A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
The table below lists the MSS attributed to the “Hooked-g scribes”:
Bodleian MS Lyell 31   Confessio Amantis
Oxford, Magdalen College MS 213   Confessio Amantis
British Library MSS Harley 7184   Confessio Amantis
Folger Shakespeare Library MS   Confessio Amantis
Ds¹   Canterbury Tales
Tc¹   Canterbury Tales
Ra³   Canterbury Tales
British Library MS   Troy Book
Princeton University Library, Taylor MS 6   Trevisa, Polychronicon
Lambeth Palace MS 256   Fall of Princes
British Library MS   Fall of Princes
Bodleian MS Hatton 2   Fall of Princes
Takamiya MS 30note   Fall of Princes
The following three fragments are from a single MS:
Plimpton 255note
Takamiya MS 79note
Lewis MS T.15/487
  Fall of Princes
Linne R. Mooney, Holly James-Maddocks, and I have arrived at the following taxonomy of scribal hands:
Scribe 1
British Library MS Add. 21410   Hand A = fols. 1-25
Bodleian MS Hatton 2   Hand B fols. 24-24v, 34-41v, 66-73v
Bodleian MS Lyell 31   entire MS
Princeton University Library, Taylor MS 6   entire MS
Scribe 2
Bodleian MS Hatton 2   Hand A = fols. 1-23v, 25-33v, 42-65v, 74-169
British Library MS Add. 21410   Hand C = fols. 31va (line 20)-31vb, 32 (line 39)-32va (line 12), 33va (lines 29-33), 34rb (lines 1-21), 37ra (lines 44-48), 43, 44ra (line 15)-44vb (line 28), 47vb-48, 50vb (lines 36-49), 51rb (lines 1-21)
British Library MS Royal 18 D.VI   entire MS
Oxford, Magdalen College MS 213   Hand A = pages 1-3b (line 6), 5a-end
Folger Library V.b.29   Hand B = pp. 36a, 37-40, 42a-b, 46a, lines 4-51, 47b, lines 25-50, 53-350
Takamiya MS 24 (Ds¹)   entire MS
Trinity College, Cambridge MS R.3.3 (Tc¹)   entire MS
Lambeth Palace MS 256   entire MS
Bodleian MS Lyell 31   entire MS
Plimpton 255
Takamiya MS 79
Lewis MS T.15/487
Takamiya MS 30  
The following two MSS are probably by Scribe 2, copied at a later point in his career:
British Library MSS Harley 7184   entire MS
MS Rawlinson poet. 223 (Ra³)   entire MS
Scribe 3
Folger Library V.b.29   Hand A = copies the English text of quires 1–3 (except for col. a on p. 36), pp. 41, 42b line 34–46a line 3, 46b–47b line 25, 48–52; copies the Latin text of quire 1 in rubric and quires 4–19 in rubric
London, British Library, Additional 21410   Hand B = fols. 25v–31va (line 19), 32, 32va (line 13)–44ra (line 14), 44vb (line 29)–47va, 48va–51ra, 51rb (line 22)–168rb (except for f.59a, lines 22–23, added by Hand D)
Scribe 4
Oxford, Magdalen College Lat. 213   Hand B = pp. 3b (line 7)–4
London, British Library, Additional 21410   Hand D = fols. 59ra (lines 22–23)
Scribe 5
Oxford, Exeter College 129   entire MS
London, British Library, Harley 3943   Hand D = fols. 71-116
Manly-Rickert observed that the format, decoration, hand, and language of Ds¹, and Tc¹ suggested they were “doubtless the product of the same shop” (1:577).
With reference to the Hooked-g group of MSS (“groups of copies of Chaucer, Gower and Lydgate from the fifth and sixth decades of the century”), Doyle and Parkes state that “[s]ome…appear to have been reproduced from the same exemplars, which suggests that by that time some stationers may have found it worthwhile on occasion either to retain for a time exemplars of the vernacular works most commonly in demand, or to commission by way of speculation more copies in anticipation of purchasers” (1978, p. 201). While the illumination of the MSS appears to have been done by several artists, probably working on an independent basis (Kathleen Scott, private communication), the evidence of interaction among some of the scribes suggests that at least part of the production process was carried out in some kind of “shop,” perhaps consisting of a master and apprentice(s).
Edwards coined the nickname, “the hooked g scribe”note with reference scribe’s g graph that is characteristically formed with an otiose crescent flourish added to the tail. The slanting hooked-g scribe does not always add this hook; in Ds¹, one g graph is hooked in the incipit to the Shipman’s Tale and another flourished crescent is added to a correction in Lydgate’s “Life of St. Margaret.” The latter appears to be executed by the scribe of Ra³ and Harley 7184.
If it were not for the fact Scribe 1 and Scribe 2 collaborate on two manuscripts—Additional 21410 and Hatton 2—it would be tempting to suspect that the crescent flourish represents a development in single scribe’s script and that the two scribes were in fact one. Clearly, these two scribes must have worked closely together for such a successful “cross imitation” to have occurred.
Manly-Rickert stated that the dialect of Ds¹ is “East Midland, by the usual dialect tests” (I:119). The spelling of word-final -gh as ӡ, for instance in I-nouӡ, y-nouӡ, sauӡ, thouӡ, and throuӡ could suggest a western localization, but more likely corresponds to forms recorded in Essex, where sauӡ occurs as a main form and thouӡ and throuӡ as minor variables. The forms yhen (EYES), youen (GIVEN), hiere (HEAR), ougne (OWN), slain (SLAIN) and tuo (TWO) are all forms that Jeremy Smith associates with the language of John Gower (1985, pp. 168-69; Samuels and Smith 1988 pp. 13-22), and thus with Kent or Southwark.
In the Lydgate MSS (and in “The Life of St. Margaret”, Item 2 in Ds¹), the scribe(s) accommodated the Lydgate spellings for BEFORE and BETWEEN with the forms aforn, toforn, tofore for the former, and Twen(e), atwen(e), and atwix or Tuene, and atuene for the latter. The primary form in the Hooked-g Lydgate manuscripts for THEIR is ther, with the occasional very modern looking their; Ds¹, however, has the spelling her, as does Oxford, Exeter College 129, a copy of Lydgate’s Troy Book that appears to have shared an exemplar with British Library, Royal 18 D.VI, which primarily uses the form here. The forms for BEFORE, BETWEEN, and the th- plural pronoun spellings certainly reflect the archetypal Lydgate tradition. The Hooked-g Gower MSS reflect some additional accommodations to Gower’s spelling system: therwhile as an option for WHILE; or…or for EITHER…OR; sigh for SAW; and wher/where forms for WHETHER.
Jeremy Smith explains the distinctive Hooked-g scribes’ spelling of ougne for OWN as a “sub-Gowerian” form influenced by Gower’s own distinct oghne (1985, pp. 161-69). Thus, some spellings in the Hooked-g scribes’ repertoire are either typical spellings in the archetypal Gowerian tradition, or are forms that are easily explained as having been suggested by the expected Gowerian spellings. In general, then, there are certain fixed, almost standardized, and notably marked spellings that vary little if at all from one MS to another in this group of manuscripts (yhen for EYES, hiere for HEAR, ougne for OWN, throuӡ for THROUGH, and tuo for TWO) and other forms that vary according to the input from the various literary traditions or exemplars from which the scribe copied. The group’s characteristic forms coalesce as illustrated on the Hooked-g Localization Map.
Barker, Nicholas, ed. Two East Anglian Picture Books: A Facsimile of the Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary and Bodleian MS. Ashmole 1504. London: Roxburghe Club, 1988. 
Doyle, A. I., and M. B. Parkes. “The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century.” In Ed. M. B. Parkes and A. G. Watson, eds. Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts, and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker. London: Scolar Press, 1978. 163-210. [201, n. 101, n. 102, n. 103, & n. 104]
Edwards, A. S. G. “A Missing Leaf from the Plimpton Fall of Princes.” Manuscripta 15 (1971): 29-31. 
Edwards, A. S. G. “Lydgate Manuscripts: Some Directions for Future Research.” In Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century England: The Literary Implications of Manuscript Study, Essays from the 1981 Conference at the University of York. Ed. Derek Pearsall. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer; Totowa, USA: Biblio Distribution Service. 1983. 15-26. 
Edwards, A. S. G., and Derek Pearsall. “The Manuscripts of the Major English Poetic Texts.” In Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall, eds. Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375-1475. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. 257-78. [at 257-78; 264]
Horobin, Simon. “The ‘Hooked G’ Scribe and His Work on Three Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 49 (1998): 411-17. 
James-Maddocks, Holly. “The Illuminators of the ‘Hooked-g’ Scribe(s) and the Production of Middle English Literature c. 1460-c.1490.” Chaucer Review 51 (2016): 151-86. 
Mooney, Linne R., and Daniel W. Mosser. “The Hooked-g Scribes and Takamiya Manuscripts.” In Takami Matsuda, Richard A. Linenthal and John Scahill, eds. The Medieval Book and a Modern Collector: Essays in Honour of Toshiyuki Takamiya. Takami Matsuda, Richard A. Linenthal and John Scahill, eds. Cambridge and Tokyo: D. S. Brewer & Yushodo Press Ltd, 2004. 179-96. 
Mosser, Daniel W. and Linne R. Mooney. “The Case of the Hooked-g Scribe(s) and the Production of Middle English Literature, c. 1460-c. 1490.” Chaucer Review 51 (2016): 131-50. 
Owen, Charles A., Jr. The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1991. 54-7
Parkes, M. B. English Cursive Book Hands. London: Scolar, 1969. pl. 14 (ii). [Hatton 2, scribe 2]
Preston, Jean F., and Laetitia Yeandle. English Handwriting 1400-1650. Binghamton NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1992. 10