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Ref No IE TCD MS 631
Former Shelf Marks Lyon: E.5.19
Bernard: 301
Foley: [G.6]
c1670: [H.1.3]
Title Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, etc.
Creation Dates [1563-1610]
Extent And Medium Paper; 117 leaves
Level Of Description Collection
Scope And Content This composite manuscript consists of four parts that were produced separately in England, written between the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The first part (1-21) contains a copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The second part (22-90) contains a collection of scientific and astrological texts. The third part (91-100) contains a letter from John Dee to William Camden. The fourth part (101-117) contains an anonymous anti-Catholic tract in English.

Folios 1-21: (1) A copy dated 1563-1564 of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (G-text) from the beginning to AD 1002, transcribed from London, British Library, Cotton MS Otho B XI by William Lambarde: Er cristis geflescnesse sixti ?intra gaius iulius se casere - þingode ond hie namon frið. 21v left blank, and followed by unfoliated blank bifolium. The text of the Cotton manuscript chronicle was printed in A. Wheelock (ed.), 'Historiae ecclesiasticae gentis Anglorum libri V' of Bede the Venerable (Cambridge, 1644) 503-62, but all except three leaves were destroyed in the Ashburnham House fire of October 1731, so this transcript by Lambarde is a significant source for research.

Folio 22: (2) List of Roman consulships: C. Iulius C.F.C.N. Cæsar. / M. Calpurnius Biblius [two lines bracketed] - C. Iulius C.F.C.N. Cæsar. V.I.P. Cornelius Dolabella / M. Antonius M.F.M.N. [two lines bracketed].

Folio 22v: (3)-(6) Geomantic figures with Latin names and descriptions for use in divination: 'In geomantia sunt 254 questiones'. Figures presented in four groupings, labelled as follows: (3) Octo figure bonae; (4) Octo male inferiores; (5) figure exeuntes; (6) Intrantes.

Folios 23-27: (7) Excerpts relating to the preparation of pigments, in three parts:

(a) 23-24: Heraclius (attributed), De coloribus et artibus Romanorum (Book 1, chapters 2-7) in verse: Flores in uarios qui uult mutare colores - facies ursi cum dente fricari. Excerpt begins with title, 'Clauicula Mappae / De fluribus ad scribendum' (H. Roosen-Runge (ed.), 'Farbgebung und Technik frühmittelalterlicher Buchmalerei: Studien zu den Traktaten 'Mappae Clavicula' und 'Heraclius'' (Munich, 1967); M.P. Merrifield (ed.), 'Original Treatises Dating from the XIIth to XVIIIth Centuries on the Arts of Painting' 1, (London, 1849), 185-191; L. Thorndike and P. Kibre, 'A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin', second edition, Mediaeval Academy of America, (Cambridge, MA, 1963), 566).

(b) 24-26v: Heraclius (attributed), De coloribus et artibus Romanorum (Book 2 onwards) in prose: Rogatus a te, frater A., de hedera dicam - De azure. Accipe uas uitreum' retrahe eum. Excerpt begins with title, 'De colore qui et auripigmento similis' (J.C. Richards, 'A New Manuscript of Heraclius', in 'Speculum', 15, no. 3 (1940), 255-371: 263-267; Merrifield, o.c., 199).

(c) 26v-27: Mappae clavicula (excerpt of opening text), in prose: Si uis facere uermiculum, accipe ampullum uitream - De minio albo et rubro. Sic fac minium album et rubrum. Accipe plumbeas tabulas - refrigeratum sit dimitte. Explicit expliceat, ludere scriptor eat. Added by scribe: Cornu combure et quod ex eo adustum fuerit - colorem auri habebit (T. Phillipps, 'Letter from Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F.R.S., F.S.A., addressed to Albert Way, Esq., Director, communicating a transcript of a MS. Treatise on the preparation of Pigments, and on various processes of the Decorative Arts practised during the Middle Ages, written in the twelfth century, and entitled Mappæ Clavicula', in 'Archaeologia', 32, issue 1 (1847), 183-244: 187-188; C.S. Smith and J.G. Hawthorne, 'Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques', Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (1974) [occupies whole issue]; L. Thorndike and P. Kibre, 'A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin', 1470).

Folios 27v-29: (8)-(10) Astrological tables for use in divination: (8) 27v, table of the 28 lunar mansions; (9) and (10) 28r-v, tables of responses headed by lunar mansion.

Folios 29v-90v: (11) Hugo of Santalla, Super artem geomantie (C.H. Haskins (ed.), 'Studies in the History of Mediaeval Science', (Cambridge, MA, 1927), 77-79 (prologue text); F.J. Carmody, 'Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation', (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1956), 172-173; L. Thorndike and P. Kibre, 'A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin', 127, 1350). Prologue, 29v-30v: Rerum opifex dominus sine exemplo condidit uniuersa - experimentis usitata. Main text, 30v-90v: Arenam limpidissimam a nemine conculcatam - Additio. Addendus est de questio<ne>. Ending imperfect, part of leaf torn away resulting in fragmentary lines and loss of text.

Folios 91-100: (12) John Dee, Letter to William Camden dated 7 August 1574 (transcripts of this letter now in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 1788 and Dublin, Archbishop Marsh's Library MS Z3.5.24). Heading, 91: Sincerioris philosophiae Gulielmo Camdeno. Main body, 91: Quas ante aliquot iam elapsos dies (humanissime mi Gulielme) - paratissimum et addictissimum inuenies. Valeas itaque: Tuorumque in tuis ad me literis bene uiuas promissorum memor. / Mortlaco Ao 1574. / Augusti 7. Includes autograph signature of John Dee (100). 100v left blank.

Folios 101-117: Anonymous tract on Catholic Rome as Babylon and England as a holy nation, in English. Heading, 101: To the Christian reader. Main text, 101: Pree reade (christian reader) in the 2 epistle of St Paul to ye Thessalonians 2 cha 3 verse of a generall apostatie or departure from the true faith - behold I come [shortly] and my reward is wth mee to giue to euerie man as his worth shalbee. Finis. Text declaration, 114v: 'christian Rome is Babylon, and her pope professinge christ is Antichrist'. 117v left blank.
Phyiscal Description Dimensions: 210 mm x 150 mm.

Layout: Single column, c20-34 lines.

Script: Hand of William Lambarde emulating English Vernacular minuscule script (Part 1); later 16th-century secretary hand with list of Roman consulships in Italic script (Part 2); secretary hand with headings and annotations in Italic script of John Dee (Part 3); late 16th or early 17th century secretary hand.

Corrections and marginalia: Text (1) with added title: 'Cronica Anglo Saxonica ab / ao. Natiuitatis Christi / ad Annum 1002', 1; marginal notes in an Italic hand throughout and pointed hand manicule, 17v; notes by copyist in Old English and Latin: 'William lambarde 1563 / wulfhelm lambheord wæccaþ þine leohtfæt' (line 2: William Lambard arise, awake thy lamp), 1; 'finis 9 Aprilis 1564. W. L. propria manu', 21; and note in James Ussher's hand: 'These Annales are extant in Sr Robert Cottons librarye / at the ende of Bedes historye in ye Saxon tongue', 21. Text (12) with marginal notes and corrections in Dee's hand: 'ueritatisque historicae studioso', 91; 'Fidelis Amicus tuus Iohannes Dee', 100. Additional marginalia in a 16th-century Italic hand: 'Locrobrytanus' and other efforts at placenames and 'Cambrobrytanicus Anglus', 100.
Custodial History The first part of the manuscript was copied by lawyer and antiquarian William Lambarde (1536-1601), between 1563 and 9 April 1564, and was later acquired by James Ussher, archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland (r. 1625-1656) as evidenced by inscription in his own hand (21) and mention of the text in a letter from jurist John Selden (1584-1654) to Ussher, dated 14 September 1625: 'I have returned the Saxon annals again, as you desired, with this suit, that if you have more of them (for these are very slight ones)' (C.R. Elrington (ed.), 'The Whole Works of the Most Reverend James Ussher, D.D.', vol. 15 (Dublin, 1864), Letter XCVIII, p. 302). The third part of the manuscript is dated 7 August 1574 and was copied at Mortlake, home of astronomer and antiquarian John Dee (1527-1608/09) and features corrections in his own hand throughout and autograph signature (100). The compiled manuscript does not feature the shelfmark of Ussher's library, but likely entered the collections through the gift of the library by King Charles II to Trinity College Dublin in 1661.
Collation Analysis Full collation analysis not possible, except for the first part (1-21) where quire signatures present: A (1), B (9), C (17) and D (21). Catchwords also present (6v, 7r-v, 8v, 9r-v, 11v, 12, 13-20v).
Decoration Text (11) features marginal drawings of geomantic figures in coloured inks.
Watermarks Four watermark patterns demonstrate at least four different types of paper used: The first part (1-21) features watermark of royal orb consisting of two lines, resembling WZIS nos. DE5580-Clm720_18 and DE5580-Clm720_31; the blank bifolium (unfoliated, between 21-22) features watermark of Bavarian coat of arms with crowned figure portrait below, resembling Likhachev no. 4197; the second and third parts (22-100) features watermark of jug with flowers surmounted by quatrefoil, resembling Briquet nos. 12660-71; the fourth part (101-117) features watermark of jug surmounted by crescent moon, resembling Briquet no. 12804.
Binding Note Executed for the College about 1830 in blind-tooled leather.
Access Conditions Please contact Use this link to access the digitised version of the manuscript in the Library's Digital Collections repository:
Copyright Please contact
Language Latin
Old English
Public Note This description was adapted (2021) from the following sources:

T.K. Abbott, 'Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin' (Dublin, 1900), no. 631
M.L. Colker, 'Trinity College Library Dublin Descriptive Catalogue of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts' (Aldershot, 1991), no. 631
J. Roberts and A.G. Watson, 'John Dee's Library Catalogue' (London, 1990), no. DM17
J. Scattergood, with N. Pattwell and E. Williams, 'Trinity College Library Dublin: A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Middle English and Some Old English' (Dublin, 2021), 324-25

For TCD MS 631, see J. Ingram (ed.), 'The Saxon Chronicle' (London, 1823) xxi-xxii; B. Thorpe, 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' 1, Rolls Series, (London, 1861), xx; W. O'Sullivan, 'Ussher as a Collector of Manuscripts', in 'Hermathena' no. 88 (1956), 39; A. Lutz, 'Die version G der angelsachcischen Cronik: Rekonstruction und Edition' (Munich, 1981); J. Roberts and A.G. Watson, 'John Dee's Library Catalogue' (London, 1990) item no. DM17 on 161, 245; J. Scattergood, with N. Pattwell and E. Williams, 'Trinity College Library Dublin: A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Middle English and Some Old English' (Dublin, 2021), 324-25.
Pasquale Arfe, Geomancy and other forms of divination, in Micrologus Library 87, 2017
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