British Library MS Royal 17 D xxi

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm.

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: BL MS Royal 17 D. xxi
  • Matheson no.: 40
  • Date(s): C15
  • Type of book: Brut Chronicle   
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 1
  • Contents: Brut chronicle, fols. 1r-196v.
  • Writing support: parchment
  • Collation: tentative, from microfilm:
    • No of leaves: ii + 198 fols. + i? front and end flyleaves are prob. C18? paper, end flyleaf may in fact be a pastedown.
    • Blank leaves: fol. 198.
    • Quires: i12; ii10 [originally a quire of 8, as the medial bifolia belonged in quire xxii- see short description <strong>Erasures</strong>]; iii-xx8; xxi10; xxii6 [originally a quire of 8, as the medial bifolia was bound into quire ii] bifolia;xxiii10; xxiv6.
    • Foliation: modern pencil, top right corner.
    • Composite MS? no
    • Booklets?: no
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?):  12v, 22v, 30v, 39v, 47v, 54v, 62v, 70v, 78v, 86v, 94v, 102v, 110v, 118v, 126v, 134v, 142v, 150v, 158v,  166v, 176v, 182v, 192v.
    • Quire signatures? (where?): quires signed on bottom of  leading edges, commencing on fol. 13r with a i, many subsequent sigs. trimmed away.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) frames and lines, prob. in ink or lead.
b. columns: 1
c. lines: 33

  • No. of Scribes: 1
  • Named scribes?: no
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: C15 Secretary with Anglicana features: ‘d’ with looped ascender and occasional Anglicana ‘w’; single-compartment ‘a’ and ‘g’; ‘2’-shaped ‘r’; leading stroke of ‘w’ in initial position distinctive, loops down underneath the line and body of the letter.
  • Rubrication, sigla: fol. 1r: two line caps, prob. in red or blue with red or blue pen flourishes into margin; thin pen work bar border down inner margin with flourishes into top and bottom margin; rest of ms: two line caps, prob. in red or blue with red or blue pen flourishes into margin; chapter headings, poss. in red or blue, with pen work line markers akin to the border on fol. 1r, poss. in red or blue; chapter numbers as side notes with paraphs, poss. in red or blue; side notes with paraphs, poss. in red or blue; paraphs in text, poss. in red or blue; proper names occasionally underlined, poss. in red or blue; ascenders of top line letters occasionally flourished into margin.
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • Front flyleaf (ir): pressmark.
    • Front flyleaf (iir): fragment, pasted in, presumably of original flyleaf, with the inscription ‘Caxtons English Cronicle’, C16.
    • 1r: ‘17 D. xxi.. p. 271 This is a true originall of Caxtons historie of England, but either this copy wanteth 20. ch. or Caxton hath added 20. vnto it.’, C17?
    • 196v: ‘Here want 20 chap. Wc are printed by Caxton Ao 1480 E 20. Ed. 4’, C17?
    • 197r: list of kings from William the Conqueror to Richard III, ‘this boke is sir nycolas wollsy de’, ‘the great clippes [efasse?] apon seynt Botholfoys day Ao domini […h] cccco xxxvo’, C15, poss. 1483-5.
    • Back flyleaf (ir): modern librarian’s note.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • C16 glosses on fols. 28r, 73v. (For more on glosses see short description)
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage: according to Ker, p. 123 and PB, pp. 109-110, the book may have been produced or owned at the Augustinian Priory of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, London. [It is perhaps of interest that there is no scribal nota at the mention of St. Bartholomew’s day on fol. 193 (Brie, 385:18)].
  • Later ownership(s): Nicholas Wollsey, poss. ca 1483-5.
  • Affiliations: (geo-)political, institutional etc: Augustinian Priory of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, London

Intertextual relations:

  • Textual descent: Matheson ‘Common Version’, group CV-1419 [r&g]:A. See Matheson, PB, pp. 106-107, 109-110.

Credits and acknowledgments:

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

Select Bibliography for this MS:



Bibliothèque Royale MS IV.461

Takamiya MS 67

CUL MS Kk.1.12
TCC MS O.10.34
Fitzwilliam MS McClean 186
Hunterian MS 61
Hunterian MS 228
BL MS Add. 26746
BL MS Harley 2248
BL MS Royal 18 B. iii
College of Arms MS Vincent 421
Rylands MS Eng. 104
Bodl. MS Bodley 231
Bodl. MS Douce 290
Bodl. MS Rawlinson B.216

Univ of California MS 152
New Haven
Yale University, Beineke MS 323
Cambridge, Mass.
Harvard MS Eng. 587

Secondary Texts:
Ker, N. R., Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: a List of Surviving Books,2nd edn (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 123.



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