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The Origins and Production of Westminster School MS. 3 by Ralph Hanna III
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The Origins and Production of Westminster School MS. 3
Ralph Hanna III [*]

Westminster School MS. 3 is a squat and thick volume, in a late fifteenth-or early sixteenth-century binding of brown leather. The codex, written on vellum, contains eighteen main text items, with two later additions; excepting one of these additions, a lyric, the contents are entirely pieces of Middle English religious prose.[1] The volume belongs within a large but amorphous class of Middle English codices which provide one-volume libraries of the religious life for lay use. But some of its more interesting codicological features provide clues to its modes of production, and these may render it interesting within a more general context.

To facilitate an analysis of the production, I begin by presenting a modified description of Westminster 3. At the left of the page, I note the quires which comprise the volume and the number of leaves in each; toward the right, I identify the texts which fill these quires.

quires 1-88   1) "þe Pater Noster of Richard Ermyte" (Jolliffe M.3b, IPMEP 150)[2]  
98   "þe Pater Noster" concluded
2) (ff. 68-72) the Wycliffite commentary on the Ave Maria (Wells Rev. III:58, IPMEP 276)
f. 72v is blank. 
108   3) the so-called "orthodox" commentary on the Decalogue (IPMEP 48)[3]  
118   the Decalogue tract concluded
4) "Beniamin" (i.e., Benjamin Minor, IPMEP 4) 
12-138   "Beniamin" concluded
5) (ff. 103v-104v) "How men schulden be pacient in tribulacioun . . ." (Jolliffe J.8) 
148   6) "How men þat beþ in heele schulde visite seke men" (Jolliffe L.5b, IPMEP 460)


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7) "þe chartir of heuene," a tract from Pore Caitif (Jolliffe B, IPMEP 166) 
158   "þe chartir" concluded
8) a translated excerpt from ps.-Bonaventura, Meditationes Vitae Christi (IPMEP 22)[4]
9) "How lordis and housbondemen schulden teche . . ." (Jolliffe I.1)
10) a brief tract on love (Jolliffe G.26, IPMEP 155) 
168   the tract on love concluded
11) "A tretis of weddid men and wymmen and of her children also" (Wells Rev. III:26, IPMEP 521) 
178   "A tretis of weddid men" concluded
12) (ff. 132v-135v) "A schort reule of lyf for eche man in general . . ." (Wells Rev. III:28, IPMEP 203) f. 136rv is blank. 
18-198   13) "A noble tretys of maydenhode" (Jolliffe G.16b) 
2010   "Maydenhode" concluded
14) (ff. 153-162v) "Tretys in fyue schort chapitres," the concluding tract from Pore Caitif (Jolliffe B) 
21-228 232   15) "þe ten comaundementis of god"[5] f. 180v is blank; the work of scribe 1 ends here. 
24-268   16) "þe myrour of seynt Edmound," i.e. one of the translations of St. Edmund Rich, Speculum Ecclesie (Wells VI:6 in supplement 3, IPMEP 706, 799, 800)[6]
f. 204v originally mostly blank, now with some added lists (item 17 of Ker's description); the work of scribe 2 ends here. 
27-288   18) Richard Rolle's Form of Living (Wells XI:5, IPMEP 351)[7]  
298   Form of Living concluded
19) Rolle's Ego Dormio (Wells XI:6, IPMEP 160), following the preceding without rubric 
304   Ego Dormio concluded
ff. 231v, 232rv originally blank, now with a lyric (IMEV Supplement 754.5) written in on f. 231v (Ker's item 20). 
The manuscript lacks signatures (three partial ones occur in quire 28) but has catchwords at the ends of quires where the text is consecutive.

On the basis of features identified by Pamela Robinson as typifying production in booklets or fascicles,[8] the text appears to divide into a series of seven separate units:

  • I = quires 1-9 (identifiable by the remaining blank side at the end and by the possibility that the short text 2 has been copied in as a filler)
  • II = quires 10-13 (identifiable by possibility that the brief unique text 5 has been copied in as a filler)
  • III = quires 14-17 (identifiable by the remaining blank leaf at the end)
  • IV = quires 18-20 (identifiable by the extension of the final quire to accommodate text runover)
  • V = quires 21-23 (identifiable by the remaining blank side at the end and by the small final quire to accommodate text runover)
  • VI = quires 24-26 (identifiable by the originally blank final leaf)
  • VII = quires 27-30 (identifiable by the blank leaves at the end)
Further evidence not associated with quiring supports such a view. The booklets reflect the activity of three scribes, all of the early fifteenth century: the


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first copied five booklets in anglicana formata, the second Booklet VI in bastard anglicana, and the third Booklet VII in textura.[9] In addition, scribe 1's Booklet IV differs in format from the remainder of his copying: within a text area 130 X 90 mm. he writes thirty-two lines per page in Book IV, as opposed to his normal 130 X 80-85 mm. frame containing twenty-four lines.[10]

This information, while it does not exhaust what may be gleaned from a physical inspection,[11] gives the essential data about the preparation of the text. But although it explains the book's production artifactually, it leaves unanswered a variety of questions. Why does Westminster 3 have the shape it does? How did the materials provided by the three separate scribes come to be joined? Why did the first scribe prepare his work in separate fascicular units? And where did all three scribes get their materials? What kinds of sources did they rely upon? Ultimately, these questions about textual production implicate one in questions about basic medieval literary history, the availability of works and the form(s) in which those works circulated. In the remainder of this essay, I want to address these questions briefly, using the tools of analytical bibliography and dialectology.[12]

One set of questions can be answered very easily—at least as regards certain separable parts of the volume. That is, even rather perfunctory investigations will quickly convince one that the materials copied by scribes 2 and 3 are of a highly localizable sort; put otherwise, they reflect two different narrow traditions. Both sets of texts—item 16, The Mirror of St. Edmund; and items 18 and 19, the fused Form of Living and Ego Dormio—turn out to belong to limited recensions of the texts they represent. In the case of The Mirror, one is dealing with a translation not widely attested, at least in its full form; with the Rolle epistles, a peculiar scribal redaction of relatively narrow dispersal.

I would suggest an immediate inference to be drawn from this fact: scribes 2 and 3 each worked on texts of limited circulation—and a circulation quite separate from other portions of Westminster 3. One should, I think, conclude that a substantial cause of the discontinuous structure of the Westminster manuscript reflects simply this fact, that booklets were generated only as exemplars became available. Further, excepting some minor tailoring, not all a matter of economics but some of it an effort at placing thematically related works together, booklet divisions in the text correspond to distinctions of source.

As an example of the kind of study which underlies this abbreviated account, I want to examine the transmission of one of the Rolle epistles in some detail. Booklet VII, as has been previously recognized,[13] provides evidence for a well-known deviant text of Rolle's epistles. In Rawlinson A 389, two copies of the work Ego Dormio occur. One of these (ff. 77-81), published by C. Horstman in the late nineteenth century, introduces numerous variant readings into the apparent Rolle original, as found in Cambridge Univ. Library Dd.v.64. The second copy, found later in Rawlinson (ff. 96v-99) fused to the end of a deviant version of Rolle's Form of Living, plainly comes from


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a version like the first Rawlinson text; however, it was not transcribed from the first Rawlinson copy. This second text seems to be a verbatim transcript, the foot of each page being marked "corrigitur," a sign that the text has been rechecked against its archetype. Given some substantial variations in the two Rawlinson copies, the archetype of the second Rawlinson text cannot likely have been the first Rawlinson text.[14]

This version of Ego Dormio fused with Form occurs in a very few codices of limited geographical provenance. Rawlinson A 389 (R) can be associated firmly with Lichfield, both by its language and by the fact that it belonged to canons of Lichfield at the turn of the sixteenth century. The same version of Ego Dormio also appears in a pair of manuscripts from a nearby West Midland locale, north Worcestershire—Bodleian Eng. poet. a.1 (the Vernon ms., V) and British Library Additional 22283 (the Simeon ms., S). These two mammoth miscellanies, both the size of monastic lectern bibles, share common exemplars for most of their contents. In addition to these three codices and to Westminster 3 (W), the text also occurs in a manuscript which Smith and McIntosh tell me was copied by a north Warwickshire scribe—Paris, Bibliothèque Ste. Geneviève 3390 (G).[15]

The relations of these five manuscripts are fairly easy to untangle, and the variants show W rather distantly connected to the remainder of the manuscripts. Agreements of RSVG in readings probably erroneous occur extremely frequently, perhaps seventy times in the sample I have collated, about two-thirds of the Ego Dormio.[16] And within this grouping, S and V, probably copied from a common exemplar, share a number of unique readings; more frequently, they share readings with R (nearly thirty examples). Only the G text agrees in error with W to any extent—about eight readings.[17] G's agreements with W, a few provocative unique readings, and its avoidance of numerous specifically RSV errors suggest one of two situations. On the one hand, G may simply resemble W because it provides readings of a better version of the archetype than that available to RSV. On the other, its scribe may have had access to two archetypes—one which provided the readings shared with RSV, as well as a second and better copy which, like W, avoided many of these readings and provided some readings shared with W. One can represent this situation by the following stemma, only a single part of the complicated descent of Rolle's epistles:



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The dotted line indicates the possible G conflation. In any event, the text of W appears completely isolated: its only close congener G is more likely to have borrowed from an archetype resembling W than to be primarily descended from it.

This material is provocative, because western connections for surviving manuscripts probably from exemplars related to those used in composing Westminster 3 pop up at every turn. Here collation of texts demonstrates that the Westminster Ego Dormio is most closely related to the Warwickshire Ste. Geneviève copy. Further examinations of textual relations, exercises like that I have described above but refrain from repeating in detail, indicate that the nearest textual relatives of Westminster 3 works almost invariably come from the southwest midlands. Excluding short items, Booklets I, II, V, VI, VII, and the first item of IV share this bent.

Booklet I has been investigated more thoroughly than any other portion of the manuscript. The Pater Noster exposition attributed to Richard Rolle (item 1) is one of only two Westminster works to appear in an edition which analyzes all the manuscript evidence. In the case of this work, the most extensive in the entire codex, Florent Aarts has presented quite unequivocal conclusions: "Textually these two manuscripts [Westminster and Sidney Sussex 74] form a very close group. Since they avoid each other's errors, they cannot have been copied from each other, but there can be little doubt that they derive from a common ancestor, which must have contained a fairly accurate text."[18] The Sidney Sussex copy, again, is identified by the Edinburgh dialect project as a Warwickshire codex.

The other fully edited text in Westminster 3 is the Benjamin Minor (item 4) which takes up most of Booklet II. Here the preponderance of indirect evidence suggests some connection between Westminster and Arundel 286. The evidence remains indirect, since Westminster is a twin of Cambridge Univ. Library; both these texts and Arundel belong to the same large branch of generally inferior copies.[19] But two factors point toward connections with the Arundel copy—a pair of other texts shared with Westminster and the sometimes erratic behavior of the scribe who copied relevant portions of the Arundel manuscript.

Arundel provides two other texts which also appear in Westminster, for both of which it appears the closest textual relative. This manuscript contains a copy of the standard decalogue (item 3), which shows some correspondences with Westminster in what, so far as I can tell, are unique readings.[20] And the manuscript also includes the only other known copy of "A noble tretys of maydenhode" (item 13). In both cases, the connections may remain tenuous, but this reflects certain peculiarities of the Arundel scribe.

This scribe is perhaps better considered an editor than a mere copyist. Virtually all the texts I have examined have been subjected to considerable rewriting. Most frequently, this takes the form of excisions and abridgement; somewhat less often, the scribe provides summarizing paraphrase to keep the argument of his texts afloat.[21] Thus the decalogue tract has been severely condensed,


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a factor which makes even the small number of agreements with Westminster particularly significant; the tract on virginity has been subjected to similar summarizing procedures. In this context, one might consider that the Arundel version of Benjamin Minor, a reasonably accurate reproduction by this editing scribe's lights, differs from Westminster, not because copied from a different archetype, but because of the Arundel scribe's freedoms. In any event, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that Westminster relied on an archetype like that available to Arundel for the contents of two booklets (II and IV). This common archetype again suggests western connections, since the Arundel scribe is another Warwickshire copyist.[22]

Booklet V is devoted to a single text, a rather strange decalogue tract. Instead of offering sustained moral analysis of the precepts of Exodus 20, this discussion typically gives a translation of the biblical injunction and then illustrates that injunction by biblical translation and paraphrase alone. Unusually, this text relies not simply upon concordance of parallel precepts elsewhere in Scripture but upon lengthy biblical narratives designed as examples to illustrate the sins the decalogue names. So far as I know, there are only two other copies of the work: Laud Misc. 656, a late fourteenth-century collection of biblical histories, comes from Oxfordshire, another potential western connection for a Westminster 3 text, while the later Trinity copy is in the hand of Stephen Doddesham, monk of Sheen.[23]

Booklet VI proves relatively easy to localize, since the full text it transmits does not appear widely. However, this text does appear to have been at least marginally popular in some fifteenth-century circles. Only three full manuscripts of this translation of St. Edmund's Mirror are known; however, there are several excerpted versions—one, a pair of lengthy extracts from the total text; others comprised of small segments chosen for their instructional purport.[24]

Collation of sample passages from the full versions allows fairly unambiguous conclusions. The Additional ms. appears, on the basis of a number of unique additions and the avoidance of errors shared by the other texts, to be independent. Although this codex shares a number of erroneous readings with Westminster, on inspection these reflect independent coincidence, rather than genetic relationship; they include stripping prefixes from verbs and eliminating apparently repetitive phrases. In contrast, Westminster agrees considerably more frequently with Bodley 416 than with Additional (a ratio of about 2.5 to 1), and many of these shared errors are apt to have been genetically transmitted. The Huntington fragments clearly have been edited and rewritten; although a number of readings not in other copies appear potentially authorial, they may equally be examples of inspired scribal editing.[25] Because it lacks any signs of the additions, Huntington appears copied from an exemplar resembling Bodley and Westminster. Again, the closest surviving text is western: the forms of Bodley 416 are mixed, but, as Smith tells me, "certainly West Midland, perhaps Warwickshire." Thus a quite substantial portion of the materials available to the copyists of Westminster 3 seems to have come to them from a southwest midland source.


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In discussing these "western" portions of the codex, I have ignored two short texts which appear interspersed with these materials—item 2 (in Booklet I) and item 5 (in Booklet II). It is now time to bring them from the periphery to the center of discussion. These texts do not share the western antecedents of the materials which surround them, and indicate some minimal tailoring of independently conceived booklets to form the completed codex.

I have already noted the apparent reliance of Westminster 3 and Sidney Sussex 74 upon a common exemplar for the Pater Noster tract at the head of the volume. Sidney also contains a copy of the Wycliffite Ave Maria (item 2): it occurs there twenty-odd folios after the conclusion of Pater Noster. However, if one examines the manuscript variants for this text, one finds that the Westminster 3 copy is not only closely related to that found in Sidney Sussex; in fact, the Sidney Sussex is the least closely related of all the copies.

Three of the texts—Westminster, Bodley 938, and Corpus Christi College Cambridge 296—agree in a variety of readings against Sidney; of these eleven appear significant. Moreover, within the three-manuscript group, Bodley and Westminster agree against the other texts in a substantial number of erroneous readings.[26] In fact, the Westminster copy seems to have been derived from the same exemplar as was Bodley 938, some ancestor of which lies behind four texts in Booklet III (items 6, 8, 11, and 12). Apparently Westminster scribe 1 felt that analysis of basic prayers belonged together and used an exemplar which provided the central contents of another booklet to fill out a partially blank quire elsewhere.

Similar decisions appear to occur elsewhere in the volume. Thus, the same supply of filler to avoid a blank occurs at the end of Booklet II, where the text is unique and perhaps even composed for the occasion.[27] And the joining of like thematic material also explains the provision of a section of Pore Caitif which discusses virginity to conclude booklet IV, otherwise devoted to a lengthy tract on the subject.

The treatment of this Pore Caitif excerpt indicates one of the favored procedures of scribe 1. Much of the form his work takes appears predicated upon copying texts into booklets which depend upon available exemplars. But factors involving the potential joining of booklets into a full codex also operated.

The example of the three texts which may have come from an exemplar shared with Arundel 286 is here instructive. Although he was working from a single source, the scribe divided materials from it between two different booklets. This looks like a content-oriented choice: two of the texts were of general relevance, the third concerned with a more specific topic, virginity. Moreover, the two texts which comprise Westminster Booklet 2 appear in Arundel 286 as adjacent but in reversed order—although that may not have been the original order in Arundel or in its (and Westminster's) shared exemplar. By reversing them, scribe 1 managed to create a situation in which the common decalogue tract might be brought into juxtaposition with Booklet 1: he thus established a codex-opening sequence which analyzed proverbially


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basic documents of the spiritual life: pater noster, ave, and decalogue.

Moreover, this content-driven arrangement may also explain the separate appearance, at the end of scribe 1's portion, of a second decalogue tract. The very different rhetorical approach of this text, with its emphasis on connecting individual morality with salvation history through exemplary biblical anecdotes, may have rendered it intrusive in the earlier part of the codex. Thus, even as production went on piecemeal, dependent largely upon exemplar availability, the scribe appears to have been careful not to foreclose absolutely some important options: working through booklets, he was permitted a certain flexibility which eventually enabled him to impose a logical and thematic ordering on contents, even at a point before the codex might be considered as some unified whole.

Booklet III is the messiest portion of the codes, but the issue of its sources is potentially soluble. As I have noted above, four of the texts are shared with Bodley 938, and for three of these (8, 11, 12), collation shows that Bodley and Westminster 3 share an archetype not available to other copies.[28] However, for the fourth of the texts, the popular Visitacio Infirmorum (item 6), Bodley is not clearly the source, and Westminster shows connections with a group of manuscripts which have this text and others in booklet III, including Bodley, Laud Misc. 210 (one of two surviving copies closest to Westminster for item 10, which does not occur in Bodley) and University College 97.[29]

In addition to this shifting of closest textual relatives, contents of the fascicle do not neatly correspond with the contents of any surviving manuscript. I have already noted Bodley's failure to provide item 10 (while the text does occur in UCO and Laud). But given the fifty-odd surviving copies, item 7 is untraceable (and because it is a common extract, not necessarily from the same source as item 14).[30] Item 9 survives elsewhere in only two manuscripts otherwise unrelated to Westminster 3. The appropriate inference seems that one here sees the remains of a rather large miscellany of texts, now only selectively extant (according to the choices of individual patrons or editors) in a congeries of manuscripts.

At this stage in the argument, however, no one will be surprised to discover that these texts could have come to the Westminster scribe from a western source. UCO, as Doyle has shown, is most probably from western Worcestershire and from exemplars also available to the Worcester scribe of the Simeon manuscript.[31] Most (ff. 20-93v, 98-168) of the composite Laud MS. again shows the forms of Warwick, and others perhaps those of Worcester itself. (However, other portions are by Cambridge and Lincolnshire scribes.) In contrast, Bodley displays mixed dialect forms and is not precisely localizable; but, the spellings of Cambridge Univ. Library, Part II, ff. 43-99v, copied by the same scribe, show less contamination from his archetypes and are those of Huntingdonshire.

The Huntingdon forms are provocative, since they generally accord with the dialect of Westminster 3. That is, the main scribe of the manuscript has been placed by the Middle English Dialect Survey in the Soke of Peter-borough.


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Although hand 2 is a mixture which has as yet resisted analysis, hand 3 is similar to the first and is described by McIntosh as "extreme southern Lincs on the edge of the Soke." Thus these scribes write that kind of East Midland which the dialect project has elsewhere associated with the forms of early version Wycliffite bible manuscripts.[32]

At this point one faces, I should think, something of a quandary. The dialectical similarity of the language of two of the three Westminster scribes should, I think, conduce one to think of all three as a team, although one with unequal shares: scribes 2 and 3 essentially provided piecework to accompany a much greater amount of work by scribe 1. Thus the booklets of the manuscript could reflect a bit of production economy, shared work, perhaps of a temporary team, making the copying proceed apace. And this division of labor would explain the diversity of exemplars used—the subsidiary scribes got archetypes unneeded for the copying of other, more extensive portions. But the apparent nature of these archetypes is surprising: the localism of the Westminster scribes' language does not accord with that of their sources, especially the persistent western flavor of many manuscripts most closely related to their product.

Here I think that one may run up against a problem inherent in all dialect studies, whether medieval or modern. When I read a version of this paper at a scholarly conference I amused my audience by pointing out to them that I have never learned to speak anything remotely confusable with standard English and have persisted for years with a local dialect.[33] I also pointed out that through vicissitudes of family history, this is not the dialect of my birth-place; and that through further vicissitudes, I happen now to speak it near my birth-place. But, because of other accidents (in this case, large-scale social movements), my speech is no longer thoroughly outré in its current context: indeed, certain features gain support from a variety of dialects spoken in inland southern California and parts of the southern San Joaquin Valley (generally misdenominated "Okie"). I happen to speak this way, not because of geography, but because of birth: this happens to be the dialect of my mother's birth-place and has been reinforced by spending a substantial portion of my childhood in that locale.

I would suggest that the various disparities uncovered in this study of the origins of Westminster School 3 might be resolved by considering similar situations. First, maps prepared by the Middle English Dialect Survey clearly show that what is being identified are phonetic variants transcribed by copyists: the isoglosses produced closely resemble those on mappings of modern phonetic variation.[34] In consistent cases, these, I would suggest, reflect birth dialects, or (what comes to much the same thing) spelling systems inculcated during scribal training which impose on apprentice writers preferred spellings corresponding to the phonetic forms of the local dialect. Scribes vary in spelling because they follow a general rule to "spell phonetically," but what they are spelling is the English they hear themselves speaking.

However, as my personal anecdote suggests, the spellings only identify


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the scribe's birth dialect. They localize family origin. Dialect maps do not recognize migration of any sort: scribes may practice their craft in areas far removed from their place of origin, and their books may wander far from the place where they were copied. In effect, source does not identify provenance.

This view allows, I think, a convenient hypothesis about the origins of Westminster 3. Any hypothesis does have to account for an impressive coherence of data: that this manuscript was copied by scribes apparently of central East Midland origin and that they had access to a succession of texts apparently of western extraction. The easiest hypothesis is that these two provincial groups had some kind of loose association in some single center, not one necessarily associated with either dialect.

Here one might conjecture three different possibilities. Agreement with Sidney Sussex 74 for the Pater Noster tract (item 1), as well as the inclusion of some texts often considered vaguely Wycliffite, might place the composition of the codex in that central East Midland Lollard manuscript factory of which Anne Hudson keeps providing hints.[35] Alternatively, the binding stamp on the Westminster 3 boards, first used in the 1480s in Cambridge, might suggest that provincial center;[36] such placement might take into account the large number of texts shared with Bodley 938. But the best likelihood is provided by the known provenance of the manuscript: f. 231 bears the inscription "Amen per Ricardo Cloos the wiche is owner of this bouke anno 1472."

As Doyle has pointed out, Richard Close is known from the accounts of St. Mary at Hill, London, 1483-1502, and was a frequent warden of the parish.[37] And although his name does not appear in Paul Christianson's lists of persons associated with the book trade, it is barely possible, as Doyle noted, that he was involved in book production.[38] There is one unfortunate limitation on such speculations: the inscription on f. 231 was probably written no earlier than the 1530s. However, given its meticulous copying of a Richard Close monogram (or some variety of merchant's mark) it appears inexplicable unless done by a family member, perhaps copying from another of Close's manuscripts.

However uncertain this information, it nonetheless implies the simplest explanation of the manuscript and its origins. It allows one to suppose the Westminster scribes were participants in that well-documented migration from the central East Midlands to London, and that they executed the codex there. Their texts could then have come either from a western customer, who had access to and provided the copyists with exemplars from home, or from some geographically equivalent route—an equally provincial western scribe or stationer, say, who could supply exemplars.

Certain aspects of this discussion should be of general relevance in approaching other Middle English manuscripts, especially religious miscellanies. First, Westminster School 3 exhibits two underlying causes of booklet production which have yet to receive analysis equivalent to that accorded features purely codicological. In this codex, booklets reflect exemplar supply:


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typically the scribes began copying in new booklets when they switched from one source to another. Further, booklets in this manuscript also show efforts at grouping materials within thematic or rhetorical ranges. Second, this codex illustrates another, insufficiently examined feature, that booklets, without extensive physical tailoring, may receive adjustments designed to "codicize" them, to fit them neatly together into larger, more coherent sections so as to create a full codex. Finally, my discussion of scribal dialects should provoke further thought on the migration of copyists and codices.

A further conclusion strongly suggested by my discussion is the need in Middle English studies of a new type of critical edition. Customarily editions are text-centered: that is, they choose for central objects of study single works which they abstract from manuscript context.[39] I do not wish to argue that anyone should want to print a bad text, simply because it appears in one manuscript or another. But I hope that I have suggested that the combination of works which a single manuscript offers could be a perfectly sound basis for a series of critical texts with full apparatus. Such an edition would, I think, reveal a good deal about the nuts and bolts of literary history—a history which is not exhausted simply by study of source-receiver relations or of themes and styles but includes transmission and reception as well. Particularly useful would be what such an edition would have to tell about the very raison d'être of manuscript copies, for all manuscripts are involved, however covertly, in procedures of canonization, of creating literary tradition by providing (groups of) "accepted works."

Appendix I: Brief manuscript descriptions

I offer here descriptions of those manuscripts which have figured prominently in the argument above: all those which I have shown are directly related to Westminster School 3, together with a pair of relevant texts, one of considerable importance (Rawlinson A 389), a second perhaps more closely related than I have been able to ascertain (Royal 17A.xxvi). The descriptions are deliberately summary and directed to contents, scribes, and textual arrangement; I have gone to some pains to indicate the presence of fascicular production. In discussing foliation, I ignore fly-leaves devoid of textual material. All contents are English unless noted. I endeavor to be brief; thus I identify texts also in Westminster 3 simply as "W item x," give only accepted modern titles, and use references to one of the standard bibliographical tools cited in n. 2 above, with preference for IPMEP. I have generally not included references to descriptions in published library catalogues unless they are particularly outstanding or the only available printed account. Beyond the courtesies noted above, I am particularly indebted to the librarians who have enabled me to look at these texts, those at Cambridge Univ. Library, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, Bibliothèque Ste. Geneviève, and the Henry E. Huntington Library (the last especially for permission to print HM 502 as base in Appendix II).

Cambridge Sidney Sussex Col. 74 s. xiv/xv

Vellum. ii + 181 ff. (numbered to 207 with losses, including 1 and 2 paper front flies, 2 at least with a piece of the medieval leaf), 250 X 170 mm. (writing area varies, c. 180 X 120 mm.). For the most part (see Booklet V below), in anglicana, perhaps a variety of very similar hands. 33-39 lines per page. Medieval foliation (often erratic), regular signatures in the first halves of quires, catchwords.

  • Booklet I = ff. 3-142
  • 1. ff. 3-142v the Wycliffite sermon cycle (IPMEP 304).


    Page 208
    Collation: uncertain; per Hudson, p. 70: 18(-1, -2, -8) 26(-1) 312(-1, -2, -9, -10, -11, -12) 46?(-1, -3, -5) 512(-3, -9) 612(-1, -2, -11, -12) 78(-5, -7) 810(-2, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8) 910 + 1(+1, -1) 10-1210 138 148(-7) 158 166 (signed a-q).Booklet II = ff. 143-166
  • 2. ff. 143-166v þe þater noster of Richard Hermit (W item 1). Collation: 112 214 (signed r-s). 146 and 163 repeated in foliation.
  • Booklet III = ff. 167-179
  • 3. ff. 168-179 Wimbledon's sermon "Redde racionem" (IPMEP 560). Ff. 167rv and 179v blank (as the next, a fascicle with blank opening cover). Collation: 114 (signed t; 168 = t ij); 177 repeated in foliation.
  • Booklet IV = ff. 180-192
  • 4. ff. 181-189v the "orthodox" commentary on the Decalogue, here edited into sermon form (cf. W item 3). F. 180rv blank.
  • 5. ff. 189v-191v the Wycliffite commentary on the Ave Maria (W item 2).
  • 6. ff. 191v-192v the opening of a sermon (in a later hand). Collation: 114 (-14) (signed v; 181 = v ij).
  • Booklet V = ff. 194-207
  • 7. ff. 194-207v the series of seven sermons described Hudson, Wycliffite Sermons I:115-22. In two hands not found elsewhere, ff. 194-204v textura, 204v-207v anglicana. Collation: 18 26 (signed x-y); f. 207 has been used as a pastedown.
  • Descriptions: Aarts, Pater Noster, pp. xv-xvi; Hudson, Wycliffite Sermons, pp. 70-72; Ione Kemp Knight, Wimbledon's Sermon (1967), pp. 15-16.

Bodleian Library, Bodley 938 s. xv1

Vellum. 280 ff. (numbered to 278, 3 and 47 repeated), 177 X 123 mm. (writing area 137 X 77+ mm.). In anglicana. 26 lines per page. Collation: 1-358. Regular signatures in the first halves of quires; catchwords (none on f. 23v). The manuscript has three sets of partially overlapping signatures: (1) quires 4-35 (ff. 24-278) are signed +, 2-32 on the first leaf; (2) quires 1-3, 26-35 (ff. 1-23, 199-278) are signed a-n; (3) quires 12, 14-16, 18-25 are signed f, h-k, m-t (implying a-t = ff. 47 bis-198).

Items 1-7 (ff. 1-23) probably comprise a booklet, although the concluding text is incomplete. However, this division is not fully descriptive of production. Rather, the manuscript reflects two separate plans which are indicated by the signatures. Originally, there were two booklets (set 2 of signatures above). In the process of adding a third booklet (ff. 24-), the editor seems to have discovered Pore Caitif: originally he copied only a single one of the tracts from this work (item 9, ff. 39v-) as part of an ongoing and somewhat miscellaneous production. (For a different view, based on works intruded into Pore Caitif in other mss., see Mary Teresa Brady, Traditio, 10 [1954]:533-536.) But eventually, the decision was made to include the full text (item 16, ff. 117v-), and this change of plan is reflected in set 3 of the signatures (which begin at the second quire containing this extracted piece). Some other tailoring, now invisible, may have gone on: a full and consecutive series of signatures (set 1) was imposed on the whole but ignoring the first booklet (still separate?). Other work to effect a smooth join may have involved suppression of a quire which stood in the place of the current 26 and recopying of the current 27.

  • 1. ff. 1-10 a tract of basic instruction (the Pecham program); it may include a variety of short pieces known separately elsewhere, e.g. Jolliffe F.21, G.4e.
  • 2. f. 10rv "Four things been needful" (Jolliffe I.9).
  • 3. ff. 10v-13 A Short Rule of Life (W item 12).
  • 4. ff. 13-16 "Some proverbs of Solomon," biblical excerpts.
  • 5. ff. 16-17v a brief tract on the Decalogue.
  • 6. ff. 17v-23 further biblical excerpts, ending with lengthy citation of Levit. 26.
  • 7. ff. 24-35v the Wycliffite commentary on the Pater Noster (IPMEP 604).
  • 8. ff. 35v-39v the Wycliffite commentary on the Ave (W item 2).
  • 9. ff. 39v-50 the initial tract, on the creed, of Pore Caitif (Jolliffe B).

  • 209

    Page 209
  • 10. ff. 50-56 "Three things destroy this world" (IPMEP 170).
  • 11. ff. 56-58 The sixteen conditions of charity (Jolliffe G.4e).
  • 12. ff. 58-59v a tract on charity (Jolliffe G.25).
  • 13. ff. 60-62 a tract on the ten plagues of Egypt (cf. IPMEP 207).
  • 14. ff. 62-73v A Treatise of Wedded Men (W item 11).
  • 15. ff. 73v-117 the Wycliffite tract on the seven deadly sins (IPMEP 596).
  • 16. ff. 117v-209 the remainder of Pore Caitif.
  • 17. ff. 209-236v Rolle's Form of Living (cf. W item 18).
  • 18. ff 236v-243v Visitacio Infirmorum (W item 6).
  • 19. ff. 243v-246 on the five inward wits (Jolliffe D.1).
  • 20. ff. 246v-248 on the outer wits, seven deadly sins, and remedies (perhaps continuous with the preceding).
  • 21. ff. 248-262 a tract on tribulation (Jolliffe J.13).
  • 22. ff. 262-265 The Rule of the Life of Our Lady (W item 8).
  • 23. ff. 265v-267v a tract on virtuous widowhood.
  • 24. ff. 267v-270v a sacrament tract.
  • 25. ff. 270v-278v a commentary on the Athanasian creed; following the explicit is a four-line quotation from 2 Tim. 3.
  • Of the five items shared with Westminster 3 (3, 8, 14, 18, 22), only one appears in the Pore Caitif section of the ms.
  • The same scribe also contributed to the "common profit book," Cambridge Univ. Library (part II, ff. 43-99v).
  • Descriptions: Summary Catalogue, II, i:578-579.

British Library, Arundel 286 s. xv in.

Vellum. 192 ff. (numbered to 191, 184 repeated), 205 X 130 mm. (writing area for the relevant scribe 140/145 X 80-85 mm.). In textura with some anglicana forms, three hands (the scribe of interest, scribe 2, wrote ff. 20-81v, 100-91). 25-29 lines per page. No signatures, catchwords within booklets.

  • Booklet I = ff. 1-19
  • 1. ff. 1-15v a treatise on the passion.
  • 2. ff. 15v-19v an excerpt from St. Briget's Revelation (Jolliffe D.10, cf. IPMEP 312). Collation: 1-28 33?; scribe 1.
  • Booklet II = ff. 20-99
  • 3. ff. 20-81v Milicia Christi (IPMEP 390.5).
  • 4. ff. 82-92 translation of Bonaventura, Epistola continens 24 memorabilia.
  • 5. ff. 92-99v translation of Anselm, Meditatio xiii. Collation: 1-312 410 5-612 78 82?; scribe 2 copied ff. 20-81v, ending on the last line of quire 6, leaf 4; scribe 3 copied the remainder.
  • Booklet III = ff. 100-148
  • 6. ff. 100-115 The Book of Tribulation (IPMEP 143).
  • 7. ff. 115-129 þe Lyfe of Soule (IPMEP 243).
  • 8. ff. 129-134 excerpts (the meditations) from a translation of The Mirror of Holy Church (cf. W item 16, here a different version).
  • 9. ff. 134v-148 Treatise of Maidenhood (W item 13). F. 148v blank. Collation: 1-312 412+1 (+13); scribe 2.
  • Booklet IV = ff. 149-160
  • 10. ff. 149-160 an exposition of the hymn "Ave maris stella." F. 160v originally blank, now with an illustration of s. xvi. Collation: 112; scribe 2.
  • Booklet V = ff. 161-178
  • 11. ff. 161-178 Benjamin (W item 4). F. 178v blank. Collation: 112 26?; scribe 2.
  • Booklet VI = ff. 179-191
  • 12. ff. 179-191 the "orthodox" commentary on the Decalogue (W item 3). F. 191v blank.


    Page 210
    Collation: 112 22?; scribe 2.
  • Descriptions: Hodgson, EETS 231, p. xii; Moon, Lyfe, pp. xi-xv; Barratt, Book, pp. 9-10; Michael Evans, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 45 (1982): 30-31n.

Bodleian Library, Laud Misc. 210 s. xiv/xv.

Vellum. 186 ff. (numbered to 187, an unnumbered leaf after 19, rear flies are 186, 187), 205 X 130 mm. (writing area variable, c. 150 X 95 mm.). In anglicana, six scribes (of primary interest are scribes 3 and 4, who copied ff. 94-168). 31-33 lines per page. Regular signatures in first halves of quires through f. 87 and in quire 18; catchwords. Booklet I = ff. 1-19 bis

  • 1. ff. 1-19v Rolle, Form of Living (cf. W item 18). F. 19 bis blank, the recto ruled. Collation: 1-210 (signed a-b); scribe 1.
  • Booklet II = ff. 20-179
  • 2. ff. 20-93v The Book to a Mother (IPMEP 767).
  • 3. ff. 94-95 text on love (W item 10).
  • 4. ff. 95-97v a text expounding Ps. 18:15, a fragment breaking off at a quire end, with the next quire [i?] lost.
  • 5. ff. 98-99 Visitacio Infirmorum (W item 6, a fragment from the end).
  • 6. ff. 99-114 The Twelve Profits of Tribulation (IPMEP 141).
  • 7. ff. 114-132v þe Lyfe of Soule (IPMEP 243).
  • 8. ff. 132v-133 a letter of the virgin to St. Ignatius.
  • 9. ff. 133-134v the twelve acts of righteousness pertaining to a king.
  • 10. ff. 134v-136 the sixteen conditions of charity (Jolliffe G.4e).
  • 11. ff. 136-146v The Charter of the Abbey of the Holy Ghost (IPMEP 590), a fragment breaking off at a quire end with the next two (?) quires [p-q?] lost.
  • 12. f. 147rv the "orthodox" commentary on the Decalogue (W item 3, a fragment from the end).
  • 13. ff. 147v-157 another commentary on the Decalogue.
  • 14. ff. 157-165 a form of confession (Jolliffe C.20).
  • 15. ff. 165v-168 a tract on the apostles' creed.
  • 16. ff. 168-174v "Matters of holy writ."
  • 17. ff. 174v-179 a tract on temptation (Jolliffe K.9). Collation: 110 28 3-710 (signed ø, b-g) 810 [lost quire] 9-1110 1210 (-a leaf in first half) 1310 [two lost quires] 14-1510 1610 (signed t) 174(-1). Item 2 by scribe 2 (bastard anglicana), items 3-4 by scribe 3, items 5-15 by scribe 4, items 16 and 17 by scribe 5.
  • Booklet III = ff. 180-185
  • 18. ff. 180-185v The Abbey of the Holy Ghost (IPMEP 39). Collation: 16; scribe 6.
  • Descriptions: Moon, pp. v-ix, primarily from the Bodleian "Quarto Catalogue" (rep. 1973), II:181-183.

British Library, Royal 17A.xxvi s. xv¼

Vellum. 146 ff. (fly numbered 1, an unnumbered leaf after 106), 162 X 114 mm. (writing area to f. 106, 115 X 75 mm.; thereafter, 115 X 70 mm.). To f. 106 in textura; thereafter (a separate ms.) anglicana; conceivably ff. 37-106 are a different hand from what precedes. To f. 106, 23 and 24 lines per page; thereafter, 29 lines per page. Ff. 4-106 are signed in the first half of quires (leaf numbers only, no quire signatures); catchwords.

  • Booklet I = ff. 2-3
  • 1. ff. 2-3 a "nine points" text (Jolliffe I.12c; cf. IPMEP 410). F. 3v blank. Collation: 12 (a bifolium).
  • Booklet II = ff. 4-106 bis
  • 2. ff. 4-22 the "orthodox" commentary on the decalogue (W item 3).

  • 211

    Page 211
  • 3. ff. 22-26v the Wycliffite tract on the seven deadly sins (IPMEP 596), breaking off incomplete.
  • 4. ff. 26v-27 part of ch. 1 of the Wycliffite tract on the bodily works of mercy (IPMEP 331).
  • 5. f. 27rv part of ch. 1 of the Wycliffite tract on the spiritual works of mercy (IPMEP 331).
  • 6. ff. 27v-28v a Wycliffite tract on the theological virtues (IPMEP 595).
  • 7. ff. 28v-29 various instructional lists.
  • 8. ff. 29-30 "Four things that neden to man" (Jolliffe I.9).
  • 9. ff. 30-37 Visitacio Infirmorum (W item 6).
  • 10. ff. 37-106 the glossed Apocalypse (IPMEP 584). F. 106v and a following unnumbered leaf (f. 106 bis) are blank. Collation: 1-138.
  • Booklet III = ff. 107-46 (a separate manuscript)
  • 11. ff. 107-43 the Wycliffite gospel of John, early version (IPMEP 119). Ff. 143v-46v are blank, 143v-44 ruled and all leaves pricked. Collation: 1-58.
  • Descriptions: George F. Warner and Julius P. Gibson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King's Collection (1921), II:220. F. 144v has a contents list of s. xv/xvi which indicates the two manuscripts were already joined at that time.

Bodleian Library, Laud Misc. 656 s. xiv ex.

Vellum. 133 ff. (numbered to 131, leaves before 1 and after 115 unnumbered), 206 X 145 mm. (writing area 180-172 X c. 120 mm. for prose items). In anglicana, one hand for item 1, a second for the remainder. 34-44 lines per page. No signatures, catchwords.

  • Booklet I = an unnumbered blank + ff. 1-116
  • 1. ff. 1v-19 the alliterative Siege of Jerusalem (IMEV 1583). The unnumbered leaf and f. 1 blank.
  • 2. ff. 19v-114 Piers Plowman C (IMEV 1459). Ff. 114v-116 blank. Collation: 114 2-812 9-1010.
  • Booklet II = ff. 117-131
  • 3. ff. 117-118 tract on the creed beginning with Abraham as a type of faith.
  • 4. ff. 118-124v a decalogue tract (W item 15).
  • 5. ff. 124v-125v sententia, primarily from the wisdom books. The remainder of the codex is blank except for pentrials. Collation: 18 28(-8).
  • Descriptions: Gisela Guddat-Figge, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Middle English Romances (1976), pp. 287-288.

Bodleian Library, Bodley 416 s. xv1

Vellum. 150 ff., 283 X 196 mm. (writing area 208 X 135+ mm.). In textura. 20 and 21 lines per page. Collation: [two quires lost] 1-138 146 15-198. (Quire 14 looks originally intended as the end of a fascicle, but later extended after a change in plan.) Most signatures cut away, but fragments in the first halves of quires 10, 13, 15-18 (signed xij, xv, xvij-xx), catchwords.

  • 1. ff. 1-105 The Book to a Mother (IPMEP 767).
  • 2. ff. 105-09v IMEV 776; three brief prose sentences (Chrysostom on doomsday, Augustine on the behavior of women, Gregory); IMEV 3851, 4047, 4129.
  • 3. ff. 109v-44 The Mirror of Holy Church (W item 16).
  • 4. ff. 144-50 St. Jerome's Psalter (Wells Rev. IV:15). F. 150v is blank and a former pastedown.
  • Descriptions: Summary Catalogue, II, i:304.

Paris, Bibliothèque Ste. Geneviève 3390 s. xv in.

Vellum. 110 ff., 150 X 94 mm. (writing area 97 X 70 mm.). In textura. 20 lines per


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page. Collation: 1-138 148 (-7, -8). No signatures (probably cut away, apparent fragments on a very few leaves), catchwords (sometimes cut away; none on ff. 32v, 40v).

  • 1. ff. 1-23v the "orthodox" commentary on the Decalogue (W item 3).
  • 2. ff. 24-27 the Wycliffite commentary on the creed (IPMEP 403).
  • 3. ff. 27-30 the Wycliffite commentary on the Pater Noster (IPMEP 810).
  • 4. ff. 30-37 an explanation of the theological virtues (cf. IPMEP 595).
  • 5. ff. 37v-57v John Gaytryge's sermon (IPMEP 70, 71).
  • 6. ff. 58-95v Rolle's Form of Living (W item 18).
  • 7. ff. 95v-108v Rolle's Ego Dormio (W item 19). Ff. 109-10 blank but ruled; they now contain a variety of notes.
  • Descriptions: William P. Cumming, PMLA, 42 (1927):862-864.

Bodleian Library Rawlinson A 389 s. xv in.

Vellum. 106 ff. (numbered to 105, an unnumbered leaf after 32), 253 X 180+ mm. (writing area varies 206-190 X 135-120 mm.). In anglicana, perhaps two scribes (if so, one wrote quires 5-9, the other most of the remainder); a different hand may occur on ff. 9-11v. 32-38 lines per page (most usually 36 and 37 lines). For the most part, unsigned (ff. 33 and 35 have partial signatures for quire a); catchwords.

  • Booklet I = ff. 1-12
  • 1. ff. 1-11v Rolle's Emendatio Vite (Latin). F. 12rv blank. Collation: 18 24.
  • Booklet II = ff. 13-20
  • 2. ff. 13ra-20vb Maidstone's penitential psalms (IMEV 3755), in double column. Collation: 18.
  • Booklet III = ff. 21-31
  • 3. ff. 21-31v five Latin texts, one in verse. Collation: 112(-12, cancelled and a stub).
  • Booklet IV = ff. 32-76
  • 4. ff. 32-72v Rolle's Incendium Amoris (Latin). The remainder of f. 72v and ff. 73-76v originally blank, now with Latin notes. Collation: 112 210 3-412.
  • Booklet V = ff. 77-84
  • 5 ff. 77-81 Rolle's Ego Dormio (cf. W item 19).
  • 6. ff. 81-84v Rolle's Commandment (IPMEP 660) Collation: 112(-5 [no text loss], -10, -11, -12, all stubs).
  • Booklet VI = ff. 85-105
  • 7. ff. 85-96v Rolle's Form of Living (W item 18).
  • 8. ff. 96v-99 Rolle's Ego Dormio (W item 19).
  • 9. ff. 99ra-104va IMEV 244, in double column.
  • 10. ff. 104va-105rb IMEV 1781, in double column. F. 105v blank. Collation: 1-28 36(-6).
  • Descriptions: the Bodleian "Quarto Catalogue" (1862), V:386-89.

Appendix II

Below, as a sample of this translation and its manuscripts, I give a transcription and collation of a single chapter from The Mirror of Holy Church of Westminster 3. I use the excerpt from Huntington HM 502, ff. 73r-74r, as a base and provide full collations of the other whole texts—Westminster (W), Bodley 416 (B), Additional 10053 (A). For the corresponding passage in published versions, see Yorkshire Writers, I:237, 257; for the Latin source, see Helen P. Forshaw, Edmund of Abingdon Speculum Religiosorum and Speculum Ecclesie (1973), pp. 95, 97.

Byforen euensong þou shalt þenke on þe sene and on þe passioun: on þe passioun hou Ioseph purchaside þe bodi of oure lord of Pounce Pilate and hou þei comen | to þe crosse to breke þe þies of þe two þeues and hou on of þe kny3tes wiþ a spere persid Iesu Cristes side and anon ran out water


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and blod and hou Ioseph tok hym doun of þe crosse and buryed hym, for no body shulde dwelle vnburyed on so solempne a day as was amorowe. On þe cene þou shalt þenke þat on suche a tyme oure lord 3af his fleish and his blod to his discyplis in þe liknesse of breed and wyne, as we mowe see. Þe whuche verrey fleisch and blod we mow not see verreyly as it is as wiþ oure bodily ey3en. Þe þridde þing is gostly grace þat we han when we receyuen it in þe liknesse of breed and wyn and sen it, and neuerþeles it is no so, bote verreiliche Cristus bodi, 3ef we bileuen it stedefastly, þou3 we mowe not seen it. And for we shulde not haue drede to ete þe fleish of man and drynken his blod, þerfore he 3af vs his bodi in liknes of breed and wyn forto counforten oure bodily wittes. And þerfore when þou ney3est to þe auter forto be hoseled, þou resceyuest þer þe sacrement as þou3 þou resseyue|dist it of his owne hond.


1-2 on þe passioun] om. AW. 2 þe bodi of oure lord] our swete lordis body WAB. 3 to breke] and braken W; and to breke B. 7 þat on] hou at WB. 8 liknesse] forme B (also 11, 14). 9 as2] om. B. 10 han when we] marg. corr. H. 11 wyn-13 it and] as 'to' hys dyscyplys here shalt ye vnderstond þat in þe sacrement of þe auter been þree þynges þat is to say lyknesse of brede and of wyne þe wyche we may see and þe verrey body and verrey blood of iesu cryst þe wyche we may nat see with bodely eye and þe þredde þyng is hope of grace þat we receue whan we receyuen þylke flesch and blood we se þe lyknesse of brede and wyn and yet nat þe substance of brede and wyn is seyn A. 11 and sen it] as we seen B. 12 no so bote] om. B. ʒef] and þat WB. 13 not2] om. WB. haue drede] be vgly A. 13-14 of . . . blod] for eny etyng and drynkyng of mannes blod A. 15 wittes] wit B; adds by such etyng þat we be in vse to haue and forto edifie oure faith by as moche as we see o þyng and beleue anoþer A. neyʒest] come A. 16 hoseled] commynd as verraly A; adds þere W. 17 it] int. later H. owne] om. WB. hond] syde A.

The A material in lines 11-13 (as elsewhere) is basically correct: all mss. eyeskipped on the phrase 8 breed and wyn and attempted to restore the sense by smoothing paraphrase. But when A stopped copying at that same phrase in line 11, he apparently returned to his exemplar in the wrong place, at the use of the phrase in line 8, and repeated some material—part earlier omitted, part already presented in paraphrase. The shock of 10 Þe þridde þing is removed by A's rendition, which, unlike the other mss., provides all members of the distinction.

Appendix III

Below I provide a transcription of the unique and unpublished Westminster text 5 (ff. 103v-104v).

How men schulden be pacient in tribulacioun and euer triste in goddis helpe and neuer forsake truþe, noiþer for liif ne for deeþ.

"Þe lord is my li3t," or he þat 3yueþ me li3t, "and myn helpe; whom schal I drede?" as who seie noon. "Þe lord is defendour" or mayntenour "of my liif; of whom schal I quake" for fere? As who seie of no man.[1] Vpon þis lettre seiþ seynt Austyn to | comforte cristen men in persecucioun,[2] "An erþely emperour envirouned and defendid by men of armes þat ben frele and deadly wrecchis holdiþ hym sikir fro his enemyes and bodily perelis. Mich more a cristen man" in persecucioun for truþe of Goddis lawe or good liif schulde holde hym sikir in Goddis proteccioun and drede not enemyes, siþ God hymsilf and his hooly aungelis ben wiþ Goddis seruaunt ny3t and day to teche hym, comfort hym, and strengþe hym þat no man ne feend may ouercomen hym but by his owne cowardise, for þei mowen not dye, ne be ouercomen, ne faile to helpe at nede as it is beste on alle sydes. Þerfore seiþ God by Dauiþ to a ri3tful man,[3] "I am wiþ hym in tribulacioun; I schal delyuer hym and glorifye hym." And Iesu Crist seiþ to hise apostlis,[4] "I am wiþ 3ow in alle dayes vnto þe eende of þe world." And Seynt Iame techiþ in his epistle þus,[5] "My breþeren, deme 3ee all ioye


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whanne 3ee fallen into dyuerse temptaciouns," þat is bodily persecucioun for þe truþe of Goddis lawe. And resoun schulde stire men to þis triste and ioye in God siþen God is eendeles my3ty, eendles witty, and eendeles ful of good wille. He wil best ordeyne fort'o' meyntene his truþe and his seruauntis and kan best do it, | and no creature may lette hym of his ordenaunce. Þerfore seiþ Seynt Poule,[6] "God is feiþful," or trewe, "þat schal not suffre 3ow to be temptid more þan 3ee mowe bere, but schal make purueyaunce" of grace and helpe "with temptacioun." Þerfore as Poule seiþ,[7] "Blessid be God and fadir of oure lord Iesu Crist, fadir of mercy and God of al comfort, þat comfortiþ vs in al tribulacioun." For certis as no creature may destroye God, so no creature may destroie fully his lawe. But as bi þe grete peyne and deeþ þat Crist suffride whanne Iewis gessedyn þat þei hadde fully destroied hym and his techyng, boþe he and his techyng weren more magnyfied and glorified, so whanne worldly wrecchis ful of pride, ypocrisye, and couetise wenen to stoppe most Goddis lawe, it schal be knowyn and magnifyed, and þei next confusioun as þe wickid Iewis weren. And al þe persecucioun and sclaundre þat comeþ to Goddis trewe seruauntis schal turne hem to good, as holy writ seiþ, to exercise of pacience, mekenes, and brennyng charite and hi3e blisse in heuen, maugrey alle þe feendis of helle and all þer false mynystris. Þerfore no man grucche þof God suffre his law born doun for a litil tyme, for þei boþe schul rise þe strenger and more glorious. For no creature may, ne can, ne wil ordeyne or cast for magnifiyng of his lawe and seruauntis as God doiþ. Þerfore be euery man trewe to þe deeþ, and he schal haue þe corowne of euerlastyng liif as God seiþ in þe apocalips,[8] "for all þat wil pytously lyue schullen suffre persecucioun." Explicit.



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Page 218

In the preparation of this paper, I've profitted from some kindnesses beyond the ordinary. Mr. John Field, the librarian at Westminster School, was unfailingly generous in giving me access to the manuscript during the end of a busy term. The Research Committee of the UCR Academic Senate provided me with funds which have underwritten the research behind the paper; these allowed me to visit Westminster School and other libraries with manuscripts related to the project. As he has done for many, A. I. Doyle has offered valuable counsel and, in moments of depression, encouragement. Sally Horrall forced me to develop the paper by commanding that I read a version of it at the Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 1986. Finally, my colleague Robert N. Essick and friend Jeremy J. Griffiths have read through several drafts; the paper is generally the better for their many suggestions about matters of presentation.


For descriptions, see: most extensively, Neil R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, Vol. I: London (1969), pp. 422-424 (a few confusions in the physical description, p. 424, seem to reflect Ker's revision of his numbering of text items); also F. G. A. M. Aarts ed., Þe Pater Noster of Richard Ermyte (1967), pp. xi-xiii (note also Aarts's frontispiece, which reproduces f. 2v of the manuscript); and Phyllis Hodgson, Deonise Hid Diuinite, EETS 231 (1955), pp. xvi-xvii.


I identify the contents by reference to the following standard bibliographical tools: P. S. Jolliffe, A Check-List of Middle English Prose Writings of Spiritual Guidance (1974); John Edwin Wells, A Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1400 (1916, with nine supplements, 1919-51); the revision of Wells (hereafter "Wells Rev."): J. Burke Severs and Albert E. Hartung eds., A Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1500 (1967-); Anne Hudson, "Contributions to a Bibliography of Wycliffite Writings," Notes and Queries, 218 (1973):443-453, supplements the last on Wycliffite items; R. E. Lewis, N. F. Blake, and A. S. G. Edwards, Index of Printed Middle English Prose (1985); and Rossell Hope Robbins and John L. Cutler, Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (1965). Titles in quotation marks are from the manuscript's rubrics; titles italicized are those given by modern editors.


The text is printed from the Simeon copy (British Library Additional 22283) by W. Nelson Francis ed., The Book of Vices and Virtues, EETS 217 (1942), pp. 316-333. For this title and a preliminary list of copies, see A. L. Kellogg and Ernest W. Talbert, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 42 (1960):365 (not superseded by a different set of categories proposed by Anthony Martin, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 64 [1981]:201-202). For some further copies, see The Index of Middle English Prose, Handlist I (1984), p. 35.


The text is printed from Harley 1022 and Bodley 938 by C. Horstman, Yorkshire Writers, 2 vols. (1895-96), I:158-161.


So far as I know, this unpublished tract is found elsewhere only in Laud Misc. 656 and Trinity College Cambridge B.14.54; I describe its rather unusual explanatory techniques below.


Several Middle English Mirror translations have been printed: see Yorkshire Writers I:219-240 (from Lincoln Cath. 91), 241-261 (from the Vernon ms.); and J. H. L. Kengen ed., Memoriale Credencium (Univ. of Nijmegen diss., n.d.), pp. 205-236. For manuscript distribution of this unpublished version, see below, n. 24.


For editions of the Rolle epistles, see Yorkshire Writers, I:3-61; and Hope Emily Allen, English Writings of Richard Rolle (1931), pp. 60-72, 81-119. Quires 28 and 29 have been reversed in binding but are marked so that the transposition is clear to the reader (A i on f. 212v matches A i at the head of quire 28, and B ii on f. 228v answers B ii at the head of quire 30).


"The 'Booklet': A Self-Contained Unit in Composite Manuscripts," Codicologica, 3 (1980):46-69; and see her important extensions of these ideas, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 8 (1986):224. See also Hanna, "Booklets in Medieval Manuscripts: Further Considerations," Studies in Bibliography, 39 (1986):100-111.


I adopt the terminology developed by M. B. Parkes, English Cursive Book Hands 1250-1500 (1969).


Indeed, even greater adjustments must take place on the concluding f. 162v to finish within the quire. On that final side the writing area extends to 175 X 90+ mm., all the way to the page foot, and there are forty lines.


More, for example, could be written about scribe's 1's inks and pens. For example, ff. 1-32 are in a black ink; the shade shifts to a bright brown for ff. 32v-97. On f. 98 the ink is again black and remains so through the Benjamin minor (i.e., to f. 103v); thereafter it becomes light brown, with a few black patches until f. 136. The final portion of this scribe's text, ff. 137-80, is written in a very light brown ink. This information indicates at least that item 5, identified on other grounds as potentially filler, was not copied as a piece with preceding materials; similarly, Booklets IV and V stand out from the remainder.


For information on Middle English dialects and the provenances of the individual manuscripts discussed, I am enormously indebted to Prof. Angus McIntosh and Dr. Jeremy J. Smith for their generosity with information.


See Margaret G. Amassian and Dennis Lynch, "The Ego Dormio of Richard Rolle in Gonville and Caius MS. 140/80," Mediaeval Studies, 43 (1981): 218-249, esp. pp. 218-220.


I cite materials only from Ego Dormio, since the Westminster 3 text of Form of Living appears extensively paraphrased and thus does not provide the most useful evidence for discovering the archetype of the work. Examples of loci where the first copy of Ego Dormio in Rawlinson A 389 (R1) differs from Allen's textus acceptus include (the lineation is that of her English Writings): *1 Þai] Þe R1; *2 herken] helde þi eeren R1; *3 I] þat I haue set at þe bygynnyng of my writynge I R1; *5 wirkand] and oþer deed doynge R1; 6 es] om. R1; *10 with þe dwelle] wedde þee R1; *13 covaytes] adds, as Allen, p. 61, n. 2 R1; 16 luf] luf of R1; 21 principates potestates] trs. R1; 25 sythe] om. R1; 25 es] adds, as Allen, p. 62, n. 1 R1; *27 a sterne] þe sternys R1; 32 mykel] god mykel R1; 39 write] adds þis R1; 40 and] þat R1; 40 another] any oþer R1; 41 mastel] om. R1; *44-45 stabil . . . byrnande] stabilly luf god and brennandly R1; *46 ordaynde] adds forþe R1; 46 in heven] om. R1; 48 fra er] er R1; 53 fra al] fra R1; 54 and to be alane] and goos by þin oon R1; *55 and1] adds to haue compassyon R1; 58-59 thyng or solace] solace R1. The readings I star may well be those of Rolle's original; one might replace them with the following additional errors: 62 þis worlde and] om. R1; 64 sownes] semes and is R1; 66 and joy] om. R1; 67 in] of R1; 71 have and] om. R1; 73 wyt] wryte R1; 77 Forþi] For R1; 80 of þis worlde] om. R1; 84 layne] heele R1; 107 slakes] slake schal R1; 111 whare . . . stable] þare wa es alle þe rabel R1; 115 styfly put] styffely keped R1.


For the provenance of Rawlinson A 389, see Neil R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, 2nd edn. (1964), p. 115; and his "The Migration of Manuscripts from the English Medieval Libraries," Library, 4th ser. 23 (1943):1-11, esp. pp. 4-5. See also A. I. Doyle, "A Survey of the Origins and Circulation of Theological Writings in English . . .," 2 vols. (Cambridge diss., 1953), II:143-147. For Vernon and Simeon, see Doyle, "The Shaping


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of the Vernon and Simeon Manuscripts," in Beryl Rowland ed., Chaucer and Middle English Studies in Honour of Rossell Hope Robbins (1974), pp. 328-341; and Robert E. Lewis and Angus McIntosh, A Descriptive Index of the Manuscripts of the Prick of Conscience (1982), pp. 73, 103.


Of the thirty-eight R1 variants cited in n. 14, twenty appear in the same form in all copies of this recension: in the second Rawlinson text, Westminster 3, Vernon, Simeon, and Ste. Geneviève. The exceptions, most of them variants clearly derived from the R1 reading, usually involve all these copies in agreement and include: 1 Þai] Þow; 2-3 it es] I fynd; 16 lufe] þe lufe of; 27 a sterne] þe starres; 32 mykel] mykel god W, cf. god mychel serued rest; 40 and] þat RSV, and þat W; 40 another] any oþer WR, mony oþere SG, in moni oþere V; 44-45 stabil . . . byrnande] stably loue hym (om. RSGV) and (om. W) brennandly (hertly W); 46 ordaynde] add forþe RSVG; 48 fra er] om.; 53 fra al] fra WRSV; 54 and to be alane] and goos by þin self (oon W); 58-59 thyng or solace] solace be a þousand parte; 62 þis worlde and] om. WG, al RSV; 64 sownes] ben; 67 in] and; 111 whare . . . stable] ful (ful of W) wo is (it is W) þat rable; 115 styfly put] cleen kepit. Moreover, these mss. contain a number of additional common variants; a sample would include: 1 Ego . . . vigilat] om.; 4 irk to] wery of; 4-5 stondand sittand] trs.; 5 ay his] euer of; 16 ay] om.; 16 þi herte] þow art; 22 þat . . . God] om. (And þat ierarchye is next god added at sentence end SVG); 48 þeir] þat þe (þe om. W); 51 have] add here; 51 now] om.; 55 passyon] paynes; 68-69 leve . . . have] loue al þinge þat þe liste (adds to loue G) flesly lytel is þi (þe RSV) luff þat þou haste or felyst in Iesu Crist riʒt so if þou haue (om. RSV) no flesly lust no lyking in þis worldly þinge.


I simply cite samples of variants. For RSVG agreements, cf. 54 alane] by þinself (þin oon W); 57 used] brouʒt; 58 þou] euer þe; 60 lyst] lyke; 60 þe2] any; 60 myrth] lust; 62 lathe] þinke loþe; 64 al] any. Among SV variants are: 13 preche] preye; 16 heldand] bowand; 43 halyest] holliche; 46 settle] sege; 49 dowues] graunted to ben; 53 and vayne] om. RSV variants include: 53 fra al] fra; 54 wake] walk; 62 þis worlde and] al; 71 goddes loue] þe loue of god; 93 enuy or] or enuy and; 125 speke] spyand. The GW agreements occur at: 33 lufed mare] lufed hym mare; 40 and] and þat (þat RSV); 42 in] þat in; 62 þis worlde and] om.; 115 þam] þe; 186 can covete] coueityd (covete RSV); 257 swetnes] gret swetnes þerin (þ.g.s. RSV); 300 men] add and women. Some isolated readings testify to the quality of the archetype available to G, e.g. 150 ne grutchinge] ne gretynge R1G; and wepynge W; ne wepynge RSV. Appendix I below provides descriptions of Ste. Geneviève 3390 and of other manuscripts closely associated with the production of Westminster School 3.


Aarts, Pater Noster, p. xxiv; pp. 57-101 present a selected corpus of variants, 155-159 a single passage from all the manuscripts in parallel.


For Hodgson's discussion of the textual transmission of Benjamin, see EETS 231, pp. xx-xxii; group B, to which both Westminster and Arundel belong, includes nine of the twelve witnesses to the text.


I have collated fully eight manuscripts, seven which seem on the basis of contents most likely to have some relation to Westminster, and one "wild card." I cite the text of Simeon from EETS 217 (see n. 3 above) by page and line number (which I have supplied). Readings unique to Westminster and Arundel are (the variant shared by the two manuscripts follows the lemma): 320/15 þe foorme or] om.; 322/34 agree in transposing phrases; 327/3 alle] om.; 331/4 bere] add fals; 331/13 wilne ne] om. In addition, both texts agree uniquely with Royal 17A.xxvi at 324/33 worschupe] worschipyng; 326/22-23 And þei þat so don] whose doiþ; and with Ste. Geneviève 3390 at 326/1 fleo monslauhtre in alle þinges] om. with further rewriting. Royal, Westminster (with Arundel), Ste. Geneviève, and University College Oxford 97 appear genetically related, perhaps Royal and UCO most closely. My collation suggests that the printed Simeon text is probably a more adequate rendition of the original than any of these, although it includes about thirty unique and erroneous readings which a critical edition would remove. The other copies which I have collated are Laud 210 (a small fragment, beginning at 332/23) and Huntington HM 744.


An excellent introduction to the foibles of this scribe is available in Angela Barratt, The Book of Tribulation, Middle English Texts 15 (1983), esp. pp. 11-12 and 16-18. The Arundel version of this work cannot be collated with other copies; Barratt's full presentation of the text, pp. 134-143, facilitates comparison with other manuscripts of BT. See further


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Helen M. Moon, Þe lyfe of soule (1978), pp. xvi, xix, lxxxix, for discussion of the Arundel scribe's handling of that text.


So also Barratt, p. 36, quoting McIntosh and Smith's collaborator, M. L. Samuels, "central Warwicks., somewhat south of Coventry."


For Laud 656, see Doyle, in David A. Lawton ed., Middle English Alliterative Poetry and its Literary Background (1982), pp. 93 and 143, n. 17; and M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium AEvum, 54 (1985):239. Doyle is also responsible for the identification of Doddesham with the Trinity copy; see also his initial discussion of Doddesham's work, "A Survey," II:183.


The other full manuscripts are British Library Additional 10053 and Bodley 416. Huntington HM 502 has two extensive chunks from this work, and excerpts from those chapters which present basic instructional materials from the "Pecham program" appear in British Library Additional 60577; Harley 2398; Cambridge Univ. Library Ff.ii.38 and; Trinity College, Cambridge B.14.50 and R.3.21; Edinburgh Univ. Library 93; and Queen's College, Oxford 324. See Edward Wilson, The Winchester Anthology (1981), pp. 32-33.


Because this text remains unedited, the lengthy demonstration here appears as Appendix II.


I have not examined the Norwich ms. (described Ker, Medieval Manuscripts III [1983], p. 521). Within the group Westminster-Corpus-Bodley, WB agree in error seven times; the only other two-text variants are four examples of BX and three of SB. Only one BX variant appears potentially genetic, rather than merely coincidental error. As the description in Appendix I will suggest, the Sidney text (not in the same fascicle as the Pater Noster) came from a separate exemplar. The Westminster 3 scribes had variable access to multiple exemplars used by related codices—with Sidney and UCO 97, apparently access to the exemplar behind one booklet only; with Arundel 286 and Bodley 938, access to exemplars distributed by those other scribes among separate fascicles. See also n. 30 below.


Because the work is very brief, I print it in full as Appendix III.


Doyle long ago, on the basis of contents and similarities of format, suggested connections between Bodley and Westminster; see "A Survey," II:25-27. In item 8, elsewhere entitled "The Short Rule of the Life of Our Lady," Westminster agrees almost word for word with Bodley for the entire brief text. In "A tretis of weddid men," Westminster and Bodley share thirty-six erroneous readings, a total in excess of the sum of all other two-text agreements in error (Westminster and the fragmentary Cambridge Univ. Library err together four times; Bodley and Ii, five times; Harley 2398 and Bodley, four times; Harley and Ii, four times; Westminster and Harley, twice). Corpus Christi College Cambridge 296 appears largely independent of the other copies, although it frequently (perhaps thirty times) appears to err; I have not seen this manuscript's text of "A schort reule of lyf." Among the remaining copies of this work (item 12), Bodley and Westminster agree ten times in error; Westminster and Harley 2398, twice; Bodley and Harley, three times. Laud Misc. 174 appears independent of these copies; apparently, from the sparse collations in Arnold, it agrees with Corpus in several of these independent readings.


There are thirteen manuscripts of this version of the Visitacio, of which I have fully collated seven (Westminster, UCO 97, Bodley 938, the fragment in Laud Misc. 210, Harley 2398, Royal 17A.xxvi, and Cambridge Univ. Library Nn.iv.12). There are very few agreements involving small numbers of copies: these seem to suggest that Bodley, Royal, and Westminster are genetically related (BR agree seventeen times in error, BW five times, all three seventeen times). Harley and Cambridge, UCO and Laud also seem to form distinct genetic groups, but the exact nature of transmission is rendered opaque by large and shifting numbers of erroneous agreements involving four and five manuscripts and at least ten "scattering" variants involving three manuscripts. In the brief tract on love (item 10), few erroneous agreements occur. Westminster, Laud, and Harley 2385 share four errors; within the group Laud and Harley agree in error three times, Westminster and Harley once. The only other "substantial" group of erroneous agreements (two errors) involves Laud, Harley, and Douce 246.


Bodley 938 has the full Pore Caitif, but the text is not related to that of either Westminster excerpt. This is not surprising, since codicological evidence suggests that Pore Caitif was added to Bodley at a point after use of the exemplars shared with Westminster 3. See Appendix I.


A. I. Doyle, "University College, Oxford, MS 97 and its relationship to the Simeon Manuscript (British Library Add. 22283)," in Michael Benskin and M. L. Samuels eds., So meny people longages and tonges (1981), pp. 265-282. Doyle, "A Survey," II:39-40, independently of dialect evidence, associated Laud Misc. 210 with Streynsham, Worcester.


See McIntosh, quoted by Aarts, p. lxxix.


Sometimes taken as typical of the bizarrities of this speech-form is the thoroughgoing distinction of vowels in can and can't: although the former has the normal vowel found in all American dialects, the latter has the vowel of cane. I am grateful to Linda E. Voigts for drawing this crime against the language to my attention.


See the three extensive maps in print: two for various western forms of "she," in Morton W. Bloomfield and Leonard Newmark, A Linguistic Introduction to the History of English (1963), p. 221; and in Barbara M. H. Strang, A History of English (1970), p. 420; and for forms of "church/kirk," in Charles Jones, An Introduction to Middle English (1972), pp. 212-213 and foldout opposite p. 196.


See most recently the discussion in English Wycliffite Sermons I (1984), pp. 192-202.


The binding stamp was identified by Ker, Medieval Manuscripts, I:424. On the Unicorn Binder, see further J. B. Oldham, English Blind-Stamped Bindings (1952), plate I, stamp 3; and G. D. Hobson, Bindings in Cambridge Libraries (1929), pp. 40-43.


See Doyle, "A Survey," II:27; and "University College," pp. 271 and 279, n. 47. The records of St. Mary at Hill have been published in EETS 125, 128; references to Close appear at pp. 30-34, 126, 142-143, 146, 170, 182, 183, 205, 207, 214, 232, 245.


See the accounts for 1494/95 (EETS 125, p. 214): the wardens enter a payment of 3 s. 4 d. to "Richard Close for j. bokskynne." This sounds an excessively large payment for binding, but that is presumably what Close was contributing (even if the text is taken to mean "buck-skin").


Interestingly, in her edition of The Book of Tribulation, Barratt provides an excellent analysis of the Arundel scribe's treatment of that work; but her silence suggests that she remains unaware that many texts in the codex show similar handling.

Notes from Appendices


Ps. 26:1.


cf. Enarratio 2 in Ps. 26, ¶4 (PL 36:201).


Ps. 90:15.


Mt. 20:28.


Jac. 1:2.


1 Cor. 10:13.


2 Cor. 1:3-4.


Apoc. 2:10, 2 Tim. 3:12.