Texts and manuscripts

This database contains a selection from the rich seam of texts and manuscripts studied by our project collaborators. It is a work in progress and entries will be added over the course of the project.

Manuscript location map

Take a look at our Google map that shows the location of the manuscripts in the Project database.

Database

Entries are arranged alphabetically according to the name of the manuscript. This database was compiled by Lynette Kerridge.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the database please contact Diane Watt.

Title

Author

Date

Country of Origin

Location of Manuscript

Significance

ABC

Translated by Chaucer

14thcentury

England

Cambridge University Library, MS Gg.iv.27

Possibly translated at the request of Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster.

Alma Redemptoris in A Book of Hours

Anonymous

Early 1460s

England

Cambridge, Sydney Sussex College, MS 37, early 1460s

 

Ancrene Wisse

Anonymous

Early 13thcentury

England

London, British Library, MS CottonVitellius F.vii. 16 other surviving medieval MS

Monastic rule for anchoresses.

Barking Lives Goscelin of St-Bertin 11th century England

Dublin, Trinity College, MS176

 
Benois seront les misericordieux Translated and compiled by Nicolas Finet 15th century Low Countries

Brussels, Royal Library, MS 9296

Commissioned by Margaret of York, the Duchess of Burgundy. Companion volume to Le Dyalogue de la duchesse de Bourgogne a Jesus Christ.

Bisclavret

Marie de France

12thcentury

France/

England

London, British Library, Harley MS 978

An early woman writer engages with themes associated with male courtly writers.
Boniface Correspondence     Germany

Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek. Cod. Rastatt 22

 

Book of Hours

Commissioned by Joan FitzAlan for her daughter, Mary.

d1419

England

Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, MS 547.4

Example of female patronage.

Book of Hours

Mary de Bohun

 

 

Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, MS 547

 

Book of Hours

Mary de Bohun

 

 

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct.D.4.4

 

Book of Hours Owned by Hawisia du Bois 14th century  

London, British Library

Contains Matilda Becket's prayer

Click here to see this manuscript.

Book of Hours Anonymous Late 15th century Netherlands

Den Haag, Museum Meermanno-Weststreenianum & Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, 76 F 2. fol. 277r

 
Book of Hours Anonymous 13th century Netherlands

Den Haag, Museum Meermanno-Weststreenianum & Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, 132 F 21 fol. 484v

 
Book of Hours Marguerite D'Orleans   France

Paris, BNF, Departement des manuscrits Latin 1156B

 

the Book of Margery Kempe

Margery Kempe

c1373-1438

England

London, British Library, MS Additional, 61823

Considered the first autobiography in English.

the Book of The Dean of Lismore Various Mid 16th century Scotland

National Library of Scotland Adv. 72.1.37

Earliest collection of Gaelic poetry to have survived from the medieval period. Contains poems by women.
Book of Gostlye Grace Mechtild of Hackeborn 13th century      
Cent Balades      

London, British Library Harley MS 4431, f. 4r

Click here to see this manuscript.
the Chastising of God's Children Anonymous   England

Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys 2125 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson C57 and MS Bodley 505 Survives in 9 other MS

Addressed to a female reader in all but the first MS.
Chronicon AEthelweardi (fragments) Anonymous    

London, British Library, MS Cotton Otho A.x and A.xii

 
Collected works of Christine de Pizan Christine de Pizan    

British Library MS Harley 4431, f.1r

Works of a significant medieval writer.

Click here to see this manuscript

 

Collection of Sermons       The National Library of Iceland JS602 4to The manuscript was made for the author's daughter.
Commentary on the Penitential Psalms

Translated into English by Eleanor Hull

15thcentury

France

Cambridge, CUL, MS Kk.1. 6

Eleanor Hull is

the first named female translator in Middle

English.

Confessio Amantis

John Gower

c1386

England

Cambridge, Trinity College MS R.3.2

 

Composite Ely manuscript Anonymous    

London, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A.viii

 
a Daily Exercise in Death
(see also A Work for Householders)
Richard Whitford 1537 England  

Describes itself as written for the Syon nuns “at the request of the reverende Mother Dame Elizabeth Gybs,” abbess of Syon from 1498 to 1518.

 

De Virginitate and Carmen de virginitate

Aldhelm

c675-680

England

London, British Library, MS Royal 7D.XX1V Oxford, Bodleian Library, MSS Bodley 49,97 and 577 and Digby 146 and numerous others

Written for the nuns at Barking.

the Devonshire Manuscript

 

1450s

England

Tokyo, Takamiya, MS 8

Received by Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509) as a wedding gift.
Disce Mori Anonymous 1453-1464 England

Oxford, Jesus College, MS39 (J) Later version Oxford Bodleian Library, MS Eng. th. C.57 (L)

 
'Drops of Blood' Anonymous c1490 England

London, British Library, MS Egerton 1821

MS begins an abstract representation of suffering and redemption through the blood. Click here to see the manuscript.
Ecclesiastical History Bede   England

Oxford, Bodleian Library, eg MSS Hatton 43 and Tanner 10

 
Ellesmere Manuscript       San Marino, CA Huntington Library MS EL 26 C 9, f. 02v,  
Encomium Emmae Reginae (or Gesta Cnutonis Regis) Emma of Normandy 1041/2 England: believed to be Flemish

London, British Library, MS Additional 33241

Dowager queen provides her account of the Danish conquest, the reign of Cnut, and aftermath.. An illustration shows Queen Emma of Norway, mother of Edward the Confessor, receiving the Encomium Emmae Reginae from the author
Encomium Emmae Reginae (or Gesta Cnutonis Regis) Emma of Normandy late 14th century England: believed to be Flemish

Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, Acc. 2011/5

Second "Edwardian" recension of the Encomium completed shortly after the accession of Edward the Confessor
Epistre Othea Christine de Pizan Early 15th century France

London British Library, Harley MS 4431,fol.107r

Female authorship

Equitan

 

Marie de France

12thcentury

France/

England

London, British Library, Harley MS 978

An early woman writer explores courtly themes such as loyalty and adulterous love.
Estoire de St Graal Anonymous 1315-1325 France

London, British Library, Royal MS 14 E III f. 6v

Click here to see this manuscript.
Exeter Book Anonymous. Donated to the library of Exeter Cathedral by Leofric the first bishop of Exeter in 1072 10th century England

Exeter Cathedral Library, MS 3501, ff 8-130

Contains the poems Wulf and Eadwacer, the Wife's Lament, The Wanderer, and The Seafarer.
Exhortation addressed to Mary and Anne and other nuns of the convent of Amesbury Anonymous 15th century England

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Add A 42

Owned by the nuns of Amesbury.

the Fifteen Ioyes Of Mary

John Lydgate

 

England

Cambridge, Trinity College MS R.3.2

Marian text

the Formation of Anchoresses (De institutione inclusarum) Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx 12thcentury England

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 423 The Vernon Manuscript and numerous others.

Written for his sister.

Hagiographic vitae: Vita of Elizabeth of Spaalbeck: Vita of Christna Miribilis; Vita of Marie D'Oignies Anonymous 13th century, written in Latin Low Countries

London, British Library, Douce MS 114

Translated into the vernacular in the 15th century showing ongoing interest in gendered devotional modes
Hodoeporic Hugeberc Late 8th century Germany    

Horologium Sapientiae

Henry Suso

 

England

London, Lambeth Palace, MS 436

 

the Hours of the Virgin etc

Anonymous

14thcentury

England

Cambridge, University Library, MS Ee 6.16

Owned by the nuns of Amesbury.

the Hours of the Virgin and Psalter

Anonymous

c1389-c1397

England

Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS Advocate 18.6.5

Example of female patronage.

a Hymn to the Virgin

An holy anchoress of Mansfield

 

England

Oxford, Bodley, MS Ashmole 59, Folios 68-69v

Marian text authored by women.

Icelandic Book of Drawings Many 15th century Iceland Iceland, Arni Magnusson Institute, AM 673a III 4to

Compiled in the scriptorium in Möðruvellir, Iceland under the auspices of Margrét Vigfúsdóttir, a woman who reigned over the district for forty years after she became widowed.

Click here to see this manuscript.

Ignorancia Sacerdotum      

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. th. C.57 (E)

 
Itinerarium Egeriae (Travels of Egeria) Egeria        
the King's Mirror     Iceland Copenhagen, Arnamagnæan Collection, Copenhagen University, AM 243 a fol. I

Compiled in the scriptorium in Möðruvellir, Iceland under the auspices of Margrét Vigfúsdóttir, a woman who reigned over the district for forty years after she became widowed.

Click here to see this manuscript.

the Knight’s Tale

Geoffrey Chaucer

14thcentury

England

The two most well-known manuscripts are held in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth Peniarth MS 392 D – The Hengwrt Chaucer and the Huntingdon Library, San Marino, California MS EL 26 C 9 – The Ellesmere Manuscript.

 

One of the tales included in The Canterbury Tales and thus an example of a medieval male authored canonical text.

Latin Letter to John Kempe Anonymous 1431 Poland

Gdańsk, Archiwum Państwowe, APG 300, 27/3, fol. 12r.

 

 
a Lawbook on parchment       The Árni Magnússon institute for Icelandic studies
AM 334 fol

Many Icelandic women owned such books and used them for teaching children how to read.

 

Lawbook Anonymous Mid 15th century Iceland Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, AM 132 4to.

Compiled in the scriptorium in Möðruvellir, Iceland under the auspices of Margrét Vigfúsdóttir, a woman who reigned over the district for forty years after she became widowed.

Click here to see this manuscript.

Le Dyalogue de la duchesse de Bourgogne a Jesus Christ Nicolas Finet c1468 France/England

London, British Library, Add. MS 7970

Commissioned by Margaret of York, the Duchess of Burgundy. Companion volume to Benois seront les misericordieux.

Click here to see this manuscript. 

Click here for the catalogue description.

Legendys of Hooly Wummen

Osbern Bokenham

?1393-?1464

England

London, British Library, MS Arundel 327

Female patronage MSS probably owned by nuns of Denney.
Letter from Agnes Paston to her husband Agnes Paston 1140 England

London, British Library, Additional MS 43488.f. 4r

 
Letter to the Treasurer of the Crown of Aragon Queen Mary de Luna   Spain Archives of the Crown of Aragon, ACA R. 2350  
Liber Celestis Bridget of Sweden   England   Click here to see this manuscript.

Liber Confortatorius

Goscelin of St-Bertin

c 1080-1082

S England possibly Sherbourne

London, British Library, MS Sloane 3103, fols. 1-114

Addressed to the recluse, Eve of Wilton.

Liber Manualis Dhuoda, wife of Duke Bernard 9th century Uzes (in Septimania)

Paris, BNF, ms. 12293, XI, 2, 3-12

 
Life of Christina Markyate

Anonymous monk of St Albans

Mid 12thcentury

England

London, British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius E.1

This text seems to have been based on interviews with Christina and her followers and supporters.
Life of Gregory Whitby    

St Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Sang, 567

 
Live of Edward the Confessor Anonymous   England

Cambridge, CUL Ee.3.59,fo 11v

 

Life of our Lady

John Lydgate

15thcentury

England

Durham University Library, MS Cosin V.II.16 Oxford,  Bodleian Library, Douce 322 and Hatton MS 73

Marian text

Life of Leoba Rudolf of Fulda   Germany

Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod. Clm 11321

 
Life of St Mildreth Goscelin of St-Bertin 11th century England

London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian B.xx

 
Life of St Mildreth (fragment) Goscelin of St-Bertin 11th century England

London, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A.xiv

 
Lives of Willebald and Winnebald Hugeburc   Germany

Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod, Clm 8112

 
Livre de la Cité des Dames Christine de Pizan Early 15th century France

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 1178,fol 3r

 

Feminist text adapted in modern times for radio and referred to in Amanda Foreman's the Ascent of Woman
the Manere of Good Lyvyng Bernard of Clairvaux 12th century   Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud misc. 517

Conduct book.

 

Manuscript compilation

 

Complied between 1479 and 1488

 

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 61

 

Manuscripts concerning genealogies   Mid 14th century  

London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius EI 12.v and 13.r and Royal 14 B VI

Click here and here to see these manuscripts.
Manuscript containing a letter in support of Catherine of Siena's canonization Stephen Maconi   England

Oxford, Bodleian Libary MS Douce 114

 

Meditation to the Name of Jesus

Translated into English by Eleanor Hull

 

 

Dublin, Trinity College MS 374, fols 35r-43v

Eleanor Hull is

the first named female translator in Middle

English.

Meditacyons vpon the VII Dayes of the Woke

Translated into English by 

Eleanor Hull

15thcentury

France

Cambridge, CUL, MS Kk.1. 6.

Eleanor Hull is

the first named female translator in Middle

English.

Minster-in-Thanet foundation narrative     England

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 285

 
the Mirror of Simple Souls Marguerite Porete Early 14th century English translation (France)

British Library, MS Add 37790

The author is the only female Christian mystic to be burned for heresy. The English translation circulated anonymously.
Old English Martyrology Anonymous Late 9th century Mercia

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 196 Trinity College, MS 0.2.1 London, British Library, MS Cotton Julius A.x

 

Oratio Elinore percie Ducissa Buckammie

Eleanor Percy

1474-1530

England

London, British Library, Arundel MS 318

Translation of Gaude virgo, mater Christi.

the Orcherd of Syon St Catherine of Siena 15th century England   Middle English translation of Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue
Passio Edwardi      

Oxford, St John's College, MS 96

 
the Passio of St Margaret   14th century  

London, British Library, MS Egerton 877

Click here to see this manuscript.

Pearl

Anonymous

Late 14thcentury

NE England

London, British Library, Cotton Nero A.X, fols. 37-55

Relationship to anchoritic tradition; of interest to female readership.
Percy Hours   Early 15th century  

London, British Library, MS Harley 1260, ff 176b-178b

Contains Matilda Becket's prayer
the Pore Caitif

John Wycliffe

Late 14thcentury

England

London, Society of Antiquaries, SAL/MS/300

An inscription indicates that Dame Margaret Hasley, Sister in the Order of Minoresses, presented this work to another Sister.

the Prick of Conscience

Anonymous

1300-1350

England

Leeds University, Brotherton Library, BC MS 500

 

a Revelation of Divine Love

Julian of Norwich

Late 14thcentury or early 15thcentury

England

London, British Library, MS Sloane 2499 (MS S1) MS Sloane 3705 (MS S2)

Expanded revision of A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman c1380s or 1390s.

the Romance of the Rose

Guillaume de Lorris

1230

France

Oxford, Bodleian library, MS Douce 364 Folio 8r

 

the Rothschild Canticles      

Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library MS 404. f.94r. 

 

Siege of Thebes & Regiment of Princes

John Lydgate & Thomas Hoccleve

Mid 15thcentury

England

London, British Library, & London, British Library, MS 18632

Presented to the nuns of Amesbury in 1508

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Anonymous

Late 14thcentury

England

London, British Library, MS Cotton Nero A.x

Example of a medieval male authored canonical text. Includes transgressive female characters.
Sir Orfeo Anonymous c1330 England

London, British Library, Auchinleck MS, Advocates 19.2.1 and two later versions

Felicity Riddy suggests possible female ownership. Click here for more information.

the St Alban’s Psalter

Anonymous

c1096/8 – c1160

England

Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, MS St Godehard 1

Created for Christina of Markyate by Abbot Geoffrey.

 

the Taymouth Hours      

London, British Library, Yates Thomson 13, f. 68v

 

Topography of Ireland

Gerald of Wales

12thcentury

Wales

London, British Library, Royal MS 13 B VIII

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Royal_MS_13_b_viii

Contains the courteous werewolf trope and therefore useful in comparison with Marie’s depiction of Bisclavret.
Translatio of Edith of Wilton

Goscelin of St-Bertin

11thcentury

England

Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson, C938 ff 1-29

Bears a close relationship to Liber confortatorius.

the Tretyse of Love     England

London, British Library, Incunabula Short Title Catalogue

 

Addressed to a ‘dere suster’
the Vienna Boniface Codex      

Vienna, Oestereichische Nationalsbibliothek Cod. Lat.Vindobonensis 751

 

a Vision Showed to A Devout Woman

Julian of Norwich

14thcentury

England

London, British Library, MS Add 37790

 

Vita AEdwardi Regis Anonymous c1067 England

London, British Library, Harley MS 526

Written for Edith, Queen consort of England

Vita of Edith of Wilton

Goscelin of St-Bertin

11thcentury

England

Cardiff, Public Library, MSI.381, ff 181-120

 

Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson, C938 ff 1-29

Bears a close relationship to Liber confortatorius.

Vita of St Godric of Finchale Reginald of Durham 1170s England

British Library, MS Royal 5F vii

Early notated vernacular songs in a female context
Vita of St Godric of Finchale (Anglo-Norman translation)   13th century France

Paris, Bibliotheque Mazarine 1716

A Saints' legendary, addressed to a female aristocrat.
Wilton Psalter   13th century France

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod Bodmer 82

Click here to see this manuscript.
a Work for Householders
(see also A Daily Exercise in Death)
Richard Whitford 1537 England   Constructs a model of household governance organized around the contemplative life of the lay male householder and his pastoral command of his familia