Cambridge Corpus Christi College 322 Werferth, Alfredian translation of Pope Gregory's "Dialogues"

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Peter J. Lucas


52. Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 322

Werferth, Alfredian translation of

Pope Gregory's "Dialogues"

[Ker 60, Gneuss 92]

HISTORY: A relatively compact and neat copy of the translation of Gregory's "Dialogues" made by Werferth at the behest of Alfred, perhaps before 893 (Budny 1997: 1.624; see also Godden 1997). Written by a single scribe in the second half of the l lc. An early provenance in Worcester (as most clearly demonstrated by Yerkes 1978a), in conjunction with paleographical similarities with Worcester manuscripts, namely Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 391 [57] (see Budny 1997: 1.625 and Crick in Gameson 2012: 184n47), and the textual affiliations of the OE "Dialogues" with other copies connected to Worcester (Yerkes 1986) has suggested a Worcester origin (e.g. Gameson 1999: no. 77, p. 63 and Johnson in Discenza and Szarmach 2015: 372); although this is not universally accepted (on this see Franzen 1991: 75, Godden 1997: 41-42 and Treharne 2009: 35-37), Worcester origin for the manuscript remains a real possibility. There can be little doubt that Corpus 322 was present in Worcester by the 12c if not before, because some Latin glosses in a small rather pointed hand of the 12c occur on f. 20, which Yerkes (1978) noted, were copied from Cambridge, Clare College 30, containing a later l lc copy of Gregory's "Dialogues" in Latin, which if not written in Worcester, was certainly there by the 12c. The book continued to be used in the 13c, when the originally missed out incipits and explicits for Books I-IV were added in red. At the top of f. lr there occurs the mark 'G 1', associated by James (1912: 2:138) with Bury St. Edmunds; later James considered the association 'open to grave doubt' (1926: 255). Since the letter G should stand for the author in Henry of Kirkstede's organization of the books there (Sharpe 1998: 207), the proposition is plausible (Gregory giving G), although the style of the 'G' does not match that of Henry of Kirkstede. The lists for Bury are printed in Sharpe et al. ( 1996: 43-98), and the only possibility would be no. 172 on p. 77, a copy of Gregory's "Dialogues" in Latin, a link that is so remote as to be discounted (so already Ker 1964: 22). The manuscript came into the possession of Matthew Parker, who probably had it rebound, adding a bifolium at the front with a 16c inscription on f. i verso that reads 'Werefrithus Ep(iscop)us Wigornensis I iussu JEluredi regis libros dialogor(um) I beati Gregory de latinitate in saxonilcam linguam transtulit. I Roger: Houeden' (taken from Roger of Hoveden's (d. 1201) 12c chronicle, Stubbs 1868-70: 1.41), and below that in a different shade of ink is written 'S.10:, being the number of the book in the list of those bequeathed to Corpus by Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-1575). A name written on f. ii verso in red crayon, possibly that of John Parker (1548-1619), the archbishop's son, has been erased (for discussion, see Budny 1997: 1.626). Came to the library of Corpus Christi College by Parker's bequest in 1575. The book may have been refurbished or rebound in 1748-50, and rebound in the 1950s (replacing a binding of the 18c) by John P. Gray, 1953-57. About the same time folio numbers were added in pencil in the top right-hand corner of recto leaves, together with quire numbers in the bottom right-hand corner on the first recto leaf of each quire.

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