Lambeth Palace MS. 259

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Manuscript Identity

Here may a man here how Engelond was first called Albyon and aftirward whanne hit hadde fyrst name. Incipit prologus.

Matheson Number:

Matheson Version:
CV-1419 [Leyle]

Matheson discusses the MS on pages:

Proposed date of MS production:
poss. 2nd quarter of 15th C.

LALME reference (where provided):
No entry in LALME

Dialects evident in the MS:
Some of the verse added to the flyleaves might demonstrate the dialectal features of Norfolk.

Possible locations for the MS production/ reception:
Several of the papal documents which have been used as flyleaves may be linked with the Augustinian Priory of Newnham in Bedfordshire.

Items in the MS:

Contents of the MS:
1. Fols 1r-6v: Liturgical calendar according to Sarum use; 2. Fols. 7r-7v: Table of Solar and Lunar Eclipses, 1384-1462; 3. Fol. 8r: Table of Solar and Lunar Eclipses, 1393-1462; 4. Fols 9r-123r: Brut chronicle.

Languages used in the MS
Items 1-3 are Latin; Latin papal documents are used as flyleaves; some Latin graffiti on flyleaves and first quire of manuscript.

Evidence of Exemplar?
Like the other members of the ‘Leyle’ group, this manuscript is prob. copied from an exemplar which only contained an account to 1355, ending ‘(th)e King hastyd hym to (th)e seege warde.’ (Brie, 306:29) This manuscript thus preserves the original ending of all mss. in this cluster, (2 of these mss. attracted continuations and 1 ends imperfectly before the 1355 ending). It is probable that the 'Leyle Group' should not be considered as the 'CV-1355', but represents a group of texts copied from an exemplar (or that exemplar's progeny)which ended imperfectly. Because this exemplar ended in 1355, it is possible that it was either a CV-1377 or a CV-1419. It should be possible to garner a better idea of the genetic relationships between the mss. in this group.

Institutional Associations?
(E.g., household, religious house, library, private collection, etc.)
Lambeth Palace Library; prob added to the Library during the archiepiscopacy of Gilbert Sheldon, ie. 1663-77.

Suspected Association?
Augustinian Priory of Newnham, near Bedford.

Related Manuscripts
(biobibliographically, textually, stemmatically and so on)
No information.

Manuscript Construction

Number of Scribes:

iv+125+ii; the flyleaves at the front and rear of the manuscript have been constructed from papal documents which have been folded to form bifolia, (2 bifolia at front and one at rear.)

i8 (items 1-3); ii-ix8; x8 -1 (wants 7); ix-xi8; xii10; xiii-xv8; xvi4.

Any blank leaves?
Fols 8v; 123v-125v(p229b [unpaginated]-; there is also a large blank space on fol. 48v (p 78); space between Brie, 103:8-9.

Quire i is foliated (arabic) in right hand top corner of recto leaf, prob. modern; the Brut is paginated on top left corner of verso and top right corner of recto sides, poss. 16th C.; there are some errors in the pagination, p3 + p4 are followed by a further p3 + p4; from fol. 123r (p229)when the text ends the early pagination is discontinued, however, a modern hand provides foliation from then on, continuing from 229 but marking only the recto sides; this description provides the folio number as if continued from items 1-3 and the pagination written on the ms. in brackets.

Probable that items 1-3 and item 4 (the Brut) were once separate booklets although when the booklets were conjoined is open to conjecture; it is poss., judging the Latinate nature of items 1-3 and the papal documents used as flyleaves that the booklets were bound together in the 15th C., perhaps in Augustinian Priory of Newnham in Bedfordshire, although this is by no means certain; the fact that galling occurs in the first folio of the Brut may suggest that this book spent a considerable period without items 1-3.

Fols/(pages): 16 (14); 24 (30); 32 (46); 40 (62); 48 (78); 56 (94); 64 (110); 72 (126); 79 (142); 87 (158); 97 (178); 105 (194); 113 (210); 121 (226).

Quire Signatures:
A modern hand has numbered the quires on leading edge, bottom right corner, 1-16.

Other than heading and first initial of the text, fol. 1 is completely illegible on microfilm. In James's description of the manuscript is the comment

Fols 9ff (1ff): Frames ruled, signs of pricking on most pages but lines not visible; written throughout in one column, 37-41 lines.

Page Dimension and Materials:
Approx. 275mm x 190mm; vellum.

Writing Space:
Approx. 195mm x 130mm.


'modern morocco binding' (James, 404)

Decoration and Rubrication


Scribe B (Brut): Text begins with 4-line capital 'I', poss. blue, with white (untinctured) zig-zag design along the letter's stem, (cf. Sydney, Nicholson MS.13.). Second initial 3-line, poss. blue; subsequent initials 2-line, prob. red and blue. Fols 17r-32v (pp15-46) have blank spaces, except on fol. 32v (p46), where a later hand has filled the space with a capital 'W'. Paraphs are also missing on the leaves lacking initials.


  • 1. Numerous examples of merchant's marks on flyleaves (particularly front); these marks generally conform to a fairly typical 4-shape, with a cross formed at the end of the horizontal stroke, and a calligraphic lobe at the base of the vertical stroke, which prob. functions to form a 'b'- for a similar example see the brass of John Beriffe [d.1496] (Girling, 30). Within the lobe of the 4-shape is usually a letter, poss. 'O' in fol. ir (front), and 'W'/'C' appear on the marks on fol. ivr. The 'W b' version may indicate it is the mark of the William Bentley whose name repeatedly occurs on the flyleaves- the 'O b' and 'C b' versions amight apply to relations or business affiliates of Bentley;
  • 2. Fol. iiir, 2 roses, one with 'flos florum' written below, poss late 15th C. hand
  • 3. Fol. iiiv: amongst merchants' marks and below the word 'Boston' in the central upper left hand part of the page is a small shield with a letter 'M' on top, and what appears to be a pair of scissors within the shield. This, in combination with two small depictions of woven cloth in the rear flyleaves (fol. iir), may suggest associations of a reader/owner with one of the textiles trades.
    A sketch of a face with a pointed nose is used to bracket passages of text, poss. C16, but could be either earlier or later; the face occurs on:
  • Fol. 16r (p13): Brie, 21:17-23, [it rains blood during reign of king Reynold]
  • Fol. 74r (129): Brie, 169:27 - 170:7, [king John poisoned by monk]
  • Fol. 75r (p131): Brie, 173:17-22, [siege of Bedford castle]
  • Fol. 87r (p157): Brie, 209:27 - 210:2, [famine in England during reign of Edward II]
  • Fol. 109v (p202): Brie 266:20-7, [Edmund of Woodstock answering his accusers].


Scribe B (Brut): Chapter headings and numbers, prob. in red, each marked with a paraph, poss. blue and red; a new line is not normally taken for a heading. Paraphs set in text provide subdivisions. On fols 17r-32v (pp15-46), neither initials or paraphs have been executed. A double stroke punctus indicates where the scribe intended a paraph to be placed. On fol. 26v (p34) (during the section of text where initials and paraphs are missing) a chapter heading has been omitted and a supervisory instruction has been written: 'eadem et Rubrica slc(?) precedetis capl. liiii'.

Marginalia and Annotation


  • 1. Fol. 55v (p92): 'Edrice of Stratton did betraye his owne Lo: Edw: Irensyde to the danes & kill him', (Brie, 119:20ff), prob. 16th C.
  • 2. Fol. 56r (p93): 'A good reward for such(?) a traytor', (Brie, 120:26ff), prob. 16th C.
  • 3. Fol. 61v (p104): 2 x 17th C. glosses beside Harolds oath to William and the conquest, (Brie, 135:12ff and 140:8-11)
  • 4. Fol. 73v (p128): comment on text, 'a fable folo/wythe' (foolish?), (Brie, 169:11-12)
  • 5. Fol. 74v (p130): 16th C. commentary, (Brie, 172:3-11)
  • 6. Fol. 75r-80v (pp131-144): Pages heavily annotated in 16th C. hand; annotation repeats places mentioned in text and redacts the substance of the text
  • 7. Fol. 77r-77v (pp135-6): A 17th C. annotator demonstrates an interest in the civic spectacles related to the crowning of Edward I, eg., 'gold and silver throw(n) out at the windowes by handfulles'
  • 8. Fol 83v (p150): 17th C. note of Edward I dubbing 280 knights, (Brie, 200:4ff)
  • 9. Fol. 85v (p154): 'king Edward the 2 after Deposed, began his Reigne in anno 1307', (Brie 205:12ff), prob. 17th C.
  • 10. Fol. 91r (p165): 'the noble men of Engl. of many nacions, the cause of greate striff & Bludshed', (Brie, 220:17ff), prob. 17th C.
  • 11. Fol. 102r (p187): 17th C. note of the accession of Edward III, (Brie, 227)
  • 12. Fol. 104r-104v (p191-2): 3 x 17th C. notes on the murder of Edward II, (Brie, 252:20ff)
  • 13. Fol. 111v (p206): 2 x 16th C. notes on the capture and death of Roger Mortimer, (Brie 271:22ff)
  • 14. Fol. 112r (p207) 17th C. title at head of page, 'Edward the 3'
  • 16th C. note, 'Barwick conqvered & the skotts slayne to the number of 25700', (Brie, 272:25ff)
  • 15. Fol. 113r (p209): 16th C. note that Balliol had, 'but 500 men to win skotland', (Brie, 275: 22-3)

Evidence of erasures:


Graffiti (pen trials etc):

  • 1. Front flyleaves, fol. ir: 'Ego sum bonus puer quem deus amat', poss. late 15th C., repeated on this side and elsewhere on front and rear flyleaves, either in full or partially; 'msi C compercit(?) (b?)rut(?)', prob. 15th C., transcription made difficult by a merchants' mark which has been drawn over this writing
  • 2. Fol. i verso: alphabetic pentrials from 15th, 16th and 17th C., includes names,phrases and Latin writing, eg. 'fuit homo missus cum(?) nomen erat...adeo deo eo ego homo', poss. 15th C.
  • 3. Fol. ii verso: 'Ave maria gracia plena/ deus tecum equore cum/ gelido zepherus ffert/ Exenia kymbus} Ego sum bonus puer quem/ deus amat ffuit homo', 15th or 16th C. with a few Latin phrases below
  • 4. Fol. iiir: partial rendering of a rhyme which appears in full on fol. ivr and elsewhere, poss. late 15th C or early 16th C.
  • 5. Fol. ivr: 'He that thys boke dothe stele/ Our lady yeff hym an euyll hele/ othyr wt rope swerd or knyff/ he schall have a schort lyfe/ [th]erfore for [th]e love of our lady/ I pray 3ow lett [th]s boke ly- quod Bentylee/quod Wyllm Bentelee; many Latin phrases copies, eg. 'Amen dicom', 'amen dicant omna fuit'; alphabetic pentrials, and draft execution of capital letters.
  • 6. Fol. iv verso: rhyme repeated from overleaf, 'li sterlynge 2p(?)', written above 'boke doth stele', 'Ryght worshepfful f', below the rhyme. prob. 16th C.
  • 7. Fol. 39r: '1466'; '1484'
  • 8. Fol. 124r (230): 'yn no my ny patrys' (in nomine patrus); trials of an ornate capital 'S' design
  • 9. Fol. 125v (p231b): several pieces of Latin script and English phrases and a rhyme beginning, 'Wyth bodyle ffode encressyng in quantitee/ Ouer mesure passiun suffiances...' 7 lines- beside the last line 'london' is written in the same hand, poss. late 15th, early 16th C
  • 10. Rear flyleaves, fols ir-iiv: mixture of names, Latin and English phrases, eg. 'Ist liber const' repeated; poss. placename 'Stockton', (also occurs front flyleaves fol. iii verso); a rhyme occurs concering false executing by family memebers, reminiscent of diatribes in Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne on the subject, cf. Furnivall, 208-9; the poem begins: 'Do sum gode man in [th]e lyve qwell [th]u hast [th]e mynd/ [th]i chylder woll for3ete [th]e sone [th]e wyf woll wax vnkynd'. The poem appears to have distinctive dialectal features; the use of 'qwell' (while) is common in Norfolk and in Northern counties. See Lambeth catalogue for further information on graffiti.

References, Acknowledgements and Credits

Secondary references
Brie, The Brut

Matheson, The Prose Brut

F.J. Furnivall ed., Robert of Brunne's "Handlyng Synne," A.D. 1303 : with those parts of the Anglo-French treaties on which it was founded, William of Wadington's "Manuel des Pechiez", E.E.T.S. OS, no. 119, 123 (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., limited, 1901-[03]).

F.A. Girling, English Merchants' Marks: A Field Survey of Marks made by Merchants and Tradesmen in England between 1400 and 1700, London: OUP, 1964.

M.R. James,A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of Lambeth Palace, (Cambridge: The University Press, 1930-2.) 404-6.

O.S. Pickering and V.M. O'Mara, The Index of Middle English Prose: Handlist XIII: Manuscripts in Lambeth Palace Library, (D.S. Brewer, 1999) 16-17.

Calendar of Patent Rolls 1408-13, 57,

Calendar of Papal Registers, 1362-1404, 265, 495.

Calendar of Papal Registers, 1396-1404, 569.

Associated MSS according to Matheson
CV-1419 (Leyle) [68-71]:
Glasgow, University of Glasgow, MS. Hunterian 74
Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Rawlinson B.196
London, Lambeth Palace Library MS. 259
London, British Library MS. Harley 4930

Thanks to Prof. Lister Matheson for advice on this description, particularly with reference to biobibliographical issues.

Described by:
Ryan Perry

Date of description:

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