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Detailed record for Harley 2277

Title South English Legendary (Legends of the saints in verse, listed according to their feast days), imperfect at the beginning
Origin England, S.W.
Date c. 1300
Language English
Script Gothic
Decoration Large plain initials in red or blue. Paraphs in red or blue. Capitals marked in red.
Dimensions in mm 240 x 150 (195 x 110)
Official foliation ff. 232 ( + 5 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning + 4 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house; marbled endpapers.
Provenance John Sanford of Comersley, Somerset: inscribed in the late 16th century, 'John Sanford' (ff. 21, 41, 43, 46, 49 etc.), and 'Dieu saulve nostre royne Elizabeth 1577 per moy Johan Sanford' (f. 22).The Sanford children scribbled their names throughout the book (as noted in the Harley Catalogue).
Robert Burscough (b. 1651, d. 1709), author, prebendary of Exeter 1701, archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1703; sold 17 May 1715 (Wright 1972).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ‘17 Maij 1715' (f. 1).
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes Folio or folios missing after ff. 105, 176.
Added index of titles of some of the legends contained in the work (f. 232v).
For a detailed list of the contents, including lacunae, see the Harley Catalogue.
Saints include: Benedict (imperfect), Mary of Egypt, Alphege, George, Mark, Peter Martyr, Phillippus and Jacobus, Quiriac, Brendan, Dunstan, Aldhelm, Augustine, Barnabus, Alban, John the Baptist, Peter, Swithin, Kenelm, Margaret, Mary Magdalene, Cristine, James, Christopher, Martha, Laurence, Bartholomew, Giles, Matthew, Michael, Jerome, Denis, Luke, the eleven thousand virgins, Simon and Jude, Quintin, All saints, All souls, Leonard, Martin, Edmund the Confessor, King Edmund, Clement, Catherine, Andrew, Nicholas, Lucy, Thomas the Apostle, Anastase, Stephen, John the Evangelist, Thomas Becket. The lives of the saints are followed by the life of Judas Iscariot and the life of Pilate. The work also includes verses on Lent, the Passion, Easter, Christ's Ascension, Pentecost, the litany, feasts and miracles of the Virgin Mary, the Assumption of the Virgin, the Discovery of the True Cross, and Hell. The miracles of the Virgin, inserted between the lives of Barnabas and Alban, include (1) Theophilus (2) The Jewish Boy (3) Devil in Service (4) B.V. comes to the devil instead of his victim (5) Saved by learning two words (6) Oxford Scholar led to heaven (7) Toledo.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2277.

Frederick James Furnivall, Early English Poems and Lives of Saints (Berlin: Asher, 1862), pp. 34, 40, 42, 57.

Carl Horstmann, Early South English Legendary, Early English Text Society, Old Series 87 (London: N. Trübner, 1887), xiii-xxiv.

Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 5 vols (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1898), I, pp. 457-58.

H. L. D. Ward and J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), II, pp. 551, 735.

Ruth Wilson Tryon, 'Miracles of Our Lady in Middle English Verse', Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 38 (1923), pp. 313-20 (p. 309-13).

Mary S. Serjeantson, 'The Dialects of the West Midlands in Middle English', Review of English Studies, 3 (1927), 54-67, 186-203, 319-31 (pp. 55, 322).

Bernhard Bischoff, 'Übersicht über die nicht diplomatischen Geheimschriften des Mittelalters', Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforshung, 62 (1954), 1-27 (p. 16).

The South English Legendary, Early English Text Society, 3 vols, 235, 236 and 244, ed. by Charlotte D'Evelyn and Anna Jean Mill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956), I, [an edition of the text], II, pp.456-58, III, pp. 3-4

Eichi Kobayashi, The Verb Forms of the South English Legendary, Janua Linguarum, Series Practica 15 (The Hague: Mouton and Co, 1964), 5-86.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 11 n. 6.

Beverley Boyd, 'A New Approach to the "South English Legendary', Philological Quarterly, 47 (1968), 494-98.

Arne Zettersten, 'On some Middle English Acquisitions to the Bodleian Library' Neuphilologishe Mitteilungen, 72 (1971), pp. 454-56.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 88, 296.

Anna di Majo, Carlo Federici, Marco Palma, 'La Pergamena dei codici alto medievali italiani: indagine sulle specie animali utilizzate', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des Études relatives aux manuscrits, 39 (1985), 3-12 (p. 4 n. 8).

Thomas R. Liszka, 'The South English Legendaries', in The North Sea World in the Middle Ages: Studies in the Cultural History of North-Western Europe, ed. by Thomas R. Liszka and Lorna E. M. Walker (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001), pp. 243-80.

Mary Beth Long, 'Corpuses and Manuscripts, Authors and Audiences', in A Companion to Middle English Hagiography, ed. by Sarah Salih (Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2006), pp. 47-69.


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Life of Margaret

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