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

By Mary-Rose McLaren | Go to book overview

Appendix 3: Technical Information about
London Chronicle Groups

The following provides the technical information underlying the organisation of the manuscripts in Chapter three.


ST. JOHN'S GROUP

Minor Variations

Most of the variations within this grouping of manuscripts are minor. They may be categorized as:

Changes or corrections which a chronicler might logically make as he works. An example occurs in 1351. Julius B. I begins with the words 'This yere', and opens the second item of the entry with 'And the same yere'. Both Guildhall 3313 and St. John's 57, however, begin with 'Also in this same yere', and they and Vitellius F. IX commence the second item with 'And in this yere'. It appears that Julius B. I or its immediate source has simplified the introductory form for this entry (as indeed Julius B. I appears to do on several occasions).

Changes which occur because of the chronicler's difficulty in reading the source passage. In this group such errors are relatively uncommon and occur only where the words are unfamiliar to the writer, particularly when place names or the names of people are involved.

In 1425, for example, St. John's 57, Julius B. I and Vitellius F. IX all agree on the names of knights listed and on their order, though not always on their spelling. The list appearing in Guildhall 3313, however, has several idiosyncrasies.

Other variations occur in names listed in the manuscripts in 1388, 1414, 1425 and 1429. Place names may also present some difficulties to the writer. For example, Westminster may appear as Winchester (Vitellius F. IX). It is sometimes difficult to determine whether there is a problem with writing, ambiguous abbreviations, or copying errors.

Adding to or deleting from a passage being copied. Julius B. I differs from the group in 1420 when discussing the marriage and coronation of Queen Katherine.

In 1429 the differences between Guildhall 3313/Vitellius F. IX and St. John's 57/Julius B. I in their accounts of the king's journey to Calais can be explained in the same way.

Variations occur in formal language when the writer enters a synonym for a word appearing in the other manuscripts and perhaps in his source.

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