A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
Location:  LondonBritish Library Royal MS 17.d.xv
☙       ☙       ☙
1. Canterbury Tales (mutilated: contains I 69-X449; DIMEV 6414): fols. 1r-301r
2. “Somnium vigilantis” (by John Fortescue? Latin-English-French, after 1459; begins: “[?] the whiche bene lyke to fall with oute a direcciou[n] be had on this”; IPMEP 539note): fols. 302r-310r
3. “Declaration upon Certayn Wrytinges Sent Oute of Scotteland,” by John Fortescue (after October, 1471; begins: “A lernid man in the lawe of this lande Come late to s[er] the same sir…”; ed. Clermont 1869; IPMEP 10): fols. 311r-326r
4. “The Balet of the Kynge” (poem on Edward IV’s return to London, 1471; begins: “R[4-line]emembyr wt reu[er]ens the maker of mankynde”; DIMEV 4464): fols. 327r-332r
5. Prescription for toothache (ca. 1500; “Take Smalage . Sage. to or iij clowes of Garlyke . And mynce them to gedyr and | put there to a lytyll salt. then bynde it in a lynene cloth to the quantite of a lyty[l?] | walnote and sey ane p[[ate]r n[oste]r & amp;ane ane in the worship of god & Seynt Appolyne | and one crede and ley it to the sore tothe be twyne the lyppe & the gume. W[hethyr?] | it be beneth or aboffe. & let it ly ther one houre. whethyr he be slepyng or [?]): fol. 332v
6. “Boke of Kervyng & Nortur” (by John Russell; DIMEV 2556): fols. 333r-348r
Similar to d but with different system of links (view in DIMEV): I Gam II Va IVb III IVa(-link) Vb VIII VI VII IX X
Progress of Copying: 
The explicit for CkT and incipit for Gam read “Her endeth o tale of the Cooke & her folowyth a nother | tale of the same cooke” (fol. 66v). On fol. 175v, the scribe omits IV 1170 (the reference to the Wife of Bath), leaving a blank line. Fol. 176v has only the final five lines of the Envoy, with the rest of the page and probably the following leaf ([15].11, now missing) left blank. FkT begins at the top of fol. 168r, without incipit. CYT, PhT, and PdPro & T all have incipits and explicits written in the margin. At the end of PdT no explicit is provided, but a space of about fourteen lines is left blank (fol. 227v); ShT begins at the top of fol. 228r without incipit. The explicit to ShT and incipit for PrPro are in the text, but the explicit to PrPro and incipit for PrT are again in the margin (fol. 234v), as are the explicit for PrT and incipit for ThopPro (fol. 238r), the explicit for ThopPro and incipit for Thop (fol. 238v). Scribe 2 originally left half of fol. 241r and two-thirds of the verso blank. On the verso, he wrote “Here endithe the tale of sir thopas by Chaucer | and begynnythe þe p[ro]log of melibe & prudence,” followed by the Host’s interruption. On fol. 242v, the explicit and incipit are again in the gutter, and this format continues. At the end of NPT, the NP “Epilogue” is included in this MS (a feature of the a MSS), but is followed by MancPro.

Paper, 2°. Gilt edges.
For illustrations and analyses of the paper stocks in the manuscripts of the “Hammond Scribe” see also Mosser 2007.
Paper stock(s):
The Canterbury Tales section:
1. Bull’s head (“Tête de Boeuf”), similar to Briquet 15054 (1441-1445), centered between chainlines 3.8 cm apart. The mark is 6 cm long by ca. 4 cm at its widest point: fols. 1-272
2. Arms of Valencia (“Armoiries Deux Pals”), very similar to Briquet 2064 (1464), but each tip of the crown has a series of three circles (cf. Ad¹, Hl², and Ma: fols. 273-284
3. Scissors (“Ciseaux”), similar to Briquet 3694 (1433-34), but with different chainline widths and the detached element more upright; cf. Papiers Briquet 6622 (Catane 1463: SCISSORS.066.1). Cf. also Wasserzeichenkartei Piccard (Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart) “Shere – Scheidershere mit Beizeichen,” number 122557, Genova 1476. Chainlines are 3.5 and 3 cm apart, with the middle chainline bisecting the mark. The scissors element is 5 cm long: fols. 285-301
The remaining (later) portion of the volume:
5. Unicorn (“Licorne Simple”), closest to Briquet 10015 (Dijon 1448; group vars. 1440-50), but the tail is more like that of Briquet 10014 (Paris 1446) and 10024 (Cuy 1477). See also UNI.001 and UNI.002 in the Gravell Archive) from Caxton’s first edition of the Canterbury Tales (STC 5083, [1476/77]). Chainlines are 3.8 and 3.6 cm apart, and the relationship of the mark to the chains is as in Briquet 10015. Chainlines are 3.8 and 3.6 cm apart (this paperstock also occurs in Sl³): fols. 302-310
6. Unicorn (“Licorne Simple”), the twin of the preceding mark. Very close to Papiers Briquet 13247 (Saint-Omèr 1469).
7. Unicorn (“Licorne Simple”), near Briquet 9997 (1477-1478), but the mark is 9.4 cm long, while the Briquet mark is only 8.3 cm. Both have chainlines 3.6 cm apart, and the orientation is identical to the Briquet mark (very close to another paper stock used in Sl³; also similar to a paper stock found in Caxton’s Chronicles of England [STC 9991; 10 June 1480]): fols.311-316; 333-348
8. Anchor (“Ancre”), very near Piccard “Anker,” II.704-707 (1474-1478): fols. 327-332.
Page Size:  
28.3 x 20.8 cm (“Chancery”). Between fols. 285-311 the pages are very damaged, with up to half of some pages having been lost and patched with modern paper.
There are two foliations in CT: the older, starting at “51,” reflects the period during which the non-CT pieces were bound at the front, the more recent records the ordering in the current binding, which places those materials as fols. 302-348 at the back. The collation below follows the modern foliation.
[1]12 (–1) fols. 1-11
[2-12]12 fols. 12-143
[13]12 (–3) fols. 144-154
[14]12 fols. 155-166
[15]12 (–11) fols. 167-178
[16-19]12 fols. 179-226
[20]12 (–3) fols. 227-236
[21-25]12 fols. 237-296
[26]12 (–6-12) fols. 297-301
[27]10 (–10 [1 (fol. 302) attached to modern paper insert)] fols. 302-310
•The Shorter Pieces, formerly bound at the front•note
[27]4? fols. 311-314 (fol. 311r is blank)note
[a blank, modern unwatermarked folio]
[28]12 fols. 315-326
[29]6 fols. 327-332
[30]10 fols. 333-342
[31]? fols. 343-348 (There are six leaves remaining, with watermarks on fols. 344, 346, 347)
Margined in brown ink, unruled, single columns of 31-38 lines. The written space is approximately 20.5 x 13.5 cm. Tales are numbered in rubricated roman numerals at the top of the page, replacing the usual running heads. Catchwords on the final verso of gatherings of twelve. In fols. 1-167, rubricated incipits and explicits (not in the hand of the scribe), red capital strokes. After that, only ClT is rubricated. Painted blue initials of 3-4 lines, with red penwork mark tale beginnings. Lesser textual divisions are marked by small red initials and paraphs.
Scribe No. 1: fols. 1r-166v (the end of Q [14]). A mixed, primarily secretary hand, with tailed, horned g, single-compartment a (as well as a very tall two-compartment form), looped d, circular e, rolled-umbrella descenders on f, long s. Body height is 1.5-2 mm.
Scribe No. 2 is the Hammond Scribe: fols. 167r-301r, except 27 lines on fol. 241r, where a third hand takes over. Body height is 2 mm.
Scribe No. 3 supplies VII 886-917 on fol. 241r. Tailed g with a counter-clockwise hook on the tail, long final r, z-shaped r elsewhere, single-compartment a, a long tail on h that sometimes forms a complete loop, both looped and unlooped d. Body height is 2 mm.
Eighteenth-century, black, sewn on five bands, gilt-stamped with “G R II 1757” and the royal arms, the motto of the Order of the Garter, “HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE,” in gold. Two stiff, modern paper fly leaves at the front and two at the back.

Canterbury Tales section: s. XV3/4 (fols. 1r-301r: s. XV4/4)
For the language of Scribe 2 see the Language section of the Hammond Scribe article.
Scribe 1 is analyzed by Horobin, who suggests it is “likely that the Western features in the first scribe’s stint are part of his own repertoire, revealing his West Midland origins.” These features include mochell, yefe for IF, yette for YET, are for ERE (2003, p. 159). Kirby-Miller notes other -ar for -er spellings: saruede:resaruede (I 187-88); sartaynlye (I 204, III 486); hard for HEARD (I 221, IV 313); sarvyse (I 250, IV 114), etc. She also records the scribe’s regular spelling (nineteen times) of durre for DOOR, which she suggests “may have spread to some parts of the Midlands” from Scotland and the North. The present participle form -enge she records as “fairly regular” (1938, p. 70). LALME suggests this is a main form primarily in the East Midlands and East Anglia. Kirby-Miller concludes that: “If the u- spellings do not represent the scribe’s dialect but that of the c and cdx ancestors, it is probably impossible to assign the dialect to any definite area of the South or S. Central Midlands” (p. 71).
On fol. 97r is “Edward hale | Edward hale | ffinys.” In the gutter at the bottom of fol. 132v is “By me Thomas.” On fol. 148v is the inscription “Anthony fferre | his Bok amen | and so god saue | the Kinge | Amen.” On fol. 166r is “Thomas Are | Thomas.” “John Burgh” is written on fols. 311r (the blank recto that begins this booklet), 332r (where he declares his ownership: “Iohn Burgh[es] | Book” [repeated three times]). On fol. 322v is “Rob[ert] Brough” in a declaration. On fol. 338r is “Thomas yarburgh.” Manly-Rickert have identified John Burgh as a man from Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire (d. 1585), the son of Robert, who married Anne Yarborough (daughter of Christopher). On his death, John Burgh left some printed books to his cousin, Thomas Yarborough. The Lincolnshire provenance compels Manly-Rickert to identify Ry¹ as the “Gaunce Chaucer,” and to infer that the shorter pieces were bound together with the CT under his direction.
Somehow the MS got to John Theyer and from him to his grandson, Charles Theyer (Theyer sale catalogue no. 79: Warner 1921, p. 255), whose books were purchased by Charles II; they then went to the British Museum as part of the Royal Library in 1753.

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.
Hammond, Eleanor P. Chaucer: A Bibliographical Manual. 1908; rpt. New York: Peter Smith, 1933.  179-80.
Kirby-Miller, Wilma Anderson. “Scribal Dialects in the C and D Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.” Diss. University of Chicago, 1938. 70-2.
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. 1:476-84.
McCormick, Sir William and Janet E. Heseltine. The Manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933. 451-9.
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. 67-8.
Seymour, Michael C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts. Volume II, The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot and Brookfield: Scolar Press, 1997. 135-8.
Warner, Sir George F., & Julius P. Gilson. Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King’s Collections in the British Museum. Vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1921. 254-5.