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Manuscript Description
Scotland, Glasgow, Glasgow University Library MS Hunter 197 (U.1.1)
MS Appellation:Gl (Manly and Rickert)
Title:Canterbury Tales
Contents:Canterbury Tales (ff1-115); Purgatory of Saint Patrick (ff116-120)
Date Range:1476-1477
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

No of Folios:iv modern paper flyleaves + ii and stub of iv original paper flyleaves remounted on paper guards +ii new paper flyleaves + 120 + i new paper flyleaf + i stub and iii original paper flyleaves + i new paper flyleaf + i flyleaf mounted with original paper title + iii new paper flyleaves.
Pagination:Two foliations in ink and pencil.
Quiring:1(5 i, ii vii missing), 2-3(8), 4(6 ii-vi missing), 5(8), 6(6 ii and iii missing), 7-13(8), 14(8), 15(6), 16(8), 17(4).
Signatures:A few original signatures are visible, a 'c' on f17, 'gij' on f41 and part of a red ink signature on f106r.
Catchwords:Regularly at the end of quires of 8 folios in the hands of the scribes and usually surrounded at the sides and along the bottom with underline sometimes looped, sometimes with a motif tied in to the end of the underline (see for example f63v).
Page Size:360 x 265
Frame:Brown crayon and also ink in double columns; some ruling within columns.
Writing Space:270 x 200 overall 270 x 90 in each column with space between columns of 20 mm
Incipits and Explicits:Explicits and Incipits in red ink at the end of every prologue and tale.
Marginal Headings:Headings in red ink between each stanza in the Monk's Tale for example, citing authorities; same tale also has authorities in the margins; Parson's Tale has heavy use of red ink throughout the text itself for names of authorities and also advice, headings of sections etc.
Running Titles:In the top margin of every folio recto and verso in red ink.
Table of Contents:Written in the hand of Thomas Martin (1697-1771) who owned the manuscript.
Paragraph Marks:Red completed paraphs in, for example, the Tale of Melibeus and the Parson's Tale; stanzas are not differentiated and in the Monk's Tale just the 'cc' mark usually left by a scribe to indicate where a finished paraph is to be placed. The 'cc' are in red ink.
Flourished Initials:2 blue capitals with red penwork flourishing occur at the opening of the Knight's Tale; thereafter 2-3 line red ink capitals unadorned at the beginning of prologues and tales.
Other Names (not owners):The name 'Thos. Martin' is found on f115v and also on an original flyleaf, with 'Given me Mr John White of Ipswich, Surgeon'. Martin was an antiquary and collector of books. The manuscript was bought at some stage by William Hunter and thence to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.
Miscellaneous Info:Spirleng was an estate official for Sir John Fastolf in Norfolk until Fastolf's death in 1459. Thereafter he worked for the civic authorities in Norwich as Town Clerk and was clerk of the famous Guild of St George, a guild closely associated with the Mayor and the city government in Norwich.
Further Information:For the reassembly after disbinding of this manuscript in 1981, see 'Conservation notes for MS Hunter 197' by I.D. Maver (December 1981) in the Library. See also Manly and Rickert I: 183-188. Their collation has now been superseded. Seymour II: 79-84.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP