Christ Church MS. 344 = Christ Church Archives, D&C vi.c.4
Documents relating to the early history of Oxford Cathedral and of Cardinal College; England, 1542 (I), s. xvimed (II, III), with item 6 dated 1529
Table of contents, s. xix, in the hands of the foliation.
fol. iv – iv: blank
Light brown reversed calf over millboards with plain rectangular design, with some dark patches perhaps suggesting it was originally gold tooled, s. xvii4/4. Sewn on six thongs. At top of spine, written in black ink: ‘Char-|ters’. Below that, in upper-most compartment of spine, a red leather slip with in gold letters: ‘Charters &c.’ In next compartment down, the remains of a paper slip. In its material, design, red slip and note in pen, this binding is very similar to our D&C vi.c.1 and 2 (= MSS 340 and 338), and thus can be attributed to Richard Sedgley and tentatively dated to the 1680s (see D&C vi.c.1, binding).
At both front and back, a parchment pastedown, added to the binding at a later date. Each pastedown provides a complete folio, the two folios being consecutive, from one Lectionary, written in textura (England, s. xv1), 413mm x 282mm; written space: 262mm x 240mm, in double columns of 47 lines (110mm wide); full ruling in red. The text provides readings for the feasts of 23rd and 24th July (St Apollinaris and Christina) and shows signs of post-Break with Rome ‘cleansing’ of the text by the erasure of ‘pape’ in the title of a Homily of St Gregory.
Provenance and Acquisition
Top of front pastedown, in pencil (s. xx1): ‘Belonging to the Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford’. Patently, the volume was constructed by bringing together documents of relevance to the foundation’s history, and held in the Chapter House. Two of the documents – items 3 and 5 – were already bound together before this codex was created: an entry in the Disbursement Books from the summer of 1598 records the taking up to London ‘of our brode booke containing our dotacion and foundacion’ (ChCh Archives, xii.b.41, fol. 58). Presumably, the collection of documents as it now stands was brought together at the time of the present binding, when other manuscripts held by the Cathedral were receiving similar attention. The parchment pastedowns, however, were most likely added later; their origin is unclear: they do not relate to any of the fragments preserved in our MS 378.
This manuscript is identifiable in the 1771 catalogue of books in the Chapter House as number 6, ‘A Book of Charters and Donations of Henry the Eighth and Queen Mary. Fol.’: ChCh Archives, D&C iv.a.1, fol. 12, and see the Headnote to Chapter House Manuscripts.
Manuscript I = fol. 1-15
A copy of the royal grant of lands to the Dean and Chapter of Oxford’s first Cathedral (the former Oseney Abbey), dated 15th September 1542. It is calendared, from TNA, C 66/715, m 12, at L&P, 17, no. 881 (26). The original despatched to Oxford, written in a large gothic bookhand, illuminated at its first line and in the initial, but with the seal now missing, is held in Christ Church Archives as DY 7 [listed by N. Denholm-Young, Cartulary of the Mediaeval Archives of Christ Church (Oxford, 1931), 214 (no. 7), with, by lapsus calami , the reference to L&P given as no. 881 (25) rather than no. 881 (26)].
Fol. 15: blank
There are annotations noting the place-names, in several hands (s. xvii; fol. 1-7, 11-13v).
38 long lines (above top line).
Bounded and ruled in plummet with single borders, all borderlines extending to the edge.
Signs of full pricking, and a prick-hole at each of the four corners of the written space.
Written in one formal secretary script, dated 1542 and with, in display capitals, the name of ‘Marten’, but whether it is unclear that this is the scribe or simply copied from the original, DY 7 (see below).
An outline in plummet of the majuscule ‘H’ at fol. 1, within which is drawn the outline of an empty-faced king seated on a throne with sceptre and orb.
Manuscript II = fol. 16- 24
A listing of the values and rents of the lands given to Christ Church at the time of foundation. The same information, though in a different layout, is presented in a mid-sixteenth-century volume which is now Christ Church Archives, DY 11 [Denholm-Young, Mediaeval Archives, 214 (11)]; that volume is entitled on the limp front cover ‘H Particular and ValeWe of all the landes granted to the Deane and Chapter of Christ Church Oxon in the 38th yeare of King Hen: 8. now remaininge amongst the Records of the late Courte of Augmentation.’
Between fol. 24v and fol. 25 are kept loose three paper leaves (c. 420 x 320mm; watermark: hand with star above, ‘RA’ in palm, below which a bunch of grapes; no match in Briquet or Piccard), originally folded horizontally in four, now only in half, with, written on one side of each leaf, the draft of the final sections of item 2: that is the sum total, the rental deductions and the concluding set of instructions.
Fol. 25 & 25bis: blank, paper of same manufacture as flyleaves.
Writing area: a central text-block of variable size (240 / 245 × 155 / 178 mm. ), with numbers written in the right margin and some text in left margin; c. 26 long lines, not including the blank lines between each entry.
No signs of ruling.
Written throughout in one secretary script, but at two stages, with fol. 22v (l. 8) – fol. 24v being written in a thinner and smaller version of the script.
Throughout Henry VIII is described as if he were alive, suggesting but not definitely proving that this fascicule was written between 1st October 1546 and 28th January 1547.
Large swag initial and extended ascenders on the first line of the list. Each entry opens with the first words in bastard secretary and is marked off to the right by a thick square bracket.
Manuscript III = fol. 26-56
The Royal Charter of Dotation to Christ Church, dated 11th December 1546. Calendared, from TNA, C 66/793, m 19 at L&P, 21:2, no. 648 (25). The original sent to the foundation survives in Christ Church Archives as DY 10 (Denholm-Young, Mediaeval Archives, 214 (10), noting that, by lapsus calami , the date is erroneously recorded as 4th rather than 11th December). Another mid-sixteenth-century copy is held in the Archives as MS Estates 145, fol. 110-128.
Fol. 43v: blank
A copy of the Royal Charter donating to Christ Church the rectory of Tring (Herts) on 7th July 1554. Further materials concerning this donation, including a transcript of the Charter made on 29th March 1732 not from our copy but from that in the ‘Rolls Chapel’, are held in Christ Church Archives, MS Estates 35.
fol. 47: blank
A copy of the Charter of Foundation of Christ Church, dated 4th November 1546. The original Charter sent to the foundation, with the seal still attached, is held in Christ Church Archives as DY 9 (Denholm-Young, Mediaeval Archives, 214 (9)).
Writing area: 373 × 150 mm., with frequent scribal annotations in the left-hand margin; 54 / 58 long lines, with text often written not on the line but through the line.
Dry-ruled with borders extending to edge of folios and a further set of vertical binding lines c. 48mm from text-block.
Written in one formal secretary script.
For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Christ Church Library.