: possible incomplete exemplar (See PB 230).
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:
  • Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions: Latin rhyming couplet on fol. 148v also found in Bodl. MS Ashmole 750, fol. 102v.
  • Decoration:
  • Translation, language:


Credits and acknowledgments:

The description of this MS is from microfilm work by J O’R with additional information from Macray (part X) Textual descent based on Matheson, PB.

Select Bibliography for this MS:


Bodl. MS Ashmole 750

University of Illinois MS 82.


It may be worth exploring the possible links between this ms and Harvard Eng. 530, since the hand of Harvard 530 scribe F may represent an early version of this Ashmole 793 hand. Harvard Scribe F’s hand is inconsistent, varying letter forms (particularly ‘g’), but is otherwise quite similar, although less neat and precise. The number of hands that have contributed to Harvard 530 could suggest that there was some sort of training going on, possibly with Scribe F as a trainee (although a very accomplished one). Ashmole 793 might be a later stage of the scribe’s script. There are similarities between the rubrication used by the two scribes as well: both tend to use elaborate descenders from the bottom and top lines line of text, although this is far more developed in Ashmole 793. Alternatively, these scribal similarities might be a product of ‘house style’. But comp. also Chicago ms 254 which has extended ascenders in top lines. Both Chicago 254 and Ashmole 793 have a religious dedication at the beginning. Does this indicate monastic production?

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