Item Details

Call Number: MS Hunter 83 (T.3.21)
Title: Chronicles of England (Prose Brut)
Images: [ MS Hunter 83 fol 4r ] [ MS Hunter 83 fol 12r ] [ MS Hunter 83 fol 15r ]
Associated Websites: Images and caption from English Language manuscripts course material web page.
Date of Creation: Between 1474 and 1499
Place of Creation: England
Level of Description: Item
Part of MS Hunter 1-658
Extent and Medium: Bound volume; with 17th century binding and 2 charter fragments in separate folder.
Content: A composite text, with different parts added at different times in the 15th century. The main text (15r-127v) consists of the Prose Brut, Abbreviated Version to 1419, "...written in a single bold hand throughout … the hand is a secretary book hand similar to the 'typical Scottish hand of the end of the fifteenth century [c. 1488]' found in Bodleian MS. Arch. Selden B. 24" [see M B Parkes: English cursive book hands 1250-1500 (1969; rpt Berkeley and LA: University of California press, 1980; p. 13 and plate 13 (ii)]. The language is northern [see Lister M. Matheson, The Prose Brut, the development of a Middle English chronicle, Medieval and Renaissance Text and Studies (1998) no.123, p.205].
Prefatory material, a continuation and other supplementary material has been added by a second scribe writing in a hybid secretary hand with Anglicana features.
There are annotations by various users including, on the flyleaves, transcriptions of a lyric poem and two carols with music: 'Salve sanctus parens' is unique to this manuscript while 'Nova, nova' is a variant [see Robbins, R. H. 'Two new carols', Modern Language Notes, 58:1 1943, pp. 39-42].
The following remarks are derived from Young and Aitken, (1908), substantially updated with information from Matheson (1998, 1999). The most recent assessment of the quire construction is contained in Clarkson (2012).
The vellum fly-leaves contain, recto and verso respectively, portions of a deed in a 17th century English law hand.
ii v (vellum flyleaf) verso: ms note in Dr. Wm. Hunter's hand: Fructus Temporum | or | Croniclis of Englonde; which were | afterwards printed by Caxton.
iiir-ivr: [in the hand of scribe 2] list of monarchs of the world, beginning:
T [large rubricated capital] Hes bene the names off all the Kyngis in the worlde to | parte the worlde in iiij partyes Est West North and South | and Sett Jerusalem in the myddel of the worlde..., and ending with a list (in Latin) of six "feudatory Kings of the Church" - those of Jerusalem, Italy, England, Arragon, Hungary and Sardinia.
Iv verso: [scribe 2] Nova Nova: six three-lined verses of an English Hymn on the Annunciation, with refrain "Noua noua Aue fit ex Eua," and accompanying music in a contemporary hand, beginning: Noua noua Aue fit ex Eua | Gabriell off hye degre | he came down from trinite | ffrom Nazareth to Galile. [See Brown Robbins, Index of Middle English verse, no. 889.]
1r-10v: [scribe 2] Prologue and Fructus Temporum with table of contents: adapted from the St Albans printed edition (ca. 1483), including illustrations copied from woodcuts. Begins (lines 1, 2): The Prolog | I [large rubricated initial] N so myche that it is necessary to all creaturis of cristyn
11: blank leaf [other blanks have been added during conservation (2012) to show where pages are missing]
12r (verso blank): two lyrics with music [scribe 2, except for last stanza of Salve sancta .. .written in a later hand]: Nowe well and nowe woo | now frend and nowe ffoo | thus goth this worlde I wysse | But sence that it is so | Lat itt passe and goo | And take itt as it ysse [10 such triplets]. [See Brown Robbins, no. 2376, and cf. Stanza 5 of no. 356.] Salue sancta parens Alle heyle Mary and well you be madynne and moder with outyn offens | ffor thy suffrenne virginite Salue salue parens Salue sancta parens et supra per figuram 2. [See Brown Robbins, no. 182.]
13: blank leaf
14: vellum flyleaf with annotations: the recto is covered with scribbled names and interlacing patterns. At the top are traces of four or five Latin verses, under which in various styles: "ffor Mr. John Parker," "William Bromwell," "John B. Samsone." At the foot of the page, in 16th century hand: Thys ys meyster wyllam | Bromwells boke whoeuer | stelythe thys Boke | shall be hangyd on | hoke as he as Ima... (i.e. As high as Haman). The verso bears in 16th/17th century hand [?that of Prince Henry]: henricus dei gratia rex erit et frence | et wallie et hibernie.
15r-127v: [scribe 1; with some side notes by scribe 2, see Commentary] Abbreviated version to 1419 of Prose Brut, begins 'H[rubricated initial with penwork decoration]ere begyynnythe a boke in Engleshe tonge callyd Brute of Englond qwyche declarethe and tretethe of the ferst begynnyng of England'. Ends imperfectly, breaking off near the end of the narrative recounting the siege of Rouen in 1419.
On 127v, top margin, in a 16th century hand: "Sampson erdyswycke" [apparently Samson Erdeswicke, author of "Survey of Staffordshire," who died 1603] "Sampsone Walkeden." According to A I Doyle, Durham University Library, the notes on fol. 127v are in the hand of John Stow (stated in letter of 18 June 1954).
128r-140v: Continuation of the Prose Brut text to the year 1461. "This continuation begins as a copy from one of William Caxton's editions of the Chronicles of England (1480, 1482), which contain a continuation to 1461. After a few chapters, however, the text changes to that used by Caxton in his edition of the Polychronicon (1482) as part of what the printer called the "Liber ultimus" which also concludes in 1461 …" (Matheson: Death and Dissent, p. 71; see also Matheson: The Prose Brut, 1985 p. 609); includes occasional copying of the headline 'liber ultimus' and leaf numbering from the printed book. [scribe 2].
141r-148v: a copy of Warkworth's chronicle taking the text to 1474; the first page is missing. Ends (line 34): to the Kynge and all was done by their onne foly et cetera. [scribe 2].
The lower margin of 141 has been torn off, damaging the text of the recto.
The lowest panel may contain the initials of Henry, Prince of Wales.
On 146r, top margin, in a 16th cent. Hand: Jahane chyldyrys | marget chyldyrys | francis ades | hary omondis off irone key in london.
Arrangement: List Item Content
Commentary: Matheson has written that MS Hunter 83, Peterhouse 190, and B.L. Harley 3730 "...form a closely linked group that contains a continuation from 1419 to 1461 … this continuation is appended to an originally discrete Brut text that ended in 1419 and is followed by Warkworth's Chronicle, an original chronicle that is an important historical source for the reign of Edward IV … A textual comparison shows that the continuation from 1419 to 1461 in the Peterhouse manuscript was copied from B.L. Harley 3730, but that the scribe then switched to the Hunterian manuscript in order to copy the text of Warkworth's chronicle. The additions to all three manuscripts were probably made about 1484 for fellows of Peterhouse, Cambridge, possibly in the college library" [Matheson: Printer and scribe, pp. 609-610]
In Death and Dissent, Matheson argues that the Hunterian text of Warkworth's chronicle is the "original composition rather than a copy of an earlier work. Errors are often corrected immediately … the patchwork nature of the texts in the Hunterian manuscript shows it to have been the original compilation from which the Harley manuscript was copied by two scribes …" p. 78.
Matheson further argues the compiler/owner of MS Hunter 83 was the author of Warkworth's chronicle, who caused the copying of the Harley text and additions to the Peterhouse manuscript; he suggest he was a northerner (based on the fact that only a northerner would buy a northern text); orthographic changes made in copying the St Albans Chronicles of England introduce northern forms etc [see Matheson: Death and Dissent, p. 80]: "he must have been closely connected with the Peterhouse library .. .the evidence suggests that the compiler-owner of the Hunterian manuscript and author of Warkworth's chronicle was a fellow of Peterhouse, a college that had close connections with the north of England" (p. 81); Matheson goes on to suggest various possibles from the fellows as author, including Roger Lancaster (d. 1502) - see pp. 80-87 on the authorship/ownership of the chronicle.
Matheson (Death and dissent, p. 70) dates the main text to ca. 1475; he suggests that the continuations "may well have been all made at the one time, perhaps in 1484. The hand, ink, and style of writing are consistent in the added materials. However, the possibility should not be discounted that these additions were made in two or even three stages, over a short period between 1482 and, perhaps, 1484 …" (Matheson: Death and dissent, p. 79).
Physical Description: Vellum (outer and inner sheets) and paper, 11 3/8 x 8 5/8, ff. 148, originally ff. 166, written in two hands, in single cols. of 35-41 lines, each 8 x 5, margined, not ruled, with bodkin and brown crayon, catchwords (partial), signatures (partial), no foliation, rubrics (partial), rubricated and ornamented initials and paragraph marks, contemporary marginalia, fol. sec. Bound (2012) in a quarter style of whittawed goatskin with oakboards.
Access: Normal conditions
Language: English
Material Type: Chronicle
Archival History: Provenance chain as identified by Matheson (Death and Dissent, pp. 90-92):
1)Peterhouse College, Cambridge [? speculative - see Commentary]
2)William Bromwell (15th/16th century): several inscriptions, including (14r: vellum flyleaf): "Thys ys Meyster Wyllyam Bromwelles boke: who euer stelythe thys boke shall be hangyd on hoke …". Tentatively identified by Matheson (Death and Dissent, p. 90) as William Bromwell of London, mercer and merchant adventurer, first mention in 1496 in the records of the Courts of Mercers and regularly until the end of the edited volume in 1527; two wills dated 1536 (see index of names and places in: Acts of Court of the Mercers' Company 1453-1527 Cambrdige: 1936)
3)"Jahane Chyldyrys, Marget Chyldyrys, Frances Ades, Hary Omondes off Crone Key in London" (146r: 16th century note). "These may have been tenants at Crown Key, which was a messuage and quay in the parish of St. Dunstan in the East" (Matheson: Death and Dissent, p. 91)
4)John Parker (14r: late 16th century note, together with only partly decipherable lines of Latin verse). "This may refer to John Parker (1548-1618/19), the elder son of Archbishop Matthew Parker, who was a collector both for his father and in his own right, though the manuscript contains none of his characteristic marks" (Matheson: Death and Dissent, p. 91)
5)Sampson Erdyswycke, Sampson Walkedey (ca. 1538-1603) (127v: ms. note). Antiquarian and author of the Survey of Staffordshire. "Walkedey was presumably a nickname meaning 'walk a (or all) day'. Erdeswicke was almost certainly not an owner of the manuscript, but he may have examined it" (Matheson: Death and Dissent, p. 91)
6)Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612): arms on 17th century binding and ms. note on 14v, now faded: henricus dei gratia rex erit et frence | et wallie et hibernie.
Notes: Former shelfmarks: Q.2.13; Q.2.32.
Special Collections holds other copies of the Chronicles of England (Brut): MS Hunter 61 (T.2.19); MS Hunter 74 ( T.3.12); MS Hunter 228 (U.3.1); MS Hunter 230 (U.3.3); MS Hunter 443 (V.5.13).
Conservation: Extensive conservation work was carried out by Christopher Clarkson (completed April 2012), with grant assistance from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust.
Bibliography: Christopher Clarkson, MS Hunter 83 (T.3.21), Conservation and rebinding report (unpublished, completed April 2012); Lister M. Matheson, Death and dissent: two fifteenth century chronicles (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1999 - particularly pp. 68-74); Lister M. Matheson, The Prose Brut, the development of a Middle English chronicle, Medieval and Renaissance Text and Studies (1998); Lister M. Matheson 'Printer and Scribe: Caxton, the Polychronicon, and the Brut' Speculum, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Jul., 1985), pp. 593-614; Lister M. Matheson, 'A new text of Warkworth's Chronicle', Manuscripta, v. 22 (1978), pp. 15-16 - abstract of paper read at the 4th Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, 1977; H.M. Nixon, Twelve books in fine bindings (Oxford, 1953), pp. 10-12.; John Young & P.H. Aitken, A catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1908), p. 88-89.
Exhibitions: 'Ingenious Impressions: The Coming of the Book', Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, 27 February- 21 June 2015.
Accession Number: 2482
See details of how this material was acquired
Cataloguing Note: Revised by Julie Gardham, Sarah Hepworth (Oct 2013)
Repository Code: GB 0247

Names associated with this item:

author: John Stow 1525-1605
author: John Warkworth c 1425-1500
Ecclesiastic, college head and supposed chronicler.
provenance: Frances Ades 1500s
Tenant at Crown Key in the parish of St Dunstan?
provenance: William Bromwell d 1536?
Merchant in London. References in records of the Courts of Mercers from 1496 to 1527. Two wills dated 1536.
provenance: Cambridge University. Peterhouse College 1284-
Founded in 1284.
provenance: John Childers 1500s
Tenant at Crown Key in the parish of St Dunstan?
provenance: Margaret Childers 1500s
Tenant at Crown Key in the parish of St Dunstan?
provenance: Sampson Erdeswick c 1538-1603
Historian. His family owned estates in Cheshire and at Sandon in Staffordshire. In about 1593 he began writing a history of these two counties; the part concerning …
provenance: Henry Frederick Prince of Wales 1594-1612
Eldest child of James VI of Scotland. In 1610, his father having succeeded to the English throne, he was created prince of Wales and earl of Chester. He died of fever in November 1612.
provenance: Harry Omonde 1500s
Tenant at Crown Key in the parish of St Dunstan?
provenance: John Parker 1548-1618/19
Son of Archbishop Matthew Parker.
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