Brut Chronicle (1415 Continuation)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 207
  • Dates of Creation
      15th century
  • Language of Material
      Middle English
  • Physical Description
      1 volume. iii + 123 + ii folios, foliated 1-77, 80, 78-9, 81-7, 89-124. As far as '103' the foliation is 16th-century. Dimensions: 272 x 200 mm. Collation of (1): 18 lacking 1 and 2, 2-88, 910 (ff. 63-72), 10 eleven (ff. 73-83), 1110 plus one leaf after 6 (ff. 84-95), 12 six (ff. 96-101: three outer bifolia), 13 two (ff. 102-3: first two leaves). Collation of (2): 14 three (ff. 104-6: last three leaves), 15-168, 17 three (ff. 122-4: first three leaves). 'Signatures in 1 of the usual late medieval kind: the first to be seen now is b 1 on f. 7, so the now missing first quire may have been outside the series beginning with a' (Ker). Medium of (1): vellum; medium of (2) paper; paper flyleaves. Binding: red morocco with elaborate gilt roll borders, 18th century, 'probably for Palmer' (Ker); 'HISTORY / OF / BRITTAIN' on the spine.

Scope and Content

Two incomplete manuscripts of the Brut Chronicle, the first on vellum, the second on paper, put together in or before 1749 to make a nearly complete Brut to 1415. The manuscript supplies additional details to the texts published by Brie.

Contents: (1) ff. 1-103, Brut Chronicle beginning imperfectly 'heir vnto the', ed. F.W.D. Brie, The Brut (see Bibliography below), p. 23 line 16. Ends imperfectly (f. 103v) 'Tormentours. ys more chame vnto Crystenmen and schewen' (Brie, p. 297 line 4). f. 98v ends 'of Sir Edward dethe hys' and f. 99r begins 'quarell' and ther Right title' (cf. edn., pp. 262, 275 line 30). The text often varies from that printed by Brie and tends to be shorter. The last remaining chapter is numbered 220 (chapter 226 in Brie). The leaves of quire 10 were at one time out of order, as the foliation shows and also signes de renvoi (end of 15th century) on ff. 77v, 79v and 80v. Item (1), unlike (2), has 15th-century references to the Polychronicon in the margins.

(2) ff. 104-124, Brut Chronicle beginning imperfectly 'Englond. The xx yer' (Brie, p. 297 line 11). Ends imperfectly in the story of Agincourt, 'And englisshe peple was dede yat day the duke of ȝorke and the erle of Sothfolke Sirr' Cam and sir Ric' lyȝtley. These ii knyghtes assemblet first in the batayll' and wer' slayne And of all' other' off englisshemen er' nacion yer' wer' not dede not passed xxxvi bodies thonket be Ihesu. Anone ye kynge' (cf. Brie, p. 379 lines 25-9). Brie's chapters 227-39 and 341-4 are here numbered '233'-'248' and '250'. The history of Richard II is abbreviated by the omission of the whole of Brie's chapter 240 (11-18 Richard II) on f. 116v and of part of his chapter 239 (here '245') on f. 116, where Brie, pp. 338:22-339:20 and pp. 339:30-340:29 do not occur.

Script: Both (1) and (2) are current, a mixture of gothic anglicana and secretary. Written space: (1): 172 x 130 mm. 27-32 long lines; (2): 220 x 130 mm. 40 long lines ruled with hard point.

Decoration: Item (1) contains 3-line initials alternating in red and blue, with penwork infill and flourishes in black and red respectively.

Other features: There are crude drawings of a swan or goose and of a fish in the upper margin of f. 37r.

Description derived from N.R. Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, Lampeter-Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 422-3. By permission of Oxford University Press.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library at the sale of the George Dunn Collection on 2 February 1913 for £10 10s, through the bookseller Percy Mordaunt Barnard of Royal Tunbridge Wells; invoice dated 25 February.

Custodial History

(1) Item 1 was perhaps in Lancashire in the 16th century: annotations include: 'By yt knowen... that I thomas dycconson of Eccleston wythin the countie of' (f. 19v); 'Thomas Heaton of Knowisley' [Knowsley] (f. 20r); 'Wyllyam Aston est possessor vjus lybry' (f. 47r), and signature 'Wyllyam Aston' (f. 78r); 'Willyam Wollsall' (f. 57r); 'Mr George ireland is a vantan [? - perhaps wanton] yonge man' (f. 77r) and 'Gorge Ireland ys' (f. 85r).

(2) Ralph Palmer (1712-55), barrister, of Little Chelsea. Inscribed 'Bibliotheca Palmeriana' and a note dated 30 July 1749 and signed 'Palmer' on f. ii. On Palmer see online catalogue records for British Library, Burney MSS 2 and 308, Brownhill (see Bibliography below), and Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, p. 732 footnote. Ralph Palmer (1712-55) has on occasion been confused with his namesake father (1668-1745/6).

(3) George Dunn (1865-1912), of Woolley Hall near Maidenhead. Inscribed 'G.D. Nov. 1899' on f. ii. Lot 440 in the Dunn sale of 2 February 1913.


Friedrich W.D. Brie, The Brut, or, the Chronicles of England, edited from Ms. Rawl. B 171, Bodleian Library, etc. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner for the Early English Text Society, 1906-8).

J. Brownbill, 'Palmers of Chelsea', The genealogists' magazine, vol. 2, no. 3 (1926), pp. 67-72.

N.R. (Neil Ripley) Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, Lampeter-Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 422-3.

G.A. (Godfrey Allen) Lester, The index of Middle English prose. Handlist 2, a handlist of manuscripts containing Middle English prose in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester and Chetham's Library, Manchester (Cambridge: Brewer, 1985), pp. 51-3.

Lister M. Matheson, The prose Brut: the development of a Middle English chronicle (Tempe, Arizona: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998).

Seymour de Ricci, English collectors of books & manuscripts (1530-1930) and their marks of ownership (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930); see footnote on pp. 48-9 on the Bibliotheca Palmeriana.

The Imagining History project website at Queen's University Belfast: