London, Lincoln's Inn, Hale 150

| Shelfmark | Date and Language | Contents |
| Physical Description | History | Record History | Bibliography |

Repository: Lincoln's Inn
Idno:Hale 150
AltName:Misc. 29
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Date and Language
Date:s. xvin
Language: English
Dialect:Scribal Dialect: Shropshire. Linguistic Atlas Grid Reference: 330 280, LP 4037 (McIntosh, Samuels and Benskin 1986, p. 233).
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A manuscript from the first quarter of the fifteenth century containing four romances and Piers Plowman (A-text). The dimensions of the manuscript, long and narrow, have led to its description as a holster book.

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Physical Description
Support: Parchment. Rather stiff.
Extent:400 x 130 mm
Collation: Originally 11 quires of 12 leaves. Catchwords ff. 25v, 37v, 49v, 61v, 73v, 85v, 87v, 108v, 121v. Collation as it survives today, quite complicated in the first and last quires: 112 (wants 1-3, 10-11); 212 (wants 1-2, 8-7, 11-12); 312; 4-1212; 1312 (only 4 leaves remaining). Manuscript rebound in 1972 and order of the leaves restored but foliation kept the same.
Layout:Writing frame has been pricked with small cuts 4mm long on all four sides or star-like pricks made with a knife see ff. 49 and 50 for a comparison. Writing space of 270 x 65 mm. Single columns with c. 56 lines. Ruled in barely visible brown ink.
Writing: Written by one scribe in a small Anglicana hand with cursive features such as minims traced continuously without distinction between u, n, m, and i. Dotted y throughout. The script changes in appearance although the hand seems the same, it becomes larger, taking up more writing space and becoming less carefully executed, for example ff. 38r and 109r. In Piers Plowman the scribe adopts a larger form of Anglicana, with Bastard features in the Latin text. Ink smudges are present in most parts of the manuscript, see ff. 53v and 54r for example. Characteristics: double compartment a; rounded lobe of d with a looped oblique ascender; closed 8-shaped rounded g with a little tail on the right of the head and on the right of the descender, used alternatively with another open rounded form. Oblique thick descender terminating with a thin stroke with a serif on the top of the back stroke of p, open squarish top head forming an angle at the bottom whilst turning towards the left; long r is used throughout; long s in initial and medial position; sigma s used regularly in final position and at times initially; curved back stroke terminating with a serif on the top left ş with a large rounded head, used regularly; small z-shaped ?. Script height: 2-3 mm.
Decoration: Miniature of a man with a ?pastoral staff and a cross on top, perhaps a bishop? in red ink, but the lower part of the image cut away f. 27v. No other decoration apart from an initial three-line capital in green, the only one inserted at the beginning of Merlin. Other textual parts have a space with guiding letter, but no ornamental initial. Boxed catchwords and explicit with occasional tentative decorations in brown ink, eg. f. 27r.
Binding: Rebacked with brown leather on original boards with five double raised bands on a hollow spine. End papers are pasted under original end papers at both back and front. As the vellum is rather fragile, it has not been possible to repair by sewing in all cases. Size: 500 x 140 mm.
Foliation:ff. i + 125 + i
Condition:Wormholes and worn parchment at beginning and end, with partially turned pages and loss of text. Leaves lost at beginning and probably at the end.
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Provenance:End flyleaf, f. 126 - single-sheet document containing papal confirmation of indulgences granted to the Master and Brothers of the Hospital of St. John, Beverley. This is followed by a notarial instrument of [...] Peccham, 'clericus [...]', AD 1384 (Ker 1969 p. 135). Same flyleaf - sixteenth-century ownership inscription 'Antony ffoster de Trofford'.
Acquisition:Apparently donated to Lincoln's Inn by Sir Matthew Hale, Chief Justice of King's Bench in 1676, see Guddat-Figge (1976, p. 230). Was in the library before 1697 as it appears in the catalogue printed in that year (Barnardus 1697, vol. 2, pt. 1, 181, no. 5725).
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Record History
Catalogued and encoded: Orietta DaRold, University of Birmingham, March 2005.
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