A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
Location:  LondonRoyal College of Physicians MS 388
Alternate identifier:  13
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Canterbury Tales (ends X 1062; DIMEV 6414)
b (view in DIMEV): I II Va IVb III IVa Vb VIII VI VII IX X
Progress of Copying: 
On fol. 16r, following the end of GenPro, is a 2-line space, followed by the Statius gloss, another 2-line space, and the first line of KnT (I 859), without incipit. On the verso, between I 892-893, is the rubric “¶Incipit narracio.” At the bottom of fol. 20v, the scribe wrote the correct catchword–“God help”–for I 1127, but then began fol. 21r by repeating I 1126. Rather than cross out the repeated line, he instead chose to cross out the original catchword and replace it with “Nay quod.” On fol. 65v, next to I 3732-3733, is “¶No[ta] malu[m] quid.” On fol. 78r, after the “end” of CkT, the scribe adds the assertion “Of this Cookes tale makith Chaucer nomore.” On fol. 85v, the scribe at first skipped II 457-458, but after continuing to copy through II 460, he became aware of the omission, crossed out II 456, 459, and 460, and then began again at II 456, this time including II 457-458. After V 671-672 of SqT, Part 2 (fol. 109v), is the added line: “Of this Squyers tale Chauncer makith nomore.” On fol. 226v, following the explicit for CYT is an incipit for MancPro and IX 1-3; the incipit is crossed out with red ink, and the lines are marked out with red crosses. At the top of fol. 227r, the “Prologue” to PhT begins. Whether or not this change of plan accounts for the anomalous size of Q [12] cannot be determined with certainty. The quire is sewn through the middle bifolium (227/228), the eighth and ninth folios. Following the end of PdT on fol. 244r, the scribe begins the verso with “¶Incipit P[ro]logus M[er]catoris,” and fills out the page with V 673-699 (with “M[ar]chaunt” in V 675, 696, and 699). The entire page is then marked for deletion with a large “X,” and IV 1213-1240 (in a lighter ink) fill the following recto and top four lines of fol. 245v, followed by “¶Explicit p[ro]logus Incipit ffabula.” The rest of the page, however, is left blank and ShT begins at the top of fol. 246r, without incipit (though, of course, the second word of the tale is “M[ar]chaunt”; Owen 1991, p. 98). On fol. 312v, at VII 3445, is the gloss found in Ch, Dd, El, and Hg: “D[omin]us Archiep[iscop]us | Cantuar[iensis].”

Paper, 4° half-sheets.
For illustrations and analyses of the paper stocks in the manuscripts of the “Hammond Scribe” see also Mosser 2007.
Paper stock(s):
1. Two arrows in a saltire (“Deux flèches en sautoir”), similar structure to Briquet 6303 (1462-1474), but the attendant chainlines are 3.2 cm apart, and one of the chainlines bisects the circle. Cf. Papiers Briquet [9012?], Augsberg 1465. There are circles at the end of the shaft on the notch-end of the arrow: fols. 1-120
2. Scissors with post horn (“Ciseaux”), a pair of twins, somewhat similar to Briquet 3694-3696 (1433-1456), but the post horn element, while aligned horizontally relative to the scissors, as in Briquet 3696, is flipped so that the hook is at the top. On one (e.g. fol. 124, chainlines 2.8 cm apart, with one line bisecting the mark), the long part is almost horizontal; on its twin (e.g., fol. 126, chainlines 2.6 cm apart, with one line bisecting the mark), it angles upward from the horizontal, and the scissor-points have different shapes as well: fols. 121-290
3. Scissors (“Ciseaux”) chainlines in the vicinity of the mark are 3 | 2.5 cm from the line that bisects the mark: fols. 291-354
4. Scissors (“Ciseaux”) the scissors. The attendant chainlines are 2.5 and 3.2 cm from the line that bisects the mark. Cf. Briquet 3666 (1475). Some later examples with this morphology are recorded in Wasserzeichenkartei Piccard (Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart), “Shere – Shneiderschere mit Beizeichen,” number 122541 (Genova 1481) and number 122543 (Parma 1483): fols. 355-362
Page Size:  
28.5 x 19 cm (“Royal”).
[1-11]20 fols. 1-219 (fol. 173 followed by fol. 173A in the foliation)
[12]16 fols. 220-235
[13]20 fols. 236-255
[14]20 (–1.20, 2.19, 3) fols. 256-270
[15-18]20 fols. 271-349 (fol. 292 followed by “292a”)
[19]20 (–14-20: stubs, sewing between 359/360) fols. 350-362
Single columns of approximately 29 lines, ruled and margined in drypoint, with the written space measuring approximately 20.5 x 12 cm. Pricking visible at the fore-edge. On fol. 1r is a 4-line blue initial W with red penwork and red and blue border decoration at the top and sides. Elsewhere, blue initials of 2-3 lines mark prologue and tale openings. Red capital strokes, blue paraphs. No running heads. Catchwords on the final verso of gatherings of twenty. Modern pencil foliation at the top right. Original signatures visible: the first quire numbered with arabic numerals throughout, then “aj,” etc.
See the Hammond Scribe article. Body height approximately 1.5-2 cm.
Only painted initials as described in the Format section.
Rebound by Douglas Cockerell & Son (Sidney Cockerell) in 1951 (old vellum binding preserved as first and last fly leaves): white alum-tawed morocco spine, English oak boards, with clasps and leather straps, stamped interlaced knots on the leather overlap. Sewn on five double cords. In addition to the vellum binding remains, there are two old parchment fly leaves at the front and back.

s. XV3/4
See the Hammond Scribe article.
On the verso of the second fly leaf at the front is “Thomas ffelde.” References to Henry VIII appear on two of the fly leaves. On the recto of the third fly leaf at the front is “Ihon.” On the verso is “istelib[er]mateus widmarpowell William Renold.” Lower down on the same page is “Jane Lawrence is my name and with | my pen I ret this same and If that.” On fol. 52r, in the upper right margin, is “Thomas smythe.” On fol. 250r, in the lower margin, is “Josua Roobe”(?). On fol. 271r, at the top, “Thomas smythe” recurs. On the first fly leaf at the end are the names “Thomas ffelde,” “Thomas tamworth,” “[Christ]offer robynson,” and “Rychird teese[v?]orthe | ys i kni[v?]e in i monke | hedyd kni[v?]e & so shill he dye” (if what appears to be a dotted i is, rather, read as an a, and the s-shaped letter is a v, the lines read “Rychard teesvorthe ys a knave an a monke hedyd knave & so shall he dye”). The words “Pope” and “Popes” are erased throughout the latter part of the MS; on fol. 179r, at IV 802, however, the scribe has written “Poke” for “Pope,” and the word has escaped erasure.
Py was bequeathed to the Royal College of Physicians by “Henry Pierrepont, first Marquis of Dorchester (1606-80)” (Manly-Rickert 1:446). The Pierreponts owned the manor of Widmerpole, Nottinghamshire “from the time of Henry VI,” and the Widmerpoles and Pierrepoints were associated in legal documents in the sixteenth century, so it seems probable that the Matthew Widmerpole on fol. iiiv owned Py before it came to the Pierrepoints (Manly-Rickert 1:445-6; Thoroton 1797, 1:78, 3:155).

Christianson, C. Paul. “Evidence for the Study of London’s Late Medieval Manuscript-Book Trade.” In Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall, eds. Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375-1475. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. 87-108. [esp. 99-101, notes 38 & 43]
Doyle, A. I. “An Unrecognized Piece of Piers the Ploughman’s Creed and Other Work by Its Scribe.” Speculum 34 (1959): 428-36. [two facsimiles: Harley MS 78, 3r; Cotton Claudius A.viii, 175r]
Doyle, A. I. “English Books In and Out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII.” In V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherbourne, eds. English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages. London: Duckworth, 1983. 163-81. 
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. 19-25.
Green, Richard Firth. “Notes on Some Manuscripts of Hoccleve’s Regiment of Princes.” British Library Journal 4 (1978): 39-41. 
Hammond, Eleanor P. “Two British Museum Manuscripts (Harley 2251 and Add. 34360): A Contribution to the Biography of John Lydgate.” Anglia: Zeitschrift für Englische Philologie 28 (1905): 1-28. 
Hammond, Eleanor P. “A Scribe of Chaucer.” Modern Philology 27 (1929): 27-33. [facsimiles]
Ker, N. R. Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries. Vol. 1. Oxford: Clarendon, 1969. 216.
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. 1:439-46.
McCormick, Sir William and Janet E. Heseltine. The Manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933. 415-23.
Mooney, Linne R. “A Middle English Text on the Seven Liberal Arts.” Speculum 68 (1993): 1027-52. 
Mosser, Daniel W. “Dating the Manuscripts of the ‘Hammond Scribe’: What the Paper Evidence Tells Us.” The Journal of the Early Book Society 10 (2007): 31-70. 
Owen, Charles A., Jr. The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1991. 96-9.
Seymour, Michael C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts. Volume II, The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot and Brookfield: Scolar Press, 1997. 150-4.
Thoroton, Robert. History of Nottinghamshire. 3 vols. London: J. Throsby, 1797. 
Voigts, Linda Ehrsam. “Scientific and Medical Books.” In Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall, eds. Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375-1475. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. 345-402. Esp. p. 382.
Wanley, H., et. al. Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum. Record Commission ed. London, 1808-12. 1:20-1.