The writing of the manuscript:
|Note: this section will be revised in the light of the study of the decoration
and illuminations, which is in progress.
The manuscript consists of 322 leaves, measuring 305 x 207mm. They are numbered in ink in the bottom right-hand corner of the recto, or front, of the leaf in what seems to be a seventeenth-century hand. This foliation ignores the Calendar and begins on the first leaf of the text (current foliation, 12r). The numbers on some leaves are repeated: 22 (32r, 36r), 34 (48r, 49r) and 234 (248r, 249r). A skeleton foliation, in pencil in the top right-hand corner of the recto side, was applied when the gatherings of the manuscript (below) were collated.
The manuscript comprises 40 gatherings of leaves. The first is un-numbered; James refers to it as #a. The remaining 39 are numbered in pencil #1-25, 27-40. James does not seem to have noticed the omission of #26 and refers to the series as #1-40. Gathering #a contains ten leaves (folios 2r-11v). The rest contain eight: so gathering #1 comprises folios 12r-19v, and so on. There are three exceptions: #14 (116r-124v) has an extra leaf; #25 (205r-211v) has lost its third leaf; and #40 (316r-322v) has lost its final leaf.
Gathering #a contains the Calendar; gatherings #1-39, the text. Four prominent sections of the text begin by design on the first leaf of a new gathering: Salutations to the Holy Trinity, #4 (36r); Devotions to the Virgin Mary, #10 (84r); the Psalter, #15 (125r); The Office of the Virgin Mary, #32 (252r).
The gatherings have signatures, which were applied so that their leaves could be arranged in the correct order. These combinations of numbers and letters were written on the first four, or sometimes five, leaves. Although many of the signatures have been lost as the leaves were trimmed, enough survive to show that there were three series, possibly used at successive rebindings. Series A appears in the top right-hand corner of the recto side of the leaf and runs ai, aii, aiii, aiiii, and x and bi etc in alternate gatherings; it occurs in gatherings #9, #14-25, #27-8, #35-6, #38-9. Series B, in the same corner, comprises successive letters of the alphabet, each with the numerals i-iiii; it occurs in #12, #14-5, #19-23, #35-7. Series C appears in the bottom right-hand corner and runs 1-4 in arabic numerals; it occurs in #4, #9, #12, #17-23, #25, #27-30, #32, #36. Most of the gatherings end with catchwords, which ensured that the gatherings were arranged in the correct order. They can be found on the verso, or back, of the final leaf of gatherings #1-2, #2-8, #12-25, #27-30, #32-39.
The ruling of the leaves
The leaves of the gatherings were pricked at the sides for ruling: traces can still be seen in gatherings #13, #15, #17-31 and #34. The lines themselves were drawn in red ink: the standard layout can be seen on the unwritten leaves 33-35. Gatherings #1-39 were with one exception ruled for 21 lines of text, giving a written space of 175 x 115mm. The exception was #11, which was ruled for 20 lines, 165 x 115 mm. The written space is generally filled. The exceptions are on leaves 12v, 22v, 23v, 25v, 27r, 28r, where sets of devotions end, leaving insufficient space for the miniature which precedes the next set; 60r, 83v, 141r, 280r and 280v, where spaces were left to allow the next section of the text to begin on a new gathering; 99v, where the scribe began the long prayer Ave mundi spes on the next leaf, to allow space for decoration; and folio 321r, where the whole text ends.
James describes the script as 'French-Flemish' and praises its quality. It is a formal Gothic book script, littera miniscula gothica textualis quadrata libraria. The forms of the letters are sufficiently consistent in form and size (average body-height, 5mm) to suggest that it may be the hand of a single scribe. A smaller, more compressed version (body-height 3mm or less) is used for the texts of verses (first occurrence, 20r), antiphons and responses (253r). Letters in the first and last lines of some leaves are elongated and elaborated to compensate for the absence of other decoration (eg 47v, 48r).
The text was rubricated either by the scribe himself, or one of his colleagues, who highlighted in red ink significant portions, phrases and words. These included introductions to prayers (first occurrence, 12r), biblical quotations (70r), headings within hymns (84r), verses within hymns (87r), liturgical instructions (116v), titles of prayers (247r); words such as Oracio (22v), Pater noster and Ave Maria (62r), Respice (77v); and the key words of the liturgy, Invitatorium, Psalmus etc (252r - 254v). Instructions to the rubricator or notes of omissions by him occur frequently in the Litany with collects (first occurrence, 247r). Alterations to, and insertions in the rubrics are generally in black ink (eg 64v, 291r).
The principal punctuation marks are: a point on the line, probably with the value of a full stop; a point midway above the line, probably with the value of a comma; and a hyphen, represented by two hairline strokes. Other marks, used most widely in the Psalter itself, are a colon, separated by two faint strokes and a question mark, in the form of an inverted semi-colon. Faint points on the line, apparently with the value of commas, are used briefly (first occurrence, 74r). For the representation of punctuation marks in the transcription, see below, Editorial Note.
Errors by the scribe
Common errors by the scribe include words repeated, vite vite (15r); words begun in error, p for puer (31v), e for enim (102v), e for est (300v); words omitted, et concede (41r), per gloriosam, in laudem, (55v), est (315r); superfluous words and letters, possuim for possim (70v), partes for parte (266v), est with proxima est (309r); letters with a superfluous stroke, giving residivo for residuo (88v), vva for via (114v); similar words confused, populo with proprio (43r), calumpnis with columpnis (111r), nati iram with naturam (104v), ablactatus with ablatus (296v); and words reversed in order, o tu for tu o (316v). Some errors conflict with syntax, virginale for virginali (106v), nullus for nulla (298v); others with scansion, in for Ihesu (106r). These errors were all noted either at the time of writing, or when the text was checked, and were corrected. Others were not, including entire phrases which the scribe had misunderstood: premundavit preaptavit for Primum David praeoptavit (104r); castra Sinamitis for casta Sunamitis (106v).
The text was checked either by the scribe himself or a colleague. Errors were indicated and in most cases corrected. The process can be illustrated from the corrections noted above and from the following, additional examples.
Errors were usually indicated by discreet crosses in the margin, as for the correction of peccatum and periculum (41r), merito (47v), peccatore and ad te (48r). They were sometimes accompanied by the correct wording, as for the insertion of cordis (37r). Corrections were made by cancelling a letter or word by erasure: virginem (17r) and angele, ministerii (17v), where erasures on both sides have weakened the leaf; before cupio (280v), where the erased space has been left unfilled; in requiem (316r), where the r has been written over an erased letter. Letters were also cancelled by expunctuation, where the incorrect letter(s) are dotted; dulcedo (37r), redempcionem (118r), ad te (308r). An alternative form of expunctuation, using a triangular group of dots, marks Ecce (20r) and intimis (25r). Finally, words were sometimes crossed out: ut (44v), in (106r), Genuflectendo (313r).
The correct letters or words were generally written, as in requiem (316r), over erasures: longe (29r), inversio (123r), permittas (319v). Alternatively, they were created by altering existing letters: Marie (118v), irritus (317v). Some were inserted: et concede (41r) and Stando (306r) were written in the margin with an insertion mark in the line of text; O (314v) was inserted on the line; e in deiecisti (16v), i in adiuvare (103r), sopita (290v) and dum (295r) were inserted above the line. Faint strokes were used to separate words: dimittam and adversum (274r; doubled strokes were used to transpose words in the text: encium, quid (41v).
The numbers on folio 12r are of leaves containing miniatures and decorated initials. The note on 211r indicates to the illuminator the subject of the decorated initial. The prayers and verses relating to St Thomas of Canterbury (258r) have been scored out. The purpose of the crosses in ink which appear intermittently in the margins (simple, first occurrence, 24v; elaborated, 40r) is uncertain.
The earliest recorded binding is described by James. Later rebindings are described in the Binder's Note at the end of the volume (below).