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Chronicles and historical works, written in England.

Identifier: Adv.MS.33.3.1

Scope and Contents

The contents of the manuscript are as follows:

(i) Table of the sons and grandchildren of St. Louis (folio 1)

(ii) `Scala mundi`: historical and genealogical tables from the Creation (folio 1 verso). A similar manuscript of this text is in Trinity College, Cambridge, MS. 645. The chronology goes up to 1519, but apart from a few additions in later hands, the last entry is the accession of Albert the Great in 1438. The tables include lunar and solar years, the dates of Easter, and lists of popes, emperors and kings. The compiler quotes from the `Speculum Historiale` of Vincent of Beauvais. In addition to the tables there are an account of the Creation (folio 1 verso), a list of rulers of Israel and principal events to the birth of Christ (folio 44), and a passage concerning the prophet Mohammed (folio 57 verso). Obits of three members of the Shyrebroke family have been added for 1528, 1535 and 1576.

(iii) The Chronicle of Popes and Emperors by Martinus Polonus (folio 78 verso). It belongs to type C of the edition by Ludwig Weiland

in ‘Monumenta Germaniae Historica’, pages 377-482, and includes the passage on Pope Joan (folio 100 verso). The prefatory matter (‘Monumenta Germaniae Historica’, pages 397-408) is omitted, and there is some additional material, including passages on St. Patrick (folio 89 verso) and King Arthur (folio 92 verso). The chronicle includes the continuation (‘Monumenta Germaniae Historica’, pages 476-482), and there are further additions up to Pope Benedict XII (1334). The entries for the Popes are on the versos and for the Emperors on the rectos of the leaves.

(iv) `Compilatio de gestis britonum et anglorum` (folio 120). As far as 1236, this appears to be the text sometimes ascribed to Peter Ickham (see ‘Descriptive catalogue of materials relating to the history of Great Britain and Ireland’, page 276). The text breaks off at 1236 and recommences with a more detailed chronicle from 1264 to the death of James I in 1437. From 1399 to 1437 the text is the common version of the Latin ‘Brut’ (see ‘English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century’, pages 312-323). Further passages on folios 165-166 have been erased.

(v) `De rege Arturo et bello eius. Brutus libro octavo` (folio 167). A short chronicle based on Geoffrey of Monmouth`s ‘Historia regum Britanniae’, books IX, 1-X, 13.

(vi) `Tabula super cronicis vocatis scala mundi’ (folio 169). An index to sections (ii)-(iv).

(vii) `Copia bulle de indulgenciis festivitatis corporis christi.` Decree of the Council of Basel, 1434, confirming a decree of Pope Eugenius IV. The decree is printed in ‘Concilia Generalia et Provincialia’, volume 3, part 2, pages 1004-1005 (folio 173 verso).

(viii) Extracts from Geoffrey of Monmouth, `Historia regum Britanniae`, books I, 1 and 3-18, and VII, 3-VIII, 1 (folio 174). The second part concerns the prophecies of Merlin.

(ix) Summary of principal events in the ‘Historia Ecclesiastica` of Eusebius and its continuation by Rufinus (folio 180).

(x) Summary of principal events in the `Historiae Ecclesiasticae` of Cassiodorus (folio 187).

(xi) Verse prophecies of events in English history from 1471 to 1571 (folio 192), beginning `After henry ye vj shall E. Raygne yt shall put us to peyne.` The title `The prophysy of Dan Jefferey of Crowland abbey, anno domini 1003` and the date 1571 have been added.

(xii) A collection of medical and political verses in Latin and English (folio 193). The incipits are as follows: `Prima digestio est in stomacho`; `Intellectus est in fronte` (cf. British Museum, Royal MS.8.C.IV, folio 41 verso); ‘Quando senes erunt sine sensu`; `Many Rulers fewe Rightuouse`; `Loke whan Rome Runnes in no procession`; `Whan men weyre upon theyr heades beehyves’; `Whan father blyth the begger can say two credes`; `Aske with one eye shall be cheyfe of chyvalrye’.

There is a list (folio iv) of authors whose works were used in the compilation of section (iv), and indices of material on the laws of England, and of abbeys (folio 193 verso), all in a 16th-century hand.

The scribe of sections (i)-(x), who has written his initials M J M and `Et semper laus tibi ihesu dulcedo mi` or similar phrases on folios 165, 172 verso, 180, 186 verso and 190 verso, was John Mabulthorpe, fellow of Eton College (see ‘A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford’, pages 1198-1199). There are a number of his comments and exclamations in the margins.

There are large initials in red and blue with decorative penwork throughout sections (i)-(x). Section (ii) is written in black and red, and the lines of descent are traced in red, blue, green, purple and pale mauve. This section also contains a number of small miniatures illustrating events in the tables. Apart from the temptation of Eve (folio 2) and the arrangement of a choir (folio 52 verso), the drawings are rather clumsily executed, and most of them represent buildings.


  • Creation: 15th century.

Language of Materials

English, Middle (1100-1500); Latin


1 Volumes (i + 194 folios.)


Early foliation up to the end of (x). Folios 78 recto, 117-119, 166 verso, and 173 recto blank but ruled; folio 191 blank. There are numerous marginalia in 15th-century hands.

Collation: 1¹² (+ one leaf before 1), 2-3¹², 4¹⁴, 5⁸, 6¹² (+ one leaf after 2), 7-9¹², 10¹² (-12), 11-13¹², 14¹⁴ (-12, 13, 14 probably blank), 15-16¹², 17 (four single leaves).

Catchwords parallel to the text. Section (iii) has additional catchwords on every page. Signatures in blue on gatherings 8-16. Section (vi) in 2 columns. Folios 56-61 are between 380 and 315 millimetres wide, and are folded.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Vellum. 19th-century binding of brown calf.

Custodial History

The manuscript was given to Lincoln College, Oxford, by John Mabulthorpe (number 106 in the catalogue of the library of Lincoln College, edited by Roberto Weiss, in ‘Bodleian Quarterly Record’, 342-359). The ex-libris of the antiquary Ralph Thoresby occurs on folio 1, with the date of purchase 1692. Thoresby bought it at an auction in Sheffield (see ‘Diary of Ralph Thoresby’, volume i, page 230). It appears in his ‘Ducatus Leodiensis’, page 516, number 13 and was sold with his other manuscripts on 7 March 1764 (see ‘Sale catalogues of libraries of eminent persons’, volume x, page 197, lot 42). It was bought by the Advocates’ Library from Archibald Constable and Company, sale catalogue for 1808, number 9519.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.

Related Materials

The contents of this manuscript are the same as College of Arms, Arundel MS. 5.

Trinity College, Cambridge, MS. 645.

British Museum, Royal MS.8.C.IV.


‘Monumenta Germaniae Historica’, edited by G H Pertz, ‘Scriptorum’, tomus xxii (Hanover, 1872).
Hardy, Thomas D. ‘Descriptive catalogue of materials relating to the history of Great Britain and Ireland’, volume iii (London, 1871).

Kingsford, Charles L. ‘English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century’ (Oxford, 1913).
For the text of Geoffrey of Monmouth`s ‘Historia regum Britanniae`, see the edition by Acton Griscom (London, 1929), pages 432-496.
‘Concilia Generalia et Provincialia’, edited by S Binius (Cologne, 1618).
Emden, A B. ‘Biographical Register of the University of Oxford’ (Oxford, 1957-1959).
‘Bodleian Quarterly Record’, viii (1935-1937).

‘Diary of Ralph Thoresby’ (London, 1830).

Thoresby, Ralph. ‘Ducatus Leodiensis’ (London, 1715).

Munby, A N L. ‘Sale catalogues of libraries of eminent persons’ (London, 1974).

Physical Description

0.00 linear metresi + 194 folios.225.00 x 320.00 millimetres


225.00 x 320.00 millimetres

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
20 07 2015
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Descriptive Rules
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

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