The James Catalogue Of Western Manuscripts


  • Shelfmark: R.3.14
  • Manuscript Title: Piers Plowman
  • Alternative Title:   William Langland,Piers Plowman
  • James Number: 594  View Printed Catalogue Entry
  • Date: Cent. xiv.
  • Physical Description: 42 lines to a page. In a good somewhat running hand.
  • Provenance: 

    Given by Nevile.

  • Donor: Neville [Nevile], Thomas (c. 1548–1615), college head and dean of Canterbury
  • Size (cm): 29.5 x 18
  • Support: Vellum
  • Language: Middle English
  • Century: 14th century
  • Folio: 3 + 73 ff.
  • Collation:  12 || a12 (+ l*)-f12 g2 (wants 2 blank).
  • IIIF Manifest URL:
  • Online Since:     07/12/2012

  • 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.

Trinity College Library, Cambridge 2021