The London Chronicles of the Fifteenth Century: A Revolution in English Writing

By Mary-Rose McLaren | Go to book overview
Bradford, West Yorkshire Archives MS 32D86/42
[Fol. 1]
Tempo Regis henr t'cii
chirches and ferde fouls with wodes and mennys orchardes / Also þe same ʒer was þe Translacion of Seynt Thomas þe archebysshop of Caunt'bury / Also fyry dragons and wykkyd spiritis many on' were sen fleynge in the Eyr 1 translatio archiepm
Cantuar
|fyr
dragons
1221 serle le m'. m'c' Ricus Benger 2 vic' ao VIto
Thomas lambert
1222 Ric'us Reng' Wills le jeyne vic' ao VIIo
m'. Thomas lambert
This same ʒer come ffrere menours ferst In to Englond 3 |fres minores
ben po. in Angl
____________________
1
The early pages of the manuscript are missing, so the text begins mid-sentence in 5 Henry III. The first entry highlights the unusual nature of the text in B 42. Although accounts in other manuscripts are similar, none is quite the same. It is not unusual for a text to have unique entries, particularly in the early years. However, it is unusual for an independent entry to be clearly different, yet still similar to others. The corresponding entries in MSS Julius B. II and Longleat 53 also appear under year v of Henry III:

In this same yere that ys to say vpon Seynt Lukys Day ther Blewe a grete Wynde out off the North Est that ouerthrewe many an house and also Turrettes and Chirches and fferde ffoule with the Woddes and Mennys Orcherdes //And also fyrye Dragons and Wykked Spyries weren many seyn merveyllously ffleynge in the eyre (Julius B. II)

Longleat 53 presents the same account and MS Rawlinson B 355 presents a very similar account in Latin under year vi. The Egerton group is substantially the same, although it has some variations. MS Guildhall 3313 has a long entry which ends with:

Also the same yere upon seynt Lukes day ther blewe a grete wynde out of the Northe Este which cast doune mony houses stepilles and turrettes of chirches Also it ferd foule with wodes and orcherdys Atte whiche tyme fery dragons and wykked spiretes grete noumbre were seen opynly in the Eyre Fleyng.

MS Harley 565 has a long account which concludes:

Also in þis same yere up on seynt Lukes day þere blewe a gret wynd out of þe north whiche caste doun manye houses steples and torrettes of chirches and turned up so downe trees in wodes & in orchardes at whiche tyme fyry dragons and wykkes spirytes grete noumbre were seyn openly fleyng in þe eyre.

It is clear from these accounts that these manuscripts all share a common source for this year's entry. It is noteworthy, though, that none of the above entries includes reference to the archbishop of Canterbury (Thomas a Beckett). This is referred to in only one other group of texts. Under 3 Henry III MS Lambeth 306 records:

This yere the kynge had of ev'y plowe londe in Englond IIs Seynt Thomas was translated And the same yere Seint Thomas of Canterbery was translatyd 1 yere aftir that he was martired.

MSS Gough London 10 and Harley Roll C 8 (both part of the Lambeth group at this point) have very similar entries. The great wind is not recorded in this group. We may postulate that even at this early date the Bradford manuscript represents a compilation of two earlier texts.

2
Note the name Benger offered for a sheriff in year vi. This is Renger in Julius B. II, as it is in this manuscript the next year (vii) for mayor. It would appear that Benger is a transcriptional error either by the scribe of B 42 or of its source.
3
This entry corresponds to that in Longleat 53 for the same year and to that on Rawlinson B 355 (in Latin). Lambeth 306 also has a similar entry. However, this entry is not in Julius B. II (the same group as Longleat 53) or in Gough London 10 (the same group as Lambeth 306).

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