Lambeth Palace MS. 84

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

checked against microfilm, complete on 22-10-2003; updated 6-10-2004.

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: LP MS 84
  • Matheson no.: 178
  • Date(s): ca. 1478-79; ca. 1482 (see PB, p. 310-311).
  • Type of book: Brut chronicle
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 2
  • Contents: 1: Brut chronicle, fols. 1r-202v; 2: fragment of a Missal, poss. C13, fols. 204r-v.
  • Writing support: parchment, with paper insertions after fols. 3 and 109 , where paper fols have replaced missing parchment fols.; inserted (paper?) slips.
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction:
  • Collation:
    • No of leaves: 205 + i fols.
    • Quires: i8 (4 replaced by 2 paper fols.) ii8; iii8 (+ 3 and slip); iv6; v8; vi-vii10; viii8; ix8 (+ 2 slips); x8 (+ 2 slips); xi8 (+ 1 slip); xii6 (+ 1 and 2 slips); xiii8; xiv8 (1 replaced by 2 paper fols.); xv10 (+ 1 slip) xvi10; xvii-xviii8; xix12; xx8; xxi8 (+ 1 slip); xxii12 (+ 1 slip); xxiii8; xxiv (+ cir).
    • Foliation: ink, top right corner; incorrect, misses out fol. after 109.
    • Composite MS? no
    • Booklets?: no
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): 5r (scribe B); 9v; 17v; 26v; 32v; 40v; 50v; 60v; 68v; 76v; 93v; 100v; 108v, 116v; 126v; 132v; 144v; 152v; 164v; 172v; 180v; 192v; 200v;
    • Quire signatures? (where?): 2r-3r, a; 10r-13r, B (also numbered 2 in arabic, C18-19?); 18r-20r, c (3); 27r-29r, d (4); 33r-36r, e (5); 41r-44r, f (6); 51r, g (7); 61r-64r, h (8); 69r-72r, y (9); 77r-80r, (11); 94r-96r, m (12); 101r-104r, n, (13); 110, (14); 117-121, p (15); 127r-130r, q (16); 134r (17); 145r (18); 153r-158r, t (19); 165r (20); 173r (21); 181r  (22); 193r (23); 201r (24).
    • Damage?: fol. 202 mutilated, but no loss of text; fol. 204v has lost text, poss. as a result of having been a former pastedown?; ink blots and smudges on fol. 156r.
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?): frames, borders and lines in ink or lead; prickings visible (e.g fol. 75).
b. columns: Scribes A and B: 1; Scribe C: 2.
c. lines: 38-46

  • Ink:
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page: 13 x 8 ¾ in
    • Writing space:
  • Binding: calfskin.
  • Decoration?: Pen drawings at fols.: 1r, Diocletian enthroned with his daughters(?) and their husbands (?), in colour; 2v, a woman; 3v a woman (unfinished); 6v: partially erased drawings of  human figures; 7r a wild man with scimitar (sketch); 12v jewelled crown of Donebaud of Scotland; 16v wild man with club and shield; 29v wild man with spear and shield (with chief and bend) uncoloured; 35r stones (for Stonehenge); 52r mitred bust of St. Augustine; 67v hand holding sword upright. Comp. figures on fols. 2v, 16v, 29v with those on fols. 30v and 36v of Bodl. MS Laud misc. 733.
  • Artist?:
  • No. of Scribes: 3: A: fols. 1r-3v, 6r-108v, 110r-202v (including slips and marginal notes); B: fols. 4r-5r, 109r-non-foliated fol. after 109r; C: fols. 204r-v.
  • Named scribes?:
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: A: C15 secretary with occasional use of textura (e.g. fol. 61r), this scribe’s holograph (see PB, p. 310); B: C16 secretary; C: C13? textura
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?:
  • Compiler?: Scribe A originally (see PB, pp. 310-311); prob. Scribe B in C16 made the paper additions.
  • Rubrication, sigla: fol. 1r: text and drawing surrounded by a ‘U’-shaped floral border, prob. in colour; six line cap with human face and floral decoration, prob. in colour; fol. 51r: circular diagram of the seven kingdoms; fol. 51v: Latin verses relating to the diagram on preceding fol., in textura script with alternate red and black lines; 80v: Latin lines on William the Conqueror prob. in alternate red and black lines; 89r: roundel in margin wit the name of Geoffrey, earl of Anjou, poss. beginning of genealogy of the Plantagenets, other marginal roundels on fols. 90v (Henry I), 104v (Henry III); 201v: ballad against the Flemish set out as verse rest of ms: two line caps (poss. in blue), except fol. 3r, which is  three line; rubricated running titles (names of kings, poss. in blue); paraphs, chapter headings and numbers poss. in blue, with one line caps; underlining of dates, but poss. not by rubricator; rubricated side notes, poss. in blue; hyphens at end of lines, poss. in red; rubrication unfinished: spaces for caps and paraphs etc left unfilled, fols. 7r, 82v, 110v-202v; scribe B has also left spaces for  two line caps on fol. 4r, and four line caps on fols. 109r-v. 
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • 1r: ‘Lumley’, C16 (Signature of the secretary of John, Lord Lumley); ‘Lorde have mercy upon me quothe symson’, C16?
    • :40r: poss. erased marginalia.
    • 57r: ‘B h’?
    • 158r: ‘thomas Re(nn?)i[…]’, C 16.
    • 182r: ‘John Stoughton’, late C15; ‘is a littel wantton’, diff. late C 15 hand.
    • 201r: ‘William anford’, C16.
    • 202v: C16 pen trials; erased marginalia, poss. C16.
    • 204r: C17-18 Latin prayers.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • Dates and some chapter headings underlined, could be rubrication.
    • 20r: maniculum, birth of Constantine, prob, scribal.
    • C16 English glosses on fols.: 112r, 153v.
    • C 17-18 English glosses on fols. 106r, 192v, 193r.
    • Erased marginalia at fol. 129r.
    • Cancelled text at fol. 169, prob. scribal.
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage: poss. John Stoughton, late C15.
  • Later ownership(s): poss. William Anford, Thomas Re(nn?(i[…], C16; John, Lord Lumley, C16-17 (DNB, vol. xxxiv, pp. 272–274).
  • 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 ‘Peculiar Version’, group PV-1479/82. See Matheson, PB, pp. 309-11.
  • Evidence of exemplar: scribe – compiler later revised his original work using Caxton’s edition of Higden’s Polychronicon  and other sources (PB, 310); prob. also used Bodl. MS Laud misc. 733 as a source for some of his miniatures, if not for text as well. What source did Scribe B (fols. 4-5 and 109 etc.) use?
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:
  • Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions: Higden’s Polychronicon, and William of Malmesbury’s Historia Regnum Anglorum, Havelok, Arthur and Merlin, Chaucer and Gower’s versions of the Constance story, saint’s lives (e.g. St. Dunstan), Lydgate’s Legend of St. Austin at Compton,  (PB, 310). Some miniatures prob. copied from Laud Misc. 733.
  • Decoration:
  • Translation, language: scribe – compiler has done his own translations of Higden’s Polychronicon, and William of Malmesbury’s Historia Regnum Anglorum (PB, 310).

Credits and Acknowledgments:

The description of this MS is from microfilm work by J O’R, supplemeted by CMLP. Textual descent based on Matheson, PB.

Select Bibliography for this MS:


Of Arthur and of Merlin, ed. by Osgan Duncan Macrae-Gibson, 2 vols,
Early English Text Society 279 (Oxford University Press, 1973-1979).

The Brut or The Chronicles of England, ed. byFriedrich W. D. Brie, Early English Text Society Original Series 131 and 136 (London: Oxford University Press, 1906, 1908), 585-604.

Chronicle of the Kings of England: from the Earliest Period to the Reign of King Stephen, by William of Malmesbury, ed., and illustrated by J. A. Giles, Bohn’s Antiquarian Library Series (repr., 1895).

Havelok, ed. by G.V. Smithers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).

Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis,ed. by Churchill Babington, Vols I and II, Rolls Series 41 (London: Longman, 1865,1866).

Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis,ed. by Joseph L. Lumby Vol. 8, Rolls Series 41 (London: Longman, 1882).

Secondary Texts:

Brie, Friedrich W. D., ‘Zum Fortleben der Havelok-Sage’, Englische Studien,35 (1905), 359-71, pp. 366-71.

DNB, vol. xxxiv, pp. 272–274.

Gottfried, Robert S., Epidemic Disease in Fifteenth-Century England (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1978), 44-45, 49-50.

Jayne, Sears and Francis R. Johnson, eds., The Lumley Library: the Catalogue of 1609 (London: British Museum, 1956), pp. 131, 302.

Kingsford, Charles L., English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford: Claren­don Press, 1913; repr. New York: Franklin, 1972), 125.

Matheson, Lister M., ‘Printer and Scribe: Caxton, the Polychronicon, and the Brut’, Specu­lum, 60 (1985), 593-614, pp. 607-9.

_____, ‘The Arthurian Stories of Lambeth Palace Library MS 84’,in Arthurian Literature V,ed. by Richard Barber (Cambridge: D. S. Brew­er, 1985) pp. 70-91.


The miniatures on fols. 2v, 16v, 29v of this ms were prob. copied from fols. 30v (St. Ursula, Gowan) and 36v (Hengist) of Bodl. MS Laud Misc. 733. That the figures in Laud Misc. 733 are all presented with shields makes sense in the context of the ms, which is a well-decorated presentation copy of the Brut with a tract on heraldic arms as its first item. The theme therefore runs throughout the ms. The context is harder to detect in LP 84, and two of the figures have been slightly altered in appearance and put to different use: Ursula’s hair is worn down in LP 84, and she has been assigned to Albina in the text; Gowan’s beard has grown out and he is assigned to chap. 36 (the debate between Cassibalan and the Earl of London). Hengist is not much altered from Laud Misc. 733, although his beard has lengthened slightly, he appears next to the correct section of text. It is also worth mentioning that another, later, sketch of Ursula / Albina appears on fol. 180v of Laud Misc. 733, and although of poorer quality than the drawing in LP 84, resembles this more than the miniature of Ursula in Laud Misc. 733.

The closeness of the copying from Laud Misc. 733 to LP 84 suggests that the mss were side by side for a certain period.

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