BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Marston MS 242 England, ca. 1466-67
Genealogical Roll Chronicle, in Middle English
Column I: [Prologue:] Consideryng the lenght and the hardnesse of holy
scripture and nameli of the grund of the lettre historial...[concludes with
Edward IV, and his daughter "Elizabeth princesse:"] Edwarde
the fourthe after the conqueste of Englond son and heyr of the most
worshepful prynce Richarde late duke of yorke...And he was crowned kyng at
Westmynster in the eight and twenty day of the mone of Iuny in the yere of oure
lorde a thowsand foure hundred sexti and on.
Column II: Adam was made in damascene feeld by the hand of god. and put in
a place of delites callyd paradise...Harry the sexte was sone of Harry the
fithe. and he was crowned at Westmynster in the yere of our lorde a
thousand four hundred twenty and nyme.
Column III: The first age of the world was fro adam un to Noe. The secunde fro
Noe vn to abraham...[text ends when the format become two columns rather than
three:] Coylle was kyng after hys fader. a man of gode condicions and of al
men he had love. he regned in pece al hys life tyme. and when he died he
was buried at yorke.
Parchment, 9.76 m. x 330 mm. Composed of 15 membranes, each measuring ca.
705 mm. in length; the individual membranes are glued together, overlapping
ca. 15 mm. Approximately the first half of the roll is written in 3 columns,
the third (right column) being considerably more narrow. Remainder of roll
in 2 columns. Single vertical bounding lines; ruled in pale brown ink.
Prickings in left and right margins.
Written by a single scribe in a somewhat rough textura; the hand of this
scribe illustrated in Lyell Cat., pl. VI.
The genealogical diagrams, which are fitted into the empty spaces between
the columns of text, begin with a roundel formed of concentric bands of
blue, gold and red with a miniature of Adam with Eve, who is being handed an
apple by the serpent. According to K. L. Scott, the style of the decoration
is very close to that in Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliothek, Ny Kgl. 1858 fol., a
Latin roll perhaps decorated by the same artist as Marston MS 242 (see K. L.
Scott, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles: Later Gothic
Manuscripts, v. 6, gen. ed. J. J. G. Alexander, forthcoming 1992; Marston MS
242 is cited under no. 116). From the roundel of Adam and
Eve to the Ascension of Christ the successive
Biblical names, framed in orange or green squares, are linked by a continuous
band in blue, red and gold. The names of the ancestors of the Kings of
England, starting with Brutus, appear in red or blue circles, surmounted by gold
crowns. Other names are in plain red circles. Linking lines in the
genealogies are in red or green. At the appropriate places in the text are
inserted schematized diagrams in red and green ink of Noah's Ark, a plan
of the Israelite camp in the desert and a plan of the city of Jerusalem. One
large illuminated initial for the prologue, 8-line, mauve and blue with
white filigree against gold ground thinly edged in black. The initial is
filled with a large flower, red, yellow and green, and curling acanthus, orange
and green extending into the margin and continued as black inkspray with
large leaves, heart-shaped or acanthus, blue, pink, orange, white and green
with white filigree, a large orange and gold flower, smaller leaves in gold
with blue and pink, gold dots and small green leaves, extending into the
upper and left margin to form a partial border. Smaller illuminated initial
for the beginning of the main chronicle, 5-line, gold on blue and mauve ground
with white filigree. Numerous small initials, 2-line, alternate in gold with
blue penwork and blue with red. Paragraph marks alternate in red and blue.
Written in England "not earlier than February 1466 and presumably no later than
August 1467" (Lyell Cat., p. 82), since only Elizabeth is included as Edward
IV's child; Marston MS 242 is closely related to a number of genealogical
chronicles of the English kings that were produced at a workshop in London or
Westminster in either roll or codex format. For a discussion of these
manuscripts see K. L. Scott, op. cit. and Lyell Cat. pp. 82-85
(Marston MS 242 cited on p. 82). These manuscripts are Oxford, Bod. Lib., Lyell
33 and Bodl. e. Mus. 42, Corpus Christi College 207; Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibl.
MS Ny Kgl. 1858 fol.; London, B. L., Harl. Rolls C. 9; Cambridge, Trinity
College R. 4. 3; London, B. L. Stowe 73; Cambridge, Magdalene College Pepys
2244; London, B. L., Add. 31950; Oxford, Brasenose College 17; London, B. L.,
Stowe 72; London, B. L., Royal 14. B. viii; Oxford, All Souls 40. Marston
MS 242 appears to be the earliest of the A type versions.
inscription, mostly erased, at top of roll. On dorse, later inscription:
"Authentik Pedigree from Adam to Edward 4. Rex Angl[iae]." Provenance
otherwise unknown. In the Sotheby's sale of 15 June 1959, no. 194. Purchased
from C. A. Stonehill in 1959 by Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 92, no. 242.
The Medieval Book, p. 92, no. 90, with plate.
A. Alison, "Yorkist Propaganda: Pedigree, Prophecy and the 'British History'
in the Reign of Edward IV," in Patronage, Pedigree and Power in later medieval
England, ed. C. Ross (Gloucester, 1979) p. 190, n. 15.
L. M. Matheson, "Historical Prose," in Middle English Prose: A Critical
Guide to major Authors and Genres, ed. A. S. G. Edwards (New Brunswick, N. J.,
1984) p. 235.
Barbara A. Shailor