You are in Introduction. Click here to skip the navigation.
British Library
Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
About Simple search Manuscript search Advanced search  Virtual exhibitions Glossaries Contact us  Main
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back

search tips  Search tips



Detailed record for Additional 10289

Author Guillaume de Saint-Paer ; André de Coutances ; Robert de Blois; Colin Malet and others
Title Li romanz du Mont Saint-Michel (ff. 1-64); Roman de la Résurrection (ff. 64v-81v); La Vengeance nostre Seigneur (ff. 82-121); Medical recipes (ff. 121v-129); Li romanz des Franceis (ff. 129v-132v); 12 Peers of France in Latin (f. 132v); Chastoiement d'un père à son fils (ff. 133-172); Chanson d'Amor (f. 172-175); Juglet (f. 175v-178v).
Origin France, N.W. (Normandy)
Date 4th quarter of the 13th century
Language French (Anglo-Norman)
Script Gothic, written above the top line
Decoration Historiated initial in colours with frame in red of two pilgrims with staffs (f. 1). Ink drawing in brown of the church of Mont Saint Michel burning with flames in red (f. 45v). Two puzzle initials in red and blue with penwork decoration (ff. 82,133). Initials in blue with penwork decoration in red or in red with penwork decoration in blue at the beginning of chapters. Small initials in blue or red at the beginning of lines, some with pen-flourishing in blue; line fillers in red or blue (ff. 1-64). Paraphs in red or blue. Rubrics in red.
Dimensions in mm 190 x 135 (145 x 75/110) partly in two columns
Official foliation ff. 179 (f. 179 is a parchment flyleaf fragment + 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end).
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1959.
Provenance The abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, dated ?1280: inscribed 'anno octog[esimo]', (f. 64) and with a 15th-century ownership inscription 'Iste liber est de thesauraria montis' (f. 1).
Jaques Cujas, humanist scholar and legal expert (b. 1529, d. 1590), perhaps taken by him, as authorised by Nicolas le Fevre on behalf of Louis XIII, from the abbey library in c.1582 (see Genevieve Nortier, Les bibliotheques médiévales des abbayes bénédictines de Normandie (Caen: Caron et cie, 1966), p. 151); his books were dispersed at his death and this manuscript may have returned to the abbey then.
In the 1739 catalogue of the abbey of Mont Saint Michel (see Bernard de Montfaucon, Bibliotheca bibliothecarum manuscriptorum nova, 2 vols (1739), II, p. 1360, no. 216: 'Histoire du Mont St Michel en vers, faite du temps de l'Abbé Robert de Torigny' (r. 1154-1186)). In 1799 the manuscripts of the abbey library were moved to Avranches, but a number were lost. The present manuscript was removed from the collection between 1799 and 1835, when the first inventory was made in Avranches.
Richard Heber, landowner and book collector (b.1773, d. 1833), probably bought by him in Europe in the early 19th century; his sale 20 February 1836, lot 1702; purchased by the British Museum.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at
Guillaume de Saint-Paier, (now Saint-Pois in the diocese of Avranches), author of 'Li romanz du Mont Saint-Michel', was a young monk in the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel in the time of the abbot Robert of Torigni, between 1154 and 1186. His work, written in the Norman dialect of Old French in c.1160, is based on Latin texts and charters found in a 12th-century cartulary of the monastery (Avranches, BM 210) and in later copies. Only 2 manuscripts survive: this one (dated 1280) and Additional 26876 (dated 1340), which contains a more complete version of the text.
The 'Roman de la Résurrection' is a reworking of the 'Evangelium Nicodemi. It is the first of two items in the codex attributed to André de Coutances, a Norman poet, believed to have been active in the early 13th century.
The chanson de geste, 'La Vengeance nostre Seigneur', a French version of the Latin legend about the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD, is found also in Royal 16 E.VIII, (ff. 73-102v), which is now lost. The English legend is in Cotton Calligula A. ii (ff. 111-125), Cotton Vespasian E. xvi (ff. 70-75v) and Additional 10036 (ff. 2-61v).
'Li Romanz des Franceis', the second item attributed to André de Coutances, is an anti-French satire in the Norman dialect which attacks the French while satirising the English. It takes the form of a fake charter issued by the jovial, bon-vivant, King Arflet of Northumbria, accusing the French of being cowardly and under-nourished. The text is conserved only in this manuscript.
The 'Fables Pierre Aufons' is a French verse translation of the 'Disciplina clericalis' by Petrus Alfonsi (or Alphonsus), a work of moral instruction. This copy contains 25 tales.
The 'Chanson d'Amor' by Robert de Blois is a short piece on the paradoxical nature of love and its effects on lovers, here given the title 'Compendium amoris'. This copy does not include the attribution to Robert de Blois. In three other manuscripts, it follows Robert's 'Chastoiement des dames' (Paris, ms. fr. 24301 and ms. fr. 837; and Paris, Arsenal MS 3516).
'Jouglet' is a scatological fabliau from the North or North-West of France (it contains place names such as Carmband and St Omer) illustrating the proverb 'Tel est pris qui croyait prendre', meaning 'What goes around comes around'. The proverb is attributed to the jongleur Colin Malet who may have also composed the fabliau (see Noomen 1992) and the text is also found in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fonds français 837 (ff. 116-118).
Select bibliography Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1836-1846 (London: British Museum, 1843), p. 27.

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), I (1883), pp. 179-80, 812-13; II (1893), pp. 259-65.

Anthony J. Holden, 'Le Roman des Franceis' in Etudes de langue et de littérature du moyen age: Offertes à Felix Lecoy (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1973), pp. 213-33 (p. 214).

R. Graham Birrell, 'Regional vocabulary in Le Roman du Mont Saint-Michel' Romania, 100 (1979), 260-70 (p. 261).

Le Chastoiement d'un père à son fils, a critical edition, ed. by Edward D Montgomery, Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 101 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971).

Willem Noomen, 'Auteur, narrateur, récitant de fabliaux, le témoignage des prologues et des épilogues', Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 35 (1992), 313-50 (pp. 321-22).

Ruth Dean and Maureen Bolton, Anglo-Norman Literature, A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1999), nos. 220.1, 501r.

Le Jongleur par lui-meme: Choix de dits et de fabliaux, ed. by Willem Noomen (Louvain: Peeters, 2003), pp. 276-311 [includes an edition of the text on ff. 175-178].

Yasmina Foehr-Janssens et al., Etude et édition des traductions françaises médiévales de la "Disciplina Clericalis" de Pierre Alphonse (Université de Genève, 2006) at [accessed 10.2.2015].

Le Roman du Mont Saint-Michel (xiie siècle) ed. by Catherine Bougy, Les manuscrits de Mont Saint Michel, Textes fondateurs, 2 vols (Avranches: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2009), II, pp. 43-45, pl. I-IV, VI-IX, XI,XII [contains a description and edition of ff. 1-64 and additional bibliography].

Maureen B. M. Boulton, Sacred Fictions of Medieval France (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2015), p. 310.

Hannah Morcos, 'Dynamic Compilations: Reading Story Collections in Medieval Francophone Manuscripts' (unpublished PhD thesis, Kings College London, 2015), pp. 42, 58, 81-86, 96, 113, Digital appendix: Table 1.6 [online at; accessed 05.05.21]

* * *
Two pilgrims with staffs

f. 1
Two pilgrims with staffs
Decorated initials

f. 42
Decorated initials
Mont Saint-Michel burning

f. 45v
Mont Saint-Michel burning

print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
top Back