Private Pilgrimages at Syon Abbey? A Note on Cambridge, University Library, MS Ff.6.33

Ff.6.33

Fig 1: Cambridge University Library, Ff.6.33, fols 70v-71r

Turning to the central folios (70v-71r) of Cambridge, University Library, Ff.6.33, we find a reddish-brown discolouration, rectangular in size, which seems to have bled through the material, faded but still visible on one bifolium (see Fig 1). The mark resists immediate classification as a spillage or other such accidental damage and thus raises the question of how we might interpret such markings. Has the manuscript been used to store an item flat? Is it a mark left by a historical binding? Continue reading

Cambridge, University Library, MS Ff. 5. 35: Some Structural Observations

Cambridge, University Library, MS Ff. 5. 35 contains The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and Piers Plowman. Both works were copied by a single scribe, and are relatively uniform in terms of layout, decoration, abbreviation, and use of catchwords. These two texts are also found in close proximity in several other manuscripts (Cambridge University Library Dd. 1. 17 and San Marino, Calif., Huntington Library MS HM 114), suggesting that despite differences in genre, form and style, the combination was a somewhat popular and apparently logical one for medieval audiences.

This manuscript features two separate sets of quire markings: a series of quire numbers, likely made by a later binder, loosely resembling Roman numerals; and a series of leaf signatures, apparently scribal, visible on the bottom outer corner of the recto of the first folios of many quires, consisting of a letter marking the quire number and a Roman numeral indicating the number of the folio within that quire. Continue reading

An ex libris puzzle in Cambridge, University Library, MS Ee. 4. 30

Cambridge University Library, MS Ee. 4. 30 is a copy of Walter Hilton’s contemplative treatise The Scale of Perfection. Dating from the late fifteenth century, the manuscript is a good quality production by a single scribe, with some careful decorations. It was produced in the London Charterhouse, a major centre of book production and circulation.

Cambridge University Library, MS Ee. 4.30, fol. 4r. Copyright Cambridge University Library

Cambridge University Library, MS Ee. 4.30, fol. 4r. Copyright Cambridge University Library

Indeed, the presence of an ex libris inscription in the manuscript indicates its provenance, one which follows the standard Latin phrasing from this house: ‘Liber domus salutacionis Matris Dei ordinis cartusiensis prope London’ (‘a book of the house of the Salutation of the Mother of God, of the Carthusian Order, near London’). This formulation appears in several other volumes from the Charterhouse, including at the very end of Cambridge University Library, MS Ff. 1. 19 (fol. 134v), where it is heavily abbreviated. However, in MS Ee. 4. 30 the formulation appears in an unusual and, as far as I have been able to determine, unique format. The inscription appears one letter at a time in the central lower margins of each recto in Part One of the Scale text (fols. 4r – 62r), meaning that the reader has to decipher the text gradually. Continue reading

Early Modern Lexicography – ‘The Engelhus-Vokabular’

I’m currently working on a doctoral thesis on an analysis and editing of a 15th century dictionary written by the school-master, chronicler and theologist Dietrich Engelhus (ca. 1362-1434). The dictionary contains lemmata in both Latin and Greek (using the Latin alphabet), followed by a multitude of explanations such as definitions, translations into Middle Low German, examples of use, derivations and grammatical information.

Cod. Guelf. 956 Helmst., 221v

Cod. Guelf. 956 Helmst., 221v

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Mapping Medieval Paper in England

CUL, MS Ee.2.15, fol. 20r. Paper stock: crown. Copyright Cambridge University Library

CUL, MS Ee.2.15, fol. 20r. Paper stock: crown. Copyright Cambridge University Library

The ‘Mapping Medieval Paper in England’ Project was funded by a Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme 2014/15 with the aim of preparing a new dataset of Medieval Paper Manuscripts written in England between 1300 to about 1500 to consolidate the data that Dr Da Rold has collected to date.

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