The Ireland MS. is in quarto, written on a coarse parchment,* with 21--24 lines in a page: there are neither illuminations nor ornamented capitals; and, although each tale is divided into FITTES, there is no punctuation of any kind, nor is there a title to any of the poems, except at the conclusion of SIR AMADACE.
The first tale begins at the top of a page, occupies fifteen folios, and ends at the bottom of a page; one folio, if not more, appears to be missing, and the tale of SIR AMADACE, which begins abruptly, extends over 17½ folios, ending on the second page of the eighteenth. The third story commences in the same page as the second concludes, goes through 24 folios, and thirteen lines of the next page; then follows a blank folio, and the rest of the volume (40 folios) consists of records and memoranda of the court of Hale.
These records have evidently been inserted at various times, and apparently by William Irland, Lord of the Manor of Hale during the reigns of Henry V. and VI. and at the beginning of Edward IV. A careful examination has satisfied me that the first five folios after the poems, were left blank by the original transcriber of these excerpta, who began his labours with a pentameter,
"Assit principio Sancta Maria meo."
Curia de Hale in principio Rotuli, tenta ibidem die martis proximo post festum Sancti Michaelis, anno regni regis Ricardi secundi tercio decimo, et super dorsum ejusdem Rotuli, pro tak. Roberti Diconson, pro tribus porcis, iijd.____________________