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Detailed record for Harley 641

Part 1 ff. 1-115v 
Author Dares Phrygius, John Bever
Title Dares's 'De bello troiano' (ff. 1-8), and Bever's 'Flores historiarum' (ff. 8v-115v)
Origin England, S. E. (? Canterbury)
Date 2nd to 3rd quarter of the 14th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration Rubrics in red. Dedicated space for initials left blank. Sketch of initial 'A' added in lead point (f. 38v).
Dimensions in mm 330 x 220 (260/275 x 160)
 
Part 2 ff. 118-206v 
Author Martinus Polanus (d. 1278), John Merelynch, Richard Ledrede, bishop of Ossory
Title Martinus's 'Chronica pontificum et imperatorum' (ff. 118-174v), with additions possibly by John Merelynch (ff. 174v-186v), followed by the 'Proceedings against Dame Alice Kyteler' (1324) attributed to Ledrede (ff. 186v-206v)
Origin England, W. (Glastonbury ?)
Date 1st quarter of the 15th century, possibly 1411
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Scribe John Merylynch
Artists The Oriel Master
Decoration Partial bar and spray border with historiated initial in colours and gold (f. 118). Partial bar and spray borders, and initials with foliate decoration in colours and gold (ff. 125v, 126). Initials in blue with pen-flourishing extending into the margins in red. Rubrics and running titles in red. Paraphs and line fillers in red and blue. Cadels with grotesque features in ink.
Dimensions in mm 330 x 220 (220 x 135) in two columns
 
Official foliation ff. 206 (f. 116 is an original blank leaf; f. 117 is a later addition; + 2 unfoliated flyleaves at the beginning and 6 at the end)
Collation ff. 118-206: gatherings of 8, with framed horizontal catchword in the lower right margin of the last verso of each gathering.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. D'Ewes's binding of gilt-tooled brown calf with his armorial stamp at the centre of the covers; with catches and traces of clasps.
Provenance The volume comprises two manuscripts of different date and origin which were bound together for Sir Simonds d'Ewes (see below).

ff. 1-115:
The Benedictine abbey of St Augustine at Canterbury, Kent, care of the abbot, probably identifiable with Thomas Poucyn , abbot 1334-1343: the abbot's inscription 'Cronica de edicione domini Johannis dicti Beuere monachi Westmonasterii. De libraria monasterii Sancti Augustini Cantuarie. Distinctione Thome Abbatis' (front pastedown and ff. 1, 115v; James 1903, Ker 1964, Watson 1966, Wright 1972).
Edmundus Cok: bound fby him in the 15h century, his inscription (f. 115v; see Wright 1972; Christianson 1990).
John Twyne of Canterbury (b. c.1505, d. 1581), schoolmaster and antiquary: although with no inscription or notes by him (see Watson 1986).
? Sir Thomas Moyleus of Eastwell, Kent (b. before 1500, d. 1560), lawyer and speaker of the House of Commons: acquired from John Twyne (see Watson 1986).
Matthew Parker (b. 1504, d. 1575), archbishop of Canterbury and patron of scholarship: his red chalk markings and notes (passim; see Wright 1972).

ff. 118-206:
John Merylynch , Benedictine monk at St Mary, Glastonbury, Somerset: his inscription 'liber fratris Johannis Merylynch de perquisito eiusdem' (f. 206v; see Ker 1964, Watson 1966, Wright 1972, Luxford 2005, Parkes 2008). Possibly originally part of Oxford, Queen's College, MS. 304, together with an index to Polonus's text, now Harley 651, ff. 185-191v, and a twenty-seven-leaf fragment dated 1411 in private hands (see Luxford 2005, Parkes 2008). Merylynch signed other manuscripts from Glastonbury abbey (see English Benedictine Libraries: The Shorter Catalogues, ed. by R. Sharpe and others, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 4 (London: British Library, 1996), p. 159).

Sir Simonds d'Ewes (b.1602, d. 1650), 1st baronet, diarist, antiquary, and friend of Sir Robert Cotton (see Watson 1966, Wright 1972): his MS. 159 (see Add. 22917, f. 12); title-page in his hand (f. 117); the two volumes bound for him in 1645 for 5s. and clasped for 1s. (see Watson 1966).
Sir Simonds D’Ewes (d. 1722), 3rd baronet and grandson of the former: inherited and later sold the D’Ewes library to Robert Harley on 4 October 1705 for £450 (see Add. 70478 (formerly Loan 29/254 packet 2); Watson 1966; Wright and Wright 1966).
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.
Lent by Edward Harley to Thomas Hearne (b. c.1678, d. 1735), antiquary and diarist: Hearne's inscription and table of contents dated 9 March 1733 (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 'De bello troiano' (ff. 1-8) purports to be an eyewitness account of the Trojan war by 'Dares of Phrygius'. The page begins with a letter from a certain Cornelius, who claims to have found Dares' manuscript and translated it into Latin.
Martin of Troppau (d. 1278) began his career as a Dominican in Prague, later becoming papal chaplain to three successive popes in Rome. His chronicle became very popular: in its original form popes were arranged on one page, and the corresponding emperors on the facing page, with 50 lines per page, making it easy to compare papal and imperial history.
The chronicle ends with the account of the trial for witchcraft of Lady Alice Kyteler and her son, Lord William Outlaw, in Ireland in 1324, by Richard Ledrede, Bishop of Ossary.
Select bibliography Edward Bernard, Catalogi librorum manuscriptorum Angliæ et Hiberniæ in unum collecti, cum indice alphabetico, 3 vols (Oxford: Sheldonian, 1697), II, p. 386, no. 9916.

A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts, in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), I no. 641.

Montague R. James, The Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover (Cambridge: 1903), pp. 296 no. 926, 519.

Harry L. D. Ward and John A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), 1: Harry L. D. Ward (1883), pp. 20-21.

Neil R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, 2nd edition, Royal Historical Society Guides and Hanbooks, 3 (London: The Royal Historical Society, 1964), pp. 44, 91.

Andrew G. Watson, The Library of Sir Simonds D'Ewes (London: British Museum, 1966), pp. 114-15 no. A159, 264 no. [B186], 265 no. H201], 268 nos. [H2-3, 6], 269 nos. [H12-14], 291 [B56].

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. 95, 107, 131, 165, 238, 268, 384.

Anna-Dorothee von den Brincken, ‘Studien zur Überlieferung der Chronik des Martin von Troppau (Erfahrungen mit einem massenhaft überlieferten historischen Text)', Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 41(1985), 460-531 (p. 525).

Andrew G. Watson, 'John Twyne of Canterbury (d. 1581) as a Collector of Medieval Manuscripts: a Preliminary Investigation', The Library, series 6, 8 (1986), 133-50 (pp. 140 no. 11, 149 no. 19).

C. Paul Christianson, A Directory of London Stationers and Book Artisans 1300-1500 (New York: Bibliographical Society of America, 1990), p. 90.

The Sorcery Trial of Alice Kyteler: A Contemporary Account (1324) together with Related Documents in English Translation, with Introduction and Notes, ed. by L. Sharon Davidson and John O Ward (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1993), pp. 16-17.

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), I: Text and Illustrations, p. 71 n. 27; II: Catalogue, p. 126.

Wolfgang-Valentin Ikas, Martin von Troppau (Martinus Polonus), O.P. (d. 1278) in England: Überlieferungs- und wirkungsgeschichtliche Studien zu dessen Papst- und Kaiserchronik, Wissensliteratur im Mittelalter, 40 (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2002), pp. 42, 65, pl. 4.

Julian M. Luxford, The Art and Architecture of English Benedictine Monasteries, 1300-1540: A Patronage History, Studies in the History of Medieval Religion, 25 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2005), pp. 108-09, 222.

Malcom B. Parkes, Their Hands before Our Eyes: A Closer Look at Scribes: The Lyell Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford 1999 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), p. 21 n. 45.


Images

Part  1   ff. 1-115v
Dares Phrygius, John Bever Dares's 'De bello troiano' (ff. 1-8), and Bever's 'Flores historiarum' (ff. 8v-115v)
* * *
 
Text page

f. 1
Text page

Part  2   ff. 118-206v
Martinus Polanus (d. 1278), John Merelynch, Richard Ledrede, bishop of Ossory Martinus's 'Chronica pontificum et imperatorum' (ff. 118-174v), with additions possibly by John Merelynch (ff. 174v-186v), followed by the 'Proceedings against Dame Alice Kyteler' (1324) attributed to Ledrede (ff. 186v-206v)
* * *
 
Martin of Troppau

f. 118
Martin of Troppau
Martin of Troppau

f. 118
Martin of Troppau
Illuminated initial and border

f. 125v
Illuminated initial and border
 
Illuminated border and initial

f. 126
Illuminated border and initial
Illuminated border and initial

f. 126
Illuminated border and initial
Text page with cadels

f. 206v
Text page with cadels
 

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