The latest additions to the Wren Digital Library include a manuscript containing works by Chaucer (R.3.15), a volume given to Trinity by Jonathan Dryden (B.15.27), two manuscripts of Walter Hilton’s Scale of Perfection (O.7.47 and B.15.18), a volume from Christ Church Cathedral Priory (B.2.25) and a medieval encyclopedia (R.9.10).
R.3.15: Chaucer etc
This late-15th/early 16th century volume is written in a number of hands and includes copies of most of the Canterbury Tales as well as Piers Plowman. The Library has other copies of both texts (R.3.3 and B.15.17). The featured page has the opening of the Reeve’s Tale: “At Trompyngton not fer from Cambrige/Ther goth a broke and over that a brige/Upon the whiche broke there stondeth a mylle/And this is verey soth that I yow telle”
B.15.27, Hugo de Sacramentis
This work by Hugh of St Victor – De sacramentis christianae fidei – is one of a number donated to the College by Jonathan (John) Dryden. It is a theological and mystical text. An original medieval cloth cover protects the decorated initial at the start of book 2.
B.15.18, Walter Hilton. Scala Perfectionis
The Library has two manuscript copies of Walter Hilton’s Scale of Perfection (O.7.47 and B.15.18). Based on the internal evidence provided in the colophon (a statement giving evidence of authorship), manuscript B.15.18 has been dated to c. 1499. The text is also annotated throughout by James Grenehalgh who also worked on other extant copies of this text at the end of the 15th century.
B.2.25, Holcot super librum sapientiae
B.2.25 is one of more than eighty manuscripts in the Library which originate from the Benedictine Cathedral Priory of Christ Church in Canterbury. The majority were bequeathed by John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury between 1583 and 1604, but this one was given by another donor, Thomas Nevile (Master of Trinity 1593–1615). The volume begins with the decorated initial and border below, but also contains some plainer initials decorated with faces (eg f.225r).
R.9.10, Isidori Etymologiae
The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville were compiled in the early 7th century. The encyclopedia comprises 20 books. Some books focus on etymology (the study of words), but others cover topics as varied as mathematics, birds and animals, buildings and music. This manuscript dates from the 13th or 14th century. The page shown – written in a tiny hand – is from the end of the volume and is part of the (incomplete) index.