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Manuscript Description
Cambridge, Trinity College MS B.15.17 (353)
MS Appellation:M. R. James catalogue 353
Title:Piers Plowman, B version
Contents:Piers Plowman, 'B' Text; Form of Living, Rolle; Poem on the love of Christ (IMEV 611)
Language:English and Latin
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

No of Folios:1 parchment stub (legal document) + 2 newish paper + 1 smaller stub of same document + 147 parchment folios + 1 small stub of same document + 2 newish paper + stub of same document
Pagination:Modern pencil arabic numerals in top right corner of rectos 1-147 and 147a, 147b for the paper leaves at the back.
Quiring:1-16(8), 17(2), 18(8), 19(9 x missing)
Signatures:Modern pencil arabic numbering of quires in lower right corner of first folio of each quire. No medieval foliation or signatures have survived the cropping.
Catchwords:By the scribe under the text running up to right frame line, within lines ruled for them. Rubric boxing around catchwords which are also highlighted in red ink.
Page Size:287 x 190
Frame:2 x vertical 6 or 7 (originally 8) x horizontal enclosing top and bottom lines; 2 lines in bottom margin for catchwords; one of top lines in upper margin occasionally seen where ruled for running title; ruled within with very fine grey lines; no pricking survives.
Writing Space:233 x 135 ca.
Incipits and Explicits:Rubric headings within the text, elaborate Explicit at the end 'Explicit hic Dialogus Petri Plowman'.
Marginal Headings:Rubric for major headings, ink of text for minor. Rubric boxing around major and minor headings as well as Latin portions of text and proper names. Latin in larger, bolder anglicana formata.
Running Titles:Lost through cropping.
Title by Scribe:No title for Piers Plowman, but 'A Treatise on Sin' for the Rolle in a 17th century hand.
Borders:On f1r a three-quarter bar border in alternating blue, pink and gold, foliage patterns and buds extending part-way into fourth margin.
Illuminated Initials:On f1r a 10-line 'I' in rose, pink and white geometric designs on gold ground; blue, pink, gold and white foliage extending to three-quarter border
Paragraph Marks:Alternating red and blue paraphs
Flourished Initials:3-line blue lombard initials, red flourishing
Other Names (not owners):Parchment stubs used in binding, 15th century: with name 'Rogerus Huysshe' (possibly a 'doctorem de...'), 'Ludwell' as name of house or village, also 'Gaynsford' as same, 'bondman' 'imper de Cote...', 'imper de Crom...' 'Po lo sno' and 'Elizabeth uxor.....Johannem Cyssho...' (all at front); and 'Rogerum Huysshe versus' repeatedly on second stub, together with 'Po lo sno' preceding his name once, and 'versus Thomam...' once (all on back stub) on f1, hands of 15th century write 'John' (twice) and 'Richard' and 'Bord' or 'Boit' (twice). Scribbles and pentrials on f147 include no names. Between ff130 and 131, stub of a legal document, different from stubs used at regular intervals through volume for binding, naming '...towarde the said Mr ffellowes Schollers the said Danniell H....' James cat. says 'At the bottom of f1b is a name' (1.480), but this is just 'and hepped stauys' trying to make sense of the misreading on last line of f1v, 'w[superscript 't'] hoked staues'. [Note this error repeated in Benson & Blanchefield, p. 57.
Further Information:James Catalogue I: 480-481. Benson, C. David and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-version. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1997.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP