Harvard University MS. Eng. 530

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm, needs updating.

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: Harvard MS Eng. 530
  • Matheson no(s): 93, 146.
  • Date(s): ca. 1464 (see Connolly, p. 173). Scribe G's stint must have occurred ca 1480, if Caxton is the original compiler of the CV-1461 version (see Matheson, 164-6)
  • Type of book: collection of historiographical and edifying texts; poss. originally intended by its compiler as a collection of Lydgate texts (note the attribution of the translation of the Brut to him on fol. 180v). 
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 6
  • Contents: 1) Lychfelde, Complaint of Christ, fols. 1-4r (begins imperfectly);  2) Lydgate, Guy of Warwick, fols. 4v-12v; 3) Three Kings of Cologne, fols. 13r-33r; 4) Governance of Princes, fols. 34r-48r; 5) Lydgate, Serpent of Division, fols. 49r-57v; 6) Brut chronicle, fols. 59r-211v.
  • Writing support: (mixed media mss: particular usage of parchment?)
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction: Folio, Quarto etc.
  • Collation:
    • No of leaves: i  (prob. contemporary flyleaf) + 211 (poss. + i mod. paper flyleaf?)
    • Quires:
    • Foliation: roman numerals, top right corner; fols. 2-4 also numbered in bottom margin as follows: 2r: 5, 2v: 6, 3r: 3, 3v: 4, 4r: 7, 4v: 8.
    • Composite MS? yes
    • Booklets?: yes, the work of scribe C is a distinctive booklet, fols. 34-58. The other texts may each belong to separate booklets as well. Fols. 33v, 48v, 58r-v are blank and follow the end of a text. 
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): 85v (trimmed).
    • Quire signatures? (where?):
    • Damage?: top outer corners of fols. 203-211 missing, with some loss of text; ms trimmed.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) items 1, 2  and 3, not visible on film; 4 and 5 frames poss. in drypoint; 6: frames, poss. in lead.
b. columns: item 1: 2; items 2-6: 1.
c. lines: item 1: 37-40; item 2: 31-36; item 3: 35-41; item 4: 38-41; item 5: 43-45; item 6, scribe D: 36-41, scribe E: 35-38.

  • Ink: from microfilm there are changes in the ink visible, esp. throughout the Brut.
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page:
    • 284mm x 205mm
    • Writing space:
  • Binding:
  • Decoration?:
  • Artist?:
  • No. of Scribes: 7 (at least): A: fols. 1-4r; B: fols. 4v-33r; C: fols. 34r-57v; D: fols.59r-85r; E: 85r-109r; F: 109r-204r; G: fols. 204r- 211v. In the Brut there would appear to be many stages in the copying, sometimes involving short stints by different scribes (see for example, fol. 85v, where scribe E takes over from D for a short space (ll. 8-26). Scribes D and E share the copying of a few fols. after 85r, with D ceasing to contribute on fol. 89r. Fol. 72v is interesting, since it may represent scribe D trying out different types of script (note the transition between the paragraphs). The hand of scribe F uses a mixture of Anglicana and Secretary ‘g’s (for example see fol. 183v, end of l. 24, ‘gret gifftes’), and either goes through a change in style, using for a period predominantly (but not exclusively) Anglicana ‘g’ forms in all positions, or else there is another scribe at work; note the looped bar of final short ‘r’. From the different styles of line marker, and the scrappy nature of this copy of the Brut, it could be argued that a number of (junior? Amateur?) scribes are taking the opportunity to attempt different styles of script and rubrication. Poss. scribal school?
  • Named scribes?:
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: A: C15 Anglicana; B: C15 Anglicana; C: C15 Secretary; D: C15 Anglicana; E, F: C15 Anglicana with some Secretary forms; G: C15 Secretary.
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?: comp. Scribe D with Laud Misc. 571 Scribe E; comp. Scribe F with Scribe of Ashmole MS 793.
  • Compiler?: poss. scribe G?
  • Rubrication, sigla: item 1): spaces left for two line caps with guide letters; headings; explicit; item 2): fol. 4v: heading with line markers, space left for four line cap with guide letters; rest of item: side notes to indicate chapters; envoy; item 3): spaces left for three line caps with guide letters; chapter headings in Latin in more formal script; line markers to indicate headings; some descenders of bottom lines and ascenders of top lines flourished into margin; some chapter numbers, rubricated; item 4: two line caps, poss. in blue flourished into margins; chapter headings poss. in red or blue; side notes; some paraphs, poss. in blue or red, e.g. fol. 44v; explicit; item 5): fol. 49: six line cap, flourished into margins, poss. in blue or red or both; rest of item: slashes fro punctuation, poss. in red; some paraphs in text, poss. in red or blue; some descenders of bottom lines flourished into margin; explicit; item 6): fols. 59r and 60v: heading with line markers; space left for six line cap; rest of item: spaces left for two, three or four line caps; headings with line markers; proper names underlined; side notes with chapter numbers; some ascenders of top lines and descenders of bottom lines elaborately flourished into margin.  
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • Front pastedown: modern pressmarks and purchase information, dated 2-11-1872,  for $ 450.
    • Flyleaf (ir): memorandum in English and Latin, mentioning ‘Creswell’, ‘C[?]a crasswell elym A. porssue[?]’, C16; ‘Richard Sue[?]’, C15-16; ‘god is my saviour’, C16; ‘John Jones’, ‘john’, C16-17; ‘ ‘liber’, ‘Wyllm metterowe’, C16, prayer, C15-16; memorandum, C16; pen trials, C15-16, C16; much of the marginalia on this fol. is obscured by staining or has been erased.
    • Flyleaf (i verso): modern notes on the content of the ms, attributing items 1-5 to John Shirley; three Latin verses on Arthur, Alexander, Joshua, David and Judas Macabee, ‘Radix omnium malorum Super’, C17-18?; motto of the Garter (pen trial): ‘hony soyte [Zou?] male male [?]’, C15-16; pen trials, C16; erased marginalia.
    • 24v: ‘thys ys Thom Harbrin he lerneth of’, C16.
    • 34v: pen trial in Latin and English, C16.
    • 57v: ‘a n[d n?] shyll’, scribal.
    • 58r: pen trials, C15, C16; erased marginalia.
    • 72r: ‘Tho’, C16.
    • 81r: pen trials, C16.
    • 82r: pen trials, C16.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • C16-17 English glosses at fols. 17v and 41v.
    • C 19-20 Latin gloss at fol. 4v.
    • C19-20 English gloss at fol. 57.
    • 37r: maniculum and underlining.
    • Marginal ‘x’s at fols. 52v, 53r, 54r, 55r.
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage:
  • Later ownership(s): William Metterowe, C16; poss. Richard Sue[?] C15-16; A. Crasswell C16; Thomas Harbrin (or Harbrin family?); C16 John Jones C16-17.
  • 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 ‘Common Version’, group CV-1461; ‘Peculiar Version’, group PV-1377/1419 R&G. See Matheson, PB, pp. 164-66, 257-59, 261-63.
  • Evidence of exemplar: some texts prob. copied from one of John Shirley’s manuscripts, see Connolly.
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:
  • Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions: The Brut has been connected to the Lydgate canon (prob. by John Shirley in another ms, see PB, p. 259); Lydgate is (erroneously or otherwise) attributed as translator (from French) of the Brut on fol. 180v).
  • 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:


TCD MS 505

Takamiya MS 18

The Chronicles of England, Caxton 1480.
NLW MS 21608D
Hunterian MS 74
Hunterian MS 228
TCC MS O.11.11
BL MS Add. 10099
BL MS Cotton Claudius A.viii
BL MS Harley 2252
LP MS 264
Nottingham Co. Council MS DDFS 3/1
Bodl. MS Lyell 34
Bodl. MS Rawlinson Poet. 32

Cambridge Mass.
Harvard MS Eng. 750
San Marino
Huntington MS HM 136
Univ. of Illinois MS 82

MacCracken, Henry N., ed., The Minor Poems of John Lydgate,part I: EETS ES 107 (1911; repr. London: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. xii.

Secondary Texts:
Connolly, Margaret. John Shirley: Book Production and the Noble Household in Fifteenth-Century England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), pp. 8, 172-173.

Doyle, A. I., ‘More Light on John Shirley’, Medium Ævum,30 (1961), 93-101.

Schirmer, Walter F., John Lydgate: A Study in the Culture of the XVth Cen­tury,trans. by Ann E. Keep (London: Methuen, 1961), p. 82, n. 1.

Voigts, Linda Ehrsam, ‘A Handlist of Middle English in Harvard Manu­scripts’, Harvard Library Bulletin, 33 (1985), 5-96, pp. 20-22.

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