MS Bradford 32D86/42 (West Yorkshire Archives, Bradford) is of particular interest as a London chronicle because of both its text and provenance. 1 The hints of individuality found in it, as well as its consistency with so many London chronicle traditions, offers us an insight into the nature of writing London chronicles. Probably more than any other London chronicle text, the chronicle in B 42 prompts the modern reader to wonder about what the chronicler thought he was doing, how he went about it, and to what extent the work was valued as of immediate or long- term interest. It is through reading texts like the B 42 chronicle that we can touch something of the fifteenth-century way of thinking and find our way into an oral and visual view of the world which has now been all but lost. In this text, and in assessing its relationships with other London chronicle manuscripts, we are provided with a window into the fifteenth-century idea of history and of how the world worked.
B 42 is a vellum manuscript of 84 leaves, measuring approximately 22cm × 14cm. It is bound with some brief lists (two pages only) concerning religious institutions, bells and monies in what is probably a seventeenth- century binding. This date for the binding complements its association with Sir John Hopkinson (1610―1680) of Eshton Hall, to whose ownership it can be traced. We do not know how Hopkinson obtained the manuscript, or whether it was in public or private care prior to his ownership of it, although we do have enough evidence to speculate on its provenance. 2
A most interesting note appearing on the back of the last page of the manuscript: 'Iste Liber constat Rico hedley Clerico came Guyhulde Civitats London' gives us a clear indication of someone connected with the text, although it does little to clarify what that connection was. The word 'constat', belongs to, is not as helpful as it might at first appear. Richard Hedley may have written the manuscript and therefore owned the book. He may have owned the book privately and have written a continuation, or have owned it but written none of it at all. It is possible that Richard Hedley had some connection with the manuscript through his employment as a____________________