London, British Library, Cotton Vespasian A. xxii Chronicles; Homilies

Main Article Content

Jonathan Wilcox


240. London, British Library, Cotton Vespasian A. xxii

Chronicles; Homilies

[Ker p. xix, Gneuss - ]

HISTORY: Vespasian A. xxii comprises various parts written in the 12-13c, mostly connected with Rochester. Watson comments that "[t]he whole book of 129 fols. is from Rochester" (1979: 108), and Richards describes the collection as "probably all copied at Rochester, in various hands, from the late 12th to the middle of the 13th century" (1978: 97). A 14c ownership inscription at the foot of the first page of the manuscript (f. 2r/22-23) places it in . Rochester at that time: 'Liber .ii. de <con>suetud<inibus> ecc<lesi>e Roff<e>n<sis> p<er> b<e>n<e>dictu<m> mo<na>chu<m> | que<m> q<u>i alien-au<er>it anathema sit. amen', corresponding to a prominent '.II.' written at the head of the leaf in a medieval hand.

A small collection of late OE homilies was inserted into this Latin miscellany at an unknown time. The dialect of the homilies is "South-Eastern strongly affected by Kentish" with a considerable survival of older spellings from a WS original (Hall 1920: 276), suggesting they were probably copied at Rochester. They are written in a hand of the beginning of the 13c and are in the transitional language of late OE or early ME. The theme of the collection "is the necessity of faith and obedience to God, spelled out in simple terms" (Richards 1979: 23-24).

The book passed through the hands of William Lambarde (d. 1601), who signed a note beneath the inscription on f. 2r 'W L 1598'. Robert Cotton's name, 'Ro. Cotton Bruceus', is written at the foot off. 2r over an earlier name or monogram, now illegible, and the book is in a binding with Cotton's coat of arms on the outside. An alternative classmark, 'IX B', is written at the head of f. lr in a different hand from the heading 'Vespasian A 22'.

Article Details

Manuscript Descriptions