Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 86

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Repository: Bodleian Library
Idno:Digby 86
AltName:SC 1687
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Date and Language
Date:s. xiiiex
Language: English
Dialect:Scribal dialect: Gloucestershire/south Worcestershire. Linguistic Atlas Grid Reference: 375 232, LP 7790 (McIntosh, Samuels and Benskin 1986, p. 197).
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A late thirteenth-century 'common-place book' containing French, Latin and eighteen English texts of various genres including fabliau, romances, devotional and didactic texts, prognostications, charms and prayers, among others written between 1271 and 1283. The manuscript was written by its owner and has amateurish scribal drawings and decoration.

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Physical Description
Support: Parchment of varying thickness and quality. Some of the folios have been patched. The first and last paper endleaves are modern. The parchment endleaves (ii-iii, 208-9) are seventeenth century.
Extent: x
Collation:Now 27 quires of eights. Collation: [Quire missing]; 18, ff. 1r-8v; 28, ff. 9r-17v; 38, ff. 18r-25v; 4 8, ff. 26r-33v; [Quire missing]; 58, ff. 34r-41v; 68 (wants 8 after f. 48), ff. 42r-48v; 78, ff. 49r-56v; 88, ff. 57r-64v; 98, ff. 65r-72v; 108, ff. 73r-80v; 118, ff. 81r-88v; 128, ff. 89r-96v; 138, ff. 97r-104v; 148, ff. 105r-112v; [Quire missing]; 158 ff. 113r-120v; 1612, ff. 121r-132v; 178, ff. 133r-149v; 188, ff. 141r-148v; 198, ff. 149r-156v; 208, ff. 157r-164v; 214, ff. 165r-168v; 228, ff. 169r-176v; 238, ff. 177r-184v; 248, ff. 185r-192v; 258, ff. 193r-200v; 266 (wants 2 after f. 201), ff. 201r-205v; 27, ff. 206, 207 - singletons.
Layout:Scribe 1: Pricking evident in both margins. Inconsistent writing space - 165-175 mm x 110-130 mm. Single columns and 32 lines: ff. 1-74r - 32 long lines. Double columns and 33 lines: ff. 74v-80v, 97r-168v, 206-207. Single columns and 33 lines: ff. 169r-205v. Ruled in grey plummet. Scribe 2 (Quires xi and xii, ff. 81r-96v): Double rows of pricking in each margin. Writing space: Quire xi - 165 x 125 mm; Quire xii - 160 x 120 mm. Double columns with 33 lines. Ruling in drypoint.
Writing: Scribe 1: Anglicana script improving with experience. Responsible for most of the copying. Characteristics: Pronounced leftward slope. Double compartment a; short r, z with cross bar; headstroke of final s turns upwards at the end; formation of ascenders of b, h, k, and l by upward loop converting to a long curved, downward approach stroke to the tops of the stems, and second stroke of the 'fork' traced lower down; long curved, oblique hairline stroke above the letter i. Scribe 2: Anglicana. Responsible for quires xi and xii, ff. 81-96. Characteristics: upright hand; two compartment a; double headed forms of f and s, headless a; y formed with a loop; '2'-shaped r in medial position; long tailed r; no cross-bar on z; short s in medial position; final s with headstroke turned downwards at end. Scribe 3: A late fourteenth-century hand copied a text on the recto of f. 16, an inserted leaf. Other early fourteenth-century hands filled in the Kalendar and were responsible for pen trials (Tscahnn and Parkes 1996, pp. xxxviii-liii).
Decoration: Marginal red sketches - heads, birds etc. with Latin tags. F. 4v sketches with captions 'presbiter', 'calix', and 'altare' appear with a group of texts of religious instructions (Items 1-2). F. 8v - head with caption 'ipocras' (reference to author of text); f. 34v - man with goblet at his lips with caption 'bibo' and coffin with caption 'toumba'; f. 35r pattern of wiggly lines with caption 'celum' (cf. f. 48r); f. 36v ?churches with flags; f. 37r, drawing of a tree with caption 'arbor'; f. 41r drawing of a crescent moon with caption 'luna'; f. 46v sphere with caption 'sol', 'aqua'; f. 47r picture of a bird with caption'gallus'; f. 48r pattern of wiggly lines with caption 'mare'; f. 79v head of woman with caption 'rosa', pointing hand with caption 'manus', head of man with caption 'homo' and ?tool in front of face (cf. f. 80r); f. 80r head of woman facing a spindle and bobbin with caption 'femina', pointing hand, cross; f. 82v finger pointing to head of a woman; f. 83v ?box with swaddled body next to it and caption 'mortuus', swaddled body in a tomb with caption 'tomba'; f. 84r hand pointing to head of woman; f. 84v two heads with hands pointing to them (later additions?); f. 102v heads of a man and a woman; f. 150r head wearing a mitre; f. 103r man's head; f. 205v sketch of owner 'scripsi librum'. Armorial - f. 47r (bottom) two armorial shields drawn in red; f. 68r (bottom) three armorial shields outlined and shaded in red thought to be the arms of three families who held land in the Worcester diocese - de Vesci, Beaumont, and Fitzjohn - probably copied from the original exemplar (Tschann and Parkes 1996, p. lix). Hands, e.g, f. 164v. Three, four, and five-line coloured Lombardic capitals. For each new line of verse the initial is emphasised in size and colour. Large coloured, decorated initial are used at the beginning of texts. Large initials are decorated with a variety of patterns, i.e. zig-zag, bands of colour running down the middle.
Binding: Not contemporary. Rebound between 1632 and 1634. Coverered in light-brown calf mitred and pasted onto board. Fillet border in gold at the edges of the board with a Vesica figure in gold containing Sir Kenelm Digby's arms and inscription. Resewn on four bands. Earlier sewing probably late sixteenth century. Four raised bands on the spine. Remains of two clasps on exterior fore edge and two catches on the back cover.The first three quires have had their corners folded inwards creating a 'v' shaped fold (See Tschann and Parkes 1996, p. lv, fig. 2). On the fore edge of the first three leaves of these quires there is piercing and a rust spot, possibly evidence of the device used for holding the quires together. The remainder of the quires do not show this folding of the corners. Vertical folds in the leaves suggest that the quires were kept unbound and just lightly folded in a wallet or wrapper prior to their late sixteenth century binding.
Foliation:ff. iii + 207 + iii. Foliated i - iii, and 1 - 210. First and last paper end leaves are modern.
Additions: F. 205v: 'scripsi librum in anno et .iii. mensibus' (written in a year and three months) written by the main scribe. Texts have been copied into spaces between previously copied texts as and when they became available. Texts also appear to have been copied on pieces of parchment that were subsequently sewn onto existing folios within gatherings, such as those, now missing, on the top fore edge of f. 26 and the bottom fore edge of f. 192. F. 16 appears to be a singleton that was placed among the leaves at a later date. It carries the evidence of having been kept separately for some time. It has both relaxed horizontal and vertical folds. According to Tschann and Parkes this indicates that it was 'folded rather like a letter' (1996, p. lvi). The text on this folio (Item 101) was copied by a late fourteenth-century scribe and is further evidence that the quires copied out by the thirteenth-century scribes probably remained unbound during the medieval period.
Condition:The first quire was lost before the sixteenth century. Pieces of parchment sewn on to the top and bottom of f. 192 are now missing. Lengths of twisted thread on the top fore edge of f. 26 and the bottom fore edge of f. 192 are all that remain.
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Provenance: The book was produced by the scribe for his own use who, from evidence in the Kalendar, was possibly Richard de Grimhill (c. 1263 - c. 1308). The major scribe, 1, has entered the obit of 'Alexander de Grimehull' (18 July). A further two obits have been entered in the first half, or middle, of the fourteenth century. These are 'Obitus Amiscie vxoris Symonis Vnderhull' (11 July), and 'Obitus symonis vnerhul' (23 July), . F. 34v: 'Simon dehud' (probably an abandoned entry for Simon de hund[erhulle]). Ff. 39v-40r: part of a will is written in typical formulaic style supposedly by Robert de Penedok. The will begins with the usual references to the soul and earthly remains, in this case to be interred at 'ridmarleye' but ends at the bequest of a colt 'pullum' to William de Underhulle. However, given that the pen trial is in the hands of William it is thought that this 'will' is the result of 'youthful high spirits rather than a copy of or a draft for a genuine document' (Tschann and Parkes, 1996, pp. lvii-lviii). Ff. 40r and 141v: 'Willelmus de underhulle'. F. 89v: 'Galfridus Willelmus Robertus de Penedok scripsit'. Ff. 39v and 98v carry 'Robertus filius Roberti de penedok'. F. 99v 'Galfridus' Penedok is described as 'filius simonis de underhulle'. F. 111v: 'Iohannes dominus de penedoch'. (1540-1632, member of Trinity College, Oxford) acquired the book in Oxford in the sixteenth century. The catalogue of his collection drawn up in 1622 lists Digby 86 as '80 A.I' with the reference number I being written on f. 1r of the manuscript.
Acquisition:Thomas Allen beqeathed his collection to Sir Kenelm Digby where it was subsequently catalogued (the inventory number 'A 100' appears in the top margin of f. 1r) and rebound before being given to the Bodleian Library, along with the rest of Digby's collection in December 1634.
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Record History
Catalogued and encoded: July 2003, Rebecca Farnham, University of Birmingham. Unable to examine manuscript due to viewing restrictions. Described with reference to Tschann and Parkes (1996).
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