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

MS. Bodl. 851

Summary Catalogue no.: 3041

Walter Map, De nugis curialium; Latin poetry; Piers Plowman (Z- and C-texts); England, 14th century, late, or 15th century, early, with additions

Physical Description

A manuscript of several sections: three (fols. 7-77, 78-123, 124-139) from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, essentially uniform in decoration, and with common scribes; supplemented in the fifteenth century by fols. 140-208, and with additions (fols. 1-6 and elsewhere) by 'Dodsthorp' and another contemporary scribe made at Ramsey Abbey at some point after 1405.
Extent: 207 (6 + 71 + 46 + 16 + 68) + 2 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 245-250 × 175-180 mm.
Quire 14 slightly smaller than the rest of the volume.
Foliation: 1-208 in early-modern ink, skipping 166; 210 and 209 (in that order) in later pencil

Collation

For the collation of the individual sections see below. The quires were numbered i-[xxiii] on the final verso, bottom centre, when the volume was put together in the fifteenth century.

Binding

16th(?)-century binding of plain brown leather over pasteboards; rebacked.

Accompanying Material

The front pastedown is a fragment of a 15th-century (?) Ramsey abbey account: John Alb... reeve, William atte Cros late reeve; tenants include William atte Castel, Ralph Freman.

History

Provenance and Acquisition

John Wells, monk of Ramsey: ex libris, fol. 6v. It is not clear which portions of this composite manuscript the ex libris refers to, but if the owner is to be identified with the John Wells described by 'Dodsthorp' on fol. 2r, it is reasonable to assume the whole of the present manuscript is referred to.

Wells is identified by Macray, James (1914, p. xii), Rigg and others with John Wells (-1388), the opponent of Wycliffe (Emden III.2008; Emden did not accept the identification). This identification would allow at least some of the volume to be dated before 1388 (or before 1387, when Wells travelled to Italy), and perhaps localized to Oxford. Rigg suggested that the text of the bookplate on fol. 6v was written by the scribe of fols. 74ra-va, 81va, 116ra-118rb, 118va-120vb, and 124r-139r, which does not seem to be correct, but the hand may be the same as the rubricator of codicological units I and II. It should be noted, however, that the John Wells who died in 1388 was buried at Perugia, whereas an addition on fol. 2r refers to (our?) John Wells as 'hic tumulatus', that is, presumably at Ramsey. If the rubric on fol. 94va refers to 1384, that may provide a terminus a quo for that section of the manuscript; if the compiler of the Piers Plowman Z-text used the C-text, as suggested by S. Wood (see below) then the earliest date for unit III, and perhaps for other sections by the same scribe, may be 1388. Text and decoration suggest a date in the last quarter of the fourteenth century or perhaps the early fifteenth century.

Ramsey Abbey: additions by Dodsthorp, partly relating to Ramsey Abbey, and presumably made at Ramsey: Dodsthorp is unidentified, but also signs an addition in another Ramsey book (MS. Bodl. 40, fol. 51v).

‘Whyttynton’, 15th cent., fol. 6v in leadpoint.

‘J. Kyngston’, 15th cent., fol. 208v in leadpoint, recorded by Rigg, now barely legible. The date 1505 (?) written in full, erased, fol. 208v.

Given by Cuthbert Ridley in 1601. Previous Bodleian shelfmarks: 'M. 5. 4. Art.', 'Y. 1. 14. Th.', 'Arch. B. 95', 'Arch. B. 52', 'Arch. C. 29'.

MS. Bodl. 851, fols. 1-6

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fol. 1r)

Blank except for later Bodleian shelfmarks.

(fol. 1v)

Blank except for late sixteenth-century inscriptions (Rigg, p. 28): (a) Walther, Sprichwörter, 27317, this MS. only; (b) copy of a passage from De nugis curialum, IV (fol. 47rb); otherwise blank.

(fols. 2r-3r, 4v)

Miscellaneous verse and prose added by 'Dodissethorp' and one or more other scribes: 75 items, all printed in Rigg 1994 pp. 39-42, and including some apparently local references. Item 3 refers to John Wellis ('hic tumulatus'); item 48 'Thomas de Burgo cum wltu spectat alurgo'; item 49 'Fallere gnarus homo Norfolchica venit ab humo'; item 50 'Yuo transiuit rector dormit cap viuit', perhaps referring to St Ives, dependent house of Ramsey.

Mostly in Latin (including Walther 5875, 13475, 16259, 2688, 14264, 9518, 9052, 17624, 20000, 8870, 13017, 4924, 13873, 5786, 20660, 6844); some English, including IMEV 569, 3209, 3951.5; one item (53) in French. The final item on fol. 4v is a table of affinity.

Fol. 4r blank.

Language(s): Latin, English and French
(fols. 5r-v)
Miles gloriosus Walther 20216; ed. Silvano Pareto, Commedie latine del XII e XIII secolo IV (1983) 11-93, ending here at l. 204; it is is unclear if the text ended thus incomplete, or continued onto the following folio, which has been excised but shows no traces of text on the remaining stubs.

Added by Dodsthorp (and one or more other scribes?); fol. 6r blank.

(fol. 6v)

Decorative ex libris of John Wellis (see Decoration); otherwise blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment

Collation

14, 24-2 (centre bifolium missing, perhaps with loss of text; see above)

Layout

Layout and written space vary; fol. 5r-v in 2 cols. of c. 53 lines, frame-ruled, 200 × 145 mm.

Hand(s)

Anglicana (with some secretary forms) by several hands, one belonging to 'Dodsthorp' of Ramsey Abbey; see above.

Decoration

Fol. 6v: an elaborate ex libris the name WELLIS is written in large scrolls; a lion(?) on the left side pulls with his chain at the bow of the ‘W’; on the right side St. Christopher carries the Christ-child. The ascenders of the ‘W’ of Wells contain ‘Iste liber constat Fratri Iohanni de’ and those of the ‘LL’ have ‘Monacho Rameseye’. Pächt and Alexander (1973), Plate LXVI.

History

Origin: 14th century, late, or 15th century, early (?), with 15th century additions ; England, Ramsey, Benedictine Abbey

MS. Bodl. 851, codicological unit I (fols. 7-77)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 7r-73v)
Walter Map, De Nugis Curlialium
Rubric: In libro magistri Gauteri Mahap de nugis curialium […]
Incipit: In tempore sum et de tempore loquor
Explicit: (fol. 72v) qui sedet super tronum et iudicabit iusticiam
Rubric: (fol. 72v) Distinctio prima libri […]

Table of books and distinciones

Explicit: Explicit distinctio quinta libri magistri gauteri mahap de nugis curialium
Printed from this, the unique manuscript, James, rev. Brooke and Mynors 1983.
2. (fols. 73va-73vb)
Causa excidii Cartaginencium
Rubric: Causa excidii Cartaginencium
Incipit: Narrat flaccensius in hystoriis
Explicit: vt patet superius per ordenem
James 1914, pp. 260-261; also in BL Cotton MS. Vespasian E. xii.
(fols. 74r-76v)

Fifteenth-century additions on originally blank leaves (item 5 by Dodsthorpe):

3. (fol. 74ra-vb)
Epistola Sathanae
Incipit: Poro sobrios viros
Explicit: vmbra pretereunt non attendant

A short extract from the 'Epistola Sathane ad vniversalem ecclesiam'.

Ed. Wattenbach 1892.
4. (fols. 74va-75rb, 76va)
Execution of Archbishop Scrope (1405)
Incipit: Quis meo capiti dabit
Explicit: Vt spretis infimis letemur superis
Colophon: Explicit processus martirii ricardi scroup eborancensis archiepiscopi
Walther 16078; as Rigg points out, the version here is fuller than that printed by T. Wright, Political Poems and Songs (1859), II.114-8, with six additional stanzas. Rest of fol. 76v blank.
5. (fols. 75va-76rb)
Convocacio sacerdotum
Rubric: Examinacio sacerdotum propter concubinas
Incipit: Nouus rumor Anglie partes pergirauit
Explicit: Et qui prius fuerant artibus inbuti
Walther 12337; this text incomplete but longer than the version printed by T. Wright, Poems of Walter Mapes (1841), 180-2.

Fols. 77r-v blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment

Collation

312-1 (wants 1); 4-812. Catchwords: ff. 17v, 29v, 41v, 53v, 65v.

Layout

Pricking visible. Fols. 7r-73v ruled in plummet for 2 cols. of 40-41 lines. Ruled space 190-5 × 135 mm.

Fols. 74ra-va frame-ruled in plummet for two columns of 49 lines.

Fols. 74va-75rb: ruled in plummet for 2 cols., 39 lines.

Fols. 75va-76rb: frame-ruled with a hard point (?), 2 cols., c. 43-47 lines.

Hand(s)

Scribe of ff. 7ra-73vb: anglicana formata.

Scribe of ff. 74ra-74va: anglicana Formata.

Text on ff. 75va-76rb added by Dodsthorp.

Scribe of ff. 74va-75rb: Anglicana.

Decoration

Two/three-line blue initials with red penwork.

Alternating red and blue paraphs, red and blue initials for stanzas, occasional red initials, some initials tinted red, titles and running titles in red.

Fols. 74v-76v: no decoration.

History

Origin: England; 14th century, late, or 15th century, early ; additions, 15th century

MS. Bodl. 851, codicological unit II (fols. 78-123)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

6. (fols. 78ra-80rb)
Walter of Wimborne, Ave virgo
Incipit: ||Venus urit lubrica
Explicit: dapibus ambrosiis
The poems of Walter of Wimborne, ed. A. G. Rigg (1978), pp. 111-83, here defective at the beginning due to loss of a quire before fol. 78; beginning at 88/6. Offsets on fol. 77v perhaps from the missing quire.
7. (fols. 80va-81va)
De coniuge non ducenda
Incipit: Sit deo gloria laus benediccio
Explicit: Nec dolor coniugis habet remedium. Explicit
Walther 18302; ed. A. G. Rigg, Gawain in marriage (1986).
8. (fol. 81va)
Philip the Chancellor, Debate between Heart and Eye
Incipit: Si quis cordis et oculi non sentit in se iurgia
Explicit: Nam cordi causam imputat occasionem oculo
9. (fols. 81vb-89ra)
Michael of Cornwall, Verses against Henry of Avranches
Rubric: Versus magistri michaelis cornubiensis contra magistrum henricum abrincensem coram domino hugone abbate west monasterii et aliis
Incipit: Archipoeta vide
Explicit: An sis conductus ductus fur ad fora luctus
Hilka 1926, pp. 123-54.
10. (fols. 89ra-90rb)
Fall of Troy
Rubric: Excidium troie
Incipit: Pergama flere volo
Incipit: (fol. 89vb) Viribus arte minis
Explicit: Vlcio pugnatur fit machina troia crematur
As shown by Rigg, 1994, p. 35, a common cento of Walther 13985 and Walther 20582
11a. (fols. 90rb-94va)
John of Bridlington, Prophecy
Rubric: Prophecia cuiusdam de domino Edwardo rege Anglie tercio post conquestum
Incipit: Febribus infectus requies fuerat michi lectus
Explicit: morti mea carmina pendo
11b. (fol. 94va)
Prophecy
Rubric: Versus de iiijxx. iiij.
Incipit: Cambri Carnaruan Anglis natum dabit agnum
Explicit: Principii dedecus medii superabit honoris
Incipit: Externis populis dominabitur aquila fortis
Explicit: In superis premium percipit fine tenebit
Incipit: Ter tria lustra tenent cum semi tempore sexti
Explicit: Hinc terrena spuens sanctus super ethera scandit
12. (fols. 94vb-97va)
Babio
Rubric: De babione et croceo domino babionis et viola filiastra babionis quam croceus duxit […]
Incipit: Me dolor infestat foris
Explicit: Sunt incredibiles vxor alumpna cliens
Walther 10821; ed. Commedie Latine II (1980) 129-301.
13. (fols. 97vb-115vb)
Nigel Whiteacre, Speculum stultorum
Rubric: Speculum burnelli merito liber iste vocatur cuius sub specie stultorum vita notatur
Incipit: Suscipe pauca tui veteris
Explicit: munera spreta iacent
Final rubric: Burnelli dicta multo moderamine ficta | Spernere qui querit semper asellus erit
Rubric: (fols. 114ra) Moralitas speculi Burnelli
Incipit: Dilecto et in Christo diligendo
Explicit: cauterium admittant. Explicit. Amen
Walther 18944; ed. J. H. Mozley and R. R. Raymo (1960); Moralitas ed. Mozley in Medium Aevum 39 (1970), 13-20.
14. (fols. 116ra-116vb)
Battle of Neville's Cross (1346)
Incipit: Corda superborum Scotorum destrue Christe
Explicit: Spes tua conamen victoria lux releuamen
Walther 5041; ed. T. Wright, Political Poems, I.41-51.
15. (fols. 116vb-118rb)
Battle of Crécy
Incipit: Francia feminea pharisea vigoris ydea
Explicit: Gloria solamen sit Christus in omnibus amen. Explicit
Walther 6833; ed. T. Wright, Political Poems I.26-40.
16. (fol. 118rb)
Verses
Incipit: O niger intrusor et sancte sedis abusor | Virginibus cede presumpta sede recede | Sufficiunt fures bini non addito plures
3 lines, Walther 12817
17. (fols. 118va-120vb)
Apocalypsis Goliae
Rubric: Apocalipsis magistri Galteri Mahap super vita et moribus personarum ecclesiasticarum
Incipit: A tauro torrida
Explicit: Mentis vestigia fecisset lubrica. Explicit
18. (fol. 120vb)
Riddle (?)
Incipit: Que noua praua nimis peiora nouissima primis | Rex venit et sua gens nil probitatis agens | Litera bina mei conprehendit nomen amici | Montibus vna salit, maxillas altera tegit
Walther 15015, listing only this copy.
19. (fols. 120vb-123ra)
Vitalis of Blois, Geta
Rubric: Incipit comedia de geta
Incipit: Carmina composuit voluitque placere poeta
Explicit: Birra geta hominem se fore queque placent

Addition by Dodsthorp on previously blank leaves.

Fol. 123v blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment

Collation

[quire missing], 9-1112, 1210. Catchwords: ff. 89v, 101v, 113v. Quire numbered iii (fol. 90r). Ff. 120vb-123v originally blank.

Layout

Ruled in faint plummet for 2 cols. of usually 40-1 lines (scribe 4). Ruled space c. 190 × 145 mm.

Fols 116r-120v: ruled in plummet for 2 cols., 50-4 lines; writing sometimes above top line; ruled space 195-200 × 145 mm.

Fols. 120vb-123rb: partly ruled in plummet, partly frame-ruled in plummet, for 2 cols., c. 43-56 lines; ruled space c. 200 × 145 mm. .

Hand(s)

Anglicana formata by four hands: (1) ff. 78ra-81va (2) fols. 81va, 116ra-118rb, 118va-120vb (same scribe as fols. 74ra-va) (3) fols. 81vb-83va (4) 83va-115vb (same scribe as fols. 7ra-73vb)

Text on fols. 120vb-123ra added by Dodsthorp in mixed anglicana/secretary hand.

Decoration

One- to four-line blue initials with red penwork.

Alternating red and blue paraphs, red and blue initials for stanzas, occasional red initials, some initials tinted red, titles and running titles in red.

History

Origin: England; 14th century, late, or 15th century, early ; additions, 15th century

MS. Bodl. 851, codicological unit III (fols. 124-139)

Contents

(fols. 124r-139r)
William Langland, Piers Plowman, Z-text
Incipit: In a somer sesoun wen softe was the sonne
Explicit: Here panaunce ant here purgatorye vp on this puyr Erth

The text is continued in a later (fifteenth-century) hand on fols. 139v-140v, supplying A.VIII.93-189.

Ed. Rigg and Brewer 1983. For the debate on the nature and authenticity of the text see e.g. S. Wood, 'Monologic Langland: Contentiousness and the ‘Z Version’ of Piers Plowman', Review of English Studies 68 (2017), 224-243.

Language(s): English (dialect of Worcestershire according to LALME 7700)

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment

Collation

13-148

Layout

Pricking not visible. Ruled space 190 × 125 mm. Single columns with 50 lines. Ruled in plummet.

Fifteenth-century additions: frame-ruled (verticals only) with a hard point. Writing space: c. 190 × 135 mm.

Hand(s)

Anglicana formata: same scribe as fols. 74ra-74va, 81va, 118va-120vb, 116ra-118rb.

Decoration

Fol. 124r: elongated puzzle-initial I in blue and red with red and blue penwork flourishing, extending into three-sided penwork border in blue and red.

Passus divisions marked by four-line blue initials with red penwork flourishing.

History

Origin: England; 14th century, late, or 15th century, early

MS. Bodl. 851, codicological unit IV (fols. 140-208)

Contents

(fols. 139r-208r)
William Langland, Piers Plowman

Fols. 139v-140v: A.VIII.93-189

Fols. 141r-208r: C-text, XI.1 - XXIII.386.

Language(s): English (fols. 141r-208r, dialect of Worcestershire, fols. 139-140, Suffolk or SE Norfolk, LALME)
(fol. 208v)

List of payments associated with Ramsey Abbey officers (beginning 'Celerarius, vj s. viij d. | Prior sancti Iuonis, ij s. viij d.'), added by Dodsthorp, fifteenth century.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: Codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (leaf): 250 × 180 mm.

Collation

15-176; 188; 1910; 20-238. Quires 15-22 numbered 'i' to 'viij' on the front recto, lower outer corner; first four leaves signed a-d in each quire; the first leaf of quire 16 is 'ij b' (no text missing)

Layout

Frame-ruled in plummet or crayon; ruled space 180-190 × 125-130 mm. Pricking: not visible. Single column of c. 30-34 lines.

Hand(s)

Anglicana probably by one hand, with fols. 139r-140v more formally executed.

Decoration

Each passus marked by two- or three-line red lombards (blue, fol. 150r).

First letter of each line tinted red; caesura marked in red; red underlining.

History

Origin: England; 15th century, first half or middle

MS. Bodl. 851 - endleaves (fols. 209-10) and back pastedown

Contents

Language(s): Latin

Vocabularius utriusque iuris (?)

Entries resemble those in the text as pr. not after 1473 (ISTC iv00334000), etc., but the arrangement here is not alphabetical: e.g. fol. 210v has entries for 'silva', 'tepidarium', 'piscina'.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: substantial parts of three bifolia bound in sideways
Dimensions (fragment): 250 × 175 mm.

Layout

2 cols.; column width c. 65 mm.

Hand(s)

Anglicana

Decoration

Initials and paraphs in red.

History

Origin: 13th century, late ; England

Provenance

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford, September 2021, building on the description by Rebecca Farnham (for Manuscripts of the West Midlands, University of Birmingham, March 2004) and indebted to the description by A. G. Rigg (1994). Previously described in the Summary Catalogue (1922).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (3 images from 35mm slides)

Bibliography

    Online resources:

    Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, III (1973), no. 650
    Hilka, A. ed. 1926. ‘Eine mittellateinische Dichterfehde’, in Mittelalterliche Handschriften. Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstage con Hermann Degering, Leipzig.
    James, M. R. ed. and trans. revised by Brooke C. N. L., and Mynors, R. A. B. 1983. De Nugis Curialium, Oxford Medieval Texts, Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press.
    Rigg, A. G. and Brewer, C. ed. 1983. Piers Plowman: The Z Version, Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
    Rigg, A. G. 1994. ‘MS Bodley 851’, in Brewer, C., and Rigg, A. G. ed, Piers Plowman: Facsimile of the Z-Text in Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ms Bodley 851, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, pp. 23-45.
    Wattenbach, W. 1892. Über erfundene Briefe in Handschriften des Mittelaters, besonders Teufelsbriefe, Sitzungsberichte der koniglich preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Erster Band, pp. 91-123, pp. 104-16.

Last Substantive Revision

2021-09: Description fully revised for digitization.