Dublin, Trinity College, 492 (E. 2. 23) "Bede's Death Song"

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Peter J. Lucas


117. Dublin, Trinity College 492 (E. 2. 23)

"Bede's Death Song"

[Ker 104, Gneuss -]

HISTORY: This manuscript, written by a single hand of the mid 12c, is very regular, with a clear unified structure. The hand has been identified with that of the first hand ("upright, fine and regular") in Cambridge, Pembroke College 72, vol. 1 (McLachlan 1986: 262, 304), and both belonged to the Benedictine abbey of St. Edmund at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (Ker 1964: 16-19). On f. lr there occurs the Bury class-mark "B.296" (number visible only under UV light), "B" standing for Beda. It is very possible that both manuscripts were written there. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1539) the manuscript presumably left Bury, and its provenance became unknown. Roberts and Watson (1990: 117, item no. M60) report that TCD 492 was proposed inter alia by M. R. James as the copy of "Beda de gestis Anglorum" in the catalogue of manuscripts belonging to John Dee (1527-1608), but there is no proof of Dee's ownership. Later the manuscript came to Trinity College, Dublin, via James Ussher (1581-1656), archbishop of Armagh; Ussher acquired over a dozen of Dee's manuscripts (Roberts and Watson 1990: 65), but he also acquired manuscripts from many other sources (O'Sullivan 1956).

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