London, British Library, Stowe 2 "Stowe Psalter" or "Spelman Psalter"

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Phillip Pulsiano


306. London, British Library, Stowe 2

"Stowe Psalter" or "Spelman Psalter"

[Ker 271, Gneuss 499] 

HISTORY: Dated by Ker (Cat.) to s. xi med., and by Sisam and Sisam (1959: 67) to 1050-1075, who also assign the psalter to southwestern England. Turner (1962) suggests that Le Havre Bibliotheque Municipale MS. 330 has a scribe or scribes in common with Stowe 2, and since Le Havre 330 is a product of New Minster (Winchester), Stowe 2 has been assigned to this center, although its gloss has not been firmly linked with any of the extant psalters produced at Winchester. The manuscript be­ longed to Sir Henry Spelman, but most of the work on the edition was completed by his son, John Spelman, and published in 1640. The manuscript later belonged to Thomas Astle (cl. 1803; British Library catalogue 1895: vol. 1, p. 2; see also Ker) and, according to Ker, to the Marquis of Buckingham and to Lord Ashburnham (cl. 1878). It was acquired by the British Library in 1883.


CODICOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION: Leaves measure 280 x 175 mm., with a writing grid of 225 x 135 mm. The text is ruled for twenty lines and for a gloss, except for quire I and the beginning of quire II (where the ruling for a gloss begins at f. 11v). Arrangement of the leaves is generally HFHF. Leaves are thick and stiff. Brown ink is used for the gloss and Latin text; titles are in red. Folios show two sets of numbers: the first in ink, numbered 1-182, but crossed out; the second, in pencil, numbered 1-180. The difference in numbering can be attributed to the loss of two leaves after f. 122, breaking off at Ps. 106.16 confregit and beginning again mid-verse at Ps. 108.7 [con]uellem (f. 123r); the loss of the leaves occurred after Spelman worked with the manuscript, since the missing portion is included in his 1640 edition. The original gloss has been erased in psalms 1 (except for part of v. 1), 2 (except for be of becomon in v. 2 and portions of the gloss in vv. 12-13), 4 (first five words), 9.39, 10, 11.2-3 proximum, 22.4-6, 23.1-2 (in part), and in the canticles, ff. 167v, 168r, and 178v (see Kimmens 1979: xxii). Other erasures appear elsewhere throughout the psalms. In most cases, over the erasures an unidentified 16c hand has added an OE gloss. Major divisions within the psalter are marked by elaborate initials, and occur at ff. 1r (Ps. 1: Beatus vir), 56r (Ps. 51: Quid gloriaris), and 111v (Ps. 101: Domine exau­ dt). Crudely-drawn ornaments and animals occur at ff. 43r, 87v, 90v, 96r, and 168v; pen-trials occur at ff. lr, 35r, 48r, 116r, 154v (alphabet), 162v, and 180rv. The name Kateryn Rudston is written in the bottom margin of f. 9r in a 16c hand that can be seen elsewhere in the codex (e.g., "Kater," f. 53r). Rudston also seems to be responsible for number­ ing psalm-verses into Ps. 9 (ending on f. 9r). As a result of the rubrica­ tor's use of green ink, letters that have been "eaten away" occur com­ monly. The poor condition of f. 1r suggests that the manuscript stood unbound, although it is not certain that the manuscript ever contained a calendar and prefatory matter. Colored initials are in blue, green, red, and purple. Stitching with colored thread (brown or, less often, blue) can be seen on ff. 1, 13, 15, 40, 75, 77, 89, 113, 134, and 138. Small tabs are attached to three leaves: f. 77rv (".3." on verso, "lib" on recto), f. 101r ("lib"), and f. 122r ("lib"). Numerous pencil marks occur throughout the psalter, and some glosses are added in pencil. Slashes, brackets, and asterisks, along with large letters and numbers (e.g., C4 [f. 6r], CS [f. 6v], C6 [f. 7r], Dl [8r], etc., visible to P on f. 51r), suggest that the psalter was probably collated with another text, although this text has not been identified. Late (14c?) versicles and antiphons are added in the margins. F. 10r shows that the erasures of the original Old English gloss were done before the marginalia was added, since the erasures extend beneath the added matter. The name Henry Spelman (Henrid Spelman) is written on ff. 1r and 180v, the latter of which bears an imprimatur dated May 17, 1638. Modern flyleaves, blank except for the first, which notes examination of the manuscript in April 1893. Bound in leather (17c), with tooled borders.

COLLATION: Ff. iii+ 180 + v. I8 (ff. 1-8), II8 (ff. 9-16), III8 (ff. 17- 24), IV8 (ff. 25-32), V8 (ff. 33-40), VI8 (ff. 41-48), VII6+1 (ff. 49-55; f. 53 is an added leaf after 4), VIII8 (ff. 56-63), IX8 (ff. 64-71), X8 (ff. 72-79), Xl8 (ff.80-87), XII8 (ff. 88-95), XIII8 (ff.96-103), XIV8 (ff. 104-111), XV8 (ff. 112-119), XVJ8 (wants 4and 5) (ff. 120-125; 2 leaves lost after f. 122), XVII8 (ff. 126-133), XVIII8 (ff. 134-141), XIX8 (ff. 142- 149), XX8 (ff. 150-157), XXI8 (ff. 158-165), XXll8 (ff. 166-173), XXI­II10 (wants 8, 9, 10) (ff. 174-180; three leaves wanting after fol. 180).

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