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Detailed record for Additional 59616

Part 1 ff. 1-11 
Author John Vyel and Edmund Kingston
Title Customary of the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Christ Church, Canterbury
Origin England, S. (Canterbury)
Date 1428
Language Latin and French
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration Initials in blue (ff. 1, 11v). Numerous initials in red, one with a monk's face drawn inside (f. 5). Rubrics and marginal rubrics in red.
Dimensions in mm 355 x 250 (235 x 160/70)
Part 2 ff. 12-26 
Author Beneit de St Albans
Title Vie de Thomas Becket
Origin England, Central (Oxford)
Date 4th quarter of the 13th century
Language French (Anglo-Norman)
Script Gothic
Decoration Marginal hybrid creature with a monk's head in red and green (f. 15). Line-fillers in alternating red or green. Spaces left for initials with guide letters in red (e.g., f. 12).
Dimensions in mm 355 x 250 (250 x 165/80 in two columns)
Part 3 ff. 27-142 
Author Guernes de Pont-Sainte-Maxence
Title Vie de Saint Thomas Becket
Origin England, S. (Canterbury)
Date 4th quarter of the 13th century
Language French (Anglo-Norman)
Script Gothic
Scribe Perhaps the same scribe as Additional 45103 and Cotton Galba E III
Decoration Framed initial in red on a blue ground with penwork decoration in white and red. Ink drawings of the head of St Thomas as Archdeacon (f. 32) and Archbishop (f. 35v) in the margins. Numerous initials in alternating red or blue with penwork decoration in the other colour. Maniculae and marginal drawings of men and animals (e.g., ff. 63, 70, 130).
Dimensions in mm 355 x 250 (290 x 175)
Official foliation vii + 142 (ff. i-vii are modern paper folios of different sizes + 3 unfoliated flyeaves at the beginning and 3 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1977.
Provenance Part 3:
James of Dover (d. 1397) and Thomas Elys (d. c.1409), guardians of the shrine of Thomas Becket: a list of the masses celebrated by them at the shrine and an inventory of ecclesiastical furnishings and vestments sent to Canterbury College Oxford, both referring to 1380, with the date of February 1426 (f. 141v).
All parts:
The Benedictine cathedral priory of the Holy Trinity or Christ Church, Canterbury, probably owned by the guardians of the shrine of St Thomas: inscription on f. 1,'Omnibus dilectis sancte Cantuar' eccl[es]ie confratribus presentibus et futuris confratres Johannes Vyel et Edmundus Kyngyston Feretarii sive Custodes famosi secretarii sive custodes ..(1 line erased)...Millesimo quadringentesimo vicesimo octavo...' . All three parts were probably owned by the guardians of the shrine by this date, as in the third text, Guernes' Vie (f. 136, l. 5), there is a reference to this verse life being recited to visiting pilgrims at the shrine, 'E meinte fez li dist a la tunbe al barun'.
The Hawkins family of Nash Court, near Canterbury, Kent (see D. H. Turner, 'The Customary of the Shrine of St Thomas Becket', Canterbury Cathedral Chronicle 70 (1976), pp. 16-22).
Joseph Haslewood, (b. 1769, d. 1833) writer, antiquary and founder of the Roxburghe Club: his sale at King and Lochée, 8 May 1809, lot 547, bought by Heber for £3 6s.
Richard Heber, landowner and book collector (b.1773, d. 1833): his sale at Evans's, 10 February 1836, lot 322, bought by Phillipps for £111 6s.
Sir Thomas Phillipps (b. 1792, d. 1872), baronet, bibliophile and collector: his number, 8113 (f. [i], and with the note 'MSS Ph' (f. v); his sale, Sotheby's, London, 26 November 1975, lot 826.
Purchased by the British Library from Alan G. Thomas, bookseller, with the aid of the Friends of the National Libraries and Dr W. G. Urry, 18 Dec. 1975 (see Turner, The Customary (1981), f. 20).
Notes ff. i-vii are added papers containing notes by previous owners and scholars.
Beneit de St Alban's name is on f. 26v, line 3.
The text of Beneit's Life of Thomas Becket in this manuscript is the most complete surviving version. It was composed c. 1184 and is based on an earlier text, now lost, by Robert of Cricklade (d. c. 1174), prior of St. Frideswide's, Oxford. It can also be found in Additional 59616 (ff. 1-15v), Cotton Vespasian B. XIV (ff. 95v-113), and Cotton Vespasian D. IV (ff. 149-171).
Guernes' 'Vie' was composed around 1170-74, firstly in France and later in England. It is also found in Harley 270, Additional 70513 and Cotton Domitian XI.
Select bibliography La Vie de Thomas Becket par Beneit, ed. by Borje Schlyter (Copenhagen: Lund, 1941).

Delbert Russell, 'The Campsey Collection of Old French Saints' Lives', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relative aux manuscrits, 52 (1973), 51-83 (p. 76).

Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700-1600 in The Department of Manuscripts: The British Library, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1979), i, no. 429; ii, pl. 401.

D. H. Turner, 'The Customary of the Shrine of St Thomas Becket', in Fine Books and Book Collecting: Books and Manuscripts Acquired from Alan G. Thomas and described by his customers on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, ed. by Christopher de Hamel and R. A. Linenthal (Leamington Spa: James Hall, 1981), pp. 20-21.

Sotheby's London sale catalogue, Western Manuscripts and Miniatures, 24 June 1986, lot 40 (p. 37).

Medieval libraries of Great Britain: a list of surviving books ed. by N.R. Ker, Supplement to the second edition, ed. by Andrew G. Watson (London, Royal Historical Society, 1987), p. 11.

Ruth Dean and Maureen Bolton, Anglo-Norman Literature, A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1999), nos. 508, 509.

The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts, New Series 1971-1975 (London: British Library, 2001), pp. 539-41.

Guernes de Pont-Sainte-Maxence, La vie de Saint Thomas de Canterbury ed. and trans. by Jacques T. E. Thomas, 2 vols (Louvain: Peeters, 2002) I, p. 26, no 5, (this manuscript cited as 'C. Cheltenham, Collection Philipps, 8113')

Kay Brainerd Slocum, Liturgies in honour of Thomas Becket (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004) p. 355.


Part  2   ff. 12-26
Beneit de St Albans Vie de Thomas Becket
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f. 12
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