Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 557

Main Article Content

A. N. Doane


63. Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 557

(with 153 Lawrence, Kansas, Kenneth Spencer Research Library Pryce MS C2:1) Fragments of "Legend of the Holy Cross before Christ"

[Ker 73, Gneuss 117]

HISTORY: Two narrow strips from a single leaf containing an early to mid- 11c OE version of "The Legend of the Holy Cross before Christ" are preserved in the Corpus Christi College Library. Most of another leaf from the same manuscript and text is preserved in Lawrence, Kansas, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, Pryce MS C2:1 [153] (formerly MS Y 103). The only other copy of this work is in a late OE/ early ME version ("xii2", Ker, Cat. : 368) in Oxford, BodleianLibrary, Bodley 343 [359], ff. 14v-20v (ed. Napier 1894). The Kansas leaf is here designated Fragment 1 and the Corpus strips are designated Fragment 2:1 and 2:2. Corpus Fragment 2:2 was found in 1936, in the leather binding of Johannes Carion, Chronicon (Basel, 1563, 1568; first reported by Ker 1940). Corpus Fragment 2:1 was found in the early 1950s in the parchment binding of Donatus Gotvisus, Fides Iesu et Iesuitarnm (Christlingre, 1573). Both books are from the library of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-1575), and passed to Corpus Christi College in 1575. The Parkerian bindings date from the 1570s (see Page, Budny, and Hadgraft 1995: 502-4). Ker, from photographs of the Kansas leaf, recognized the identity of the hand of the three fragments (Ker, p.c., 4 July 1961, to B. Colgrave; see Colgrave and Hyde 1967: 61-62; also Ker, "Suppl.": 122). There are annotations on all three fragments by the distinctive "tremulous Worcester hand" of the early 13c. Following Ker's initial observation (1940: 84) of a resemblance between the scripts ofFragment 2.2 and of Scribe 9 of CCCC MS 198 (ff. 367r-374v), and given the similar formats and shared glosses by the "tremulous Worcester hand," Colgrave and Hyde (1962: 77) suggested that the fragments were once bound with MS 198 or "a similar manuscript which has since disappeared." The two fragments were mounted in a paper frame by V. S. Stoakley in 1952. This arrangement proving unstable, Nicholas Hadgraft in 1991-1992 created a butterfly pressure mount made of acid-free board with fitted recesses for each fragment. As mounted and photographed, the presentation is somewhat confusing: 2.2 is above 2.1, inverting the relative position of the fragments on their original leaf, and 2.2 is reversed (verso to front).

Article Details

Manuscript Descriptions