London, British Library, Additional 37787

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Repository: British Library
Idno:Additional 37787
AltName:Worcestershire Miscellany
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Date and Language
Date:s. xiv/xv
Language: Latin
Dialect:Scribal dialect: Worcestershire. Linguistic Atlas Grid Reference: 404 268, LP 7640 (McIntosh, Samuels and Benskin 1986, p. 249).
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A well preserved early fifteenth-century (c. 1400, Owst 1926, p. 249; Baugh, 1956, pp. 13-17) manuscript with its original binding containing a collection of mainly Latin texts such as antiphons, sermons, instructions for masses, stories of miracles and private devotions as well as some devotional and didactic Middle English texts and one French text. Illumination by two artists.

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Physical Description
Support: Vellum
Extent:195 x 140 mm
Collation: Originally 27 quires of eights (quires 6 and 15 are twelves). Collation as it survives today: ii + 18, ff. 3r-10v; 28, ff. 11r-17v (wants 1 before f. 17r); 38 (wants first five leaves), ff. 18r-20v; 48, ff. 21r-28v; 58, ff. 29r-36v; 612, ff. 37r-48v; 78 (wants one between ff. 49v-50r, one between ff. 50v-51r; one after 52v), ff. 49r-52r; 88 (wants one between ff. 56v-57r, one between ff. 57v-58r), ff. 53r-58v; 98 (wants initial folio between ff. 58v-59r, wants one between ff. 59v-60r, ff. 60v-61r, ff. 61v-62r), ff. 59r-62v; 108 (missing initial three leaves between ff. 62v-63r, wants two between ff. 64v-65r), ff. 63r-65v; 118 (missing initial three leaves between ff. 65v-66r), ff. 66r-70v; 128, ff. 71r-78v; 138 (missing initial leaf between ff. 78v-79r, wants one between ff. 81v-82r, ff. 82v-83r), ff. 79r-83v; 148 (wants four between ff. 86v-87r), ff. 84r-87v; 1512 (wants initial leaf between ff. 87v-88r, wants two between ff. 91v-92r), ff. 88r-92v; 168 (wants one between ff. 98v-99r), ff. 93r-99v; 178, ff. 100r-107v; 188, ff. 108r-115v; 198 (wants initial two leaves between ff. 115v-116r), ff. 116r-121v; 208 (wants one between ff. 123v-124r), ff. 122r-128v; 218, ff. 129r-136v; 228, ff. 137r-144v; 238, ff. 145r-152v; 248, 153r-160v; 258, ff. 161r-168v; 268 (wants one between ff. 169v-170r), ff. 169r-175v; 278 (wants one between ff. 177v-178r), ff. 176r-182v + one singleton, f. 183; + v. Infrequent catchwords (ff. 20v, 62v, 65v, 70v, 83v, 92v, 99v, 107v, 115v, 128v, 136v, 168v, 175v).
Layout:Pricking visible in some quires e.g. ff. 18r-48v, pricking c. 0.75 mm into the fore-edge. Other quires heavily cropped. Quire 26, penultimate quire, some leaves rather small with uneven edges and pricking marks vary considerably measuring c. 2 cm - c. 0.5 mm into the fore-edge. Writing space of 125 x 90 mm. Single columns with 19-23 lines. Ruled in dry point.
Writing: Scribe 1 (ff. 3r-17v) writing in a Textura Semi-Quadrata script. Characteristics: hairline strokes from bottom of ascenders eg. g, h, w, dotted y to distinguish from ž, B-shaped w with detached first stroke, double compartment a, 2-shaped r. Scribe 2 (ff. 18r-48v, 161r-192v) writing in a Textura Semi-Quadrata script. More compact textura than Scribe 1. Characteristics: B-shaped w of minim height; split ascenders e.g. 'forked tops' of l and h; serif on the descender sitting just under the ascender of h and serif under bowl of g; distinctive d written on f. 161r in 'rede' and again on f. 183r in 'Noržwode'. The construction of the d in these words is identical, and unique within the manuscript, having an elongated ascender that leans to the left of the bowl at a 45 degree angle. Scribe 3 (ff. 49r-142r) writing in a Textura Semi-Quadrata script. Characteristics: open and spacious text; letter l displays a split ascender with a stroke that allows for a heavier left serif than that on the right; disjointed minims where ascending and descending strokes appear parallel e.g. m, n, h. Scribe 4 (ff. 142r-160b) writing in a Textura Quadrata script. Characteristics: split ascenders of l, b, and h; Gothic capitals and triangular bottoms to the minims; w with tall ascenders and a serif drawn from the right; use of the punctus either side of the Gothic I; triangular tops and an exaggerated hairline that first sweeps to the left and then to the right of the y topped by a punctus to distinguish from ž.
Decoration:In red: rubrics, text, ff. 72r-74r (74v blank); red initials eg. red initial 'I' of 'In envy' f. 1v. Two-line red initials. Red and blue paraphs. Blue and red line fillers. One-line blue initials with red penwork forming a box around the initial. Two-line blue initials with red penwork flourishing. Seven, eight, and nine-line blue initial I with red penwork flourishing. Two, and three-line initials with pen squiggles. Other gold initials between ff. 49r-142r. Border Artist 1 - f. 34r: two-sided bar-frame illuminated border extending along the left-hand margin and the top of the folio. Does not appear to be of the bar-frame type due to the short and hidden nature of the bar, it only extends from the foot of the illuminated initial A for seven lines. Illuminated gold bar with light-brown vine. Three-line initial A infilled with three curling acanthus leaves in blue, orange and green (? oxidised) with a white circle and a white line running along the edge typical of the late fourteenth century. Outlines are in brown ink. Initial ground is divided vertically into gold on the right and blue on the left. Both sides are shaded and hatched in white within a serrated pattern. Leading from the left of the A are elongated and rather spiky acanthus leaves shaded with white, white circles, white lines and a row of white dots. Next to the initial, and curling behind the climbing acanthus leaf on the upper left-hand side are other curling acanthus leaves in gold and salmon pink. These leaves curve around the top left-hand corner of the border and are used here as the origin of the spraywork. The spray moves across the top of the page and consists of feathering in brown penwork terminating in a small plain oval lobe. Motifs in the feathering consist of paired gold balls with penwork squiggles together with alternating daisy buds with green calyxes and orange tips hatched in white at the end of their unopened petals. On the left border below the initial, the bar frame of orange and brown sits behind the blue acanthus of the initial and gives way to a mid-point motif of curled, fairly undefined and squat acanthus in salmon pink and blue, again shaded in white with a circle of white. Central to this mid-point decoration is a thistle-like motif, a gold/brown ball sporting hair-like penstrokes. This motif only occurs again on f. 182v. The thistle and acanthus are then joined by an elongated and spiky acanthus in light brown, shaded with a white circle, travelling towards the bottom of the folio and giving way to spraywork. Like the upper spraywork, the acanthus here is furnished with feathering terminating in void oval lobes and paired with gold balls with pen squiggles. These squiggles, unlike the other borders in this manuscript, apart from f. 182v, do not have a green tint. Border Artist 2 - f. 62r: Three-sided bar-frame border of gold with an alternating blue and light brown vine. Blue five-line initial S decorated with white lines along the outer edge, shaded and hatched in white with a row of white dots and a white circle and infilled with pairs of curled leaves growing along vertical vines. Leaves are alternately blue and bright orange shaded with very light orange bands, white lines and white circles. The upper and lower serif of the S act as the starting points for these vines with a band of three white lines covering the 'join' where the vine grows from the serif, a characteristic of the borders painted by this artist. The gold bar sits along the left-hand side of the folio and supports the vine as it grows from the lower serif. The vine is highlighted with a white line that moves seamlessly from vine to leaf. Other late-fourteenth century features of this design are the short vines that cross the gold bar and extend into the margin. In this case they produce a single curled leaf decorated with a white circle, white line, and a band shading in the same colour as the leaf but very much lighter. The vine and bar extend along the left side to the bottom corner-piece that is styled as a row of curling single leaves curving around the corner. The vine continues along the bottom of the folio tapering into rather straight spraywork consisting of feathering inhabited by pairs of rounded leaves and gold balls with one or two pen squiggles. The leaves are shaded with white lines, same colour lighter bands and white circles and are alternately blue and bright orange. The spraywork terminates in a single curled and shaded leaf. Like many fifteenth-century borders this one presents different motifs on its sprays. Thus in the upper spray, which grows from the tapered end of a vine that has travelled from the lower serif of the S sporting a row of single leaves, are pairs of kidney-shaped leaves and gold balls with single pen squiggles. The kidney-shaped leaves, like their counterparts, are shaded with same colour lighter band and a white circle in the middle. These leaves are alternately blue and dark pink and light pink/light brown (faded light pink?) The spray terminates with a blue shaded kidney-shaped leaf. The penwork of the sprays and the outlines of the leaves etc. are in black. Text: hymn beginning, 'Salue plaga lateris nostri redemptoris'. Border Artist 2: f. 68r: Three-sided bar frame border with six-line initial D coloured blue with a white line alongside the outside of the letter and white shading forming heavy serration. There is a row of white dots along the inside with a white circle in the middle of the row. The letter is infilled with a roundel of leaves decorated with white lines, light same colour lighter shading and white circle. The leaves are alternately blue and bright orange. The letter is used as the starting point of vines at both its upper and lower serifs. Again, at the point of branching the artist has covered the 'join' with three bands of white, reminiscent of wire work. The bar border is made up of a gold band on the left of a blue vine growing alongside it. The blue vine is decorated with a white line that moves seamlessly to the leaves and therefore decorates them too, giving continuity and fluidity to the whole design. Each corner of the border is made up of a row of curling leaves curving around the corner in blue, light brown, and orange. Pen squiggles, tinted green, embellish the corner pieces. The gold bar travels around the corners but disappears under the vine as it launches into fairly straight spraywork tapering into a single curled leaf at the right, just short of the edge of the text. The spraywork is decorated with a pair of curling leaves, feathering, and a pair of gold balls with green tinted pen squiggles. Border Artist 2: f. 75r: Full bar-frame border. Nine-line initial A coloured blue on a gold ground decorated with rows of white dots with a central white circle, a white line along the outer edge and hatching forming a serrated pattern along the centre of the letter's legs. The gold ground forms a square but is peaked, like waves, along the right side. The right serif at the foot of the A curls back up into the infill of the letter and splits into two symmetrical vines with leaves of bright orange, blue, and light brown. Leaves are decorated with white lines, shading and circles. Three white bands are also present at points where the vine branches out. The serifs of the left leg of the A are used again to begin the vine proper. The gold bar frames the vine which is alternately blue and light brown. The vine is highlighted in white down the centre, a line that also marks its leaves. The gold bar and vine intermingle at the corner to produce a roundel of leaves, the 'leaves' of the bar in the background and the leaves of the vine in the front. The appearance of these roundels could be described as being like a rotary fan. These vine leaves are alternately blue and orange or light brown with banded shading across their middle, a band that is higlighted by the white line that runs along the middle of the vine and up into the leaves; again giving the design fluidity. On the upper and lower borders the frame is broken at mid-points by a short vine crossing the bar and terminating in a pair of leaves with a central gold ball motif with its accompanying squiggles, in this case three, and green tint. There is also some feathering on the vines that cross the bar. The leaves are alternately blue and light brown. On either side of these leaves is a single leaf on a short vine that also breaks across the bar and is flourished with the green tinted squiggle and gold ball motif. On the right border this pattern is reversed with the single leaf breaking across the bar at mid-point and the pairs of leaves, this time kidney-shaped, crossing the bar on short vines either side of it. The kidney shaped leaves sit atop stalks that are feathered and tinted with green. Text: indulgence of Pope John XXII in red followed by a prayer beginning 'Anima Christi sanctifica me'. Border Artist 2: f. 89v: Three-sided bar-frame border. Six-line initial D. The border and initial are given the same treatment as that on f. 68r. The only real difference is slightly more feathered spraywork at the head and foot of the folio with kidney-shaped flowers instead of the curled leaves. The D is infilled with a single vine that spirals into the middle of the void and carries a row of single leaves. One other difference is the motif that breaks out of the frame on the upper left part of the border. On this folio a leaf, on a very short stalk, crosses the bar and sprouts a pair of kidney-shaped leaves on feathered stalks. In central position is the gold ball motif with green tinted squiggles. Text: prayer beginning 'Domine deus Sabaoth, deus Adonay' preceded by a rubric. Border Artist 2: f. 100v: The decoration of this folio differs from f. 68r only superficially. They are almost identical apart from the motif that breaks through the bar mid way between the cluster of leaves at the D's top serif and the left corner-piece. Instead of a single leaf it is a leaf from which a pair of holly leaves grow. Again, the central motif is the gold ball with green tinted squiggles. The holly leaves are decorated with two white lines down their centres with, on one leaf, two lines branching across the leaf's width to its points. Text: prayer attributed elsewhere to St. Gregory. It begins, 'Dominator deus omnipotens, qui es trinitas' and is preceded by a red rubric 'Quicumque istam oracionem cotidie dixerit hi beatus erit et in futuro gaudebit cum sanctis'. Border Artist 2: f. 109r: Three sided bar-frame border with six-line initial S. Serifs have been used as the starting point for vines with areas of branching being bound by three white bands. The right-hand serif grows a short vine that sprouts curling leaves and one trumpet motif that is used to rationalise the spraywork which is composed of curling leaves, feathering with small oval lobes, and a gold ball motif with a pen squiggle. The spray terminates in a single curled leaf. The bar frame appears from under the leaves on the vine growing from the lower serif and is joined by a vine. Single leaves on very short vines break across the bar into the margin. Between these leaves on the bar side are pen squiggles tinted with green. The corner piece at the bottom of the left-hand side is made up of a row of curled leaves. The straight spraywork along the bottom is composed of feathering with oval lobes, their voids unfilled, a pair of kidney shaped leaves and a gold ball motif with a single squiggle. The spray terminates in a single kidney shaped leaf. The leaves on this lower spray are highlighted with white and a white circle. After this folio each new prayer in this series of prayers is signalled by a gold three-line initial with pen squiggles. Text: a series of prayers to St. Michael beginning 'Sancte Michael, archangele dei, princeps milicie'. Border Artist 2: f. 111r: carries a six-line initial and a three-sided border. Again, the decoration on this folio is the same as that on f. 68r with the only difference being that the initial decorated is O. Text: Prayer beginning 'Obsecro te, angelice spiritus'. Border Artist 1: f. 182v: The noviciate folio. Full bar-frame border. Details the noviciate in 1386 of brother John Northwood at Bordesley Abbey. The initial A of 'anno' is coloured blue and decorated with white lines and hatching to form the serration common in the period. Acanthus leaves in orange, yellow and a further colour (blue?) that is now oxidised, are shaded with white lines, a row of white dots and a central white circle, and curl around the bar of the A. Unlike the illuminated initials and borders of the other artist the branching out of the vine is not marked by three white lines, instead the leaves and vine grow naturally from the serifs of the letter. Again, the acanthus leaves are alternately blue, orange, and yellow shaded with white, white lines, and white circles and a row of white dots. At the corners the vine forms a circle from which these leaves also sprout. The vine breaks across the bar. The mid-points on the left and right side of the border are broken by pairs of acanthus leaves with a heavily curled blue acanthus in the central position. This leaf is shaded with white, a white circle, and a row of white dots. Appearing on the left-hand side at the top of this curled acanthus is a 'mound/cone' shape, coloured rose with white dots (appearing almost like a toadstool), and sporting a gold kidney-shaped object covered in hair-like strokes. This could be the representation of a flower such as a thistle or teasle. On the bottom border the vine breaks out at mid-point with pairs of acanthus leaves with a heavily curled acanthus leaf in the central position. Again, like the left border the central acanthus leaf sports a squat cone in red with white dots topped by a gold doughnut-like motif. In this case the 'hairy ball'/thistle is replaced by a blue trefoil. The right-hand border carries the thistle motif but lacks the red dotted 'cone'. On the right and left borders acanthus leaves grow across the band either side of the mid-point acanthus clusters. Many of the acanthus leaves are the same shape as those on f. 34r, elongated and spiky. Folio 34r also carries the 'thistle' motif. Lost Drawings: f. 62v contains a rubric to a now missing drawing of the Arma Christi whilst f. 64v carries an indulgence of St. Gregory and others relating to a missing figure of Christ.
Binding: Medieval binding, c. 1400. 195 x 135 mm. Covered in red leather mitred and pasted onto the boards. Boards of bevelled oak, c. 15 mm, with three channels, c. 15 mm carrying double white leather thongs held in place with wooden pegs. The wooden pegs are still in place and can be seen on the inside of the back cover. Five bands across the spine. No evidence of a clasp or anchorage point for a chain on the exterior.
Foliation:ff. ii + 183 + v.
Additions:Front flyleaves: various marks of ownership. Back flyleaves: prayers to the Virgin and Christ written by a later, sixteenth-century, owner, Goody Throckmorton. Transcriptions and facsimiles of the texts have been produced in a recent unpublished doctoral thesis (Farnham, 2002). The short prayer text on f. 184r is very difficult to read but is addressed to 'good lord'. The text on f. 184v begins 'O lord ihesus cryste I worshipe že'. The text is a vernacular translation of the Latin Adoro te, Domini Jesu Christe, in cruce pendentem, a popular inclusion Books of Hours. F. 185r carries a prayer to the Virgin, beginning 'heyl marye mayden mekeste'. A short text regarding 'saynt gregory' is copied at the bottom of the folio in the same hand. The texts are incomplete due to the removal of a strip of vellum from the folio. The folio is blank on the verso. The penultimate text is to the Virgin and begins 'hayle marye the handmaydyn'. The final text is unreadable.
Condition:The manuscript is in good condition and retains its original oak boards with most of its red leather binding. Some of the texts appear worn and some have been defaced but both the texts and the illumination appear fresh. A good number of leaves have been removed.
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Origin:Written in north Worcestershire in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. The manuscript is thought to date from the first decade of the fifteenth century or the last years in the fourteenth century. This date of c. 1400-1410 is based on an inscription copied into the final leaves of the manuscript, f. 182v, recording the noviciate of brother John Northwood at the abbey of Bordesley in 1386 (Farnham, 2002, Plate 1). The vernacular text following the Charlemagne charm (ff. 175v-176r, item 101c) includes a reference to the death of Sir Robert Tresilian, Lord Chief Justice for Richard II, executed for treason in 1388.
Provenance:Inscription recording noviciate of John Northwood at Bordesley Abbey in 1386, f. 182v: 'Anno domini milesimo CCC octogesimo sexto. In die sancti augustini anglorum apostoli intrauit domum probacionis beate marie de bordesley ffrater iohannes noržwode quem in uia religionis assumpte deuotissime custodiat trinitas sancta nunc & in perpetuum. Amen'. F. 183r: 'Iste liber constat iohanni noržewode monacho qui ipsum habuerit vel qui in eo legerit habeat eum karitatiue specialiter recomendatum in missa sua priuata commemoracione vel saltem oret pro anima eius et quicumque hunc librum ab eo alienauerit absque eius licencia malediccionem dei incurrat. Fiat. Fiat. Amen.' Malediction against anyone taking the book from John Northwood without permission. Fifteenth century: F. 2r: - 'pertynet ad me my lady peyto Amen yt est yta fyat amen so be heyte'. F. 2r: - 'By the gefte of dame goodyth peyto thy boke/ goody throkmarton'. F. 61v: - 'uxor ihohani rudalli hunc possided codicem'. F. 2r: - 'susanna willescotta vendicat. 1571'. Inscription beneath the others and surrounded by a solid, geometrically patterned border with ornamentation at three corners and a more elaborate roundel decorating the bottom left-hand corner.
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Record History
Catalogued and encoded July 2003 by Rebecca Farnham, University of Birmingham.
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Related Manuscripts Textual Of the manuscript's twenty English texts fourteen are found in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Poet. a.1, preserving the same textual tradition in all but one case (Baugh 1956, p. 39). London, British Library, MS Royal 17 A.xxvii is possibly a Bordesley manuscript. The appearance of the books, in terms of format, scribes, and presentation of texts, is similar whilst they also share some textual similarities (Baugh 1956, p. 35).
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