Manuscripts of the West Midlands Help

| Abbreviations | Glossary | Using the Catalogue |

BRUOA. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to AD 1500, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957-1959)
EETSEarly English Text Society
IMEVCarleton Brown and Rossell Hope Robbins, The Index of Middle English Verse (New York : Printed for the Index Society by Columbia University Press, 1943)
IMEV Supp.Rossell Hope Robbins and John L. Cutler, The Index of Middle English Verse: Supplement (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1965)
IPMEPR.E. Lewis, N.F. Blake, and A.S.G. Edwards, Index of Printed Middle English Prose (New York, London: Garland, 1985).
Linguistic AtlasAngus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin; with the assistance of Michael Laing and Keith Williams, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1986)
LPProfile number in the Linguistic Atlas
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The vocabulary used in the Writing field is based on:
  • A.G. Petti, English Literary Hands from Chaucer to Dryden (London: Edward Arnold, 1977).

The vocabulary used in the Decoration field is based on:
  • M. Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms (London: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, 1994).
  • K. Scott, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles: Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, vol. 2 (London: Harvey Miller, 1996).

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Using the Catalogue
Selection of Manuscripts
Users should note that the inclusion of a manuscript in the catalogue does not mean that it was produced or used in the West Midlands, only that it includes one or more texts either composed or copied by a person or persons whose English was of the West Midlands variety. Dialect was chosen as the principle of selection not because it would produce a list of books located in a geographical area, but as one way of assembling a corpus of data with which we might begin to ask large-scale questions about the geographies and histories of manuscript production.

Transcription Policy
In the Incipit, Explicit, and Rubric fields, manuscript punctuation has not been recorded. Capitalisation and punctuation are modern and minimal: first words of rubrics, incipits, and verse lines are capitalised. Manuscript contractions etc. are either retained or expanded silently (with no attempt to reflect the spelling conventions of the scribe) and there is some minimal silent emendation. Square brackets are used to indicate other forms of editorial insertion. This policy does not apply in the Additions field, where the inscriptions, names, places etc. recorded are often in later hands.

Dating Conventions
Based on Michelle Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (London: British Library, 1990), pp. 2-3.
  • Superscript 1 for first half of century and 2 for second half, e.g. s. xv1 means that the manuscript is dated 1400-1450.
  • Superscript `in’ for the first quarter of century and `ex’ for last quarter, e.g. s. xvin means that the manuscript is dated 1400-1425.
  • Superscript `med’ for the two middle quarters of century, e.g. s. xvmed means that the manuscript is dated 1425-1475.
  • / between centuries is used for the two quarters either side of the turn of a century, e.g. s. xiv/xv means that the manuscript is dated 1375-1425.

Titles are modern. `Titles’ that occur in manuscripts are entered in the Rubric field.

Users may search the catalogue by selecting search terms from the lists of Manuscripts, Images, Titles, Persons (sc. associated with manuscripts), Bindings (a list of medieval bindings). Searches by IMEV and IPMEP numbers may be performed by choosing Search from the side menu. The Quick Search box at the top right-hand corner of the screen provides for a free-text search. Users should note that list order is not always what would be expected in print, owing to the sorting operations of the software.

Suggested format:
Manuscripts of the West Midlands: A Catalogue of Vernacular Manuscript Books of the English West Midlands, c. 1300 - c. 1475 (Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 2006),, accessed [date], entry for [MS].

Image Acknowledgement
Banner design by Patrick Gibbs featuring an image from Cambridge, Trinity College, MS 1285 (O.5.4), f. 5r
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