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Manuscript Description
Cambridge, Cambridge University Library MS Mm.2.5
MS Appellation:Mm (Manly and Rickert)
Title:Canterbury Tales
Contents:Canterbury Tales
Date Range:1425-1450
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

Dialect:No LP; County : Leics
No of Folios:i parchment flyleaf now as pastedown + i parchment flyleaf + 2 paper flyleaves + 2-252 parchment leaves + 1 paper flyleaf + 2 parchment leaves numbered iii and iv as pastedown.
Pagination:Modern pencil foliation in top right corner.
Quiring:1(7)(missing 1), 2-7(8), 8(9), 9(7) (missing 5), 10(4), 11(7) (missing 1), 12-32(8)
Signatures:Very little which appears original remains although there are several systems of numbers in pencil in the bottom right corners of folios; however, small arabic letters 'b-f' in the ink of the text, appear in the bottom right corner of ff68-72.
Catchwords:Thirty catchwords in all; the few irregularities may be as a result of a very early re-ordering of the tales since the few signatures which remain suggest that the scribe was having some difficulty with the order, notably with Shipman, Monk and Pardoner.
Page Size:344 x 240 approx
Frame:4 x horizontal of which the two pairs enclose top and bottom lines of text; 2 x vertical; dry-point and some faint grey plummet.
Writing Space:245 x 130 approx
Incipits and Explicits:After each prologue and tale in red ink in the hand of the scribe.
Marginal Headings:Some chapter numbers (preceded by 'Capitulum') in red ink in the margin, eg, Prioress's Tale is xviii, Wife of Bath's is vii, Summoner's is ix, Franklin's xii, etc.; names of the authorities written in the margin of Parson's Tale in the ink of the text, underlined in red with side lines and preceded by paraphs alternating blue and red.
Running Titles:Variously in English and Latin; all in red ink on most folios recto and verso; preceded by blue paraphs which have fine red guide paraphs beneath the blue; most titles followed by a wavy-line filler or a form of punctus elevatus.
Title by Scribe:First folio missing.
Borders:Three-quarter borders to begin tales, with bar border on left in gold, blue, orange, pink, bright green. White highlights and stipple effect; sprays into margin.
Illuminated Initials:3 or 4-line gold initials begin prologues and tales usually with blue or pink in-fill and white highlighting.
Paragraph Marks:Alternating blue and red paraphs used to divide stanzas where no space is left between; red ink bracketing and complete underline define stanzas also; where stanzas are separated, a red bracket defines the limits of the stanza; initial letters tipped in red ink.
Other Names (not owners):The arms of 'Weld' are on the outer cover giving a possible identification of This MS as one of the three Chaucers owned by Sir John Weld (d. 1674); before 1697 the manuscript passed to Bishop Moore (d. 1714) and from him to the University of Cambridge in 1715.
Miscellaneous Info:An interesting manuscript to come back to with regard to tale order. Acquires some tale numbers from a Cp-type exemplar and perhaps an older ordering.
Further Information:Manly, John M. and Rickert, E. The Text of the Canterbury Tales, 8 vols, vol. I, 365-371, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940. Seymour, M. C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts, vol. 2, pp. 56-61, The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot, Hants: Scolar Press, 1997.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP