A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

St John's College MS 6

John Lydgate, Troy Book


Language(s): English. LALME places the language in Herefordshire (grid 345 269), LP 7510 (3:174). Leinthall (see ‘Provenance’) is six miles south-west of Ludlow.

1. Fols. 1ra–134ra
Rubric: Here bygynneþ þe prolog of the seege of Troye in englischs translated after the latyn compiled by Gwydo de Columpnis not word by word […]
Incipit: O myghty Mars that with thy sturne light | In armes hast the powwer […]
Final rubric: [fol. 133va] Thus endeth þe fyfþe booke of þe seege of troye vnder þe correccioun of euery prudent Reeder Quod LIDGATE Monke of þe Burye
Explicit: withdrawe and goo abak | Requerynge hem alle þat is mys to amende
Colophon: Quod Ion Sch⟨row⟩sbury
John Lydgate, The Troy Book (IMEV 2516), ed. Thomas Bergen, EETS ES 97, 103, 106 (1906–10), with the envoy and ‘Verba translatoris’ (the actual explicit). Bergen describes our MS at EETS ES 126 (1935) 36–8.

Fol. 134rb–v originally blank. This copy lacks Prol.210–1.49 on a lost leaf following fol. 1 (the original 2o folio should have been a version of 1.50 ‘Fordymmed eke the lettris aureat’). The scribe has left blanks marked with crosses for missing lines; cf. fol. 43ra, with the informal anglicana note ‘caret versus’ (s. xv ex.). This feature is genetic, shared with three closely related books: Gloucester Cathedral MS 5; Manchester, John Rylands University Library, MS Eng. 1; and BodL, MS Digby 230.

2. Fol. 134ra
Incipit: ||Pees makeþ plente | Plente makyþ pryde

IMEV 2742, written in rubricator’s red; ed. Bergen, 26, from the related Digby 230, where it appears in the same position and format.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: hym to releue
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. i + 134 + i (numbered fol. ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 390 × 280 mm.


18(–2) 2–168 178(–8, probably blank). Regular catchwords towards the gutter. All leaves in the first half of each quire signed in rubricator’s red with a capital letter plus roman numeral; in this system, quires 1–17 = A–R.


In double columns, each column (measured to the bounds, not to the end of the verse lines) 302 × 102 mm. , with 12 mm between the bounds for columns, in 56 lines to the column. No prickings; bounded and ruled in brown ink.


Written in anglicana, the anglicana long r lacking. Punctuation by punctus elevatus at the cesura. There is an erased scribal colophon at the end of item 2 (fol. 134ra), ‘Quod Ion Sch⟨row⟩sbury’; as Ian Doyle pointed out to us, a man of this name was a Wiltshire priest in 1468, but not necessarily our scribe. Griffiths identified two further books in Shrowsbury’s hand, both copies of Nicholas Love’s Mirror: Princeton University Library, MS Kane 21; and Columbia, University of Missouri fragment. For a reproduction of fol. 6 of the former, see Jean F. Preston and Laetitia Yeandle, English Handwriting 1400–1600 (Binghamton, NY, 1992), pl. 3.


Headings, except the first and last leaves (red), in text ink.

At the head, a 12-line gold leaf capital on blue flourishing, with a blazon within the letter (see ‘Provenance’), and a full vinet, a gold leaf and blue bar border.

Similar, but smaller capitals (that for book 3, fol. 58vb, only 3 lines) with demivinets at the heads of the books.

Smaller textual divisions usually blue lombards on red flourishing.

Red running titles with book numbers.

See AT no. 595 (58).


A modern replacement. Sewn on six thongs. At the front and rear, one modern paper flyleaf. A paper tab inside the front cover notes College ownership (s. xix).


Origin: s. xv med. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Within the initial O (fol. 1ra), a blazon, argent (?), a barry of three, or, on the top argent bar ‘I’affie bien’ and on the second ‘leynthale’ plus a mark. Similarly, in the lower margin, fol. 50ra, ‘I’affie bien LEYNTHALE’ plus mark (s. xv ex.). Apparently to be associated with the arms of Sir Rowland Leynthall of Leynthall and Hampton Court (Herefordshire) , who fought at Agincourt, but these bear no resemblance to the modern derivatives.

Pen-trials (s. xv ex.) and (fol. 134v).

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna, A descriptive catalogue of the western medieval manuscripts of St. John's College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact St John's College Library.


    J. J. G. Alexander and Elźbieta Temple, Illuminated Manuscripts in Oxford College Libraries, the University Archives and the Taylor Institution (Oxford, 1985).
    Thomas Bergen (ed.), The Troy Book, 4 vols., EETS ES 97, 103, 106, and 126 (London, 1906–35).
    Carleton Brown and Rossell Hope Robbins, Index of Middle English Verse (New York, 1943); Robbins and John Cutler (eds.) Supplement (Lexington, Ken., 1965).
    Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, et al., A Linguistic Atlas of Later Mediaeval English, 4 vols. (Aberdeen, 1988).
    Jean F. Preston and Laetitia Yeandle, English Handwriting 1400–1600 (Binghamton, NY, 1992).

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust

Last Substantive Revision

2023-01: First online publication

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.