dms – digital manuscripts index

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 48

Manuscript preview
Swiss Medieval Manuscripts
Fondation Martin Bodmer
Manuscript Identifier:
Cod. Bodmer 48
Manuscript Title:
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Origin Date:
s. XV 3/4
28.7 x 19.5 cm
On the front pastedown is the inscription “This ancient Manuscript of | The Canterbury Tales | by | Geoffrey Chaucer | was given to me by | The Right Honourable | Lord William Gordon | 1808. | J. P. Kemble.” Near that is a penciled note referring to the Kemble sale catalogue for January 26, 1821, No. 567. Below that is the inscription “Phillipps MS | 8136.” The same hand has written the Phillipps number at the bottom of fol. 1r. At the very bottom of the inside cover is a strip of parchment with a notation “J.urry Xh : Ch: oxon borrowed this book 1714.” On fol. 90v , at the foot of the page, is the following: “Itm all the ade endes that is howynge me | In chellame a monge my fryndes.” Below that is: “Itm fyrst symon mockt howes me ——xxx s | Itm more wyllam myre howes me——xxxvs | Itm more edwarde welles of godmassame howes me xs.” If this refers to Edward Welles of Godmersham (=“godmassame”?), Kent, he had other unpaid debts as well. Parker’s visitation of 1573 records under: “Godmersham...Item Edwarde Wells, Willms Chapman do Refuse to pay the money to the poor wch they are ceassed at” (Archæologia Cantiana 1911, p. 281). On fol. 7v , in the lower margin, is “Thys ys Rych.” On fol. 123v , at the bottom left, probably in the same hand but a different ink is “R Peny y.” On fol. 155v , at the bottom left, is “Rychard howell | wyttnes at the sealyng.” At the top of fol. 163v is the smudged name [?] “Jhon payn.” On fol. 169v , at the top, is “I[t]m mr Frost mr harrye fynche.” There was a Sir Thomas Finch of Eastwell (near Godmersham) who had a son, Sir Henry Finch (1558-1625), who was in Parliament (for Canterbury) in 1592-3, and re-elected in 1597. He “was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law” in June 1616, and knighted at Whitehall later that same month (Philipot 1898, pp. 67-8; Berry 1930, p. 206; DNB; Manly-Rickert 1:425). There were also Finches in Sandwich (Berry 1930, p. 165). Given its other Kentish connections, Ph2 may be the MS described by Abraham de la Pryme: “All the works of old Chaucer, in long folio. This vol. belonged to the monastery of Canterbury. Penes D. Edmund Canby, de Thorne, in com. Ebor” (de la Pryme 1870, p. 319, no. 6; Manly-Rickert 1:424). Although Ph2 does not contain “All the works of old Chaucer,” Manly-Rickert note that “[i]n a British Museum copy of Urry (643.m.1, p. 36 or Preface), William Thomas said that Urry used the Canby MS and that it lacked ‘the Coke’s tale and Gamelyn and also the Squire’s and Merchant’s Tale, and is imperfect at the end.’ These defects are true only of Oxford, Bodleian Library, 414 and Cologny CB 48, and the last clause is true of Cologny, CB 48 only” (Manly-Rickert 1:424). Thomas also stated that at the date of the writing—1770—the MS belonged to Lord Irwin” (Manly-Rickert 1:424). From Irwin (Charles Ingram Viscount Irvine) it passed to William Gordon, his son-in-law, and, as the note on the inside cover states, it passed from Gordon to Kemble. Manly-Rickert state (1:424) that below Kemble’s note is one by “‘T. F. F’ (T. Fitzroy Fenwick) indicating that it was sold at the Kemble sale in 1821 (No.567). It was bought by Heber and contains, pasted inside the back cover, his small circular label with the number 494.... At the Heber sale in 1836 it was bought by Thorpe, who sold it to Sir Thomas Phillipps.”
Description URL:
Image URL: