The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark R.3.14
Manuscript Title

William Langland, Piers Plowman

Alternative Title

Piers Plowman

James Number 594
Century 14th
Physical Description

42 lines to a page. In a good somewhat running hand.


Given by Nevile.

Second Folio And nought for love
Donor Neville [Nevile], Thomas (c. 1548–1615), College Head and Dean of Canterbury
Size (cm) 29.5 x 17.5
Folio 3 + 73 ff.
Material Parchment
Language Middle English

12 || a12 (+ l*)-f12 g2 (wants 2 blank).

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 30/09/2022


In this volume is the following note by Professor Skeat:
"This MS of Piers Plowman contains a text made up of two different versions of the poem, viz. of the first or earliest version, and of the third or latest. The portion containing the earliest version (all but the Last Passus) is; from the beginning to the end of Passus secundus de dowel -at which point the early versions end in most MSS.
See the words Passus tercius de dowel: Breuis oratio penetrat celum on f.52a.
The remainder consists of the latter part of the third version: the junction being made (as well as it could be) by half of the quotation Breuis oratio etc.
An evident indication of this junction is afforded by noting that Passus tercius de dowel is only 17 lines long, and is followed by Passus secundus de dobet (where dobet is an error for dowel) -this Passus secundus being reckoned according to the system of numbering usual in the third or latest version."
In his edition of the poem (II. p. lxvi) he describes it thus: "mixed text, group c. The oldest MS. of the largest group."
ff. i, ii, iiia are blank.
On f.iiib at the top left corner is the number .xxiij., evidently a Library mark [actually an old foliation]. And the middle of the page is occupied by a coloured drawing (xiv) of a man ploughing with a yoke of oxen; while a second man plies the goad. Above this in red is written
God spede þe plou ’ and sende us korne I now.
This drawing is reproduced in Wright's edition, and also in Jusserand's Piers Plowman.
The text begins on the next page
In a somer sesoun whanne softe was the sonne.
Ending f.74b
And siþþe he gradde aftir grace til I gan awake.


Camille, M., 'Labouring for the Lord: the ploughman and the social order in the Luttrell Psalter', Art History 10 (1987), 423-54.

Echard, S., Printing the Middle Ages, Material Texts (Philadelphia, Pa., 2008)

Kane, G., ed., Piers Plowman: the A version: Will's visions of Piers Plowman and Do-well: an edition in the form of Trinity College Cambridge MS. R.3.14 corrected from other manuscripts with variant readings (London, 1988)

Matsushita, T., ed., Piers Plowman, the A Version : Diplomatic Texts of the Twenty Manuscripts (Tokyo, 2008)

Schmidt, A. V. C., ed., Piers Plowman: a parallel-text edition of the A,B, C and Z versions (London, 1995)

Strongman, S., 'John Parker's Manuscripts: an Edition of the Lists in Lambeth Palace MS 737', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 7 (1977-80), 1-27, no. 58.




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