Cambridge, University Library Gg. 3. 28 Ælfric, "Catholic Homilies" I & II, "De temporibus anni;' etc.

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Jonathan Wilcox


95. Cambridge, University Library Gg. 3. 28

Ælfric, "Catholic Homilies" I & II,

"De temporibus anni;' etc.

[Ker 15, Gneuss 11]

HISTORY: A complete set of Ælfric's Catholic Homilies I followed by Catholic Homilies II, each preceded by prefaces, and augmented with a few additional works by Ælfric. The production of this manuscript can be dated and perhaps localized by the handwriting and contents. The main scribe is dated by Ker (Cat., p. 13) to the end of the 10c or beginning of the 11 c, while the editor of the second series of Ælfric's Catholic Homilies observes of its contents: "limitation to works by Ælfric, all belonging to the same early period in his career, together with [its] remarkable faithfulness to Ælfric in text and arrangement, its inclusion of the prefaces and other personal addresses, such as the Ammonitio, the note De Sancta Maria and the Excusatio Dictantis, and the early date of the script all suggest that [Gg. 3. 28] is either a product of Ælfric's own scriptorium or a remarkably faithful copy of such a manuscript" (Godden 1979: xliii). If a product of Ælfric's own scriptorium, then Gg. 3. 28 was written at Cerne Abbas, Dorset, which is also the presumed place of production ofLondon, BL Royal 7 C. xii [291]. Wherever Gg. 3. 28 was written, it subsequently travelled to Durham. It may have moved there by the 12c in view of a reference to "Omeliaria uetera duo" among the "Libri anglici" listed in a catalogue of Durham Cathedral Priory from the third quarter of the 12c (Durham Cathedral Library 1838: 5). It was certainly there by the time a late-medieval Durham press-mark was added at the head of f. 1 r: 'la. Si. l'. A strip of parchment 120 x 15-20 mm. has been removed from the top of f. 1 and Ker speculates that this is likely to have contained a Durham ex-libris (Cat., p. 21).

In addition to fairly frequent corrections by the main hand, there are scattered further corrections and additions throughout the manuscript which suggest Anglo-Saxon use but are hard to date or localize (Ker, Cat., p. 13, suggests the handwriting is 11c and 12c). Such corrections and additions are more frequent in two pieces: item 62 (ÆCHom II, 19, ff. 196r-199v) and item 82 (ÆCHom II, 39, ff. 248v-25lr). Some alterations appear to provide evidence for dialectal displacement, such as the corrections on f. 59r of'abryð' to 'abreoð' (line 5), 'ende' to 'cende' (line 9), and 'forwyrned' to 'forwerned' (line 15), or the gloss 'gyue' for 'sylene' at f. 20lr/12 and 'egean' for '6gan' at 20lv/10. Such changes might reflect the move to Durham.

Evidence of early modern ownership confirms the earlier Durham provenance. The top of f. 1 r includes the signature of Leonard Pilkington ( written as 'Leo. | pylkyngton'), prebendary of Durham 1567-1599. While his brother, James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham, gave a sequence of manuscripts to Cambridge University Library in 1574, Gg. 3. 28 is not listed among them; instead the book passed by unknown means into the collection of Cambridge University Library sometime between 1593 and 1600 (see Oates 1986: 100-1, who rebuts the speculation of Henel 1942: xxiv-x:xix). Numerous entries show that this manuscript received considerable attention from early modern and modern scholars. A table of contents on two smaller-format paper leaves at the beginning of the manuscript (ff. ii and iii) lists the contents, presented as 109 items, identifying rubrics throughout the manuscript in relation to the old pagination. In this table of contents, cross references have been added in a different hand to homilies that also occur in Cambridge, Trinity College B. 15. 34 (80]; table item 19, 'In Letania Maiore; is accordingly listed as 'Trin. Col. p. 118: In addition, a different hand has inserted cross-references to Cambridge, University Library Ii. 4. 6 [101]; in this case item 19, 'In Letania Maiore; occurs on f. 459. Further listings from CUL Ii. 4. 6 are provided on f. i verso. Other hands provide a heading at f. 2r, 'Sermones Elfrici Saxonice: and add to the existing rubric of PRAEFATIO on f. 1v/10 the additional identification 'De I Aelfrico', beside which another hand adds the neater if redundant 'Præfatio'.

The manuscript was used by William L'Isle (1569?-1637; see Pulsiano 2000: 191) and there is a reference to L'Isle's reprinting of Parker's edition of ÆCHom II, 15 at the head of f. lr. The early modern making good of the manuscript's text is most visible in a major addition by Abraham Whelock (1593-1663), librarian of Cambridge University Library from 1629 and first lecturer of Anglo-Saxon from 1638. He provides the missing beginning of item 32, JECHom I, 30, from Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 188 [37] on eight paper leaves inserted between ff. 94 and 97. He also provided the extensive subject index on eight paper endleaves (at ff. iv recto-vii verso, part of ix verso, x verso-xi recto) and in the blank space on one of the pastedowns taken from a 13c psalter (f. xiii verso), using the earlier pagination. He is probably also responsible for the transcription of item 1, the Latin preface to ÆCHom I, on f. ix recto/1-ix verso/5 and for many of the annotations and cross-references within the text.

There are further contributions by still later hands. C ross-references in pencil are common (e.g. ff. 24v, 45r, etc), along with pencilled underlining and recording of an unclear reading (e.g. 'his' underlined in text and repeated in margin at f. 77v/11 ) or pencilled glosses ( e.g. f. 36v/ 17 and 18). A pencilled hand also provides quire signatures and information about missing leaves.

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