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Manuscript Description
Wales, Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales MS Peniarth 392D
MS Appellation:Hengwrt, Hg (Manly and Rickert)
Title:Canterbury Tales
Contents:Canterbury Tales
Date Range:1395-1415
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

Dialect:Adam Pinkhurst : Chaucerian
No of Folios:i (leaf from 13th century Sarum Breviary) + 2-250
Pagination:Modern pencil in upper outer corners recto and this includes the former first folio from 14th century breviary for Sarum use, as f1; older ink foliation in lower margin.
Quiring:1-5(8) 6(2), 7(6), 8-11(8), 12(6), 13-20(8), 21(9), 22(16), 23-28(8), 29(10), 30-31(8)
Signatures:Barely visible; mainly trimmed but some survive in Section IV, quires 16-29 as letters with roman numerals. Some of Manly and Rickert's suggestions about the reading of the signatures are disputed.
Catchwords:Regularly except in quires 6, 8, 12, 15 and 29. All are contained in a three-sided scroll feature except in the last quire, 31, which has a parallelogram.
Page Size:290 x 208
Frame:Dry point with some folios ruled in lead.
Writing Space:215-230 x 115-130
Incipits and Explicits:After each prologue and tale by the scribe in the ink of the text.
Marginal Headings:Names of pilgrims in General Prologue (except 'Nonne Chapeleyne and thre prestes') are in the left margin. Thereafter glosses, Latin authorities and quotations usually appear in right margin.
Running Titles:Mainly in a second hand according to Doyle and Parkes, except for tales of Nun's Priest and Manciple.
Title by Scribe:On f2r 'Here bygynneth the Book of the tales of Caunterbury'
Borders:A single 4-sided border on f2r; pink, orange blue, gold
Illuminated Initials:Again on f2r the first folio of the manuscript.
Paragraph Marks:Blue
Flourished Initials:Blue initials with red flourishing define the opening of prologues, tales and linking passages; small blue Lombardic capitals in the Wife of Bath's Prologue and the Monk's Tale.
Other Names (not owners):On f125v is 'R. Wrine' with elaborate motif, perhaps the mark of a merchant or notary. 'Gilbart Nelsoun' on f44r and on f145v 'Iohannus Barcomsted generosus huius libri magister et verus et solus possessor T[este] G N'. The dates of birth of five children of the Banestar family of Chester born between 1571 and 1578 are on f164r and on f128v is a verse 'Per Ellenour Banestor'. Ellenour is identified in a different hand on the same folio as the grandmother of five children of the Brereton family also listed, born between 1605 and 1612. On f152v is note of a debt to be paid by 20th December 1625 and signed by 'Andrew Brereton of llanvairiscaird in the Countie of Carnarvon gent.'. He died in 1649. Hengwrt was then owned by Colonel Robert Vaughan (d. 1667) and was given by Sir Robert Williames Vaughan in 1859 to W.W. Wynne of Peniarth. The manuscript was bought by Sir John Williams and bequeathed to the National Library of Wales in 1909.
Miscellaneous Info:Thomas Hoccleve adds the missing 'Adam' stanza from the Monk's Tale.
Further Information:See Manly and Rickert I: 266-283. Seymour II: 31-34. Variorum Facsimile of Hengwrt ed. P. G. Ruggiers (1979) Introduction by Doyle and Parkes.London: LALME LP 6400, Grid 532 183. Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile. Leicester, England: CD-ROM, Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP