A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
Location:  PrincetonPrinceton University Library MS 100
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On the verso of the second old fly leaf (paper, 2°), is “Here ys a Gen[er]all reule to knowe by þe Rysyng & þe Goyng doun of þe sonne throwgh oute þe yeer” (in a late fifteenth-century anglicana hand; Voigts and Kurtz 1691.00). The calendar begins with January (“[z?]anyvere”) and ends with June (“[I?]uyn”).
Canterbury Tales (I 1975-X 754; DIMEV 6414
b (view in DIMEV): I II Va IVb III IVa Vb VIIIa VI VIIbcdef IX X
Progress of Copying: 
The MS consists of a parchment section, sandwiched between two sections copied on paper. PdT ends at III 894 and the next text is PrPro. On fol. 180r, the scribe (parchment section) has written marginal instructions for rubrication: “end of Chauc[ers] tale”; “Begin of þe Monkis | prolog.” The rubricated explicit and incipit, written within the text frame (by the scribe), reads: “¶here endith the tale of Geffrey Chawcere of Mellebe | and Prudence . and Sophia here doghter | And here begynnyth the Monk his porolg [sic].” On fol. 181v, another instruction is written in the margin: “end Monk P[ro]log.” The explicit and incipit, in rubric, read “here endith the Monk his prolog | And here begynnyth the tale,” following which the scribe has left a blank space of twenty lines. MkT begins at the top of the following recto (the beginning of Q [28]).
MkT ends on fol. 191r. In the 4-line space left before the beginning of NPPro, a hand that is possibly not that of the scribe has entered a rubricated explicit and incipit in a large, crude semiquadrata script with forked ascenders. NPPro ends on the verso, ten lines from the bottom, where the same hand as on the previous page had added the explicit and incipit, again leaving blank lines between to space them out. An additional 20-line blank space was left at the top of fol. 192r, after which a second incipit–this one by the scribe–and a 4-line initial introduce NPT. A similar, but more practiced-looking version of the display script introduces MancPro on fol. 200r, and here it is almost certainly that of the scribe, as is that on fol. 202r, at the beginning of MancT.
These seams between tales in Fragment VII might suggest that the scribe did not have NPPro in hand at the same time as NPT and that provisional space was left for it to be added later, space which, in the event, proved excessive.
Lerer has established that the “second scribe” cut passages from Mel and PdPro & T in order to remake “them into fast-moving narratives. He works by a principle of excision, removing extended passages in units before reassembling Chaucer’s lines. Implicit in these actions is a conception of Chaucer’s literary purpose–a conception which distinguishes itself from more modern interpretations of the rhetorical and philosophical quality of narratives such as the Pardoner’s or the Melibee” (1988, p. 318).
The catchwords in the paper section are in a lighter brown ink than the text.

Paper, 2° (fols. 1-165, 203-215), and parchment (fols. 166-202).
Paper stock(s):
1. Bull (“Ochse”), very near Piccard 1004 (1444); see 65, and figs. 10-11; see also BULL.099.1: fols. 1-91, 203+210
2. Tulip (“Fleur en Forme de Tulipe”), near Briquet 6645 (1445, with variants to 1449) in structure, but larger (5 cm tall) and bisected by a chainline 2.8 | 3 cm from the ones to the right and left; cf. also Piccard “Blatt - Blume - Baum” 1510 (1473) and 1511 (1466); see Mosser 2010, p. 65, and figs. 16 and 17: fols. 92-145
3. Unicorn’s head (“Einhorn”/“Tête de Licorne”), nearest to Piccard 1343 (1435, 1436) and 1344 (1436); see Mosser 2010, p. 65, and figs. 18 and 19: fols. 146-165; 204-209; 211-215
Page Size:  
29.3 x 20 cm (“Chancery”).
The MS was refoliated June 6, 1925. The following collation refers to this foliation; the old foliation begins with “32.” A third foliation, in fols. 163-202, records a misbinding of fols. 163-164 (the inner bifolium of Q [25]) as fols. 208-209, a state now corrected.
[1-3]8 [inferred: now lost]
[4]8 (–1, 2, 3) fols. 1-5
[5-13]8 fols. 6-77 (signed “d-m”)
[14]8 (–1.8) fols. 78-83 (signed “n”)
[15]8 fols. 84-91 (signed “o”)
[16]8 (–1.8) fols. 92-97 (signed “p”)
[17-24]8 fols. 98-161 (signed “q-z”)
[25]4 fols. 162-165 (signed “i-j” on fols. 162 and 163)
[26-29]8 fols. 166-197
[30]8 (–4.5, 6) fols. 198-202
[31]8 fols. 203-210 (signed “||”)
[32]10 (–6-10) fols. 211-215 (signed “=”note)
Single column. In the parchment section, the written space is approximately 22.5 x 13.5 cm, ruled in red ink, 39 lines per page. In the paper section, the written space measures approximately 19.5 x 11.5 cm in the verse sections and 20.5 x 13.5 cm in the prose, unruled, 34 lines per page, margined in drypoint. Catchwords occur throughout on the final verso of the gathering except on fol. 181v, where MkPro ends, leaving twenty lines blank. Rubricated running heads are preceded by blue paraphs; these appear to be added in the parchment section at the time the paper section was executed, as the w graph characteristic of the scribe’s stint in the latter part of the paper section appears in the running heads of the parchment section (see below under Hands). 3-line blue initials, without decoration, mark prologues and internal textual divisions; beginnings of tales are marked by 3-line blue initials with red penwork sprays. Incipits and explicits are also in rubric.
Although there are some differences in the handwriting of the two sections, as described below, both sections are copied by the Beryn Scribe.
The hand of the parchment section (“Helmingham Parchment”), writes a hybrid anglicana script, with numerous secretary characteristics (such as the calligraphic alternation of thick and thin strokes, tapered descenders, B-shaped s), featuring semiquadrata serifs, a with a single lobe divided by a cross-stroke (“straight-sided” a), tailed g with horns, looped d, z-shaped r in ligature with o, long r finally, a form of short r in which the shoulder is separated from the 2-shaped body, circular e, with open e infrequently. The greatest contrast in the two stints is in the w graph, which in the parchment section resembles a looped l+b (or kidney-shaped element). The body height is approximately 2 mm.
In the the paper sections the scribe (“Helmingham Paper”) also writes a mixed anglicana script, more cursive in appearance than Helmingham Parchment, with no feet on the minims: tailed g, B-shaped s finally, an a similar in construction to that of No. 1, circular e, line-final n with an otiose flourish, long tails on y and h, often bumping the next line, a two-stroke short r that often closes on the right, and two forms of w: a graph consisting of a “v+B” form, and a second that somewhat resembles a figure-8 turned on its side, with the minims slanting leftward (this form, however, only begins to appear regularly in the Clerk’s Tale, ca. fol. 167v). The d graph is looped. The body height is approximately 2 mm.
Where the two are juxtaposed, as at the opening of fols. 165v-166r, the hand of the parchment section can be seen to have a much more consistent vertical alignment, a much “neater” and somewhat “squarer” appearance, whereas the hand of the paper section appears more cursive and perhaps more fluid, with a more slender duct. In both stints, the scribe employes a “swan-necked” sigma s graph.
Only the rubrication, blue initials and red penwork described under Format.
Oak boards, very worm-eaten; five double alum-tawed thongs, entering the boards in five tunnels, emerging into five channels. Re-backed in 1925, using the old thongs. Remains of a brass clasp are visible at the center fore-edge of the back cover, and a fabric-backed leather strap in the same location on the front cover.note Two nineteenth-century(?) paper fly leaves at the front with “Van Gelder” on the first (the countermark) and a “Fortuna” watermark (IPH typological standard B4/3/6) on the second.note These are followed by a tipped-in paper leaf with a table of contents (modern), an old parchment pastedown(?), with worming and stains matching up with the front board, and an old paper fly leaf with a Stag’s head (“Tête de Cerf”) watermark.note At the rear are two more modern paper fly leaves, with the “Fortuna” watermark on the first and the “Van Gelder” countermark on the last.

parchment: s. XVmid; paper: s. XVmid (watermark evidence, as well as the paleographical features)
The language of He, as well as its Provenance, point to East Anglia. Horobin notes “the use of 〈v〉 for 〈w〉 in certain contexts, e.g. ‘vyvis’ WIVES” as well as the reflex of “OE y in 〈e〉…in words like ‘besy’, and ‘fier’.“ The spelling wordely for WORLDLY is also characteristically East Anglian (2003, p. 151). In both sections, the spellings ӡewe for YOU and yeur for YOUR are dominant; the former occurs only in one LP for Lincolnshire (492), while the latter is unattested (though the spelling ӡeur occurs as a minor variant in Ely). See also Horobin 2000, where he identifies the scribe of the paper section of He with the scribe of Nl: “Nl is localised in A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English…to Essex, and the spelling system of He shows many of the same dialectal features” (pp. 461-2). He attributes the differences between the spelling systems in He and Nl to “the process of gradual standardisation of written English during the fifteenth century,” with the more standardized spellings found in He (pp. 462-3).
The MS is covered with graffiti, much in the same childish hand, and much very difficult to decipher.
On fol. 59v, the name “Lyonell Tallemache” is written vertically along the fore-edge, with “Squyer” written above it in the same hand. On fol. 164v is a monogram consisting of a joined L, o, T, and A (the L and T forming an H with the o in the middle of the crossbar and the A at the base of the T). On the following recto is scrawled “alsabatha carmen haue | rent of apas apapar.” An even looser scrawl writes on fol. 91rJhon hyam ded playe with aknif on hise | foryde with the poynt | w.” The same hand writes “such argumentis is nat worth | [?am] ffor edward gosnold | [?] hundred pou[n]d” on fol. 90r, “edward gosnold ded p feyte wyllyame coegame | with hym pater elsabithe” (vertically) on fol. 92v, copies the words “with manly voi” at the foot of fol. 89r, writes “John loreded” on fols. 85r, “Thomas” several times on fol. 91v and elsewhere, and “honor Thy father and Thy mother” at the top of fol. 116v. “Thomas wade” (possibly also the same hand) appears on fols. 6r, 97r, and 173r. “John wode ded playe” occurs at the bottom of fol. 147r and “ffranses copper ded play in the chirch ha[?]” on fol. 215r. The writer seems to have been something of a snitch.
On fol. 130v, one hand writes “Thomasse Roger ffranses Jaffery lorde” and just below that “Lyonell symond gregory lorde.” “Jaffery lord ded playe” is written at the bottom of fol. 141r. On fol. 132v is “what | what is your | name who gaue | this name.” On fol. 133r are the names “John hyam” and “John wode.”
Lionell symond” is written on fols. 13v and 51r, “Lyonell symond” on 119r and 130v, “lyonellus | symond” on fol. 40r, and “Lionelus symonde” (upside-down) on fol. 93r. “Tomas symond” appears on fol. 137v and “Elsabeth Symon” on fol. 142r.
At the top of fol. 36v is the smudged phrase “haue mercy vpon me [o?] lorde.” On fol. 37v is “Robert Petter,” and above that “Samuel danuel.” At the bottom of fol. 80r is “amanes ownsgwyff[?]”. On fol. 83v is “strowam home | sed me”(?). At the top of fol. 151r is: “itam for abossul of corn grondyn.” On fol. 169r, at the top, is “ever mor that shal come to hym tobyas.” In the margin of fol. 171v is a memorandum of a debt: “be it known | to all [me[n]?] by | by thes p[re]sent | yt s[ir] John Styl | of stona[m] in ye | county of | suff yeman | do owe vnto | robert carlo | in ye sayd county | yeman | li to be payd | vnto ye sayd Ihon hys heyr[is] excecute.”
Many of these names can be found in the Helmingham records contained in British Library Additional MS 21037. All of these, and most of the other names in He can be connected to the vicinity of Helmingham, Suffolk, the home of the Tollemaches (Manly-Rickert 1:262-4).
The MS was offered for sale in the Laurence Witten Catalogue No. 5 (Item 12, $45,000) in 1962 and acquired by Princeton University in 1963 (accession record for August 6, 1963, number AM 17755). Dix cites the principal donors as Robert H. Taylor, Christian Zabriskie, Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., Kenneth H. Rockey, and Ernest C. Savage (listed on a bookplate pasted to the inside front cover). Also on the inside front cover is a label with “L. T. (crossed out) 〈II.i〉.” On the recto of the first fly leaf is “AM 17755 | Princeton 100.”

Blake, Norman F. The Textual Tradition of the Canterbury Tales. London: Edward Arnold, 1985. 155-61.
Boyd, Beverly. “The Infamous b-Text of The Canterbury Tales.” Manuscripta 34 (1990): 233-38. 
Campbell, Jackson J. “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 26 (1964): 5-6. 
Dix, William S. “Four Notable Acquisitions.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 26 (1964): 3-5. 
Everett, Virginia Thornton. [Mrs. Lowell P. Leland]. “A Study of the Scribal Editing in Twelve MSS of the Canterbury Tales.” Diss. University of Chicago, 1940. 34-8.
Hammond, Eleanor P. Chaucer: A Bibliographical Manual. 1908; rpt. New York: Peter Smith, 1933.  196.
Horobin, Simon. “The Scribe of the Helmingham and Northumberland Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.” Neophilologus 84 (2000): 457-65. [facsimile of fol. 77 v]
Lerer, Seth. “Rewriting Chaucer: Two Fifteenth-Century Readings of The Canterbury Tales.” Viator 19 (1988): 311-26.  
Lerer, Seth. Chaucer and His Readers: Imagining the Author in Late Medieval England. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. 
Lerer, Seth. “The Princeton Canterbury Tales.” In David Anderson, ed. Sixty Bokes Olde and Newe. Knoxville: New Chaucer Society, n.d. 7-8. [facsimile of fol. 161r]
Manly, John M., and Edith Rickert, eds. The Text of the Canterbury Tales: Studied on the Basis of All Known Manuscripts. 8 vols. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1940. 1:256-65.
McCormick, Sir William and Janet E. Heseltine. The Manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933. 233-43.
Mosser, Daniel W. “The Paper Stocks of the Beryn Scribe.” Journal of the Early Book Society. 13 (2010): 63-93. 
Mosser, Daniel W. and Linne R. Mooney. “More Manuscripts by the Beryn Scribe and His Cohort.” Chaucer Review 49 (2014): 39-76. 
Owen, Charles A., Jr. The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1991. 57-8.
Seymour, Michael C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts. Volume II, The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot and Brookfield: Scolar Press, 1997. 225-30.
Witten, Laurence. Catalogue No. 5. (New Haven, CT: 1962). Item 12. 20-1.