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Manuscript Description
England, Lichfield, Lichfield Cathedral Library MS 29
MS Appellation:Lc (Manly and Rickert)
Title:Canterbury Tales
Contents:Canterbury Tales including Retraction treated as end of Parson's Tale.
Date Range:1425-1450
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:Scribe 1 : Chaucerian/Standardised; Scribe 2 : 'Petworth scribe' S.W.Worcs/Gloucs (Smith 1997)
No of Folios:1 marbled + 1 heavy paper + 1 original parchment flyleaf (with bits of parchment pieces pasted to it) + f1 added 16th century to make up for lost leaf + 2-293 + f294 ruled but blank + 1 blank paper flyleaf
Pagination:Fairly modern arabic foliation in ink on upper outer corners recto.
Quiring:1(7 i missing), 2-11(8), 12(7 v missing), 13-15(8), 16(7 v missing), 17-25(8), 26(7 vi missing), 27(7 i missing), 28-36(8), 37(5 original of 6 now missing v).
Signatures:Letters + roman numerals i-iiij, beginning with 'a' for first quire and ending yogh for 'z' then tyronian 'et', '-us' or 'con' sigle; no more medieval ones but modern pencil begins again with 'a' on f201.
Catchwords:Scribe A: black ink, by scribe, in lower margin running up to right frame line or just over it; no embellishment except on f184v which has a red sleigh beneath; Scribe B copies in same relative position but with faint black ink parallelogram around, overdrawn in red; a more fancy parallelogram made into stylised scroll on f200v.
Page Size:345 x 240
Frame:Both scribes use same format for frame except that Scribe B's is 1 line longer; 4 x vertical enclosing single text column and a narrower column in outer margin for glosses; 5 x horizontal enclosing top and bottom lines and under running titles; ruled within text column only with fine grey lines; some pricking survives.
Writing Space:Ruled for 210 x 125; actual script space varies 210 x 80-100.
Incipits and Explicits:In rubric by the scribe in space left for them.
Running Titles:In rubric on almost every folio, with two paraphs on each page preceding each part of title, thus 'The Wyf' and 'Of Bathe''
Borders:Each tale begins with illuminated initial and three-quarter border, blue, gold, pinky-red, orange, green with white highlighting
Illuminated Initials:4-8-line initials begin tales, gold ground with pink, blue, green, white highlights, orange; smaller two-line initials of gold on blue and rose grounds with white highlights; a second illuminator takes over at Wife of Bath's Prologue.
Paragraph Marks:Alternating blue with red flourishing and gold with purple flourishing; for rubric glosses (in portions by Hand A), they may be preceded by blue paraph with long tail and red flourishing, or black glosses with red underline preceded by gold paraph with purple flourishing. Red rhyme markers to right of lines in Tale of Thopas.
Other Names (not owners):Front flyleaf has a coat of arms with lion rampant on top half and a series of 4 lines of waves or crenellated battlements in bottom half (Somerset? suggested by Librarian).
Miscellaneous Info:2 hands in the manuscript; Hand A ff2-196r; Hand B is the Petworth Scribe ff196v-293v; ff1, 93, 125, 206 added by late 16th century hand to make up for lost leaves. The first illuminator's bill for champe initials is in the bottom margin of f104v.
Further Information:Ker MMBL. J.J. Griffiths says in his description of the Tokyo, Waseda MS of Love's Mirrour, that the Register of the Skinners Company (Guildhall 31692) up to 22 Henry VI (1443-1444) is also by this scribe, ff 2-19 (1441) and sporadically thereafter to 1443-1444. See also Griffiths in Eng. MSS Studies 5 (1995), 214-219. [for illust. of f4 see Robinson, Dated and Datable London, Plate 116]. For Griffiths, see Nicholas Love at Waseda: Proceedings of the International Conference, 20-26 July 1995, ed. S. Oguro et al. (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997). Note: Gilte Legende composed 1438 so Takamiya 45 must have been written after 1438. scribe. See also J. J. G. Alexander, 'William Abell, 'Lymnour' and 15th Century English Illumination' notes that the same artist did N.L.Scotland Advocates' 18.1.7 (Nicholas Love), Manchester Rylands Eng. 1 (Troy Book), and Bodl. Laud Misc. 733 (Chronicle of England to Henry V).
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP