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Manuscript Description
Cambridge, Newnham College MS 4
MS Appellation:olim Yates-Thompson
Title:Piers Plowman, B version
Contents:Piers Plowman and Lay Folks' Mass Book and a grace both added by another 15th c. hand (IMEV 3507 & 620)
Language:English and Latin
Date Range:First half 15th century.
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

Dialect:County : London/N Oxon
No of Folios:2 paper flyleaves match pastedown + 109 parchment textblock + 2 paper flyleaves match pastedown
Pagination:Modern pencil foliation in upper outer corners recto.
Quiring:Regular quires of 8 until end where individual bifolia are added 105-6, 107-8, and 109 a singleton.
Signatures:Signatures of lower case letter plus romans for most quires in first half, cropped in second half so can see tops only; in quire 'd' with romans preceding the letter.
Catchwords:By scribe, smaller than text, several words, not quite running up to right frame line, near bottom of lower margin (which is very wide, so 5/6 down margin), unembellished, same ink as text; occasionally (as on f80v), with red frame around, forming box with point as left side.
Page Size:295 x 180
Frame:2 x vertical; 1 x horizontal above top line of text, ruled between the verticals, fine brown or grey ink, second quire in brown crayon or lead, almost invisible now; pricking on most outer edges, three sides, apparently done with a wheel.
Writing Space:215 or 220 x 130
Incipits and Explicits:Each passus with heading in red in space left for it; 'Explicit hic dialogus Petri Plowman' on f104, in red.
Marginal Headings:Headings in red in spaces left for them, Latin in red, and all names within text in red.
Borders:On f1 full bar border in gold, pink and blue, with bosses at corners of foliage in same colours.
Illuminated Initials:On f1 7-line initial 'I' in blue with white highlights forming geometric pattern of 'U's on it, on gold ground, with foliage patterns in rose and blue with white highlights both on the ground and to left of the ground.
Paragraph Marks:Alternating red and blue paraphs.
Flourished Initials:3-line blue lombard initials with red penwork. On some folios, f68 for example, 4-line gold initials with blue penwork. Ascenders of all top lines are decorated in same brown ink as text, forming decorated loops or loops with spike on left side, sometimes faces, and leaf design in the loops.
Other Names (not owners):Badge or rebus of eagle with wings spread, standing on a plot of green, facing toward left. With red 'L' on chest, where each portion begins (beginning, Do-Well, Do-Bet, Do-Best), ff1, 35, 68v, 98v. Later Yates-Thompson, and given to Newnham by Henry Yates-Thompson in 1906.
Further Information:Benson and Blanchefield.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP