BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 365 England, s. XV^^4/4
Book of Brome
Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.
Page references in square brackets for each bibliographical citation refer to
the edition of this manuscript by Lucy Toulmin Smith, A Common-place Book of
the Fifteenth Century...(London, 1886).
1. f. 1r Man in merthe hath meser in mynd/ For meser ys treser whan merthe ys
behynd/...For yt may so be tyde/ That thow schall have mych more.
Rules of Conduct; IMEV 2064. 26-line poem of exhortation extolling such
virtues as meekness, silence, and acceptance of circumstances. [pp. 14-15]
2. f. 1r The hart lovyt th^^e wood The here lovyt th^^e hyll/...ys to haue hyr
Satyrical proverbs on women (4 lines); IMEV 3372.6. [p.11]
3. f. 1v Cipher puzzles and sayings, in two columns. In column a is a
collection of puzzles based upon interchanging letters. Column b is a
poem of instruction on daily living [IMEV 799]: Fyrst a rysse erly/ serve thy
god devly/...A lord god mercy qui verba cuncta creasti/ Helpe kyng of cowmefort
qui vitam semper amasti. [pp. 11-14]
4. ff. 2r-3r Schall haue gowre dessyer th^^e same ger/ hold gow stabyll and
ware now^^t/...Be trew and trost in mary myld/ and sche wyll gow fro schame
Poem on the casting of dice; MS 365 is used by W.L. Braekman in his edition
of the text, Fortune-Telling by the Casting of Dice in Scripta 4
(Brussels, 1981) p. 17 (MS I: Ipswich, County Hall Deposit, MS. Hillwood) and
pp. 21-27 (text). MS 365, which is incomplete, contains 95 lines of the poem:
6.6.6 (first line missing) to 5.5.3 (incorrectly cited by Smith as 5.5.0).
5. ff. 3v-4v Blank, except for words "Harry Cade," and "at Stuston" at top of
f. 4r. Perhaps the beginning of an account.
6. ff. 5r-14v All th^^t wylle of wysdam lere/ lystyn to me and ge xall
here...Thus gendyth the talkyng/ God gyffe vs all hys blyssyng. ffinis.
Adrian and Epotys; IMEV 220. [pp. 20-46]
7. ff. 15r-22r Fader of hevyn omnipotent/ W^^t all my hart to the I
call/...Now Ihesu that weryt the crown of thorne/ Bryng vs all to heuyn blysse.
ffinis. f. 22v blank
The mystery play Abraham and Isaac; IMEV 786; O. Waterhouse,
The Non-Cycle Mystery Plays, EETS, Extra Series 104 (London, 1909)
pp. xlviii-liv, 36-53; N. Davis, Non-Cycle Plays and Fragments, EETS, Sup.
Series 1 (London, 1970) pp. lviii-lxx; D. Bevington, Medieval Drama
(Boston, 1975) pp. 308-21; P. Happe, English Mystery Plays (Harmondsworth,
1975) pp. 152-71; N. Davis, Non-Cycle Plays and the Winchester Dialogues
(University of Leeds School of English, 1979) pp. 49-65, with complete
photographic facsimile of the play. [pp. 46-69]
8. ff. 23r-26v Kyng of blysse blyssyd th^^u be/ lord of myth and of
pete/...ffader the soune and the holy goste/ kyng and lord thow arte moste//
The Fifteen Signs of Doomsday, ending at line 236; IMEV 1823.
9. ff. 27r-27v Accounts of Robert Melton, of Stuston, with Mistress
Froxmer. [pp. 174-75]
10. ff. 28r-38r Ihesu th^^t ys moste of myth/ And of wronge makyth
ryth...That ys lord of mythtys moste/ ffadyr and y^^e sunne and y^^e holy goste.
ffinis. f. 38v blank
Sir Owen the Knight: IMEV 1767. R. B. Easting, "An Edition of
Owayne Miles and other Middle English texts concerning 'St. Patrick's
Purgatory', unpublished D. Phil. dissertation (Oxford, 1976). [pp. 82-106]
ll. ff. 39r-44r O Olde and yowng th^^t ben here/ lystyn and to me
clare/...In thys lekenes sente to y^^e vs/ ffor to stroye thy fayre body/ W^^t
hys crafte of negramency// f. 44v blank
Fragment of the Life of St. Margaret; IMEV 2673. [pp. 107-18]
12. ff. 45r-46v Accounts of Robert Melton, Purchases, 1502-03. Folio 47r is
blank, except for 3 lines at the top, perhaps the beginning of another account.
13. ff. 47v-50r This is the felson booke for the Est Comoune of Stuston...
f. 50v blank
14. ff. 51r-55r Articles of enquiry at "The Corte Barune." [pp. 151-60]
15. ff. 55v-59r Articuli lete. [pp. 160-66]
16. ff. 59v-60r Agreement and quittance for delivery of barley between Robert
Melton and Robert Page of Scoles, 1504. [p. 175]
17. ff. 60v-61r The tax lists of Stuston and Thranston. [pp. 128-29]
ff. 61v-62r blank
18. ff. 62v-63r Accounts of Robert Melton for expenses concerning his mother
and brother, 1499-1503. [pp. 167-68]
19. f. 63v Recipe[s?] for the jaundice. [p. 176]
20. ff. 64r-65r Church duties at Stuston. [pp. 129-31]
21. ff. 65v-67v Accounts of Robert Melton, Purchases, 1501-02. Accounts on
f. 67r-v marked "payd" are crossed out; pen trials in the lower margin of
f. 67v. [pp. 168-70]
22. ff. 68r-77r Twelve model forms of legal documents, first in Latin, then
translated into English. [pp. 131-51]
23. ff. 77v-78r Accounts of Robert Melton, Debtors, 1502. [p. 171]
24. f. 78v In the worchepe of god and of oure lady and of all the holy
cumpany, he shall sey xv pater nosters xv aues and iij credys...and ther is
all. f. 79r blank
Instructions concerning prayers to be said to various saints, and when they
are to be said. [p. 119]
25. f. 79v Newell! Newell! Newell! Newell!/ thys ys th^^e song of angell
gabryell/ Tydyngys trew th^^er be cum new/ sent ffrome th^^e Trynyte/...Ecce sum
humilima ancilla domini Secundum tuum verbum ffiat mychi.
A carol of the Annunciation; IMEV 3736. [pp. 122-23]
26. f. 80r Trentals er Commonley seyd xxx^^ti massis and no derege...of eche
of these iii masses.
Directions for a trental. [pp. 19-22]
27. ff. 80v-81r Prudencia. Thynges passyd Remembrans and wyll devide/
Thynges present consydris and wyll goune/...Thus ffortyn or on ffortyn thys I
Seven Wise Counsels, with only the four stanzas on Prudencia, Iusticia,
Temperancia, Fortitudo; IMEV 576. [pp. 18-20]
28. f. 81r I stond as styll as ony stoun/ The grace of god th^^an [?] he wyll
send/...And caritas ys gon w^^t all.
God amends all (one quatrain); IMEV 1367.9. [p. 20]
29. f. 81v Portion of an account, incomplete, and pen trials.
Paper (watermarks: similar to Briquet Armoiries 1038 for part of quire I and
all of II; similar to Briquet Main 11399 for remainder of quire I, all of
quires III and IV, part of V; similar to Briquet Navire 11971 on ff. 68, 79
only; similar to Briquet Lettre P 8586 on ff. 72, 75; similar to Briquet Main
11152 on ff. 73, 74; unidentified watermark on f. 81), ff. ii (-i, contemporary
paper) + 78 (modern foliation, 1-81, includes flyleaves) + ii (contemporary
paper; conjugate to front flyleaves), 206 x 141 (ca. 160 x 75) mm. for works of
verse by Scribe 1 (with leaves folded vertically to delineate written space;
prickings at corners of written space); format for rest of manuscript varies
I^^22 (-7), II^^24 (-20), III^^16 (-2 through 6), IV^^16 (-7, 11, 12, 13,
15), V^^12. Parchment strips reinforce the center of each gathering.
Although twelve leaves and one flyleaf are missing, there appears to be no loss
in the literary texts (leaves missing after ff. 7, 41).
Written primarily by two persons: Scribe 1: ff. 1r-26v, 28r-44r, 68r-77r,
79v, 80v-81r. Written in small, well formed Anglicana script with first
line of each text in formal bookhand. Initials for articles 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, in
red, 4- to 2-line, with penwork flourishes in brown; initial strokes for same
articles (plus 10 and 22) in red. Portions of text underlined in red; rhyming
verses often bracketed, in red, at end of lines. On f. 14v, a fine half-page
drawing in red and brown of the monogram IHS which incorporates both a
heart pierced by a lance and vine patterns and tendrils. Art. 4 is illustrated
with drawings of dice, in red, in outer margins. Scribe 2: ff. 27r-v, 45r-60r,
62v-67v, 77v-78v, 80r, 81v. Written in a large sprawling script; no
ornamentation. A third person added art. 17 at a later time.
First leaves heavily stained; lower right corner waterstained ff. 1-43.
Binding: s. xv^^ex. Original sewing with long stitches through a
thick rectangular piece of
leather on the outside of a vellum wrapper. Contemporary scroll design added
to upper cover with unidentified inscription, in red, mostly illegible.
The main texts of the manuscript, which are primarily devotional in nature
(arts. 1-8, 10-11, 22, 25, 27), were written in East Anglia by an unidentified
scribe toward the end of the 15th century; a second individual, identified as
Robert Melton of Stuston in Suffolk, added numerous accounts and notes (arts.
9, 12-16, 18-21, 23-24, 26) at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th
century. Melton was the co-executor of the estate of John Cornwallis
(d. 1506), Lord of the Manors of Brome, Stuston, Okley, and Thranston, whose
family possessed Brome Hall from early in the 15th to the 19th century. Melton
apparently acquired the book after 1492, for on the lower turn-in of the front
cover is a draft of a receipt, in Latin, dated 1 May 1492, written in the same
hand as the main texts; it is possible that Melton was the original patron for
the volume. From him the codex seems to have passed by inheritance until its
rediscovery ca. 1880 at Brome Hall by Sir Edward Kerrison whose grandfather had
bought the property from the Cornwallis family. Lady Caroline Kerrison,
daughter-in-law of Sir Edward Kerrison, commissioned Lucy Toulmin Smith to
produce the edition of the complete manuscript noted above. Upon the death of
Sir Edward Kerrison, Brome Hall and its contents were inherited by a younger
sister, Lady Bateman. The codex reappeared in the 1930's as the property of
the Honorable Mrs. R. Douglas Hamilton of Oakley House, Diss, and again in 1959
as the property of Denis Hill-Wood of Sherborne St. John, near Basingstoke in
Hampshire, who deposited the manuscript in the Ipswich and East Suffolk Record
Office in the County Hall (see R. L. Greene, "The Book of Brome: Appearance and
Disappearance," Gazette 42  pp. 107-09). Acquired from the heirs of
Hill-Wood by L. C. Witten from whom it was purchased, 23 Dec. 1966, by Edwin
J. and Frederick W. Beinecke for the Beinecke Library.
Bibliography: Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 241-42, no. 66.
T. E. Marston, "The Book of Brome," Gazette 41 (1967) pp. 141-45,
with reproductions of ff. 14v, 15r.
S. J. Kahrl, "The Brome Hall Commonplace Book," Theater Notebook 22
(1968) pp. 157-61, with plate of f. 15r.
N. Davis, "The Brome Hall Commonplace Book," Theater Notebook 24
(1969-70) p. 84.
Barbara A. Shailor