Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 132

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HIGDEN, POLYCHRONICON
England, s. XIVmed
1. ff. 1-281: Prologus primus in historiam policronicam, Post preclaros arcium scriptores quibus circa rerum noticiam aut morum modestiam dulce fuit…[f. 2v:] Prefacio secunda ad historiam, Recitantur hic auctorum nomina de quibus hec potissime abstracta est Cronica…[f. 3:] Prefacio tercia ad historiam, Et quia presens cronica multorum temporum continet gesta…[f. 3:] Prefacio quarta [corrected from tercia] ad historiam, Satagentibus igitur plenam historie noticiam apprehendere utile foret…[f. 4v, Map of the world; f. 5, Text:] De orbis dimensione. Priscianus in cosmografia, Ex senatus consultu censuit Iulius cesar…utrimque discessum est.
C. Babington and J. R. Lumby, eds., Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden monachi cestrensis. RS 41 in 9 volumes (London 1865-86) through 8:336 line 15. This manuscript in Ranulf Higden’s hand represents his final recension of the Polychronicon, and is essentially what was printed as the E text; see V. H. Galbraith, “An Autograph Manuscript of Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon,” HLQ 23 (1959-60) 1-18 with plate of f. 281 and other small portions, J. Taylor, The Universal Chronicle of Ranulf Higden (Oxford 1966) esp. 92-96, and A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England (London 1982) 2:44-45 and pl. 2.
2. f. 281r-v: Additions to the Polychronicon, 1340-48, evidently in Higden’s hand; 3 to 4 variations in ink color suggest that they were not copied continuously (RS 41, 8:336-346); a final entry, for 1352 (RS 41, 8:407): Dies sancti Nicolai obiit papa Clemens vius…magna carestia rerum plumbi ferri stagni eris clavorum lignorum canabi lini et specierum. [ff. 282-283v, ruled, but blank] 3. ff. 284-293v: [Alphabetical subject index referring to book and chapter] Abraham lib. 2 chap. 10; Abdon dux israel lib. 2 cap. 25; Abessa dux israel lib. 2 cap. 24; de abendon monasterio lib. 5 cap. 12…de christi etate et operibus lib. 4 cap. 5; de christi passione lib. 4 cap. 6; de Zenone Imperatore lib. 5 cap. 3; de Zorobabel lib. 3 cap. 10. 4. f. 294: [Note by Higden on the 5 ages of the world] Prima etas ab adam…secundum verissimam [sic, but traced over the original script] vc xc vi. [ff. 294v-309v, blank]
Parchment (poorly finished), ff. iii (medieval parchment) + 309; 264 × 174 (205 × 124) mm. i4(1 is pastedown) 114(-1, 10 through 13, ff. 9-12, replaced) 214(-10 and 11, f. 23, replaced) 3-712 812(-6 after f. 92) 9-2312 244(+ 2, f. 279 and + 4, f. 281) 2510(+ 1) 2610 276(6 is pastedown); catchwords in red frames. 33-38 long lines, frame ruled in lead, pricking in slash form at the 4 corners of the written space. Written by Higden in a round anglicana script. On f. 4v, a colored, but rather faded oval map of the world with Jerusalem at the center, the ocean encircling the outer edge, and Adam and Eve at the top with the serpent in the tree; also at the top, 2 grotesque heads, possibly added, in the position of wind-heads. In the lower margin of f. 48, 2 elevations of the Ark, in red ink, according to Augustine and to “others.” 4- to 1-line plain red initials; sources cited, including himself as “R,” in red; red paragraph marks. From the beginning of quire 5, 2 vertical columns in the outer margins ruled in red ink for dates of the calendar and the regnal year. On each page, running headlines of the book number in the center and the chapter number in the inner margin. Bound, s. XVmed or ex, probably at St. Werburg, in doeskin stained pink over bevelled oak boards; sewn on 5 bands; remains of 2 fore edge straps closing to pins on the back cover; on the rear pastedown, a note on the cost of the binding: “In leddur hongre ii d; In whyte threde ii d; ii new bordes i d; ii skynys of parchement viii d; A skyn of redlather ii d; In blac sylke and greyne i d ob; In glw ob; ii claspys ii d; summa totalis xix d”; see G. Pollard, “Describing Medieval Bookbindings,” in Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays presented to Richard William Hunt, ed. J. J. G. Alexander and M. T. Gibson (Oxford 1976) 51-52, n. 2. Written by Ranulph Higden at St. Werburg, Chester, between 1299 and his death in 1363-64. Belonged to St. Werburg’s; Ker, MLGB, p. 50; bottom of f. 294, which may have contained an ex libris, is cut away. On f. 294v an erased valuation, s. XIV/XV, “10 l, xix s, iiii d.” On f. 183, s. XV or later, “Ricardus abbas monasterii Sancte Werburge,” referring to Richard Seynesbury, abbot 1349-63. On f. i, heavily cancelled, “Liber E<?> Richford [?].” On the rear pastedown, s. XVImed or ex, “Iste liber pertinet beare it well in mynde/ Ad me Georgium Savagium Boothe curteyes and kynde/ A penis inferni Iehesu him bringe/ Ad gaudia celestia to everlastinge ioye. Amen” (Hanna, “Addenda,” n. 25), and again, “By me George Savage.” George Savage was appointed chancellor of the cathedral of Chester in 1541, a year after St. Werburg’s was dissolved. Owned by Sir Thomas Phillipps, his MS 20712 (slip with number on spine; stamp and number on f. i). Phillipps sale, 5 June 1899, lot 698. Acquired in July 1900 by George Dunn (1865-1912) of Woolley Hall with his bookplate and pencilled note on front pastedown; his sale, Sotheby’s, 11 February 1913, lot 512 with plate of the map on f. 4v to Edwards. A typewritten description of this manuscript attributed to William Morris retained in Library files, but there is no indication that the manuscript ever belonged to him. Acquired February 1918 from Herschel V. Jones (1861-1928) of Minneapolis by Henry E. Huntington.
Secundo folio: laboribus acutorum
Bibliography: De Ricci, 55. Aspects of Medieval England n. 17, open at f. 32.
Abbreviations
Aspects of Medieval England
Aspects of Medieval England: Manuscripts for Research in the Huntington Library, an Exhibition prepared for the Medieval Academy of America, 14 April 1972 [San Marino 1972]
De Ricci
S. De Ricci, with the assistance of W. H. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York 1935-37; index 1940)
Hanna, “Addenda”
R. Hanna, “The Index of Middle English Verse and Huntington Library Collections: a Checklist of Addenda,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74 (1980) 235-58
HLQ
Huntington Library Quarterly
Ker, MLGB
N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain (London, 2nd ed. 1964)
RS
Rolls Series

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
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