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Manuscript Description
London, British Library, Cotton Vespasian B.XVI
Title:Piers Plowman, C version
Contents:Piers Plowman, C version, plus on flyleaves anti-lollard texts added to flyleaves in 15th century; prose text in English relating to measurements of a parcel of land written on f5v in 16th century; fragment of prose Latin treatise on f95v, beginning in mid-sentence as if preceding leaves might have been washed to complete Piers(?).
Language:English and Latin
Date Range:Late 14th century by script and decoration
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:LP : 4686; County : W Warwicks
No of Folios:1 heavy black paper matches pastedown + 1 heavy whitish paper + parchment text block in which first 5 leaves, though flyleaves, are numbered, so 1-95 + 1 heavy whitish paper + 1 heavy black paper matches pastedown
Pagination:Ink, modern arabic 1-95 in upper outer corners of rectos.
Signatures:Most signatures cropped but survive eg on ff38-39, e j and e ij; on ff75-78, k j through k iiij; tops in next quire on ff83-85 and full l iiij on f86'so would have begun with quire a on f6.
Catchwords:By the scribe often now at lower edge of leaf because of cropping (all three sides of leaves), not quite running up to right frame line, in boxes of colour of ink (brown) either plain boxes or with loops at each corner.
Page Size:258 x 185
Frame:2 x vertical, 3 x horizontal enclosing top line but only under bottom line, ruled within, pricking survives on outer edge of only a few leaves, eg f69; flyleaves ruled differently and f1r alone ruled for double columns.
Writing Space:225 x c. 140 (ruled for in Piers Plowman text, though many lines shorter)
Incipits and Explicits:Rubric incipits and explicits and rubric Latin lines; red line fillers; large red punctus for caesura in each line; red touched initials.
Marginal Headings:By main scribe written as he went along.
Title by Scribe:'Piers Plowman' added in 17th(?) century hand to top margin of f1r, even though Piers doesn't begin until f6r.
Borders:On f6 an alternating blue and red bar border across top margin and all along left margin, with short sprays into bottom and right margins.
Paragraph Marks:Frequent (every 5-6 lines) alternating red and blue paraphs.
Flourished Initials:5-8 line blue lombard initials with red penwork flourishing in style of late 14th-century.
Other Names (not owners):On f2r, right margin, crudely written (by a child?), 'ROBert'.
Miscellaneous Info:Several short texts in verse and prose written on flyleaves in 15th century.
Further Information:Cotton catalogue
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP