MS. Laud Misc. 108
Summary Catalogue no.: 1486
South English legendary with other poetry; England (perhaps Oxford?), c. 1300 with additions
Added, late 15th or early 16th century.
Added, 15th century; transcribed in full in Allen (1984) p. 8.
Fols. 23r-198r, 228v-33v printed from this MS. in Carl Horstmann, ed., The Early South-English Legendary, EETS o.s. 87 (1887); for full details of editions see the entries in the Digital Index of Middle English Verse (=DIMEV).
Cf. O. S. Pickering, The South English Ministry and Passion, edited from MS St. John’s College, Cambridge, B.6. (1984).
Fragment, 901 lines, beginning incomplete at l. 874, and ending incomplete at l. 2047, with apparently three leaves (272 lines) missing between fols. 1 and 2. These leaves may have been misbound at one stage in the manuscript's history: a fifteenth-century note at the foot of fol. 10v reads 'Verte ad istud signum in isto libro [in principio libri added later] et ibi inveniet plus de pasione [post assumpcionem sancte marie added later]
Text of this fragment printed C. Horstmann, Leben Jesu: ein Fragment, und Kindheit Jesu (1873), 29–69.
Pr. from this MS. in C. Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden (1875), pp. 3–61
Fol. 22v blank.
Incomplete; missing lines 106–60 (in Horstmann's numeration) due to the loss of most of fol. 30b.
Incomplete; missing lines 1–36 due to the loss of most of fol. 30b.
Partly written as prose, see Layout.
Treated in the numbering as part of the preceding item.
Numbered '28', 'fab. Seb.', so here treated as part of the following item.
Missing lines 68–247 due to the loss of two folios after fol. 104.
Fol. 110v blank.
Missing lines 360–448 due to the loss of a folio after fol. 114.
In three parts, DIMEV 4732, DIMEV 4731, DIMEV 5451.
Missing most of lines 86–179 due to the loss of most of a folio after fol. 167.
Missing lines 224–313 due to the loss of a folio after fol. 181.
Ed. from this and other MSS. in F. J. Furnivall, The Minor Poems of the Vernon Manuscript, II, EETS o.s. 117 (1901), 511–22
Ed. from this MS. C. Horstmann, 'Die Sprüche des h. Bernard und die Vision des h. Paulus nach Ms. Laud 108', Archiv 52 (1874), 33–8
Ed. J. W. Conlee, Middle English Debate Poetry: A Critical Anthology (1991)
Ed. G. V. Smithers, Havelok (1987)
Critical edition by R. Allen, King Horn: An Edition Based On Cambridge University Library MS. Gg.4.27(2) (1984); parallel text edition by J. Hall, King Horn (1901).
Ed. from this and other MSS. F. J. Furnivall, Adam Davy’s 5 Dreams about Edward II, etc (1878), pp. 20–79
Ed. T. Turville-Petre, Alliterative Poetry of the Later Middle Ages (1989), pp. 142–7.
Added texts on the back endleaf, 15th century (second half?):
Two couplets, transcribed in DIMEV.
DIMEV 270 (with transcription)
- [Uncertain number of quires lost from the beginning of the MS.]
- 1 (fols. 1–10v), structure uncertain, currently ten leaves, missing at least one folio before fol. 1, probably 3 folios between fols. 1 and 2 (fol. 1* is a strip from the third of these), and possibly one or more folios at the end; cf. Pickering (1984), 9.
- [Uncertain number of quires lost.]
- 2(12) (fols. 11–22)
- 3(10), 9 (fol. 30*) mutilated (fols. 23–31) [da Rold suggests 3(12), lacking 5 after fol. 26 and 10 after fol. 30a, but there is no evidence of missing text at either point]
- 4(12)-9(12) (fols. 32–103)
- 10(12), missing 2 and 3 after fol. 104 (fols. 104–113)
- 11(12), missing 2 after fol. 114 (fols. 114–124)
- 12(12)-15(12) (fols. 125–160)
- 15(12), 8 fragmentary (fols. 161–170b)
- 16(12), missing 12 after fol. 181 (fols. 171–181)
- 17(12) (fols. 182–193)
- 18(12), 8 and 12 missing after fols. 200 and 204 (fols. 194–203)
- 19(12), missing 8 after fol. 211 (fols. 204–214)
- 20(12) (fols. 215–26)
- 21(4) + 1 after fol. 230 [Gorlach and Liszka: 21(6), 6 cancelled after fol. 231] (fols. 227–231)
- 22(6) + 1 after fol. 237 (fols. 232–237) [Gorlach and Liszka treat fol. 238 as a separate quire, 23(1)]
Fols. 1–200v: 45 lines, in one column except for fols. 11–22 and most of fols. 198r-201v. Fols. 1–10, 23–198, 200v-203v, 228v-233v in one column, except for end of St Lucy (fol. 60r-v) written as prose in 2 columns, text flowing over into the lower margin. Elsewhere in two columns.
Fols. 201r-203v: 35–39 lines, 1 column.
Fols. 204r-228r: 45 lines, 2 columns.
Fols. 229r-37r: 44–47 lines, 1–2 columns.
Prickings visible fols. 1–198r (to the end of St Hippolytus), fols. 227r-237r.
Four scribes in the main body of the manuscript, fols. 1–237: (A) fols. 1–200 (with a noticeable change of ink at fol. 174) (B) fols. 200v-203v (C) fols. 204–228r (D) fols. 228v-237v. Hands A-C textualis, late thirteenth or early fourteenth century, with B somewhat later than A and C; hand D cursiva (anglicana), 14th century, middle or third quarter.
Fols. 1–200v, 204r-226v: initials in blue (typically two-line), with penwork flourishing in red and blue, at the beginning of legends and other major text divisions. Patterson (as reported in Allen 1984) and Evans (2011) distinguish three flourishers: (A) fols. 1–10r, 56–160v, 204–226v (B) fols. 11–54r, 161–169v (C) fols. 174–199. First letter of each line usually touched in red (but not on fols. 221v-226r).
Four-line initial in blue and red with penwork flourishing in red and blue at the beginning of King Horn, fol. 219va.
Fols. 1–200v: paraphs in blue and red; rubrics in red for some lives.
Fols. 228v-237v: rubrics in red, some initials touched in red.
Provenance and Acquisition
Fols. 1–203 and 204–28, the original core of the manuscript, are distinct production units, but both share some codicological features, notably the parchment with its strong contrast between flesh and hair sides, and the probable quiring in units of twelve.
Codicological, textual and decorative evidence also suggests several production units within part 1, although there is disagreement about where these fall. For a review, see Bell and Couch (2011).
The final quire (however that is defined: see collation) is a separate codicological unit added by Scribe D around the mid fourteenth century.
The items in the manuscript are numbered in Arabic numerals from 8 onwards in two sequences, one in red crayon, typically in the upper left corner of rectos, and one in brown ink, in the middle upper margin of both rectos and versos. The two sequences diverge at fols. 200v-203v (The Dispute between the Body and the Soul), which was not numbered in the first sequence and is item 70 in the second sequence. Havelok and King Horn, which had been 70 and 71 in the first sequence, were renumbered 71 and 72 (e.g. fol. 227r). This would appear to suggest that the first sequence of numbering took place before Hand B added the Dispute, and therefore that I and II were together by the early fourteenth century, probably very soon after both were written. The second sequence of numbering, which extends through folios 228v-237v ('73', '74'), was added by Hand D, who was presumably responsible for adding the third codicological unit, fols. 229–37.
I and II were together when the flourishing was carried out, since the principal flourisher worked on both parts.
An Oxford origin for the manuscript as a whole has been suggested by Patterson (reported in Allen 1984), on the basis of the penwork decoration, and by da Rold (2014), on the basis of the quire structure, signatures, and parchment.
The note on fol. 10v indicates that some text was lost or misbound by the fifteenth century, but that the MS. still then had some of items 1–7.
'Iste liber constat [Henrico Perueys, or Perneys; over erasure] testantibus Johanni Rede presbiter Willelmo Rotheley et aliis' (fol. 238v, mid-15th century?): possibly Henry Perveys, draper of London, fl. 1434–76, and William Rotheley, goldsmith of London. John Rede is unidentified. See Fitzgerald (2011), 88–95.
William Laud, 1573–1645, by 1633 (fol. 1r).
Given by him to the Bodleian as part of his first donation in 1635.
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Last Substantive Revision
2017-07-01: First online publication.