London, British Library, Cotton Faustina A. v. "Bede's Death Song"

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Peter J. Lucas


191. London, British Library, Cotton Faustina A. v.

"Bede's Death Song"

[Ker 152, Gneuss- ]

HISTORY: This composite manuscript contains items that did not originally belong together. The collection was originally made up of this manuscript plus Dublin, Trinity College 114(115), but after dismemberment by Henry Savile the Elder (1547-1622), he gave Faustina to Thomas Allen (1542-1632) of Oxford in 1589, as recorded on f. Ir: 'Tho<mas> Allen ex Dono m<agist>r<i> Henrici Savelli 1589'. At the top of f. 3r the number "65" is a reference to the catalogue of his manuscripts (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Wood F. 26; Watson 1969: 33). Allen's name also occurs on f. 25r. Allen promised to give Faustina to Cotton, 30 April 1621 (as recorded by Cotton in BL Harley 6018, f. 150v). On f. 107v there occurs the name 'Matth. Patteson' (?16c). Table of Contents by Richard James (Cotton's librarian); f. 2r, annotated in right-hand margin by Humfrey Wanley (1672-1726) ('hoc cod. descripta . . .'). "Bede's Death Song" occurs in item 10, originally written at Durham (Mynors 1939: 61n.), as suggested by the marginal note with a pointing hand on f. 28r: 'codex s<an>c[t]i Cutberti'. A note at the top of f. 25r attributes the item (erroneously) to Turgot, prior of Durham Cathedral Priory (1087-1109). This manuscript, together with Durham, University Library, Cosin V. II. 6 (124), which contains corrections by Symeon of Durham himself (Gullick 1996), is an early witness of Symeon of Durham's "Historia Dunelmensis ecclesiae" (Rollason 1997: Introd., §i-ii); both originated in Durham and were evidently intended as de luxe copies. It has been suggested (Gullick 1996: n. 36) that Faustina (item 10) was made for Ranulf Flambard, bishop of Durham (1099-1128). Later, probably by ca. 1200, it went to the Cistercian abbey of BVM at Fountains, having the Fountains mark on f. 25r and the inscription: 'Liber s<an>c<t>e Marie de font(ibus)' (12/13c). On f. 97v there is the inscription 'Liber S<an>c<t>e Marie de Fon<tibus> ex dono Willi<elm>i de Coutton quond 'am' mon' a' chi de Fontib<us>' (14c). The Fountains ex libris also occurs on f. 13r. Item 11 may have been written in Winchester (M. Gullick, private communication, who compares Winchester Cathedral MS 2, Winchester College MS 5, BL Cotton Caligula A. viii, ff. 123vl2-124v, and Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 126 [SC 1990]).

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