London, British Library, Cotton Domitian A. viii

Present Location

Domitian A. viii

Medieval Provenance

General Information






The manuscript contains a collection of items prefaced by Cotton's table of contents. It comprises 10 items (see the excellent full descriptions in the British Library Catalogue and Dumville 1995, pp. 11-13). Item 3, fols 30-70, contains the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (F-text), which begins 'Britene igland ys ehta hund mila [lang]' and ends at the bottom of fol. 70v in the annal for 1058 '7 Siward abbod to biscope to ro[feceastre]' (see, Baker 2000). Each annal is followed by a Latin version. There are additions in the margin, between the lines, on erasure, and on a small inserted leaf (fol. 60). These are followed by Latin versions. Some additions relate to Kentish affairs and especially to Christ Church and the archbishops. Some entries are textually almost identical to additions to the Parker Chronicle made at Christ Church. There are a few additions in Latin in a hand of s. xi/xii (Ker 1957, p. 187) on fols 35v 36r/v, 38v; this hand is 'similar in style to the Norman hands found in several writs of this period' (Baker 2000, pp. xxiii-xxiv).

Digital Surrogate…

Manuscript Items
  1. Itemfols 30r-70v
    • Title (B.17.3): Chronicles and Historical Texts: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

      Incipit(fol. 30r) Britene igland ys eahta hund mila [lang]

      Explicit(fol. 70v) ond Siƿard abbod to biscope to ro[feceastre]


      Ker 1957, item 148

      Thorpe 1861

      Fernquist 1937, p.43

      Magoun 1945, p.372

      Plummer 1892-99, pp.283-7 and 128-31

      Birch 1885-93, nos. 94, 95, 290

  2. Itemfols 30r-70v

Object Description


Form: Codex

Support: Parchment

Extent: Fols 30 - 70

  • c. 210 mm x 146 mm (dimensions of all - size of leaves)
  • 182-176 mm x 107-100 mm (dimensions of all - size of written space)

Foliation and/or Pagination: Formerly foliated 29-69, the more recent foliation is 30-70.


  • Quires: Quires are now individually mounted: 1-28, fols 30-45, 312, fols 46-57, 412 + 1 after 2, fols 58-70. Fol. 60 is a slip of parchment which was inserted between fols 60 and 61 by Scribe 2 with annotations to the chronicle.


  • 21 long lines on fols 30-45, ruled 8-9 mm apart, pricking visible on the outer margin. Frame probably ruled in lead with inner and outer double binding lines. Lines not always visible. Fol. 45v has pricking visible on the external binding line of the frame for 29 lines, 6-7 mm apart. The same pattern applies to fols 46-53. Fols 54-70 number of pricks on the outer margin increases up to 40-45 lines per folio (see also Baker 2000, p. xxiv-xxvii). Ruling very faint, except on fols 69, 70. Fols 30 and 70v look dark brownish, possibly from exposure as though these quires were not been bound for a time (Ker 1957, p. 187). Baker (2000, p. xvi) notes that 'the clearly visible brush-strokes on these pages suggest they at one time served as paste-down'. Considering that reagents were applied to the margins and folios of the manuscript, it is also possible that the brush-strokes related to this practice rather than to the application of glue to these external folios.

Hand Description

  • Number of hands: 2
  • Summary: The number of hands which are identified in the manuscript varies in different published scholarship. A fuller account is given by Baker (2000, pp. xvi-xxiv). There are, as Baker notes, three contemporary hands, but one annotates only in Latin (see above).
  • Hand: main text
    • Scope: major
    • Script: English Vernacular Minuscule
    • Ker reference: Ker 148
    • Description: Fols 30-70. Ker considers this an 'irregular untidy hand' (Ker 1957, p. 187), according to Baker (2000, p. xvii), however, the scribe 'was careful enough to correct some errors he found in his exemplars. This is a pointy, prickly hand, with forked top ascenders of variable proficiency and quality, but 'typical of Christ Church writing of the period' (for a discussion on the type of script, see also Baker 2000, p. xviii and n. 27). The scribe was perhaps working in an administrative capacity (Baker2000, p. xviii).
    • Summary of the characteristics of the hand:
    • a Caroline in OE.
    • d rounded in Latin.
    • h Caroline in OE.
    • y rounded and dotted in OE.
    • Abbreviations: Macrons are curved.
    • Other manuscripts: The same hand as the main annotator to The Parker ChronicleCCCC 173, fols 1-56. This scribe also probably wrote other documents, such as a grant of land at Saltwood, Kent and a writ of William the Conqueror (Baker 2000, p. xxiii).
    • Date: s. xi/xii
  • Hand: annotation
    • Scope: minor
    • Script: English Vernacular Minuscule
    • Ker reference: not in Ker
    • Description: Fol. 66r/1-13. A contemporary hand to Scribe 1, using mixed features (Baker 2000, p. xxii).
    • Date: s. xi/xii

Fifteenth century: marginalia, and later notes in the margin by Robert Talbot (see, Baker 2000, pp. ix-xiv)

Binding Description

Nineteenth-century binding.

Additional Information

Administration Information

Manuscript described by Orietta Da Rold with the assistance of Hollie Morgan (June 2010) and Johanna Green (2012).


Digital surrogate: (accessed 18 July 2018)

Garnett, R., and E. Gosse, English Literature, An Illustrated Record, 4 vols (London: Heinemann, 1906), fol. 57r

Thorpe, B., ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Rolls Series, 23 (London: Longman, 1861) fol. 31r

Dumville, David N., ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition; Facsimile of MS. F: The Domitian Bilingual (Cambridge: Brewer, 1995), vol. 1


  • Origin:

    Written at Christ Church, Canterbury. According to Ker (1957, p. 187) the mark 'Ia' in the upper margin of fol 30, towards the right side, may be the Christ Church letter mark. The manuscript is no doubt the 'Chronica latine et anglice' in the medieval Christ Church catalogue (Ancient Libraries, no. 318, see also Dumville1995, pp. 15-18, and see Baker 2000, pp. ix-xii).

  • Provenance:

    Used by Robert Talbot. According to Ussher (1639, p. 36) it was obtained by Cotton from Camden (for a detailed analysis, see Baker 2000, pp. xii-xiv). Ker (1957) suggests that the manuscript was perhaps once bound with Cambridge, University Library Hh. 1. 10, a suggestion which was refuted by Dumville (1995, p. 18). Baker notes that it may be possible that the manuscript was put together by Parker himself (Baker 2000, p. xiii).

  • Acquisition:

    Acquired by the British Museum along with the rest of the Cotton collection.


Canterbury Christ Church


Baker, Peter S., ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition, MS F (Cambridge: Routledge, 2000), p. 8

Birch, Walter de Gray, ed., Cartularium Saxonicum: A Collection of Charters Relating to Anglo-Saxon History (London: Whiting and Company; Chas J. Clark, 1885-93)

Dumville, David N., ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition; Facsimile of MS. F: The Domitian Bilingual(Cambridge: Brewer, 1995), I

Fernquist, C. -H., 'Study on the O.E Version of the Anglo- Saxon Chronicle in Cott. Domitian A. viii.' Studier i Modern Språkvetenskap, 8, no. 41 (1937)

Gameson, Richard, The Manuscripts of Early Norman England (c. 1066-1130) (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1999), 378

Garnett, R., and E. Gosse, English Literature, An Illustrated Record, 4 vols (London: Heinemann, 1906)

James, Montague Rhodes, Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1903)

Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 148

Magoun, F. P., 'The Domitian Bilingual of the Old English Annals: Notes on the F- Text', The Modern Language Quarterly, 6 (1945), 371-80

Manuscripts Catalogue (British Library,; accessed in 2010)

Planta, J., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Cottonian Library, Deposited in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1802)

Plummer, Charles, ed., Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel, repr. with a bibliographical note by Dorothy Whitelock, 2 vols (1892-99; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952)

Thorpe, B., ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Rolls Series, 23 (London: Longman, 1861)

Unger, C. R., and J. Ussher, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates (Dublin, 1639)

Wanley, Humfrey, Antique literature septentrionalis liber alter(Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre, 1705)