Trinity College Dublin MS. 490

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Manuscript Identity

(from Table of Contents on fol. 3r) 'Here may a man here Engeland was ferst callede Albyon and [th]orow3 wham hit hadde [th]e name.' Heading above text on fol. 13r is slightly different: 'Here may a man hure how Engelande was ferst callede Albyon and through whome it hade the name'.

Matheson Number:

Matheson Version:
CV-1419 [r &g]: B (a)

Matheson discusses the MS on pages:

Proposed date of MS production:

  • 1. Scribe A: c. 1400
  • 2. Scribe B: prob. 2nd quarter of 15th century

LALME reference (where provided):
no entry in LALME

Dialects evident in the MS:
Poss. South-West Herefordshire, as with Scribe A in Oxford, Bodleian MS., Rawlinson B. 171; see LALME, 1: 150; 3: 167.

Possible locations for the MS production/ reception:
Dartford, Kent.

Items in the MS:

Contents of the MS:

  • 1. Table of contents to Brut, fols 3r-12r; Brut Chronicle, fols 13r-177v
  • 2. fol. 179v, sixteenth century lyric (prob.) beginning, ‘I wyll no more go to the plowe(?)’ , 5 stanzas of 4 lines.

Languages used in the MS
Institutional ownership indicated in Latin, fol. 1v, ‘Iste Liber constat Religiosis Sororobis de Dertford’; one (scribal) gloss in Latin on fol. 146v, ‘Stella Comata’.

Evidence of Exemplar?
Scribe A in this manuscript might well be the same hand as Scribe A in Oxford, Bodleian MS., Rawlinson B. 171; however, a variety of albeit minor textual differences would suggest that neither manuscript was employed as exemplar for the other, or indeed, that both mss. were copied from the same exemplar. Scribe B has employed a CV-1419(r&g)as exemplar.

Institutional Associations?
(E.g., household, religious house, library, private collection, etc.)

  • Trinity College Library, Dublin.
  • Priory of the Virgin Mary and St. Margaret, (Dominican convent), Dartford, Kent. Ownership mark and heraldic achievement on fol. 1v.

Suspected Association?

Related Manuscripts
(biobibliographically, textually, stemmatically and so on)
The manuscript is apparently related to another early Brut manuscript, Rawlinson B. 171; although there are many minor textual differences between the two (which are easily appreciable through the Brie edition [-1333], as the text is taken from the Rawlinson MS. and it provides variants from TCD 490), both manscripts appear to have been copied by the same scribe.
A line from the second stanza of the lyric on fol. 179v, ‘O westerne wynd when wyllt thow blowe’, is found in an anonymous 4 line lyric dated to the late 15th century; it is poss. that the poem in this manuscript has cannibalized the shorter lyric, which reads:

    “O Western wind, when wilt thou blow
    That the small rain down can rain?
    Christ, that my love were in my arms,
    And I in my bed again!”

The rather more sombre, but nevertheless beautiful stanza containing this line in TCD 490 reads:
    “O westerne wynd when wyllt thow blow
    & blowe the grene levis from the tree
    O gentle dethe when wyllt thow coom
    For off my lyff I am wery.”

Manuscript Construction

Number of Scribes: 3

i+185+i, including the 2 unnumbered leaves between fol.12 and 13; parchment; flyleaves prob. modern paper

Tentative, from microfilm: i 6; ii 4; iii 4; iv-vi 8; vii 8 -1 (wants 8); viii 8 -2 (wants 1-2); ix 8; x 8 -1 (wants 8); xi-xiii 8; xix prob. 8- if this was originally a complete quire of eight Scribe B has continued on the blank leaves left by Scribe A; xx-xxiv 8; xxv 6.

Any blank leaves?
Fols 1-2 (original flyleaves?); 12v; 178-182 (frames and lines ruled as first page of quire, fol. 177)

Top right corner foliation, every leaf in pencil.

Scribe B’s stint (fol. 132r-177v) is prob. a later continuation to a CV-1333 text.

Fols 6; 10; 20; 28; 36; 49; 57; 72; 80; 88; 96; 104; 112; 120; 128; 136; 144; 152; 160; 168; 176.

Quire Signatures:
Extremely tentative on Scribe A’s stint, where the signatures are often trimmed and barely visible on microfilm: fols. 51 (e ii); 58 (?); 59 (?); 67 (h iii[?]); 75 (I ); 90 (l ii); 91 (l); 100 (m); 132 (iiii), signature poss. added by continuators; 137 (a); 138 (a); 139 (a iii); 140 (a iiii); 145-148 (b i-b iiii); 153-154 (c i- c ii); 156 (c iiii); 161 (d); 162 (d ii); 163 (d iii); 164 (d); 169-172 (i-iiii), numerals set beside a cross.

Other than some missing leaves and darkening in first few folios no significant damage.


  • Scribe A: Frames ruled (lines/pricking not visible), 1 column, 30-36 lines.
  • Scribe B: Frames ruled, lines and pricking occasionally visible, 1 column, 36 lines.

Page Dimension and Materials:
Approx. 300mm x 180mm.

Writing Space:
Scribe A: Approx. 200mm x 120mm; Scribe B: Approx. 215mm x 115mm.


No image on microfilm.

Decoration and Rubrication

Fol. 3r: Simple half bar border that extends upwards on its vertical axis from half-way down the page, although the shadow cast by gutter on microfilm makes it difficult to discern any ornament on the vertical bar; the upper, horizontal bar is plainly ornamented with two sprigs comprised of 3 balls (poss. gold) with penwork squiggles. Upper bar terminates with two balls and trefoil vine leaf. Fol. 13r: Full bar border, thickset, with interlacing vine, foliate design; roundels at three corners formed with leaves, prob. coloured; Spraywork on the three open sides with rows of leaves and sprays terminating in teardrop or trumpet shaped (prob.) coloured leaves; right and lower sprays have a central sprig comprised of (on the right) of a pair of kidney shaped leaves (and in the lower border) from a pair of holly leaves and a poss. gold ball with three squiggles.

Fol. 13r: 3-line capital ‘I’ styled in interlace vine motif, as per border, against which it is set; 14v-131v: 2-line capitals with penwork infilling and sprays which extend along margins in common English style, prob. in red and blue; 132r ff, similarly executed 2-line initials, that are nevertheless, prob. not the work of the same person who provided the previous initials.

Fol. 179v, 2 early sixteenth century sketches beside lyric, a hand or glove and a ten leaf daisy, both in pen.


Fols 3r-12r (Table of Contents), paraphs in left margin (prob. in gold, blue and red, boxed in penwork decoration, occasional paraphs in the body of the contents. Fols 13r-131v: chapter titles, prob. in red, sometimes signaled at side with scribal nota mark; paraphs boxed in penwork decoration, set in text. Catchwords set in ornamented trays of varied design. Chapter numbers (poss. in red) set in text and sometimes underlined. Fols. 132r ff.: chapter titles, prob. in red, usually with paraph, poss. blue, but with no penwork ornament as before. Similarly wrought paraphs mark subdivisions in text; catchwords enclosed in a rectangular penned shape.

Marginalia and Annotation


  • 1. Fol. 51v: ‘how and by whom the Britonys was put out for euyr of this land’, prob. 15th C.
  • 2. Fol. 71v: Poss. scribal instruction in left corner of page, ‘Trm’ (Trim?).
  • 3. Fols. 84r-84v: roman numerals in margin parallel those in text relating to the regnal years of Henry III, poss. 15th C.
  • 4. Fol. 146v: ‘Stella Comata’, prob. scribal.
  • 5. Fol. 163v: ‘Anno d. 1389’, beside text relating to Henry IV being chosen and crowned king (seemingly a mistake for 1399), poss. 16th C.
  • 6. Fol. 169v, ‘Anno d. 1413’, text relates to the crowning of Henry V, poss. 16th C.

Evidence of erasures:

  • 1. Fol. 43v: last line rubbed out, poss. because it is the beginning of a chapter heading and the loss of the three subsequent leaves had rendered the heading defunct, or because this was the deliberate obliteration of Merlin’s prophecy (Brie, 72:1 ff.) from the MS.; cf. Cambridge, Trinity College MS. R.5.43 where deliberate censorship of Merlin's prophecies occurs.
  • 2. Fol. 175v: phrase ‘[th]at was [th]e Lorde of Cobham’ (in reference to the Lollard John Oldcastle) has been erased. The lordship of Cobham was fairly local to Dartford where the manuscript was housed, inciting perhaps, this erasure.

Fols 44v, 45r, 71r, proper nouns have been underlined.

Graffiti (pen trials etc):

  • 1. Pentrials and scribbles, fols 82v, 145r, 152r, 177r, prob. early 16th C.
  • 2. Fol. 178r: small section of text copied from 177v, prob. early 16th C.
  • 3. Fol. 179v: a lyric, five stanzas of four lines, not in IMEV., prob. early 16th C.
  • 4. Fol. 180r: draft of legal document between a ‘Thomas Crondalle(?)’, and ‘James’, both of Kent; apparently an acknowledgment of debt.
  • Pentrial, numbers 1-9 (arabic) in same hand as above, prob. 16th C.

References, Acknowledgements and Credits

Secondary references
Brie, The Brut

_ _ _, Geschichte und Quellen der Mittelenglischen Prosachronik The Brute of England oder The Chronicles of England. Marburg: N.G. Elwert’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1905.

L. Matheson. PB.

Ker, Medieval libraries, 57.

Associated MSS according to Matheson
Matheson grouping: CV-1419 (rule and governance) Ba [56-57]:
Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Bodley 840
Dublin, TCD MS. 490; It seems likely that the first part of this MS. (fol. 3- 131v) is an early CV-1333 with a continuation in a later hand (as suggested by Brie, Geschichte und Quellen, 53. If this is so it should be reclassified with the following MSS.-
Matheson grouping: CV-1333 [1-10]:
Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Rawlinson B.171
Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Douce 323
New York, Mrs. J. D. Gordan MS. 63
Manchester, John Rylands University Library MS. Eng. 103
New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke MS. 494
London, Society of Antiquaries MS. 93
Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Rawlinson C.155
London, British Library MS. Harley 3945
Manchester, John Rylands University Library MS. Eng. 206
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales MS. Peniarth 398D

Thanks to Prof. Lister Matheson, whose notes made up for the shortcomimgs of my microfilm, and for comparing the dailect in Rawl. B. 171 with that in this MS.

Described by:
Ryan Perry

Date of description:

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