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Durham University

Special Collections

DUL MS Cosin V.III.6 Lollard dialogue; s. xiv ex. & xvi/xvii

These incomplete draft descriptions of medieval manuscripts in Durham University Library are copyright, and may not be quoted without the permission of the University of Durham Library.

Owing to inconsistencies with the source software, accented characters appear in varying compound forms. This has not yet been rationalized.

2/2/94 AJP after AID check of AJP revision of AID

A medieval parchment quire, with, on interleaved later paper, a title, prefatory dedication and transcription.

2 + 22 + 2, s. xvi/xvii paper, except ff. 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19 and 21, membrane; foliated, i-ii, 1-24.

Membrane (medium thickness, fleshside outermost), 262 x 165 mm.; soiled and stained, with outer margin partly eaten by rodents (repaired with modern scarfed paper patches, 1975- 6). Paper (watermarks: pot with initials BP, f. i; pot alone, f. ii; SI (?), f. 1; pot, f. 2; cartouche containing capitals ...OW and pendant ornament ff. 5-22; crescent and pot, ff. 23-24), 267 x 193 mm.

Collation: 14 (folio paper); 218 (membrane8 interleaved with paper10 with chainlines and watermark in quarto position but latter reading horizontally), f. 5 originally conjoint with f. 22 now on modern separate guard.

Membrane, i.e. item 2(b):

No evidence of pricking. Written space 213 x 113 mm.; framed in soft brown, with traces of line-ruling. 40 long lines.

Written in textura, somewhat clumsily, by one hand, with cc and elaborated initial at the beginning of each response in the dialogue, and penstroke filling of empty part-lines at the end of each, punctus within. Ink brown.


Prickings in inner margin of paper of quire 2. Written space 210 x 120 mm., or, item 2(a), c. 225 x 140 mm.; framed, and, ff. 2-3, ruled in ink. Up to 19 long lines, or, item 2(a), 40. Written, item 1, in Crashawe's current italic, or, item 2(a), in secretary of varying currency, with a few words in a more formal italic for emphasis, or, f. 7 top half, more currently, resembling Crashawe's italic script.

Decoration not executed; 3-line space to item 2(b).

No running-titles.


1. (a) f. 1, A Memorable Monument of Antiquitye. Provinge The lawfull soveraigntye & supremacye of Christian Kings. & Defendinge it Against the vnlawfull & tirannicall Primacye of the Pope. Written even in the midst of Popishe darknesse And of late founde in an antient Manuscript transcribed verbatim. & presented humbly to the veive of his Highe Maiestye by W. Crashawe. Bachelour of Divinitye & preacher at the Temple;

(b) ff. 2-3 To the greatest kinge on Earthe My graciouse Soverayne James ... ... Your Ma. faithful subiecte / W. Crashawe ...

(b) William Crashawe, Dedicatory letter, with (a) title, set out as a title-page; written in the author's italic hand. He reports how, in order to disprove Romish 'bragg of antiquitye', he has 'imployed much of my poore stipend to procure, and of my time to peruse the antient Manuscripts that are to be had', and that of those worthy the King's view he is beginning with the original of one, adding 'The antient written bookes that are the keepers of these testimonyes, popishe malice seekes by all meanes either to corrupt & falsifye, or wholly to deface & extinguishe: & it is a worke worthy your Ma roiall care to prevent them, & to preserve in their safetye & integritye the antient records of truthe: which tho it will be both costly & laboriouse, yet if your Ma: will vouchsafe to heare me or to reade a fewe pages: I hope to demonstrate a waye, whereby your Ma: may atcheive that great & Honorable worke'.

Crashawe was preacher at the Temple church in London 1605-13. In 1609 he sent Lord Salisbury a work which is probably B.L. MS Royal 17.B.IX, with a prefatory letter to the King in similar terms to that here, but enlarging a little on his proposal for royal support for the preservation of manuscripts, to be kept in the universities; the version here is presumably somewhat earlier.

For Crashawe's life (1572-1626), crusade against Popery and collection of manuscript and printed books, see P. J. Wallis, Trans. Camb. Bib. Soc., 2 (1958), pp.216-7, and Trans. Hunter Archaeol. Soc., 8, pts 2-5 (1960-3), repr. with addenda & index (1963), esp. pp.9-10, 31-4, 53-5. Most of Crashawe's medieval manuscripts are at St John's College, Cambridge, for which they were bought by the Earl of Southampton, together with such printed items as were not already there; many printed books, presumably sold after his death in 1626 (?) are dispersed in older British libraries, several in Cosin's.

ff. 1v and 3v-4v blank.

2. (a) ff. 5v-20 A knight of the kinges of England and a Clerck of England that was late comen from the Courte ... ... & god send grace that ther be a good end Amen / Finis /;

(b) ff. 6-19v [a] kniȝt of þe kinges of yngeland & a clerk of yngland þat was late comen fro þe court were togider in a plase. So þat þe clerk bigan to speke of þe pope ... ... þat es when þou biddist god leue it wele be. & god send grace þat þer be a gode ende. Amen.

(a) Transcript, s. xvi/xvii, of (b), interleaved on facing pages;

(b) a Lollard dialogue between a knight and a clerk, concerning spiritual and secular dominion; no other copy is known, see A. M. Hudson.

ff. 5, 13v-14 (quire-centre), and 20v-24v blank, save f. 21v as below

Correction and Annotation:

In item 2(b) a little early correction; two repetitions inconspicuously struck through; one sentence more roughly struck out in different ink, '& moni gode men of holi chirch haue bene sayntes & bene', f. 10v, which is not in item 2(a), perhaps because it partly repeats an earlier sentence. Scriptural and canonical references in the outer margins by the original hand and ink. Polemical side-notes in Crashawe's italic hand; 'Finis' at the end in quasi-textura probably by him or at his direction.

In item 2(a) some misreadings and more miscopyings corrected within the line by cancellation and rewriting, others interlineally.


Written in England.

Secundo folio he es noȝt (f. 7).

'Edward Robartsons Booke seruaunt to Sir Nicolas Shelley knight capten of [sic]', f. 21v, and some meaningless pen-trials, s. xvi2; Shelley is not in Shaw's Knights.

Presumably acquired by William Crashawe and presented by him to King James I. Perhaps passed directly to John Cosin by James I, Charles I or Charles II. Entered in the 1669 manuscript catalogue of Cosin's Durham library, MS Cosin B.I.23, f. 94. Thomas Rud wrote, f. 3, 'it seems scarce so old' against Crashawe's statement 'here is the very originall it selfe, which the strangenesse both of the hande, & of the phrase do discover to be written above 300 yeares agoe'.

Binding: limp membrane wrapper, s. xvii (?), with holes for two ties, stiffened with modern (1975/6) paper pastedowns.


A. M. Hudson, 'A Lollard quaternion', R.E.S. n.s. 22 (1971), pp. 435-42; reprinted, Lollards and their Books (London, 1985), pp. 192-200, with reduced facsimile of f. 6.