BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 86 England, s. XIV
Brut Chronicle (in Anglo-Norman), etc. Pl. 18
1. front and back flyleaves: a paper document of s. xviii, relating to
Wiltshire, with Julianna Charter as plaintiff.
2. ff. 1r-12v Fragments of a Brut Chronicle, in Anglo-Norman. //Rome
et oscist touz lez mescreauntz gil poet...ou il fuist ioyeusement
The text of this fragment begins imperfectly in chapter 36
(Constantine) and has several lacunae. Folios 1-4 (the two central
conjugate leaves of a gathering) correspond to the English text in F.
W. D. Brie, ed., EETS, v. 131 (1906) pp. 40/20 - 67/22 and contain
chapters 36-44. Folios 5, 7, 6, 8 (individual leaves in that order) may
be from one quire, but one leaf is missing after both 5 and 6; 9-12 are
the two outer bifolios of a quire originally consisting of 8 leaves,
but the two inner bifolios are wanting after f. 10. Folios 5-10 contain
portions of chapters 81-84. The work ends in chapter 86 (beginning on
f. 11r) with the thirty-first year of Edward III.
3. f. 13r (a single leaf tipped in) Progenies ab Adam usque Henricum
IIII Regem Anglie.
A note stating that King Henry IV was consecrated in 1399 and
documenting his descent from Adam.
4. f. 13v Nomina Regum Anglie quorum cronicke consecuntur.
A list of 86 kings (each numbered) from Brutus to Edward III. The
offset image of an illuminated initial with extensive border indicates
that the leaf originally preceded art. 2.
5. f. 14r Names of prisoners captured and killed at the battle of
Poitiers (19 Sept. 1356), in Anglo-Norman.
6. ff. 14v-19v Terms of the treaty of Bretigny (8 May 1360), in 40
chapters, numbered in red (Anglo-Norman).
7. ff. 19v-20v De modo [tenendi] parliamenti. Hic discribitur modus
quomodo parliamentum Regis Anglie et anglorum suorum tenebatur
temporibus Regis Edwardi filij Etheldredi Regis...De loquela Regis post
pronunciacionem...ad eius et eorum honores et comoda fore inteligerint
et sincierint [changed to sencierint]//
N. Pronay and J. Taylor, Parliamentary Texts of the Later Middle
Ages (Oxford, 1980) pp. 67-72. According to Taylor, the Yale
appears to be an early version of the "A" Recension similar in some
ways, although not in all, to the group associated with London, B. L.
Vespasian B. VII.
Parchment, ff. i (paper, s. xviii) + 20 + i (paper, s. xviii; same
document serves as front and back flyleaves), 366 x 245 (275 x 165) mm.
The physical format varies somewhat depending upon the text. Folios 1-
12, 14r: written in 41 long lines; single or double vertical and
horizontal bounding lines full across; ruled in lead; remains of
prickings in upper, lower, and outer margins. Folio 13: written in 43
lines, sometimes in 2 columns, with appropriate rulings in lead; the
leaf appears to have been slightly trimmed. Folios 14v-20v: written in
41 long lines; single inner and double outer vertical bounding lines,
double horizontal bounding lines, full across; with additional ruling
in outer margin; ruled in lead; some prickings in all margins, except
For collation of ff. 1-13, see articles 2-3; folios 14-19 are
composed of a single gathering of six leaves, plus one added at end (f.
Written in Anglicana bookhand by a scribe who also copied Malmesbury
Church, MS 2 (see below).
Decorative initials, blue with red penwork, appear only on ff. 1-
12; initial strokes and headings, in red, throughout.
Binding: s. xviii-xix. Stab sewn to a vellum folder made up of a
legal document (trimmed with some loss of text) dated 1766 and
involving the manors of Whitechurch and Milbourne in Wiltshire. The
outside has an inscription, s. xix, "Some leaves of early English
History in Norman French supposed to have come from Malmesbury Abbey."
A similar inscription occurs on f. i verso.
Written in England at the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th
century; in 1971 N. R. Ker determined that it was copied by the same
scribe as two items now belonging to Malmesbury Church (MS 2) in
Wiltshire and that all three items were formerly bound together (see
Ker, MMBL, v. 3). The original manuscript was acquired by James P. R.
Lyell who divided it into three parts and sold each separately (Lyell
Cat., p. xxix). One portion (46 leaves) was repurchased by Lyell on 8
April 1942 and presented to Malmesbury Church; Yale acquired the second
part (20 leaves in present binding) from Henry Fletcher in 1950;
Malmesbury Church bought the final part (41 leaves) in 1961. Papers
accompanying the manuscript and now in Beinecke Library files include:
1. unsigned note, s. xix, "These old Parchments were found in
Malmesbury Abbey during excavations. They are written in Norman French
and are supposed to be part of an Early English History, but they have
never been deciphered. The 2 loose pages [now missing from both the
Yale and Malmesbury texts] belong apparently to a book of travels,
probably Sir John Mandeville's, which were written about 1372"; 2.
letter dated 3 Feb. 1882, Ashburton, Devon, "My dear Sparke, Thanks for
sending me the curious leaflet which I now return. It is written in
Norman French which I unfortunately know very little about and have no
books that throw any light on it...[comments on the 2 lost leaves:] It
begins with an account of the Isle of Rhodes altho the first words are
'estre appelle Collos et vncore les Turkes l'appellent ensynt. Et seint
Poul en ses pistres estriuoit a eux dicele Isle ad Colocenses. Ceste
Isle est bien.' ...It is beautifully written and to anyone who knew
Norman French it would be easy to make out...Yours very Truly, John S.
Amery." [The words quoted from the Mandeville text belong to the
Insular version, ch. 4; see G. F. Warner's edition for the Roxburghe
Club (1889) p. 13/39.] Note (s. xix) in red, inside front cover: "Re
Bayliffe/ 33 Anglesea Place/ Clifton/ Bristol."
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 27, no. 86.
Barbara A. Shailor