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Insular BooksVernacular manuscript miscellanies in late medieval Britain$

Margaret Connolly and Raluca Radulescu

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265833

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265833.001.0001

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Lancelot of the Laik and the Literary Manuscript Miscellany in 15th- and 16th-century Scotland

Lancelot of the Laik and the Literary Manuscript Miscellany in 15th- and 16th-century Scotland

(p.209) 12 Lancelot of the Laik and the Literary Manuscript Miscellany in 15th- and 16th-century Scotland
Insular Books

Emily Wingfield

British Academy

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by introducing the most significant features of Scottish literary manuscript miscellanies, such as: their relatively late date, in comparison with surviving miscellanies from elsewhere in the British Isles; their copying by scribes who also functioned as notary publics, writers to the signet, and merchants; their links to some of Scotland’s most prominent book-owning families; and their inclusion of material derived from print and from south of the border. The remainder of the chapter offers a necessarily brief case study of one particular Older Scots literary manuscript miscellany (Cambridge, University Library, MS Kk.1.5) in which the Older Scots romance, Lancelot of the Laik, is placed alongside a selection of Scottish courtesy texts and legal material, a series of English and Scottish prophecies, several acts of the Scottish parliament, an English translation of Christine de Pisan’s Livre du Corps de Policie, and the only surviving manuscript copy of Sir Philip Sidney’s New Arcadia.

Keywords:   medieval manuscript miscellany, Older Scots literature, Cambridge, University Library, MS Kk.1.5, Lancelot of the Laik

Quite a number of Scottish anthologies survive, and in the past there must have existed many more. … Yet these manuscripts are, in general, not well known, and have been curiously neglected by scholars.1

WITH THESE WORDS, PRISCILLA BAWCUTT lamented the lack of scholarship on Scottish literary manuscript miscellanies dating from the 15th to the 17th century. Her own article went a very good way towards redressing this problem. It provided a summary list of 20 Scottish literary collections and discussion of ‘who compiled them, what they contain, where their material came from, and how they are arranged’.2 At the end of the article, Bawcutt concluded: ‘What seems a desirable goal for the future is to provide a register of these manuscript miscellanies, and good analytic descriptions of their contents.’3

Since Bawcutt laid down this challenge, one Ph.D. thesis has been written on selected Scottish miscellanies,4 and new editions are forthcoming to revise and complement earlier facsimile and diplomatic editions.5 There is, however, (p.210) much more to be done, and the present chapter can add only one small piece to the larger, still unfinished puzzle.

It begins by introducing some of the main features of Scottish literary manuscript miscellanies,6 such as their relatively late date, in comparison with surviving miscellanies from elsewhere in the British Isles; features of mise-en-page and rubrication used to highlight different generic layers within a literary text; their copying by scribes who also functioned as notary publics, writers to the signet, and merchants; their links to some of Scotland’s most prominent book-owning families; and (as discussed throughout the chapter) their inclusion of material derived from print and from south of the border.7 Indeed, this latter point is one of the most notable features of the Older Scots literary manuscript miscellany. Despite—or perhaps because of—the frequent periods of Anglo-Scots political tension during the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, a large amount of literary traffic passed both ways across the border, and thus a great deal of English material survives alongside Scottish literature in 15th- and 16th-century manuscript miscellanies.8

The remainder of the chapter then offers a necessarily brief case study of one particular Older Scots literary manuscript miscellany: CUL, MS Kk.1.5. This manuscript is the unique witness of the now-incomplete Older Scots romance, Lancelot of the Laik. It gradually evolved into its present form during the 15th and 16th centuries before entering the library of Richard Holdsworth, master of Emmanuel College Cambridge (1590–1649). I here provide up-to-date details of the manuscript’s contents and compare some of its most significant (p.211) features to the more general comments on Older Scots miscellanies made at the start of the chapter. I also suggest how an analysis of Lancelot within its wider manuscript context can complement and support previously published interpretations of the romance as an advisory text offering advice on good self-and public governance.

1 Introduction to Scottish literary manuscript miscellanies

Scottish literary manuscript miscellanies do not always correspond in terms of content, date, or form, to miscellanies produced elsewhere in the British Isles. For a start, most contain material in the vernacular, and very little in the way of other languages. Despite the traditional alliances between Scotland and the Continent, I know of no 15th- or 16th-century Scottish literary manuscript miscellany containing a significant number of items in French or Italian, and only a very small proportion of compiled material is in Latin. We therefore lack the examples of bi- and trilingual anthologies that survive from elsewhere in the British Isles.9

This may be due, in part, to the relatively late date of Scottish manuscript miscellanies.10 The earliest miscellany listed by Bawcutt is Oxford, BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24. This collection of works by Chaucer and subsequent English and Scottish ‘Chaucerians’ is thought (on the basis of internal and watermark evidence) to have been compiled initially sometime c. 1488–90 with ‘successive stages of enlargement and upgrading’ following in the year immediately after.11 Parts of CUL, MS Kk.1.5, discussed below, similarly date from the last quarter of the 15th century, but the remaining extant miscellanies date from the 16th century. They are, therefore, quite consider ably later in date than some of the very famous, much older extant English manuscript miscellanies such as the Exeter Book (Exeter, Cathedral Library, (p.212) MS 3501), the Harley manuscript (London, BL, MS Harley 2253), and the Vernon and Simeon manuscripts (BodL, MS Eng. poet. a. 1 and BL, Additional MS 22283).12

There are also relatively few examples of miscellanies that focus, like the Simeon and Vernon manuscripts, on religious material. Whilst a number of Scottish miscellanies contain religious verse and prose, such material is almost always matched or out-weighed by secular material. An exception to this rule is the much-neglected BL, Arundel MS 285. Described by its editor, J. A. W. Bennett, as the ‘most valuable guide to the practices of private devotion observed in Scotland on the eve of the Reformation’, this manuscript of about 224 leaves was most probably compiled c. 1540.13 In addition to three poems by the early 16th-century Scottish poet William Dunbar and a lengthy poem (The Passioun of Christ) by his contemporary Walter Kennedy, the manuscript contains a text known as The Contemplacioun of Synnaris by one Friar William of Touris, which survives elsewhere in a 1499 print produced by Wynkyn de Worde (STC, 5643), as well as numerous short anonymous lyrics, prose prayers and meditations, many focusing on the Passion or the Virgin Mary.

Arundel MS 285 is also of interest because of its decoration. As is common with several other Scottish (and indeed English) miscellanies, such as the Asloan manuscript and CUL, MS Kk.1.5, certain items such as titles and colophons are written in red ink, and a number of initial capitals are flourished and emboldened.14 In addition, 17 woodcuts deriving from early prints are pasted throughout the volume, often at the beginning of an item, including a woodcut of the Scourging deriving from an Antwerp print of c. 1505 which prefaces Kennedy’s Passioun of Crist. As Bawcutt (quoting David McKitterick) has recently observed, Arundel MS 285 is thus a ‘hybrid’ manuscript ‘sat, as it were, halfway, part print, part manuscript’.15

Another notably—and atypically—decorated Scottish miscellany is the aforementioned BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24. This is perhaps the most highly decorated of the extant Scottish literary manuscript miscellanies. In addition to 21 demi-vinets and a succession of decorated, flourished, and illuminated initials, fol. 1r (the beginning of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde) (p.213) opens with a 9–10 line historiated initial, thought to illustrate Troilus’s first encounter with the widow Criseyde in Book 1 of the poem. As Boffey and Edwards comment, ‘the general level of decoration seems untypically elaborate for Chaucer texts and/or manuscript collections of his works’;16 the copy of Troilus is, moreover, one of most heavily glossed of the extant manuscripts of this work and its scribes and readers appear to have been keen to highlight the different modes of non-narrative discourse throughout the poem, in particular the Cantici Troili and the letters exchanged between Troilus and Criseyde.17 Such scribal practice extends to other texts in the manuscript. The point at which the Kingis Quair narrator begins his ‘buke’ (ll. 90–1) is, for instance, mimetically marked on fol. 193r with the use of a symbol rather than the word ‘cross’ (‘And furth wt all my pen in hand I tuke/And maid a † and thus begouth my buke’), whilst the nightingale’s song at ll. 231–8 on fol. 195r is marked ‘cantus’ in the left margin.18 In the Quare of Jelusy the ‘trety In the/reprefe of Ielousye’ (fol. 225r, my emphasis) is also separated from the narrator’s complaint and highlighted with a rubric.19 Similar such attention is paid throughout 15th- and 16th-century Scottish manuscripts to differing generic layers within a text, particularly advisory, lyrical, and epistolary passages. In the copy of Lancelot of the Laik, discussed below, for instance, Lancelot’s complaint and significant passages of Amytans’s advice to Arthur are highlighted through features of decoration and mise-en-page. The same is true of letters in the sole surviving witness of the Older Scots romance, Clariodus, and in one of two witnesses of Sir Gilbert Hay’s Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour.20

The scribal attention paid to such meta-textual and meta-graphic21 elements may have something to do with many scribes’ involvement in the copying of alternative documents in other aspects of their professional (p.214) life.22 The majority of Older Scots manuscripts,23 including literary miscellanies, were copied by notaries public—legal professionals whose ‘staple trade was the preparation of instruments of sasine which became the basic document in the transfer of land, and of other instruments recording judicial decisions, agreements of purchase or loan, or any other transaction requiring formal authentication’.24 It seems natural that those skilled in the copying of legal documents should transfer their expertise to the copying of literary material and such dual activity is no doubt responsible for the frequent juxta-position of literary and legal material within manuscript miscellanies themselves (as discussed below in relation to CUL, MS Kk.1.5). Moreover, whilst there is no evidence in Scotland of a formalised book trade in the late 15th century, there appears to have been a kind of apprenticeship system for would-be notary publics that results by about 1450 in ‘a recognisable family of ‘‘notarial’’ hands’.25 The secretary script in many late 15th- and early 16th-century Scottish literary miscellanies is thus often strikingly similar.

A further significant feature of Older Scots manuscript miscellanies is the surprising amount of material within them copied from printed books.26 I have noted above the print-influenced decoration of BL, MS Arundel 285, but several miscellanies contain texts copied from earlier or contemporary prints. One example is Edinburgh, NRS, MS RH 13/35 whose now-fragmentary copies of the ‘history’ of ‘how Issope excuissit him selffe beffoir his lord for eitting off þe figgis’ and a Scots version of the Apocryphal Book of Wisdom derive, respectively, from Henry Wykes’s edition of The Life of Aesop produced for John Waley c. 1570 (STC, 181) and a text close to the editions of The Bokes of Salomon, printed by N. Hill? and William Copland in 1546 and 1550 (STC, 2755, 2757). The manuscript also contains an extract from John Rolland’s The Seuin Seages, copied from John Ross’s first printed edition of 1578 (STC, 21254).27

(p.215) Close connections have also been noted between items printed by Scotland’s first printers, Walter Chepman and Andro Myllar, that appear in textually related forms in BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24, the Asloan MS, the Bannatyne MS, and Maitland Folio MS.28 Although much more work remains to be done on the precise relationship of the shared texts, not least in ascertaining the direction of transmission, the close textual links between the three manuscripts and the Chepman and Myllar prints is no doubt due in part to overlapping professional, literary, and familial networks.29 John Bannatyne, grandfather of the George who compiled the Bannatyne MS, frequently appears, for instance, in legal documents alongside Chepman, who himself worked not just as a printer but also as a merchant, notary public, and Writer to the Signet. Chepman and Bannatyne acted jointly as witnesses to a number of legal transactions; in 1527 they were both paid for dictating and writing the rolls in the Exchequer’s office. John Bannatyne, and his son, James, were also closely connected with Chepman’s nephew, John, another notary public, and all three men were, like Chepman, Writers to the Signet; Chepman’s wife, Agnes Cockburn, became a Bannatyne family godmother in 1540.30 One can draw similar clear links between the compilers and readers of the Maitland Folio and Quarto MSS, the Reidpeth MS (CUL, MS Ll.5.10), and NRS, MS RH 13/35. In addition to the texts discussed above, the latter manuscript contains fragmentary versions of the Older Scots romances King Orphius and Sir Colling, as well as copies of legal documents concerning the Cockburn of Ormiston family who were linked, through marriage and professional activities, to members of the Maitland family and to the scribe John Reidpeth, who produced a partial transcription of the Maitland Folio manuscript in the last decade of the 17th century.31

Precisely how much weight one should place on such extra-literary connections is a matter open to debate. In commenting on books and their users (p.216) in 14th- and 15th-century England, A. I. Doyle has remarked: ‘I am inclined to believe that everybody who was anybody in England in the late middle ages, and especially those ‘‘at court’’, had kinship or alliance of one degree or another with everyone else, and we therefore need to beware of giving exclusive rather than alternative explanations of effects based on such links.’32 His note of caution is one that might equally apply to the study of those involved in producing and reading Scottish books, especially given the much smaller population (and therefore reading public) north of the border. Likewise, as is the case with manuscript miscellanies produced throughout the British Isles, scholars of Scottish miscellanies must attend both to the vagaries and pitfalls of terminology when choosing to describe any one particular book as a ‘miscellany’, ‘anthology’, ‘household book’, or ‘commonplace book’, and to the difficulties of ascertaining the levels—and chronology—of intentionality and pre-planned organisation behind those miscellanies that result from a compilation of originally separate booklets. Such methodological problems notwithstanding, there is much scope for detailed consideration of many individual miscellanies, such as CUL, MS Kk.1.5, as unified and coherent ‘whole books’.33

In his recent study entitled Bound to Read: Compilations, Collections and the Making of Renaissance Literature,34 Jeffrey Todd Knight argues that ‘book-collecting practices—from early modern compiling to modern library curator-ship and conservation—have deep and largely unacknowledged interpretative effects’ and he introduces ‘a concept of “material intertextuality”—an inter-textuality based on physical rather than purely discursive proximity—into Renaissance reading and reception history, excavating early compilations and assessing the interpretative implications of their varying logics of assembly’.35 In the remainder of this chapter, I apply Todd Knight’s concept of material intertextuality to CUL, MS Kk.1.5. After comparing some of the manuscript’s most significant features to the more general comments about Older Scots literary miscellanies raised above, I reveal how Lancelot came to form the central part of a gradually evolving manuscript miscellany that demonstrates, as one of its central themes, a concern with good governance, both generally and in relation to the Scottish king, James III (who reigned 1460–88).

(p.217) 2 Cambridge, University Library, MS Kk.1.5: a case-study

2.1 Contents

Part 1

fols 1r–79v:

Middle English translation of Christine de Pisan’s Livre du corps de policie

Part 2

fols 1r–210v:

Sir Philip Sidney’s New Arcadia

Part 3

fols 2r–40r:

Regiam majestatem36

Part 4

fols 2r–4v:

The Rolls of Uleron37

fols 5r–23r:

Leges burgorum38

fols 23v–24v:

‘Taurus cornutus, ex patris germine Brutus’39

fols 25r–27r:

‘Qwhen the koke in the northe hallows his nest’40

fols 27v–31v:

‘Thomas takes the Iuell,—and Ihesus thankis,—’ (Alliterative Becket)41

fol. 32r:

‘Lilium regnans’42

fols 32v–33r:

‘The Holy Oil of St Thomas’43

fols 33r–34r:

‘Qwhen Rome is removyde in to Inglande’44

fols 34v–55r:

‘Here begynyth A shorte extracte, and tellyth how þar ware sex masterys assemblede … to spek of Tribulacoun’45

Part 5

fols 2r–10v:

Bernadus de cura rei famuliaris46

Part 647

fols 1r–4r:

The Craft of Deyng48

fol. 4v:

‘Do way, Fore that may nocht awailze49

fols 4v–5r:

‘Fle fra the pres’: Chaucer’s Truth50

fol. 5r:

‘Sen trew Vertew encress dignytee’51

‘Sen in waist natur na-thinge mais’52

fols 5r–12r:

Dicta Salomonis53

fols 12r–36r:

Ratis Raving54

fols 36v–42:

The Foly of Fulys and the Thewis of Wysmen55

fols 43r–48v:

The Consail and Teiching At the Vys Man Gaif his Sone56

fols 49r–53r:

The Thewis off Gudwomen57

fols 53r–54r:

The Vertewis of the Mess

Part 7

fols 1r–42v:

Lancelot of the Laik58

Parts 8/959

fols 1r–4r:

Extracts from the Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, November 1469

fols 5, 6:

‘The resonis pretendit be thomas Thomson’, collection of legal processes

fols 7, 8:

15th-/16th-century copy of a charter granted by Robert II, concerning one David Ramsay, dated 1383

15th-/16th-century copy of an indenture between one William Ramsay and one John de Turribus, dated 13 June 1380

15th-/16th-century copy of an indenture concerning one William Ramsay and one John de Turribus, dated 20 December 1382

fol. 9:60

‘My luf mornes for me’61

Short note concerning one Andrew Lawder

Note/receipt dated 1529 relating to an agreement with a John

Colzear, and listing various measurements

fols 10r–16v:

Abbreviated version of Regiam majestatem with ‘Brevis of Mortancestri’ and ‘falsing of doings’

fols 17r–19r:

Extracts ‘out of king dauid statute’62

fols 19v–22r:

‘þe lawis extrait of king Robert þe bros statutis’ and some unidentifed legal processes

fols 22v–25v:

‘Extrait de statute Rege Willelmi’ and further unidentifed legal processes

fol. 26:

A loose leaf with now illegible and unidentifed legal processes and the signatures of ‘Magister Ioannes’ and ‘Liber Jacobi Loga[n]’

fol. 27:


fols 28r–29v:

‘Here folowis þe feis of þe kingis offciaris’ and ‘þe consuetude 7 keis of þe court’ (Extracts from a Scots version of the legal text, Quoniam attachiamenta)63

fol. 30r–30v:

‘Qhat sal be done efter þat the partys Resonis ar red …’ and ‘Of Remede of domys …’

fols 31r–36r:

‘Extract out of the barone Lawis’

fol. 36v:


fols 37r–41v:

‘The lawis extrait of ye burow lawis’

fols 42r–44r:

Minutes from Parliament held during the minority of James III, 1464–5

(p.218) (p.219) (p.220)

The nine parts of CUL, MS Kk.1.5 listed above began life as a series of independent booklets copied by a variety of scribes between the last quarter of the 15th century and the end of the 16th century, and several stages of compilation ensued before the surviving composite volume was formed. Parts 6 and 7 were most probably companions at an early stage, since they were copied by the same scribe, V de F, and the same is no doubt true of Parts 3 and 4, which also share a scribe. During the 16th century these parts, together with Parts 5, 8, and 9, were then combined to form a collection in which legal texts frame a central literary core, before, in one final stage, the Scottish material in Parts 3–9 was prefaced by the English material in Parts 1 and 2. The resultant volume, which eventually entered the library of Richard Holdsworth, master (p.221) of Emmanuel College Cambridge (1590–1649),64 thus brings together a tantalising mix of Scottish and English, romance and courtesy, and imaginative and legal literature.65

There is unfortunately not space in this chapter to discuss the entirety of CUL, MS Kk.1.5 in anything like the level of attention it deserves, but in what follows I nevertheless endeavour to highlight some of the most significant features of this fascinating manuscript and relate these features to the more general observations on Scottish manuscript miscellanies outlined above.66 I also suggest ways in which the originally separate parts of the manuscript gradually evolved—perhaps through a mixture of calculation and contingency—into a composite volume throughout which the theme of good self- and public governance is predominant.67

Little is known about how the Scottish material in Parts 3–9 came together, but something of the background to this can be reconstructed, since fol. 26v contains the inscription, ‘liber Jacobi Logan’, written in a hand very similar to that providing 16th-century signature marks throughout Parts 3–9. The man who signed his name on fol. 26v may thus also be responsible for bringing the originally independent Scottish booklets together. Girvan suggested that he was the James Logan, notary and clerk of the burgh of Canongate,68 who appears several times in the Calendar of the Laing Charters,69 but in fact (p.222) several James Logans appear in the published records during the 16th century and it is often hard to distinguish between them; their identities may overlap and a number may be related to one another.70 The James Logan listed as one individual in the Calendar of the Laing Charters may, furthermore, in reality be two separate men, a clerk in the Canongate and a notary public in the diocese of St Andrews, whose careers collectively span the years 1542–98. One of these two men may, nevertheless, still be the individual signing CUL, MS Kk.1.5. A legal document in Part 9 is prefaced with the following annotation: ‘Ther ar the resonis pretendit be thomas Thomson.’ Whilst Thomas Thomson was a fairly common name, the James Logan identified as a notary public in the diocese of St Andrews did act as notary to an instrument (13 January 1572) narrating, ‘Thomas Thomson, apothecary, burgess of Edinburgh, passed to his lands … and there … gave sasine to his beloved son, Mr Alexander Thomson.’71 This James Logan might thus be added to the increasing number of notaries public associated with Older Scots literary manuscripts and prints in the 16th century.

The scribe of Parts 6 and 7 who identifies himself in a colophon at the end of the Dicta Salomonis (fol. 12r) by writing ‘Expliciunt dicta Salomonis/per manum V de F etc’ may also be a notary public. He has occasionally been linked with the second scribe of the late 15th-century Scottish manuscript, BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24,72 which contains, amongst other things, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and James I’s Kingis Quair. More recent comparison of the two hands by Boffey and Edwards ‘does not confirm this identification’,73 although they note the coincidence that Part 6 (fols 4v–5v) and BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24 (fol. 119r) both contain a copy of Chaucer’s Truth (NIMEV, 809).74

Further such links between the two manuscripts present themselves. The Lancelot author appears, for instance, to have been familiar with James I’s Kingis Quair, Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde, and possibly Lydgate’s Complaynt of the Black Knight, all of which are found (p.223) in BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24.75 Previous critics have also attempted to attribute the latter manuscript’s The Quare of Jelusy (NIMEV, 3627.5; fols 221v–228v) to the Lancelot author on the basis of verbal and linguistic similarities.76

In addition, CUL, MS Kk.1.5, Part 6, fols 49r–54r contains The Thewis off Gudwomen which appears in a metrically adapted form within another Older Scots romance, Sir Gilbert Hay’s Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour.77 Book II of Lancelot also appears to echo Hay’s chivalric translations, the Buke of the Gouernaunce of Princis (BGP) and Buke of Knychthede (BK).78 Along with The Buke of the Law of Armys, BGP and BK were copied into the Hay Prose Manuscript (NLS, Acc. MS 9253) around 1490 to 1510. That manuscript’s scribe was responsible too for fols 1r–209v of BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24, as well as NRS, MS GD 45/31/I–II (a manuscript of Norse and Scots historical material),79 and a manuscript copy (from Martin Morin’s 1499 Rouen print) of Mirk’s Festial and Quattuor sermones (Cambridge, St John’s College, MS G.19); all four manuscripts can, furthermore, be identified with either the Roslin or Ravenscraig branches of the Sinclair family.80

There are, therefore, multiple and often-overlapping associations between Lancelot, the poems and prose of Sir Gilbert Hay, CUL, MS Kk.1.5 (Parts 6 and 7), and the four Sinclair manuscripts. This supports Rhiannon Purdie’s observation of the way in which Older Scots romance ‘texts [circulated] in a relatively small, self-consciously interconnected literary culture’.81 It also hints at a community around Roslin, active between c. 1490 (p.224) and 1510, that shared its literature, a fashion for anthologising, and a school of scribes.82

Returning specifically to Parts 6 and 7 of CUL, MS Kk.1.5, a significant feature of V de F’s copying is his use of rubrication and decoration. Parts 6 and 7 both contain a large number of gaps where an initial should have been rubricated. Where rubrication has been completed, several types occur. Large rubricated and inhabited initials appear at the start of Books I and III of Lancelot, where the faces most probably represent Titan and either Phoebus or Saturn referred to in the opening lines of these books (ll. 335, 2472–4).83 Both of these book openings, as well as the Prologue and start of Book II (which begin with large decorated and rubricated initials and several cadellae), are set-piece passages describing the weather. Smaller rubricated and inhabited initials occur at ll. 405, 634, 687, 1429, 2357, and 3269, with faces either in front or left profile. These are used when a specific person is being referred to, and they also signal the character’s gender, since female faces occur at ll. 687 and 2357 when the Lady of Melyhalt is mentioned. Similar faces occur in Part 6, decorating Ratis Raving (fols 25r, 26v, 27r), where they refer to the various ‘eilds’ (ages) of man (ll. 1104–733).

Most of the rubrication in Part 7 is uninhabited. It signals narrative transition and key moments such as the beginning of speeches (e.g. ll. 547, 634, 919, 935, 1389, 1463, 1590) or the beginning of battles (e.g. l. 771). Most significantly, several initial letters during Amytans’s advice to Arthur are also rubricated (ll. 1463, 1543, 1590, 1658, 1671, 1681). Skeat says of the first of these, ‘This line (though it should not) begins with an illuminated letter.’84 The rubrication is, however, entirely appropriate, since it highlights the beginning of Amtyans’s advice. The second rubricated initial signals the entrance of a messenger to announce that Galiot has granted Arthur a year’s truce, whilst the third rubricated initial highlights Amytans’s joyous response to this news. The next three rubricated initials are even more significant. They all occur on fol. 21r, and are much larger than rubricated initials elsewhere in Part 7. The first marks Amytans’s advice on the perils of minority rule (an addition to the French prose); the second highlights a section on the importance of a king sticking to his word; and the third emphasises the need for largesse and humility. Similar such attention to advice to princes elements is paralleled in both (p.225) manuscripts of Sir Gilbert Hay’s c. 1460 romance, The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour (BL, Additional MS 40732 and NRS, MS GD 112/71/9); verse paragraphs and rubricated initials there highlight 14 separate points of Aristotle’s advice to Alexander.85

Study of the rubrication practices throughout the sole surviving witness of Lancelot of the Laik thus reveals the importance accorded to Amytans’s advice to Arthur by at least one contemporary scribe/rubricator and supports the critical emphasis placed on this passage by modern literary scholars.

Amytans’s advice to Arthur elicited a mixed response from 20th-century scholars. This considerable expansion of the original French source has been seen either as an unnecessary distraction from the poem’s central theme of love,86 or as an integral element of a romance which successfully combines love and politics as dual themes.87 The passage has, furthermore, been interpreted either as a specific commentary on the reign of James III,88 or as belonging to the more generally applicable advice to princes tradition which became common in Scotland in the second half of the 15th century.89 Most recently, Alan Lupack has berated scholars for focusing on Amytans’s advice to Arthur, arguing that this episode appears prominent only because of the poem’s incomplete nature. He claims that Lancelot ‘is not a courtesy book but a romance in which the advice plays an important but subsidiary role’.90 An examination of Lancelot’s wider manuscript context by contrast suggests that it was received by its 15th-, 16th-, and 17th-century readers and owners in precisely the way modern scholars have approached it, namely as a romance and as conduct literature offering advice on private and public governance both generally and in relationship to the reign of James III.

The poem was, for instance, first compiled with a succession of moral and advisory literature in Part 6.91 In 15th- and early 16th-century England, (p.226) conduct literature commonly circulated alongside romance, and within such collections readers appear to have differentiated less clearly between the literary and the didactic, blurring generic boundaries across folios and quires.92 Something very similar happens in CUL, MS Kk.1.5. Here, Lancelot is compiled alongside several courtesy texts and the juxtaposition serves to amplify much of Amytans’s advice to Arthur. Thus, in the Dicta Salomonis (fols 5r–12r), a vernacular prose paraphrase of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes composed most probably in the late 14th century,93 an aged king reflects on his life, on mankind in general, and on how a king should govern his private self and public realm. He discusses, for instance, the dangers of minority rule,94 laments the reversal of hierarchies between rulers and servants, and warns against reviling a monarch. The biblical text is deliberately adapted to a Scottish geo-political context. The opening lines depict a Scottish landscape of ‘wellis in cragis and mon-/tanis’ (ll. 18–19) and the Scots translation of the Vulgate Chapter 3, Verses 16–17 is nuanced to reflect the contemporary judicial system: ‘Item he sais that he behald the wykytnes and iniuris that was done be the/Iugis and Iusticeris, …’ (ll. 191–3). In advising that a king be ‘nocht be our-Iust’, the Scots author also expands on the Vulgate, adding that he ‘suld have pete and mell/Iustice and mercy to-giddir in Iugmentis’ (ll. 351–2). This parallels Amytans’s exhortation to Arthur to ‘lat pas the ilk blessit wonde/Of lowe with mercy Iustly throw thi londe’ (ll. 1061–2).

The prophecies in Part 4 can also be read in dialogue with Amytans’s advice to Arthur.95 Although their ostensible subject is most often the Anglo-Scots and Anglo-French wars of the 13th century, the authors call for social, ecclesiastical, and political reform, and demonstrate how the moral health of the king affects the moral health of the nation. The same point is frequently made by Amytans in his advice to Arthur (e.g. ll. 1985–6).

Perhaps most significant of all is the framing of Lancelot with legal and parliamentary material in Parts 3, 4, 8, and 9 deriving from the reign of several (p.227) Scottish kings. Much of this legal material is concerned with the concept of the king as fount of justice and good governance, and so is entirely analogous to Amytans’s advice to Arthur. Most importantly, however, Parts 8 and 9 also contain material from the reign of James III, including Acts of Parliament from 1469,96 and minutes/draft material from the Parliament of January 1464/5 held during James III’s minority.97 This is particularly interesting given that (as outlined above) most recent scholars have rejected earlier attempts to link Lancelot to the reign of that king. The combination of material in Parts 8 and 9 suggests that there may be an association after all, even if that association is retrospective and/or limited to CUL, MS Kk.1.5.

It remains, finally, to touch on the English material in this manuscript: a Middle English translation of Christine de Pisan’s Livre du corps de policie in Part 1 and the only surviving manuscript copy of Sir Philip Sidney’s New Arcadia in Part 2.

Part 1 of CUL, MS Kk.1.5 is one of two witnesses of the Middle English translation of Christine’s Livre produced in the 15th century; John Skot’s 1521 printed edition (STC, 7270) is the second.98 On fol. 10v of Part 1 a late 15th- or early 16th-century reader, whom I have been unable to identify, signs his name ‘Antoni Randell’. He has made numerous annotations throughout the volume. The majority of these are semi-colon-like marks highlighting passages dealing with such subjects as clerical corruption, common rather than singular profit, the necessity for a king to show mercy and forgiveness, the changeability of fortune, the importance of temperance and good counsel, the dangers of lechery and flattery, the six essential characteristics of knighthood, the loyalty commons should show to their prince, and how burgesses should treat the poor. Quotations from authorities such as Aristotle and Valerius are also marked, as well as exempla involving famous classical figures such as Alexander the Great. More extensive annotations in the first part of the text highlight passages of specifically royal import. In a chapter dealing with ‘the sadde aduyse that is convenable for a yong prynce for to haue’, for instance, Anthony Randell (or another unidentified reader) has written ‘Not [sic] well prince’ next to a statement on a king’s mortality (fol. 7v, ‘the grete lordeshipp that he occupieth is not ellis but an offyce trancitory and of little during …’)99 and another (fol. 8r) stating that a king ‘muste be diligent in all (p.228) thyngis that longen to the comon wele of his realme …’).100 Annotations such as these betray yet more of that interest in the advice to princes genre shared by the literary and legal material in Parts 3–9, and the same interest appears again in Part 2’s copy of Sidney’s New Arcadia.

Here, an early, unidentified reader like Part 1’s Anthony Randell has attended to the elements of Sidney’s text offering monarchical advice. The anonymous reader’s annotations are not at all extensive—they consist of either a small ‘S’ or seed-like shape in the margin—but those which do appear cluster around passages depicting the virtuous rule of King Euarchus of Macedon and the education of Princes Musidorus and Pyrocles.101 When Euarchus first acceded, for instance, we are told that he found his realm ‘so disjointed even in the noblest and strongest limbs of government that the name of a king was grown even odious to the people.’102 The early reader highlighted the subsequent passage reporting that ‘the subjects could taste no sweeter fruits of having a king than grievous taxations to serve vain purposes’ (fol. 85r).103

In focusing as he does on the rule of King Euarchus, the early reader of Part 2 thus draws attention once again to the most predominant theme of the whole of CUL, MS Kk.1.5. Almost every text in this manuscript—be it English or Scottish, literary or legal—takes good self- and/or public governance as a theme, and this was in turn noted by the manuscript’s many (but often anonymous) scribes and readers. As such, what might initially appear to be a miscellaneous and diverse collection of literary and legal texts from both sides of the border appears upon closer examination to be a volume that gradually evolved, through a mixed and largely uncertain process of calculation and contingency, into a composite and thematically coherent whole.

3 Conclusion

This chapter has taken as its focus 15th- and 16th-century Scottish manuscript miscellanies with a broad base of vernacular verse contents. It began by introducing the most significant features of these manuscript miscellanies, such as their relatively late date in comparison with surviving miscellanies from elsewhere in the British Isles; the use of features of mise-en-page to (p.229) attend to differing generic layers within a text; the copying of manuscripts by scribes who also functioned as notaries public, writers to the signet, and merchants; their links to some of Scotland’s most prominent book-owning families; and their inclusion of material derived from print and from south of the border.

The second half of the chapter offered a brief case study of one particular Older Scots literary manuscript miscellany (CUL, MS Kk.1.5) in which the Older Scots romance, Lancelot of the Laik, is placed alongside a selection of Scottish courtesy texts and legal material, a series of English and Scottish prophecies, several Acts of the Scottish Parliament, an English translation of Christine de Pisan’s Livre du corps de policie, and the only surviving manuscript copy of Sir Philip Sidney’s New Arcadia.

CUL, MS Kk.1.5 exemplifies a number of the features shared by Older Scots literary manuscript miscellanies. In common with the copying of several texts into BodL, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24, and witnesses of the Older Scots romances The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour and Clariodus, the still-unidentified ‘V de F’ who copied Parts 6 and 7 of CUL, MS Kk.1.5 used mise-en-page and rubrication to highlight differing generic layers within texts such as Lancelot of the Laik, in the process drawing particular attention to advisory and lyrical passages. The connections that can be drawn between this ‘V de F’ and the scribes of several manuscripts connected to the Sinclair manuscript are moreover representative of the way in which Older Scots ‘texts [circulated] in a relatively small, self-consciously interconnected literary culture’.104 Unlike a number of Older Scots literary miscellanies, CUL, MS Kk.1.5 does not contain any material derived from print, but it does contain a significant proportion of material from south of the border, and a great deal of legal/parliamentary material. This latter point may in part reflect the professional interests of one of the volume’s 16th-century readers/owners, the notary public James Logan, and in turn reminds us that a large number of Older Scots texts were written, copied and/or read and owned by notaries public.

The nine parts of CUL, MS Kk.1.5 began life as a series of independent booklets copied by a variety of scribes between the last quarter of the 15th century and the end of the 16th century, and several stages of compilation ensued before the surviving composite volume was formed. Unfortunately, we will never be able to ascertain with certainty the precise degree of intentionality and conscious organisation—and/or level of chance and contingency—behind the ‘final product’ that eventually formed part of Richard Holdsworth’s library, and we can equally never be sure if our perceptions of the volume match those of early modern readers, but there are, I think, strong grounds (p.230) upon which we might, both retrospectively, and following the cues of the manuscript’s early scribes and readers, approach CUL, MS Kk.1.5 as a composite and thematically coherent whole that demonstrates throughout a concern with themes of good self- and public governance.


(1) Priscilla Bawcutt, ‘Manuscript Miscellanies in Scotland from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Century’, in Sally Mapstone (ed.), Older Scots Literature (Edinburgh, John Donald, 2005), pp. 189–210, at p. 190. This article was also published as ‘Scottish Manuscript Miscellanies from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Century’, in Peter Beal and A. S. G. Edwards (eds), Scribes and Transmission in English Manuscripts 1400–1700, English Manuscript Studies 1100–1700, vol. 12 (London: British Library, 2005), pp. 46–73.

(3) Ibid., p. 208.

(4) Sebastiaan Verweij, ‘“The Inlegebill scribling of my Impromt pen”: The Production and Circulation of Literary Miscellany Manuscripts in Jacobean Scotland, c. 1580–c. 1630’, Ph.D. thesis (Glasgow, 2008). See also Alasdair A. MacDonald, ‘The Cultural Repertory of Middle Scots Lyric Verse’, in Gillis J. Dorleijn and Herman L. J. Vanstiphout (eds), Cultural Repertoires: Structure, Function and Dynamics (Leuven, Peeters, 2003), pp. 59–86 and Joanna Martin, ‘The Maitland Quarto Manuscript and the Literary Culture of the Reign of James VI’, in D. J. Parkinson, James VI and I, Scotland and Literature (Leuven, Peeters, 2013), pp. 65–82.

(5) Joanna Martin’s new edition of the Maitland Quarto MS (Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library, MS 1408) for the Scottish Text Society is forthcoming. Previous editions of the Asloan (Edinburgh, NLS, MS 16500), Bannatyne (Edinburgh, NLS, MS Advocates 1.1.6), Maitland Folio (Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library, MS 2553), and Maitland Quarto MSS have been produced by the STS, and elsewhere two facsimiles: Denton Fox and William A. Ringler (eds), The Bannatyne Manuscript: National Library of Scotland MS 1.1.6 (London, Scolar Press, 1980) and Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards with B. C. Barker-Benfield (eds), The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and The Kingis Quair: A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24 (Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 1997).

(6) As discussed below, the terms used to describe collections of literary material in manuscript form are notoriously vexed, with ‘anthology’ tending to suggest a greater degree of coherence than ‘miscellany’. Whilst recognising both this, and that the terms are not interchangeable, this chapter nevertheless adopts for the sake of consistency the term ‘miscellany’, as Bawcutt does in those articles cited above.

(7) For Scottish manuscript miscellanies containing music (not discussed here), see Bawcutt, ‘Manuscript Miscellanies’, pp. 194–5, 200.

(8) P. Bawcutt, ‘Crossing the Border: Scottish Poetry and English Readers in the Sixteenth Century’, in Sally Mapstone and Juliette Wood (eds), The Rose and the Thistle: Essays on the Culture of Late Medieval and Renaissance Scotland (East Linton, Tuckwell, 1998), pp. 59–76; P. Bawcutt, ‘English Books and Scottish Readers in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries’, Review of Scottish Culture, 14 (2001–2), 1–12; A. A. MacDonald, ‘Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations: Problems and Possibilities’, Studies in Scottish Literature, 26 (1991), 172–84. In Chapter 14, this volume William Marx considers the similar conjunction of Welsh and English material in Welsh manuscript miscellanies.

(9) One notable exception to this observation is the 16th-century Book of the Dean of Lismore (Edinburgh, NLS, Advocates MS 72.1.37) which contains verse and prose in Gaelic, Scots, and Latin. It would appear that the situation in Wales was different from Scotland; see William Marx, Chapter 14, this volume, which discusses a trilingual Welsh miscellany.

(10) Perhaps also on account of their late date medieval and early modern Scottish literary miscellanies are copied on paper rather than parchment.

(11) Julia Boffey, ‘The Kingis Quair and the Other Poems of Bodleian Library MS Arch. Selden. B. 24’, in Priscilla Bawcutt and Janet Hadley Williams (eds), A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry (Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 2006), pp. 63–74, at p. 64. See also Julia Boffey, ‘Bodleian Library, MS. Arch. Selden. B. 24 and Definitions of the Household Book’, in A. S. G. Edwards et al. (eds), The English Medieval Book: Studies in Memory of Jeremy Griffiths (London, British Library, 2000), pp. 125–34; Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards, ‘Bodleian MS Arch. Selden. B. 24: The Genesis and Evolution of a Scottish Poetical Anthology’, in Sally Mapstone (ed.), Older Scots Literature (Edinburgh, John Donald, 2005), pp. 14–29.

(12) See further R. J. Lyall, ‘Books and Book-owners in Fifteenth-century Scotland’, in Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (eds), Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375–1487 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 239–56, at p. 241.

(13) J. A. W. Bennett (ed.), Devotional Pieces in Verse and Prose from MS. Arundel 285 and MS. Harleian 6961, STS, 3rd ser., 23 (Edinburgh, W. Blackwood & Sons, 1955), p. xxiv.

(14) In general, however, Older Scots manuscripts are plain, lacking the decorative features of many English manuscripts.

(15) Priscilla Bawcutt, ‘Lord William Howard of Naworth (1563–1640): Antiquary, Book Collection, and Owner of the Scottish Devotional Manuscript British Library, Arundel 285’, Textual Cultures, 7:1 (2012), 158–75, at 171.

(17) See further Ardis Butterfield, ‘Mise en page in the Troilus manuscripts’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 58 (1995), 49–80 and C. D. Benson and B. Windeatt, ‘The Manuscript Glosses to Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde’, Chaucer Review, 25 (1990), 33–53.

(18) James I, The Kingis Quair, ed. John Norton-Smith (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971). I quote from my own transcription of the manuscript, but provide line numbers from this edition.

(19) The Quare of Jelusy, ed. J. Norton-Smith and I. Pravda (Heidelberg, Winter, 1976), between ll. 316 and 317.

(20) See Emily Wingfield, ‘The Manuscript and Print Contexts of Older Scots Romance’, D.Phil. thesis (Oxford, 2010), pp. 96, 142–3.

(21) This phrase was used by Richard Beadle in the second of his 2013 Lyell Lectures entitled ‘Medieval English Literary Autographs 1. Fugitive Pieces’. He applied it to episodes in narratives where writers describe and comment self-consciously on the physical process of writing and copying, such as Hoccleve’s meditation on the arduous activities of a scribe in the Prologue to the Regement of Princes or even Chaucers Wordes Unto Adam, His Owne Scriveyn.

(22) Compare the recent work on those scribes of Middle English manuscripts connected to the Guildhall in London. See, in particular, Linne R. Mooney and Estelle Stubbs, Scribes and the City: London Guildhall Clerks and the Dissemination of Middle English Literature 1375–1425 (Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 2013).

(23) A significant exception to this rule is the Maitland Quarto MS, inscribed ‘Marie Maitland 1586’. Some scholars have suggested that she may have had a role in copying (as well as owning) the manuscript.

(25) Ibid., p 243. For more on Scottish handwriting, see Grant G. Simpson, Scottish Handwriting 1150–1650 (Edinburgh, Bratton, 1973).

(26) Significant amounts of material were copied from printed books into 16th-century English manuscripts too. See N. F. Blake, ‘Manuscript to Print’, in Griffiths and Pearsall, Book Production and Publishing, pp. 403–32 and Julia Boffey’s more recent Manuscript and Print in London c. 1475–1530 (London, British Library, 2012).

(27) Emily Wingfield, ‘The Familial, Professional and Literary Contexts of Edinburgh, NAS, MS RH 13/35’, Textual Cultures, 7:1 (2012), 77–96.

(28) See Sally Mapstone (ed.), The Chepman and Myllar Prints: Digital Facsimiles with Introduction, Headnotes and Transcription (Edinburgh, STS and NLS, 2008), p. 7; D. Fox, ‘Manuscripts and Prints of Scots Poetry in the Sixteenth Century’, in A. J. Aitken et al., Bards and Makars: Scottish Language and Literature, Medieval and Renaissance (Glasgow, University of Glasgow Press, 1977), pp. 156–71.

(29) Although there is no documentary evidence directly linking Chepman and the scribe John Asloan the two men were contemporary notaries public, and appear within the same protocol books and town registers. Both men were associated with St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. For further discussion of the connections between Asloan and Chepman, see Wingfield, ‘The Manuscript and Print Contexts of Older Scots Romance’, ch. 5, in particular pp. 254–62.

(30) Theo Van Heijnsbergen, ‘The Interaction between Literature and History in Queen Mary’s Edinburgh: The Bannatyne Manuscript and Its Prosopographical Context’, in A. A. Macdonald, M. Lynch, and I. B. Cowan (eds), The Renaissance in Scotland: Studies in Literature, Religion, History and Culture offered to John Durkan, Brill Studies in Intellectual History, 54 (Leiden, Brill, 1994).

(32) A. I. Doyle, ‘English Books In and Out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII’, in V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (eds), English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages (London, Duckworth, 1983), pp. 163–81, at p. 164.

(33) I here recall the title of Stephen G. Nichols and Siegfried Wenzel (eds), The Whole Book: Cultural Perspectives on the Medieval Miscellany (Michigan, University of Michigan Press, 1996). William Marx makes a similar case for the miscellany he discusses in Chapter 14, this volume.

(34) Jeffrey Todd Knight, Bound to Read: Compilations, Collections, and the Making of Renaissance Literature (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

(35) Ibid., pp. 11, 16.

(36) This 14th-century Scottish legal treatise details the feudal law of medieval Scotland. See Lord Cooper (ed. and trans.), Regiam majestatem and Quoniam attachiamenta, Stair Society, 11 (Edinburgh, J. Skinner, 1947).

(37) Maritime laws, known in England as The Rolls of Oleron. For further information see A. R. G. McMillan, ‘Admiralty and Maritime Law’, in An Introductory Survey of the Sources and Literature of Scots Law, Stair Society, 1 (Edinburgh, R. Maclehose & Co., 1936).

(38) For discussion of this and other legal material listed under Parts 8 and 9 below, see Hector L. MacQueen, Common Law and Feudal Society in Medieval Scotland (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1993).

(39) This is an excerpt from the Prophecy of John of Bridlington, Distinction 3, chs 5–9. See A. G. Rigg, ‘John of Bridlington’s Prophecy: A New Look’, Speculum, 63 (1988), 596–613.

(40) Alternatively known as The First Scottish Prophecy (NIMEV, 4029). See J. R. Lumby (ed.), Bernadus de cura rei famuliaris: With Some Early Scottish Prophecies, EETS, OS, 42 (London, Trübner & Co, 1870), pp. 18–22; R. H. Robbins (ed.), Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth Centuries (New York, Columbia University Press, 1959), pp. 115–17; A. Brandl, ‘The Cock in the North’, Sitzungsberichte der Königlichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 47 (Berlin, 1909), 1166–74; R. Taylor, The Political Prophecy in England (New York, Columbia University Press, 1911; reprinted New York, AMS Press, 1967), pp. 75–6.

(41) NIMEV, 3665. See further Lumby (ed.), Bernadus de cura, pp. 23–31; Taylor, Political Prophecy, pp. 58–60; L. A. Coote, Prophecy and Public Affairs in Later Medieval England (Woodbridge, York Medieval, 2000), pp. 130–3.

(42) For a summary and interpretation of this prophecy in which a Lily invades the territory of a Lion with the help of the Son of Man, see Coote, Prophecy and Public Affairs, pp. 96–8.

(43) This prophecy, which was most likely composed between 1320 and 1340, purports to be a letter written by Thomas Becket and concerns the gift of a stone flask filled with holy oil given to him by Virgin Mary. Versions of this and ‘Lilium regnans’ are printed in J.-P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae cursus completus, 190 (Paris, 1854), cols 391–4. See also T. A. Sandquist, ‘The Holy Oil of St. Thomas of Canterbury’, in T. A. Sandquist and M. R. Powicke (eds), Essays on Medieval History Presented to Bertie Wilkinson (Toronto, University of Toronto, 1969), pp. 330–4; A. Duggan, Thomas Becket: A Textual History of His Letters (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1980), pp. 137–8, n. 4; Coote, Prophecy and Public Affairs, pp. 94–6.

(44) Alternatively known as The Second Scottish Prophecy (NIMEV, 4008), this poem treats of Anglo-Scots border warfare, in particular the struggle for Berwick. See Lumby (ed.), Bernadus de cura, pp. 32–4; Robbins (ed.), Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth Centuries, pp. 118–20, 312–13.

(45) An abbreviated Scots version of A Treatise on Tribulation, a popular English text that came to be printed by Caxton and de Worde (STC, 3305, 20412, and 20413) as part of a ‘Book of divers ghostly matters’.

(46) NIMEV, 450. Purporting to be a letter sent by St Bernard to one ‘raymwnde knycht of chewalry’ (l. 9), this treatise of 408 lines addresses the male head of a household, and advises him on domestic management and household economy.

(47) There are two editions of Part 6: J. R. Lumby (ed.), Ratis Raving and Other Moral and Religious Pieces in Prose and Verse, EETS, OS, 43 (London, Trübner, 1870) and R. Girvan (ed.), Ratis Raving, and Other Early Scots Poems on Morals, STS, 3rd ser., 11 (Edinburgh and London, W. Blackwood & Sons, 1939).

(48) A prose text in the ars moriendi tradition, like the final text in Part 4 above.

(49) NIMEV, 687. CUL, MS Kk.1.5 is the sole witness for this three eight-line stanza Scots verse offering general advice on correct behaviour and self-governance.

(50) NIMEV, 809.

(51) NIMEV, 3151. For further witnesses and versions of this poem, and its associations with James I and VI, see W. W. Skeat (ed.), The Kingis Quair together with a Ballad of Good Counsel of King James I of Scotland, STS, 1st ser., 1 (Edinburgh and London, W. Blackwood & Sons, 1884); James Craigie (ed.), The Poems of James VI of Scotland, 2 vols, STS, 3rd ser., 22, 26 (Edinburgh and London, W. Blackwood), vol. 2, pp. 132, 133, 196, 244–5, 267–8; R. J. Lyall, ‘James VI and the Sixteenth-century Cultural Crisis’, in J. Goodare and M. Lynch (eds), The Reign of James VI (Edinburgh, John Donald, 2000), pp. 55–70, at pp. 59–60; R. J. Lyall, Alexander Montgomerie: Poetry, Politics, and Cultural Change in Jacobean Scotland, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 298 (Tempe, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2005), pp. 97–8.

(52) NIMEV, 3131. A unique four-couplet poem advocating the virtues of labour.

(53) See below p. 226.

(54) NIMEV, 2235. See Girvan (ed.), Ratis Raving, p. lxxii. In this text, dating ‘not later than the opening decades of the fifteenth century’, a father offers an extended sequence of advice to his son and concludes by discussing the Seven Ages of Man.

(55) NIMEV, 3154. This text enumerates the qualities of the Wiseman and vices of the Fool.

(56) NIMEV, 4100. This further piece of parental advice provides a commentary on misrule and the necessity for good counsel.

(57) NIMEV, 3362. This text enumerates the manner in which a young woman should conduct herself in the domestic and public spheres of everyday life. Another version is found in Cambridge, St John’s College, MS G.23 (fols 164r–167v), alongside Barbour’s Bruce and a Scots version of Lydgate’s Dietary. See my ‘The Thewis off Gudwomen: Female Advice in Lancelot of the Laik and The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour’, in Janet Hadley-Williams and Derrick McClure (eds), Fresche Fontanis: Studies in the Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013).

(58) NIMEV, 3466.

(59) Parts 8 and 9 (discussed in further detail below) have been out of order since the manuscript was disbound in the 19th century. It is therefore difficult to tell which items are from Part 8 and which from Part 9. I list the items in the order in which they were placed by Dr Jayne Ringrose of Cambridge University Library.

(60) For further information about the legal/parliamentary material in Part 9, see MacQueen, Common Law.

(61) An alternative (contrafactum) version of this secular love lyric appears in the Gude and godlie ballatis. See A Compendious Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs Commonly Known as ‘The gude and godlie ballatis’, ed. A. F. Mitchell, STS (Edinburgh, W. Blackwood, 1897), pp. 140–1; Carleton Brown and Rossell Hope Robbins (eds), Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Lexington, University of Kentucky Press, 1965), no. 120.7 and note to no. 2261.2; and John E. Stevens, Music and Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (London, Metheun, 1961), pp. 353–4.

(62) By the late 14th/early 15th century David I (c. 1085–1153) had became a prominent figure in Scottish chronicles where he gained a reputation as a successful lawmaker and epitome of the strong monarch. See R. Oram, David I: The King Who Made Scotland (Stroud, Tempus, 2004), pp. 208–9, 212.

(63) T. A. Fergus (ed. and trans.), Quoniam attachiamenta, Stair Society, 44 (Edinburgh, Stair Society, 1996).

(64) Patrick Collinson, ‘Holdsworth, Richard (1590–1649)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), online edn January 2008, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/13499; S. Bush and C. J. Rasmussen, ‘Emmanuel College Library’s First Inventory’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 8 (1985), 514–56.

(65) The Welsh miscellany discussed by William Marx in Chapter 14, this volume similarly contains material that has origins in different centuries, and in different parts of the British Isles.

(66) For a more comprehensive study of the whole manuscript, see Wingfield ‘Manuscript and Print Contexts’, ch. 4.

(67) I here echo Sally Mapstone, who in discussion of the Asloan manuscript, similarly comments, ‘It is quite true that not all the material in Asloan’s MS follow a discernible patterning. It seems most probable, however, that the organisation of the MS reflects a combination of the calculated and the contingent.’ See Sally Mapstone, ‘Introduction: Older Scots and the Sixteenth Century’, in Mapstone (ed.), Older Scots Literature, pp. 175–88, at p. 177. In his aforementioned Bound to Read, Todd Knight reminds us of the way in which ‘early modern collectors … organized and built books on substantially more varied principles of compilation, including augmentation and annexion, topicality, combination and recombination, general and formal transformation, and necessity’ (pp. 180–1), adding, ‘For every “collated and perfect” book from the period suggesting uniformity and integrity, there are early Sammelbände, or records of them, that bear witness to eclecticism as a hermeneutic practice’ (p. 182). Either way, ‘book collectors and compilers were producers rather than mere custodians of meaning’ (p. 184).

(69) J. Anderson (ed.), Calendar of the Laing Charters, A.D. 854–1837, Belonging to the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, James Thin, 1889), nos 465, 544, 800, 856, 866, 867, 1167, 1363. See also J. Thompson et al. (eds), The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland (Registrum magni sigilli regum Scotorum) (hereafter RMS), 11 vols (Edinburgh, H. M. General Register House, 1882–1914), 1546–80, no. 1748.

(70) There are references in the RMS to another early 16th-century notary public called James Logan, as well as a James Logan ‘deputato vicecomiti de Edinburgh’. See RMS 1424–1513, nos 3214, 3254, 3786, 3844, 3857; RMS 1513–46, nos 68, 2211; J. Durkan (ed.), The Protocol Book of John Foular 1528–34, Scottish Record Society, NS, 10 (Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society, 1985), no. 355.

(72) For example, M. M. Gray (ed.), Lancelot of the Laik, STS, 2nd ser., 2 (Edinburgh and London, W. Blackwood & Sons, 1912), p. xi.

(74) Both versions form part of the c-group: see L. D. Benson (ed.) The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd edn (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 1189. CUL, MS Kk.1.5 contains unique readings at ll. 11 and 19, and interchanges l. 13 for l. 6. The poem has no title in either manuscript.

(75) Such parallels are discussed in the introductions and notes to all editions of Lancelot. See also Joanna Martin, Kingship and Love in Scottish Poetry, 1424–1540 (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008), pp. 42–3.

(76) W. W. Skeat, ‘The Author of “Lancelot of the Laik”’, Scottish Historical Review, 8 (1910–11), 1–4; M. M. Gray et al., ‘Vidas Achinlek, Chevalier’, Scottish Historical Review, 8 (1910–11), 321–6; Gray (ed.), Lancelot of the Laik, pp. xviii–xx; R. J. Lyall, ‘Politics and Poetry in Fifteenth-and Sixteenth-century Scotland’, Scottish Literary Journal, 3 (1976), 5–29, at 13; R. J. Lyall, ‘Two of Dunbar’s Makars: James Affleck and Sir John the Ross’, Innes Review, 27 (1976), 99–109.

(77) S. Mapstone, ‘The Scots Buke of Phisnomy and Sir Gilbert Hay’, in A. A. Macdonald et al. (eds), The Renaissance in Scotland: Studies in Literature, Religion, History and Culture Offered to John Durkan, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, 54 (Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1994), pp. 1–44.

(78) S. Mapstone, ‘The Scots, the French, and the English: An Arthurian Episode’, in Graham Caie et al. (eds), The European Sun: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 2001), pp. 129–44, at pp. 136–7.

(79) M. Chesnutt, ‘The Dalhousie Manuscript of the Historia Norvegiae’, Opuscula, 8, Bibliotheca Arnamagnæana, 38 (1985), 54–95.

(80) S. Mapstone, ‘Introduction: Older Scots and the Fifteenth Century’, in Mapstone (ed.), Older Scots Literature, pp. 3–13, at pp. 4–6.

(81) Rhiannon Purdie, ‘Medieval Romance in Scotland’, in P. Bawcutt and J. Hadley Williams (eds), A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2006), pp. 165–77, at p. 175.

(82) J. Boffey, ‘Bodleian Library, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24 and Definitions of the Household Book’, in A. S. G. Edwards, V. Gillespie, and R. Hanna (eds), The English Medieval Book: Studies in Memory of Jeremy Griffiths (London, British Library, 2000), pp. 125–34, at p. 130, and Mapstone, ‘Introduction: Older Scots and the Fifteenth Century’, in Older Scots Literature, pp. 3–13, at pp. 5–6.

(83) W. W. Skeat (ed.), Lancelot of the Laik: A Scottish Metrical Romance, EETS, OS, 6 (London, Trübner & Co., 1865). All citations are from this edition.

(86) For example, J. Burke Severs et al. (eds), A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500, 11 vols (New Haven and London, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1967–), vol. 1, pp. 50–1.

(87) W. Scheps, ‘The Thematic Unity of Lancelot of the Laik’, Studies in Scottish Literature, 5 (1968), 167–75; D. Wurtele, ‘A Reappraisal of the Scottish Lancelot of the Laik’, Revue de l’Université d’Ottawa, 46 (1976), 68–82; Martin, Kingship and Love, pp. 41–60.

(88) Skeat (ed.), Lancelot of the Laik, p. xii; B. Vogel, ‘Secular Politics and the Date of Lancelot of the Laik’, Studies in Philology, 40 (1943), 1–13.

(89) Lyall, ‘Politics and Poetry’; Mapstone, ‘The Scots, the French, and the English’, p. 137. See also S. Mapstone, ‘The Advice to Princes Tradition in Scottish Literature, 1450–1500’, D.Phil. thesis (Oxford, 1986), pp. 144–200.

(90) A. Lupack (ed.), Lancelot of the Laik and Sir Tristrem, Middle English Texts (Kalamazoo, MI, Medieval Institute Publications, 1994), p. 4.

(91) The outer folia of Parts 6 and 7 are considerably worn, perhaps suggesting that the two booklets remained separate for some time, but the shared layout and decoration of the two parts would instead indicate they were intended to be read together. It may therefore simply have been an accident that they remained unbound for some time.

(92) L. S. Blanchfield, ‘The Romances in MS Ashmole 61: An Idiosyncratic Scribe’, in M. Mills et al. (eds), Romance in Medieval England (Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 1991), pp. 65–97 and ‘Rate Revisited: The Compilation of Narrative Works in MS Ashmole 61’, in J. Fellows et al. (eds), Romance Reading on the Book: Essays on Medieval Narrative Presented to Maldwyn Mills (Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1996), pp. 208–20. See also C. Meale, ‘The Compiler at Work: John Colyns and BL MS Harley 2252’, in Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-century England: The Literary Implications of Manuscript Study (Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 82–103, ‘The Middle English Romance of Ipomedon: A Late Medieval “Mirror” for Princes and Merchants’, Reading Medieval Studies, 10 (1984), 136–91, and ‘London, British Library, Harley MS 2252: John Colyns’ “Boke”: Structure and Content’, English Manuscript Studies, 15 (2009), 65–122.

(93) Girvan (ed.), Ratis Raving, p. lv. Citations are from this edition.

(94) Amytans raises the same theme in Book II of Lancelot at ll. 1658–71.

(95) Lancelot itself also includes dreams and prophetic matter. See M. Robbins, ‘Medieval Astrology and The Buke of the Sevyne Sagis’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 38 (2002), 420–34, at 429–30, and Martin, Kingship and Love, p. 44.

(96) T. Thompson and C. Innes (eds), The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 12 vols (Edinburgh: n.p., 1814–44), hereafter APS, vol. 2, 94(1)–97(19).

(97) APS, vol. 12, 30–1.

(98) See Diane Bornstein (ed.), The Middle English Translation of Christine de Pisan’s Livre du corps de policie: Ed. from MS C.U.L. Kk.1.5, Middle English Texts, 7 (Heidelberg, Carl Winter, 1977).

(101) All citations from Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (The New Arcadia), are from the edition by V. Skretkowicz (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1987), hereafter NA.

(102) NA, p. 159, ll. 27–9.

(103) NA, p. 160, ll. 3–4.