A Digital Catalogue of the
Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the
Canterbury Tales
Second Edition
Location:  LondonBritish Library Harley MS 7334
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Canterbury Tales (DIMEV 6414)
Perhaps the earliest MS to effect a rudimentary a order, but with VIII preceding VI (view in DIMEV): I Gam II III IV V VIII VI VII IX X
Progress of Copying: 
Given the lavish treatment of tale openings in the MS, it is curious that the beginning of KnT on fol. 12r is marked only by a line space, a 3-line champ, and the scribal notation next to the blank line “knyghtes tale.” It is the verso the receives the bar border, with the line “This Duk of whom I make mencioun” (I 893) treated as the opening line of the tale. The first appearance of flourished textura quadrata running heads occurs on fol. 13r, with a body height of ca. 7 mm. These running heads become smaller (ca. 4 mm) and more cursive on fols. 21v-26r, and then more formal through fol. 28r, ceasing altogether on 28v.
On fol. 58v, the scribe combines I 4413-4414 of CkT as one line at the foot of the page (also illustrated in Mosser 1994, Fig. 1). At the very bottom edge, toward the spine-edge, is the note “Icy come[n]cera le | fable de Gamelyn” (this is written in the same hand that writes catchwords and directions, probably the informal hand of the scribe: cf., for example, the word “and” of the catchword on fol. 40v with the same word at the beginning of the last line on that folio). Gam begins at the top of the following recto and finishes eleven lines from the bottom of fol. 70v, the final page of the anomalous gathering of six ([9]). There is no catchword in this quire. In ML Endlink, II 1175 is missing, with space left in the text for it. The ML Endlink is truncated at II 1185 (“My ioly body schal a tale telle”), at the sixth line of the final verso in Q [11]. WBPro begins immediately following the explicit for MLT and the incipit for WBPro (both are in rubric for the first time). Here also, on fol. 86v (the final folio of Q [11]), continuous running heads, rubricated with either blue or gold paraphs (with red and blue penwork, respectively) first appear. These are executed by the scribe, who executes the catchwords on fols. 126v and 259v in rubric, no doubt while carrying out the rubrication of those gatherings. Also prior to Q [12], explicits and incipits, usually either one or the other, consist only of single-line phrases in the margins in the same ink as the text. There, they appear within the text-space and are rubricated (but also in the hand of the scribe). With the beginning of WBT (fol. 89r), rubricated “¶Narrat” markers are placed in the margin for tale-beginnings. This format continues through Q [19].
At the top of fol. 148v, the final line of MerT (IV 2418) is followed by a blank line, which is followed by “¶Here endith the marchantes tale” and another blank line. MerT Epilogue and the introduction to SqT fill out most of the rest of the page, the final folio of another gathering of six (Q [19]). In the final four ruled lines, however, are a blank line, an explicit and an incipit, and a final blank line. Given the anomalous size of the quire and the obvious “casting off” to fill out the final verso, it seems probable that the links were added separately, and that the scribe continued directly from the end of MerT to the beginning of SqT at the top of fol. 149r. In support of this, it is important to note that Q [20] employs the same format as Qq [1-11]. The second format (rubricated running heads) resumes on fol. 156v (the end of [20]; [21] has been lost) and continues in Qq [22-25]. On fol. 181v, Fragment VI (beginning of PhT) follows Fragment VIII (end of CYT) with no signs of hesitation. At the top of fol. 191r, in PdT, the scribe writes the unique variant “wiþ mischaunce” at the end VI 717. He then leaves a blank line space, copies VI 718 and leaves another blank line space, apparently puzzled by the broken rhyme scheme. In what is probably Scribe D’s informal hand, the correct reading for VI 717 (“sory g[ra]ce”) is added in the margin and “caret v[er]su” notations are placed next to the two blank line spaces.
Q [26] again reverts to the format of the first part of the MS, but the rubricated running heads resume on the last verso (196) and continue through Q [27]. Q [28] brings with it a reversion to the unrubricated explicits/incipits and the running heads are again absent. Instructions for the rubrics, written in an informal hand, are often visible in the margins. Q [28], though in the same format as the second style, is unfinished; the rubrication and running heads return on fol. 213r, the first folio of Q [29], only to drop out again in the first five folios of Q [30], returning for good on fol. 226r.
In conjunction with the apparent division of the MS into two distinct formats, Blake and Thaisen observe that the patterns of spelling preferences point to “a change of exemplar…after quire 20” and also suggest that “quires 12-19 were copied later than quires 1-11 and 20, for when taking the whole text into consideration and allowing for a process of ‘working in’ at the beginning of both stints, we can distinguish two spelling systems from the proportional usage of spellings for common lemmata” (2004, p. 102).
On fol. 176r, in CYT, the second line [VIII 1057] has been added in a different ink by a second fifteenth-century hand. This same hand adds VIII 1283-1284 at the bottom of fol. 178v. In MkT, several lines are added in a smaller hand: fol. 229v (VII 2175, in the gutter), fol. 230v, (VII 2246, in the gutter), fol. 232r (VII 2366, in the margin) The same hand as on fol. 178v and previously, finishes the fourth line of PsPro on fol. 251r: “nyne and twenty as in hight.”

Parchment, with gilt edges.
Page Size:  
35.5 x 24 cm. Pricking is visible on many leaves at the fore-edge.
(Three stiff modern paper binder’s leaves, plus one unmarked, older parchment fly.)
[1-8]8 fols. 1-64 (signatures in [5-8]: “e-h”; traces of red ascenders at the lower right of Q [1].3 & 4)
[9]6 fols. 65-70 (signed “I”(?) on fol. 67)
[10]8 fols. 71-78 (signed “kij” on fol. 72r)
[11-18]8 fols. 79-142note
[19]6 fols. 143-148
[20]8 fols. 149-156
[21]8 [inferred: now lost]
[22-37]8 fols. 157-284
[38]2 fols. 285-286
Single column, 38 lines per page. Ruled and margined in brown ink, double-ruled at top and bottom. In KnT, a double line, ruled separately from the written space (in chalk), is provided for the sporadic running heads. The written space measures approximately 23 x 13.5 cm. Catchwords are regular on the final versos of gatherings, at the lower right. See further above under Progress of copying.
Doyle and Parkes’s (1978) “Scribe D, recently identified as John Marchaunt.” See the description of Scribe D=John Marchaunt. Body height ca. 2.5 mm.
The first page of CT has a full border, distinguished by the use of a blue that is almost an aqua-marine in hue. Scott believes this border was executed by the limner she identifies as “Border Artist A” of Rennes, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 22 (1996, 2:133). Decorated initials of 4-6 lines, accompanied by 3/4 bar borders, with blue- and rose-colored vines, highlighted with gold and white, introduce tales. Prologues and links are introduced by 3-line gold initials on blue and rose fields, highlighted with white, with black sprays terminating in gold trefoils. Intermediate textual divisions (e.g., the introduction of pilgrims in GenPro) are marked by similarly colored and decorated 2-line initials. Lesser textual divisions are marked with red paraphs (with blue penwork) and gold paraphs (with blue or purple penwork). Scott (1995, pp. 104, 117, n. 44) identifies the master limner of El as one of the limners involved in the production of Ha⁴ and La.
Numerous directions for rubrication survive. For example, on fol. 12r, KnT begins following a blank line, beside which is written “knyghtes tale,” and on fol. 117r, the rubric marking the end of ClPro and the opening of ClT has the marginal instructions: “explic[it]; p[ro]hemiu[m] | Incipit narr[are].”
Stamped brown leather with gilt (Harley) arms on front and back consisting of two angels on either side of a shield, surmounted by a crown with the motto beneath: “Virtute et Fide.” Tooling around borders and spine. Sewn on five double bands.

s. XVin. While Smith believes Ha⁴ is earlier than Cp on linguistic grounds (Owen 1991, p. 8, n. 3), Horobin and Mosser argue that “the larger number of SW Midlands forms in Ha4 must be seen as simply a reflection of D’s exemplars and perhaps his copying practice, and thus offers no evidence for priority in the chronology of D’s oeuvre” (2005, p. 302).
See Scribe D: Language.
Manly-Rickert have performed an exemplary job of sleuthing with regard to the various ownership marks in Ha⁴ (1:225-230). The speculations that follow about the various names are theirs. The associations this web of affiliations reveals are primarily important families in Kent.
Perhaps the earliest evidence of ownership are the signatures of Elizabeth Hampden–all in drypoint–scattered throughout the MS (Manly-Rickert record it on fols. 6v, 18v, 58r, 73v, 82v, 124r, 147r, 195r, 202v, and 214v). The clearest instance of the signature is that on the bottom of fol. 6v, but almost as good are those on 18v and 58r. Parts of the drypoint signature can be made out at the foot of fol. 74r. “ham[?]” can be seen at the foot of fol. 147r. Difficult to make out on fol. 195r is the drypoint inscription of “Ely[?] ham[?].” On fol. 202v, in drypoint, are shields and “elizabeth ham[?].” At the foot of fol. 214v, also in drypoint, is perhaps “hampden.” On fol. 61r are several names written in brown crayon: “Elizabethe | Kympton,” “Edward | Waterhows,” and then in brown ink: “Elizabethe | Kympton,” “John | Brograue,” and “Edwarde | Waterhows.” “Elizabeth | kympton” appears again on fol. 129r. The “E. W.” and “Edward Waterhows” belong to the Edward Waterhouse who was the secretary of Henry Sidney (who signs on fol. 170r). Henry Sidney was related to an Elizabeth Hampden (1460-1529). On fol. 170r, “Henry sidney,” “henry si[trimmed],” and “henry” are written in brown crayon. These names have various associations with Penshurst, home of the Sidneys, in western Kent.
On fol. 71r, at the upper right, in brown crayon, is “Androu.” On fol. 81r, in brown chalk, is “mrs kympton [trimmed] | shall have | an ice name | by mr walter.” On fol. 165v are “Janet bro[?]” in brown ink and “Jhon Thomlyn” in black ink. On fol. 180r, someone has drawn a vase and written “Jhon Marcant[?].” On fol. 187r are two notes containing the names “Mr kimpton” and “Anne Bonslet[?].” On fol. 284v are “Jhon Thomsun Symon | Masse[?erased].”
“Anne Leu”[trimmed at the fore-edge] appears on fol. 147r. On fol. 286v is the following: “1556 Anne Grey wife tu the Lord John Grey and | dowghtor to Wyll[ia]m Barlee Esquier owith this book | E. W.” At the top of fol. 169r someone has written “My lady Grayes Boke.” John Grey was the grandson of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth. After he died in 1523, Anne married Sir Richard Clement, of Ightham Mote (near Penshurst), Kent. On fol. 286r are some Latin verses with the colophon: “When I am gonne, and owt of syght | Remember me, that this dyd wryght. | Tho: Leuenthorpe. 1564.” The same hand signs “Tho: Leuenthorpe” on the preceding verso, and on fol. 286v, he again signs his name, dated 1564, after writing the following: “ffeare the Lorde, and thow shalt | prosper.” Below this signature are the names “Simeon Brograve” and “Dorothie Brograve,” both written in the same hand. This hand also writes at the bottom of the page: “John Brograve the elder gent. oweth this Booke witnesses John Leventhorpe - gent. | Thomas Meade. gent. Simeon Brograve . gent . John Bragrave the younger . gent . | Jeone Brograve Bridgete Brograve. Charles Brograve. Thomas Alline | John Rawlinson. Roberto Coates(?) - John Hodson. and many other.”
The Brograves, of Hamels, Hertfordshire, were related, through Thomas Leventhorpe, to Lady Anne Grey (the Brograves also owned British Library Royal MS 18.d.iv of the Fall of Princes and another MS by Scribe D, British Library MS Egerton 1991 of Gower’s Confessio Amantis).
At the very top of fol. 286v are the names “Johns Bru[n]stone Willam bru[n]stone Theome bru[n]stone.” The Brunstons are from Preston-next-Faversham, Kent. The most modern ownership mark (aside from that of the British Museum) is the inscription on fol. 1r “H.9. | Dec. 1738 | Oxford | BH.”

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Bond, E. A., and E. M. Thompson, eds. Palæographical Society Facsimiles of Manuscripts and Inscriptions, vol. 3. London, 1873-83. pl. 101.
Christianson, C. Paul. “A Community of Book Artisans in Chaucer’s London.” Viator 20 (1989): 207-18. 
Doyle, A. I., and M. B. Parkes. “The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century.” In Ed. M. B. Parkes and A. G. Watson, eds. Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts, and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker. London: Scolar Press, 1978. 163-210. 
Everett, Virginia Thornton. [Mrs. Lowell P. Leland]. “A Study of the Scribal Editing in Twelve MSS of the Canterbury Tales.” Diss. University of Chicago, 1940. 50-5.
Furnivall, Frederick J., ed. The Harleian MS 7334 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, 1st Series, no. 73. London: For the Chaucer Society, 1885. 
Furnivall, Frederick J., ed. Autotype Specimens of the Chief Chaucer MSS, Part I. Chaucer Society, Series 1, no. 48. London: Trübner, 1876. [facsimiles of fols. 1r and 103r]
Hammond, Eleanor P. Chaucer: A Bibliographical Manual. 1908; rpt. New York: Peter Smith, 1933.  177-8.
Horobin, Simon, and Daniel W. Mosser. “Scribe D’s SW Midlands Roots: A Reconsideration.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 106 (2005): 289-305. 
Jones, Alex I. “MS Harley 7334 and the Construction of the Canterbury Tales.” English Language Notes 23 (1985): 9-15. 
Kelliher, Hilton, and Sally Brown. English Literary Manuscripts. London: The British Library, 1986. 14-15. [color facsimile of fols. 102v-103r]
Manly, John M., and Edith Rickert, eds. The Text of the Canterbury Tales: Studied on the Basis of All Known Manuscripts. 8 vols. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1940. 1:219-30; 1:567-8.
McCormick, Sir William and Janet E. Heseltine. The Manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933. 209-16.
Mooney, Linne R., and Estelle Stubbs. Scribes in the City: London Guildhall Clerks and the Dissemination of Middle English Literature, 1375-1425. Woodbridge, Suffolk: York Medieval Press (Boydell & Brewer), 2013. Chapter 3, et passim.
Moorman, Charles. “One Hundred Years of Editing the Canterbury Tales.” Chaucer Review 24 (1989): 99-114. 
Mosser, Daniel W. “Reading and Editing the Canterbury Tales: Past, Present, and Future(?).” Text 7 (1994): 201-32. Fig. 1, facsimile of fol. 58v.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1991. 7-14.
Samuels, M. L. “Scribes and Manuscript Traditions.” In Felicity Riddy, ed. Regionalism in Late Medieval Manuscripts and Texts. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1991. 1-7. 
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Scott, Kathleen L. Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490. 2 vols. Volume Six of A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles. Ed. J. J. G. Alexander. London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1996. 
Seymour, Michael C. A Catalogue of Chaucer Manuscripts. Volume II, The Canterbury Tales. Aldershot and Brookfield: Scolar Press, 1997. 125-9.
Smith, Jeremy J. “Linguistic Features of Some Fifteenth-Century Middle English Manuscripts.” In Derek Pearsall, ed. Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century England: The Literary Implications of Manuscript Study, Essays from the 1981 Conference at the University of York. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer; Totowa, USA: Biblio Distribution Service. 1983. 104-12. 
Smith, Jeremy J. “Studies in the Language of Some Manuscripts of Gower’s Confessio Amantis.” Diss. University of Glasgow 1985. 
Smith, Jeremy J. “Spelling and Tradition in Fifteenth-Century Copies of Gower’s Confessio Amantis.” In J. J. Smith, ed. The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988. 96-113. 
Smith, Jeremy J. “The Trinity Gower D Scribe and his Work on Two Early Canterbury Tales MSS.” In J. J. Smith, ed. The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988. 51-69.