Society of Antiquaries MS. 223

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Production Practicalities and Reception Issues:

  • Pressmark / Name of  Book: Society of Antiquaries MS 223
  • Matheson no.:121
  • Date(s): late C15
  • Type of book: Brut Chronicle
  • Manuscript or print?: MS
  • No of items: 1
  • Contents: Brut chronicle, fols. 1r-45v.
  • Writing support: paper
  • Watermark?:
  • Book Construction: Folio, Quarto etc.
  • Collation: tentative, from film.
    • No of leaves: (i?) + 45 fols. (+ i?)
    • Blank leaves: no
    • Quires: i-ii8 (unclear after this).
    • Foliation: mod. ink, top right corner, fol. after 19 misfoliated as 21.
    • Composite MS? no
    • Booklets?: no
    • Catchwords? (on which fols?): none visible.
    • Quire signatures? (where?): quires signed on leading edges a-c , i-iiij, sigs. prob. trimmed away after c j.
    • Damage?:
  • Page layout:

a. ruling: (ink or drypoint?) frames in ink up to fol. 33r; 33v-45v prob. in drypoint; lines prob. in drypoint; prickings visible e.g. on fol. 12.
b. columns: 1
c. lines: 32-34

  • Ink:
  • Dimensions:
    • front board:
    • Folio / page:
    • Writing space:
  • Binding:
  • Decoration?: arms of Christophe Plantin (Christoffel Plantijn) on fol. 1r, in space left for 14-line cap; what appear to be roundels (too dark to discern from film) appear in the spaces left for caps on fols. 3r, 6r, 7r, 12r; what appear to be amphora appear on fols. 9r  and 12v; a ¼ fol. oval miniature is at the bottom of fol. 45v although it is too dark on film to make out what the subject is.
  • Artist?: unknown
  • No. of Scribes: 1
  • Named scribes?: no
  • Hand date; style; version; holograph, autograph?: C15 Secretary at beginning of MS, developing increasing Anglicana features. Fol. 1v: single-compartment ‘a’ and ‘g’, single-ascender ‘d’, Secretary ‘w’ and ‘v’, ‘2’-shaped ‘r’; fol. 44r: double-compartment ‘a’ and ‘g’, looped-ascender ‘d’, Anglicana ‘w’, predominantly long ‘r’. See Malcolm Parkes, English Cursive Bookhands, pl. 21 and p21, for analysis of this hand.
  • Hand, rubrication in other MSS?: comp. with hand of Princeton MS Garret 150 and Cambridge, Corpus Christi MS 182.
  • Compiler?:
  • Rubrication, sigla: fol. 1r: space left for 14-line cap; rest of ms: spaces left for 2, 4, 5, 6 or 7-line caps with guide letters; chapter headings; chapter numbers as side notes; proper names underlined; double slashes in the text; occasional line markers of varying style; fols. 7r and 13v:  ascender of 1-line cap at beginning of heading on top line flourished elaborately with strapwork into yop margin. fol. 21v: running title “Jhesus natus est de virgine maria”; fol. 23r: side note in box with wavy line below.
  • Biobibliographical information: marginalia, glosses, signatures, compiler/ scribe / owner / authorial identification:
    • 7r: pen trials, C15.
    • 45v: pen trials, C15.
  • Glosses and underlining:
    • C16 glosses on fols. 9r-v, 16r-v, 17v, 18r, 21v, 22v, 23r-25v,  29r, 40v, 41v, 43v.
    • C17 glosses on fols. 7r-v, 8v, 9r, 14r-v, 15v, 17r, 19r, 21r,  26r, 27r.
    • C19 gloss on fol. 45r.
    • Maniculae (with cuff and long index finger) on fols. 8v, 9r.
  • Immediate Ownership(s) / Patronage:
  • Later ownership(s): poss. Christophe Plantin, C16?
  • Affiliations: (geo-)political, institutional etc: Poss. Antwerp, Plantin printer’s shop after 1555.
  • Language(s); translation activities:
  • Dialect:
  • LALME vol., page, LP, grid no.:
  • Locality: region; household (secular/religious) urban / rural:

Intertextual relations:

  • Textual descent: Matheson ‘Extended Version’, group EV-1419:C. See Matheson, PB, pp. 197, 201-202.
  • Evidence of exemplar:
  • Intra-textual relations to texts in same MS:
  • Extra-textual to other books, texts, traditions:
  • Decoration: Heraldic arms of Christophe Plantin may indicate some link to Antwerp printing trade.
  • 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:



Corpus Christi College MS 182
TCC MS O.9.1
Bodl. MS Laud Misc. 571


University of Illinois MS 116
Garret MS 150
San Marino
Huntington MS HM 133


Secondary Texts:
Parkes, Malcolm B., English Cursive Book Hands 1250-1500 (1969; repr. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980), plate 21, p. 21.


Heraldic arms of Christophe Plantin may indicate some link to Antwerp printing trade.

MS obviously unfinished; text ends half way down fol. 45v, rubrication was never finished although spaces were left for some very large caps (e.g. fol. 1r), which may indicate that this MS was originally intended to be a reasonably expensive and well-presented book, however as the book continues, the script becomes more hurried and cursive, the space left for caps decreases to 2-lines, and it would seem that the project was abandoned altogether at fol. 45v.

The scribe’s decoration and script bear comparison to Princeton, Garret MS 150 and Cambridge, Corpus Christi MS 182 in that the scribe uses a Secretary script and makes some effort to decorate the ascenders of top lines. However, nowhere near as much attention is paid to this kind of detail as is in the other two mss.; a shared milieu containing these three scribes of this subgroup of the Extended Version may still be possible, however.

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