A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
Location:  StaffordshireLichfield Cathedral Library MS 29 (olim MS 2)
☙       ☙       ☙
Canterbury Tales (from I 79; DIMEV 6414)
d (view in DIMEV): I Gam II Va IVb III IVa Vb VIII VI VII IX X
Progress of Copying: 
On fol. 69r, Gam ends with the following rubric: “¶Thus endeth þe Cokes Tale | and folwen þe wordes | of þe autour and of þe hoost – Prologus.” On fol. 89r is the unrubricated “¶Explicit p[ri]ma pars ¶The Stag of an hert.” The Mel-Mk link, however, is lacking (VII 1889-1990). On fol. 251v, a third, late fifteenth-century hand adds a spurious line [“As by nature to hym appropred ys”] in the space left for IX 172. The “Retraction” ends on fol. 293v, followed by the explicit: “Here endeth the boke of the tales of Caunterbery co[m]piled | by Geffray Chaucers of whoos soule Jh[es]u crist haue | mercy . Amen.” Fol. 294 is ruled but blank.

Page Size:  
34.5 x 22.5 cm.
Most fifteenth-century signatures survive through fol. 196r (i.e., the work of the first scribe), beginning with “a iij” on fol. 3r. In the second scribe’s section, signatures (“l”?) survive on fols. 281r-285r. Seventeenth-century replacements are signified by “±”; these are not to be construed as cancels. The foliation includes the seventeenth-century replacement leaves.
[1]8 (±1) fols. 1-8
[2-11]8 fols. 9-88
[12]8 (±5) fols. 89-96
[13-15]8 fols. 97-120
[16]8 (±5) fols. 121-128
[17-25]8 fols. 129-200
[26]8 (±6) fols. 201-208
[27]8 (–1) fols. 210-216
[28-36]8 fols. 217-288
[37]6? (–5: no stub) fols. 289-292, 294 (Fol. 294 is ruled and margined but blank. Presumably the missing leaf was also. The binding is too tight to detect sewing).
Single columns, margined in brown ink, 39 lines per page, double ruled top, bottom, and sides the length and width of the page. The written space is approximately 21 x 11.7-12.2 cm. A line for running heads is ruled ca. four lines above the double-ruled top margin. A space for glosses is ruled toward the fore-edge. Catchwords are placed on the final verso of each gathering. With the advent of the second scribe, the catchwords are placed in rubricated scrolls, and lines in the text frame (40 per page), as well as margins, are ruled in brown ink; the written space is 21.5 x 12-12.5 cm in this section. Pricking for the double and single margin lines is visible at the bottom, less often at top and fore-edge.
Two similar anglicana hands. The first writes fols. 2r-196r, the second from the top of fol. 196v to the end. The minims employ a semiquadrata system of serifs, with “lozenges” and the head and curls at the feet. The double-diamond g finishes at the line (at the bottom of the page, where there is a ruled line), with the minims and lobes of most letters, at their lowest point, well above the ruled line. Most descenders finish below the line. The body height is approximately 2 mm early on, increasing to approximately 3 mm. The hand employs double-lobed a, looped d, 8-shaped final s with long s medially and initially, alternating with sigma s in initial position. Majuscule N is formed with two Z-shaped broken strokes. The ascenders of l, long s, I, and f have knobby protrusions on the sides. This scribe also collaborates with the second scribe in Takamiya MS 54 of the South English Legendary, in which he copies the first two quires (e.g., fol. 16v).
The scribe whose work begins on fol. 196v is the Petworth Scribe. This scribe writes in Lc with a body height of approximately 2.5-3 mm.
Decorated initials of 4-8 lines and ¾ bar borders with vines mark tale beginnings. These initials are blue and rose, with white highlights, on gold fields, with orange and blue foliage and strawberries, blue and gold bars with highlights, sprays with blue, green, and rose-coloured buds and flutes, gold dots and trefoils. Prologues and some internal textual divisions are marked by 2-line gold initials on purple fields with blue fills (alternating with blue fields with purple fills), white highlights, green sprays with gold dots and trefoils. Intermediate divisions are marked by 1-line blue initials with red penwork (very few of these). Running heads are divided into two parts (excepting fols. 161-176–Qq [20-21]–where they are in one part with a single ¶) with alternating gold paraphs with violet penwork and blue paraphs with red penwork marking both parts (the paraphs are omitted, however, on fols. 192v-196r, and the unrubricated running heads there are by a different hand). The limner occasionally misses the rubricated hash marks left as markers for paraphs. The same system of paraphs marks lesser internal textual divisions, incipits, and explicits. Running heads and incipits/explicits are rubricated. Glosses in KnT and MLT are rubricated (with an alternating system of paraphs); beginning with MerT (fol. 99v), however, the glosses are in the text ink and underscored in rubric, preceded by blue paraphs with red penwork.
The explicit for CYT and incipit for PhT are in the text ink and underscored in red as are those for Ph-PdPro (fols. 187v-188r). In fols. 192v-196r (the end of scribe 1’s stint), the running heads are added in a lighter brown ink. In Thop, the tail-rhymes are marked with red ink, traced over brown ink.
Below the catchword on fol. 104v is an accounting of the illumination for the preceding thirteen quires: “| [i.e., a vertical stroke] hole venett & vij d[emi] p[ar]affys vjCxl | champs xliij.” Following this the initials and sprays are less cleanly executed.
Eighteenth-century reddish-brown russia,note gilt pattern on the borders, rebacked in 1978 by the Birmingham U. L. bindery (Benedikz 1986), with covers and spine laid down, sewn on six thongs. On spine: “CHAUCER’S CANTERBURY | TALES | M. S. ECCLES. | CATHED. | LICHFELD.” Marbled pastedowns. Two unmarked 4° paper flies at the front and back, one original parchment fly at the front.

s. XV2/4
Horobin finds in the Lichfield Scribe’s language “a reasonably uncomplicated mixture of Type III and Type IV forms” and believes it “likely that the Lc scribe was working in London and that the Lc manuscript is a London production” (2003, p. 153). On the language of the second scribe, see the Petworth Scribe.
The bookplate of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield is pasted inside the front cover, with the penciled catalogue number “MS 29.” On fol. ir is “MSS. [sic] No 2.” Below that is pasted a piece of parchment with four lines of verse (“Tooe there were yt Hir behyld | & would haue donne so euer | But happy men, yea Happy twise | yf they hadd donne so neuer” [a cross]), and the name “E. Diher.”note Below this, on a smaller strip of parchment, is “Margrat barton graften bilondel[?].” Below this, on a larger piece of parchment is a shield, and to the left of that is a coat-of-arms drawn on the fly leaf itself (cf. the shields drawn in Ad⁴).
On fol. iv, at the lower right is “Margrat” in the same hand as on the preceding page; at the top of the page, in large reddish-brown crayon, is “[?] farmer[?] the xiij day of | …[?].” Another inscription at the top of fol. 294v is too smudged to make out.
Lc was donated to Lichfield Cathedral by Frances, Duchess of Somerset, in 1671, whose mother, Frances Walsingham, was the widow of Sir Philip Sidney. The Duchess’s father was Robert Devereux. The arms on fol. ir are possibly associated with the Ferrers of Chartley (Staffordshire), linked through marriage to the Devereux (Manly-Rickert 1:326-328).

Benedikz, B. S., compiler. A Catalogue of the Cathedral Library Manuscripts. 3rd ed. Birmingham: University Library, 1986. 18-19 [MS Lich. 29].
De Hamel, Christopher. A History of Illuminated Manuscripts. 2nd ed. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1994. pl. 135: color facsimile of fol. 41v: opening of MilPro.
Dyer, Sir Edward. The Writings in Verse and Prose of Sir Edward Dyer, knt. (1540(?)-1607). Ed. Rev. Alexander B. Grosart. Miscellanies of The Fuller Worthies’ Library. [London], 1872. “The Fair Amarillis.” 42-9
Hammond, Eleanor P. Chaucer: A Bibliographical Manual. 1908; rpt. New York: Peter Smith, 1933.  198.
Kirby-Miller, Wilma Anderson. “Scribal Dialects in the C and D Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.” Diss. University of Chicago, 1938. 50-3.
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. 1:322-8; 1:569-71. [facsimile between 570-1]
McCormick, Sir William and Janet E. Heseltine. The Manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933. 301-10.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1991. 41-2.
Seymour, Michael C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts. Volume II, The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot and Brookfield: Scolar Press, 1997. 86-90.