Worcester, Cathedral Library, F. 174

Present Location
Repository
Shelfmark

F. 174

Date
Medieval Provenance

General Information

Ker

398

Summary

The manuscript is composed of sheets of varying size, which have been pasted together and used in binding. It includes Ælfric's Grammar and Glossary and two rhythmic prose texts, the first (fol. 63r/14-28) beginning '[S]anctus beda was iboren her on breotene mid us' and ending imperfectly 'þet we sceolen fæier feþ'. The second (fols 63v-66v) is on the 'Body and Soul' theme (Ker 1975, p. 466), beginning imperfectly 'on earde. ˥ alle þeo' and ending imperfectly 'sicut nouelle'. In fols 1-63r, Grammar and Glossary , the text in Zupitza (1966, pp. 296/13-297/14) 'ma' and the preface to the Grammar were from the first omitted from this copy. The linguistic forms are consistently Early Middle English (e.g. 'o' in place of Old English 'ā' is used).

Manuscript Items
  1. Item: fols 1-63r
    • Title (B.1.9.1): Ælfric's Grammar Title (B.1.9.2): Ælfric's Glossary

      Rubric (initial): (fol. 10) Tertia declinatio

      Incipit: (fol. 1) so muchel so

      Explicit: (fol. 63r) pelex cyfes 7 cetera

      Text Language: English

      Note: According to Ker, 'the complete text survives only on fols 3-5, 8, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 25, 36, 39, 41, 47, but the amount missing on the other leaves is not usually considerable' (1957, p. 466). [HM]

      Bibliography:

      Ker 1957, item 398

     

  2. Item: fol. 63r
    • Title (B.3.4.13): Anonymous Homilies [for unspecified occasions, published]: Hall 1920: 'Sicut oves absque Pastore'

      Incipit: (fol. 63r) Sanctus beda was iboren her on breotene mid us

      Explicit: (fol. 63r) þet we sceolen fæier feþ

      Text Language: English

      Note: Two or three letters are missing at the end of each line [HM]

      Bibliography:

      Ker 1957, item 398

     

  3. Item: fols 63v-66v
    • Title (B.3.4.5): Anonymous Homilies [for unspecified occasions, published]: Buchholz: The Soul to the Body

      Incipit: (fol. 63v) en earde. 7 alle þeo

      Explicit: (fol. 66v) sicut nouelle

      Text Language: English

      Note: A line or two at the top of each leaf and some letters in the outer margins are missing. [HM]

      Bibliography:

      Ker 1957, item 398


Object Description

Form

Codex

Support: Parchment.

Extent:

  • 276 mm x 175 mm (dimensions of some complete leaves, e.g. fol. 12 - size of leaf)
  • 264 mm x 162 mm (dimensions of some complete leaves, e.g. fol. 12 - size of written space)
  • 222 mm x 150 mm (dimensions of some complete leaves, e.g. fol. 5 - size of leaf)
  • 208 mm x 135 mm (dimensions of some complete leaves, e.g. fol. 5 - size of written space)
  • 212 mm x 200 mm (dimensions of some complete leaves, e.g. fol. 19 - size of leaf)
  • 198 mm x 185 mm (dimensions of some complete leaves, e.g. fol. 19 - size of written space)

Collation:

Quires: fol. 66, interleaved with paper. 12 (fols 1, 10: probably an outer bifolium), 2-98 (fols 2-9, 11-66). Fol. 10 was bound in the wrong place in s. xix, and should precede fols 2-9.

Condition: Most of the leaves show the offset of writing on other leaves and most are incomplete. Some have been cut in two. The complete text survives only on fols 3-5, 8, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 25, 36, 39, 41, 47, but the amount of text missing on other leaves is not usually considerable.

Note: On complete leaves, there are 23-31 long lines. Ruling with a pencil. Large initials and all headings are omitted.


Hand Description

Number of Hands: 1

Hand: main text

Scope: sole

Scribe: Tremulous Hand

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Description: Fols 1-66.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand: Backward-sloping, 'tremulous' hand. Caroline letter-forms. Franzen describes the majority of the Tremulous Hand's writing here as in his 'T' state; that is, 'the ink colour is very dark, and the writing is upright and compact with thick strokes giving it a bold look much like [state] D' (1991, pp. 12-14). It is a very regular script, compressed and with narrow gaps between words, maximising the available writing space. Interlinear space is also relatively narrow, and the ascenders and descenders controlled, as a result. 

  • Both elements of æ are the same size, the bowl of e often being broken.
  • d is usually round-backed, but occasionally has an upright ascender.
  • Insular g is retained for the spirant, beside Caroline g for the stop. The latter is eight-shaped, with an almost triangular tail; the former sits on the line, and is 5-shaped, though the headstroke does extend to the right.
  • i often has a short slash above it.
  • 2-shaped r is used both in ligature with o and when r occurs after other graphs.
  • Round, uncial s and high s are used.
  • The upstroke of t pierces the headstroke.
  • ð is used, generally in final position.
  • ascenders are thick, straight, and generally wedged.
  • descenders are very short indeed, particularly those of the graphs y, ƿ anþ.
  • minims are regular, angular, and without feet. Occasionally, the downstrokes of minims are unconnected.

Punctuation: Punctuation is generally by punctus at medial height in relation to x-height.

Abbreviations:

  • Abbreviation is common in the Latin, and less frequent in the English. In the vernacular, abbreviation consists of the ˥, which is at a 90º angle, with a downstroke that descends slightly below the line. 
  • A slightly wavy macron denotes the omission of a nasal.

Correcting technique: Correction is by subpunctus and interlinear addition.

Decoration Description

The heading on fol. 10, 'Tertia declinatio', is in red.

Binding Description

Nineteenth-century binding.


Additional Information

Administration Information

Manuscript described by Elaine Treharne with the assistance of Hollie Morgan (2010; 2012).

Surrogates:

A facsimile of fol. 63 is in Franzen, Christine, The Tremulous Hand of Worcester: A Study of Old English in the Thirteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)

A portion of fol. 14 is plate 27 in Thomson, R. M., A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts in Worcester Cathedral Library (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2001)


History

Origin

Written in Worcester and found there 'in the cover of an old book' by Sir Thomas Phillips, who published part of the fragments in 1838.

Provenance

Worcester

Bibliography

Brehe, S. K. , 'Reassembling the First Worcester Fragment', Speculum, 65 (1990), 521- 36

Floyer, J. K., and S. G. Hamilton, Catalogue of Manuscripts preserved in the Chapter Library of Worcester Cathedral (Oxford, 1906)

Franzen, Christine, The Tremulous Hand of Worcester: A Study of Old English in the Thirteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)

Hall, Joseph, Selections from Early Middle English, 1130-1250, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1920)

Hagedorn, Suzanne C., 'Received wisdom. The reception history of Alfred’s preface to the Pastoral Care', in Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social Identity, ed. Allen J. Frantzen and John D. Niles (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997), 86-107

Heningham, Eleanor K., 'Old English Precursors of the Worcester Fragments', PMLA, 55, no. 2 (1940), 291-307

Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 398

Moffat, D., 'The Recovery of Worcester Cathedral MS F. 174', Notes and Queries, 32, no. 3 (1985), 300-02

Thomson, R. M., A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts in Worcester Cathedral Library (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2001)

Treharne, Elaine, 'Making Their Presence Felt: Readers of Ælfric, c. 1050-1350', in A Companion to Ælfric, ed. by Mary Swan and Hugh Magennis, Companion to the Christian Tradition, 18 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), pp. 399-422

Zupitza, Julius, ed., Ælfrics Grammatik und Glossar: Text und Varianten, 2nd edn (1880; Berlin: Weidmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung Max Niehans Verlag, 1966)