London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra B. xiii Homilies; "Vita S. Dunstani" by B; Chronicle to 1305

Main Article Content

Jonathan Wilcox


185. London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra B. xiii

Homilies; "Vita S. Dunstani" by B; Chronicle to 1305

[Ker 144, Gneuss 322, 323]

HISTORY: Part 1 (ff. 1-58), containing OE homilies, was written by Exeter scribes associated with Bishop Leofric, who moved the see from Crediton to Exeter during his bishopric (1046-1072). I ts Exeter provenance was known to Richard James in the first half of the 17 c, perhaps reproducing a lost attribution by John Joscelyn (Ker, Cat., 184-85). There is abundant evidence that this part of the manuscript was in the hands of Archbishop Matthew Parker in early modem times: the table of contents on f. 1 v, covering only Part 1, is by one of his scribes; there is a note (now mostly lost through cropping) by his secretary, John Joscelyn, on f. 13r; the signature of his son, John Parker, is written in red pencil on f. 2r; while the "Lord's Prayer" and "Creed" on f. 58rv provide the text for his A Testimonie of Antiquitie (see Ker, Cat., 183-84). Part 1 was still a separate unit in an inventory of the books of John Parker probably drawn up in the 1580s, where it is described as 'Homiliae Saxonice posf (see Strongman 1977-1980: 18).

Part 2 (ff. 59-90) contains the revised version of the "Vita S. Dunstani" by ''B," copied in a hand of the first half of the 11 c from St. Augustine's, Canterbury. William ofMalmesbury records seeing a copy of the life there (see Stubbs 1874: xxix and the note by John Usher on f. 59r), and this manuscript was subsequently found at Canterbury, according to a note by John J oscelyn from August 1565 on f. 59r.

Part 3 (ff. 91-157) contains a chronicle attributed to Peter of Ickham, beginning with Bede and running to 1298 in the main hand, with a different hand continuing it to 1305, followed by further 13c annals in a different hand of the late 14c. The most likely candidate for joining the three parts of the manuscript is Sir Robert Cotton, into whose catalogue of 1621 (London, British Library, Harley 6018) it is entered as no. 70 (Ker, Cat., 185). A 19c binding (of September 1875, according to a note on f. [158]r) was replaced by a new binding in 1970, recorded in a penciled note on the inside back cover dated 24 April 1970.

Article Details

Manuscript Descriptions