Of all the extant copies of John Hayward’s The Life and Raigne of King Edward the Sixt (1630), the British Library Catalogue maintains that the only copy in England which escaped the cancels to which printer John Lichfield subjected the book, is housed in the Palace Green Library at the University of Durham (Routh Library SB 2427).[i]

Until now, however, it was unknown that the Parker Library houses the second extant copy which retains a full set of cancellanda. I was thrilled to discover, while collating multiple copies of the book for a larger project on its various states, that the Parker Library’s copy (K.8.14) had also eluded the cancellation process.

There are four cancels in most extant copies, all of which tone down sharply pejorative and frequently insulting characterizations of key political figures in Edward VI’s reign, including Richard Rich, Lord Chancellor, and the infamous Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector:[ii]

L3 Cancellandum_trimmed

L3 Cancellans_trimmed

Figure 1: L3v cancellandum (Parker K.8.14) versus L3v cancellans (C.11.39)


M3 Cancellandum_trimmed

M3 Cancellans_trimmed

Figure 2: M3v cancellandum (Parker K.8.14) versus M3v cancellans (C.11.39)


N3 cancellandum_ trimmed

N3 cancellans_trimmed

Figure 3: N3r cancellandum (Parker K.8.14) versus N3r cancellans (C.11.39)


Q4 cancellandum trimmed

Q4 cancellans trimmed

Figure 4: Q4v cancellandum (Parker K.8.14) versus Q4v cancellans (C.11.39)

These minor redactions are hardly surprising. On one hand, Lichfield is known to have been a staunch Royalist[iii] and, at a time of mounting political tension during Charles I’s reign, he must have been naturally eager to avoid printing anything controversial, no matter how historically distant. His censored version takes the removes the edge from some of Hayward’s choice disparagements, but selects phrases brief enough that their reduction does not affect the lineation beyond the page on which they occur. The reason that Lichfield agreed to print a book whose ‘politic’ characterizations evidently caused him some unease, is unknown.

On the other, Hayward’s reputation as what S.L. Goldberg has called a “politic historian”[iv] lent the act of acquiring and owning his books a certain status. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Parker’s copy. For perhaps the most singular thing about this copy, aside from the uniqueness of its full set of cancellanda, is the fact that it has been anthologized together with two of Hayward’s other biographical works, The Lives of the Three Norman Kings (1613) and The Life and Raigne of Henrie IIII (1599):

Table of contents

Figure 5: Table of contents on flyleaf (Parker K.8.14)

The binding of the three texts together, I have concluded, was carried out by its first documented owner, Thomas Mottershed, whose signature appears in a round hand on the first page of the dedication of Norman Kings:



Figure 6: The Lives of the Three Norman Kings signature on A2r (Parker K.8.14)

The volume was later acquired by a bookseller, who inscribed the table of contents above on the flyleaf, and priced it at 1 shilling and sixpence (Fig. 5).

While no biographical information about Mottershed seems to be available, this act of anthologizing suggests not only a particular interest in Haywards oeuvre, but therein, perhaps, an active political awareness and an interest in political controversy. For, though Goldberg credits Hayward with developing a style of biography less didactic than that of his contemporaries, “untangling of the terminology of analysis from that of morality in both psychology and politics,”[v] the textual redactions illustrated above demonstrate that “Hayward’s final terms of explanation are the characters of the actors”[vi] – and these were sometimes controversial for their derogatory foregrounding of baser character traits, as well as the way they were perceived to parallel contemporary figures and events. Indeed, Hayward’s writings carried a reputation for political controversy during his lifetime: parallels between Bolingbroke in his First Part of the Life and Raigne of King Henrie IIII (1599) and the Earl of Essex were perceived by Elizabeth I to encourage the Essex rebellion, causing Hayward to be imprisoned in the Tower.[vii]

The Parker’s volume, then, hints at an interesting story – one whose details remain enshrouded in mystery. Why does anyone anthologize a collection of texts? Typically, they are interested in an author’s body of work, in ideas threading through it, in continuity or evolution of style and form, in the recurrence of certain themes or viewpoints. These three biographies were published at quite disparate dates (Edward VI having been published posthumously by John Partridge)[viii] and not printed to be bound together. As such, Mottershed’s anthology indicates an ethos of collecting, of gathering Hayward’s texts into one place. Perhaps he was interested in themes of political controversy, or in the parallel between historical and current political events which Hayward’s writings had already evoked. At least three of the biographies – those of William the Conqueror, Henry IV, and Edward VI – deal with themes relating to the overthrow, or attempted overthrow, of an incumbent monarchical regime. In the decade leading up to the English Civil War, anthologizing such a body of texts was an extremely suggestive act.

Vanessa M. Braganza



[i] British Library, <http://explore.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?tabs=moreTab&ct=display&fn=search&doc=BLL01001627685&indx=1&recIds=BLL01001627685&recIdxs=0&elementId=0&renderMode=poppedOut&displayMode=full&frbrVersion=&dscnt=1&scp.scps=scope%3A%28BLCONTENT%29&frbg=&tab=local_tab&dstmp=1492513903250&srt=rank&mode=Basic&vl(488279563UI0)=any&dum=true&tb=t&vl(freeText0)=john%20hayward%20life%20and%20raigne%20of%20edward%20the%20sixt&vid=BLVU1> accessed 18 April 2017

[ii] Images of the cancellans are taken from the copy at St. John’s College, Cambridge (C.11.39). Each pair of images displays the cancellandum above, followed by the corresponding cancellans immediately below. All images of St. John’s College C.11.39 are reproduced with the kind permission of the Master and Fellows of St. John’s College, Cambridge; all images of Corpus Christi College K.8.14 are reproduced with the kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

[iii] See Gadd, Ian, A History of the Oxford University Press, 3 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), v. 1, p. 68. Other bibliographic historians also attest to Lichfield’s Royalist leanings, and those of his son and successor, Leonard Lichfield: see Plomer, Henry R., A Dictionary of Booksellers and Printers Who Were at Work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1641 to 1667 (London: Blades, East & Blades, 1907), p. 117; see also Bracken, James K. and Joel Silver, British Literary Booktrade, 1475-1700 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1996), pp. 153-156.

[iv] Goldberg, S.L., “John Hayward, ‘Politic’ Historian,” The Review of English Studies 6.23 (1955), 233-244.

[v] Ibid., 234.

[vi] Ibid., 238.

[vii] Ibid., 236. See also “Hayward, Sir John,” < http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/12794?docPos=2>; see also Dowling, Margaret, “Sir John Hayward’s troubles over his life of Henry IV,” The Library 4.2 (1930), 212-224.

[viii] Arber, Edward, A Transcript of the Stationers’ Registers, 1554-1640 A.D., 5 vols (London: Printed privately for the University of Cambridge, 1875), v. 4, p. 197.

The Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge owes most of its treasures to the efforts of one man: Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-1575). However, not all of the manuscripts now housed in the Library came from his original bequest to the College; there were other additions that continued to enrich the collection. One such example is CCCC MS 231, a modest-looking copy of the comedies of Terence from the early 1100s, which came to the Library in the late sixteenth century, possibly donated by the antiquarian and book collector Daniel Rogers (c.1538-1591).

Terence was a Latin author who wrote six comedies in the second century BC, all of which appear in our manuscript. It is not a deluxe edition: the parchment is often stained and shows evident scraping marks throughout, and the style of writing is not consistent. The text was copied by several scribes, and it is possible to distinguish at least two main scribal hands: H2 and H5.

Terence, H2

CCCC MS 231, f.6v (H2)

Terence, H5

CCCC MS 231, f.99r (H5)

Two further two hands (H1 and H6) also appear momentarily on single folios to complete certain sections.

Terence, H1

CCCC MS 231, f.1r (H1)

Terence, H6

CCCC MS 231, f.105r (H6)

Whilst H5 maintains a consistent style, H2 is much less disciplined, perhaps suggesting that he was a less experienced – and by extension, perhaps a more junior – scribe. Although there is no evidence to confirm that these two scribes were collaborating as they compiled the book, both hands may certainly be dated to approximately the same period, and the possibility that they were from the same institution cannot be discarded.

Other book hands appear in the manuscript (H3 and H4), both of a later date, which traced over portions of text that had, by their time, already faded. Whilst H3 was using the manuscript not long after it was first copied (possibly at the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century), H4 is visibly of a much later period (possibly from the fifteenth or even the early sixteenth century).

Terence, H3

CCCC MS 231, f.41v (H3)

Terence, H4

CCCC MS 231, f.67r (H4)

No evidence exists to indicate what use they made of the manuscript; however, the need to make the text legible again demonstrates that the text continued to attract interest into the Renaissance period.

The manuscript was also clearly extensively used throughout the Middle Ages. Signs of readership and use can be found in the interlinear and marginal gloss, as well as other later annotations. Although H2 is the main hand responsible for the gloss (which was likely copied from an exemplar) many other hands appear in the book. Two are particularly recognisable, A1 and A2, both of which can be dated between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Terence, A1

CCCC MS 231, f.21r (A1)

Terence, A2

CCCC MS 231, f.99v (A2)

Although these annotations are often hard to read due to the rapidity of their ductus, they seem to serve a similar purpose to the glosses added by H2, which are mainly aimed at the explanation of Latin terms and grammar, rather than providing a commentary on the plays. In a few instances, H2 even includes different readings of the same passages, which seem to suggest that he had access to more than one exemplar.

Terence, exemplars

CCCC MS 231, f.38r

However, this is ultimately impossible to assess, since the provenance information about this volume does not trace it back to a specific institution. This prevents us from determining what sources the scribe may have had access to, as well as who the intended audience of the book may have been. Our knowledge is limited to the fact that it was originally made on the continent, and brought to England around the sixteenth century, as is indicated by the current binding, which is typical of that period (and of Cambridge/Oxford).

In sum, the Corpus Terence offers an intriguing portrait of the use of classical texts as reference works and study tools during the Middle Ages. Whilst it seems likely that the book was used in support of the learning of Latin grammar, it continued to be valued and consistently consulted by generations of readers from the time of its production until its arrival at the Parker Library.

Carlotta Barranu



MS 373, f. 24r

This little early twelfth-century manuscript belonged to Matilda (c.1102-1167), daughter of Henry I of England, who married the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V, in 1114. The text is a unique account of the imperial family, probably made in Würzburg. The picture here shows the first medieval emperor, Charlemagne, crowned in Rome on Christmas Day, 25 December 800.



Last year the Parker Library acquired a volume that once belonged to Archbishop Matthew Parker: the Apocrypha from the Bishops’ Bible. Curiously enough, it looks like it was never meant to be housed in the Library, as it was not among the books Parker bequeathed to the College. Instead, it was bought from a Sotheby’s auction, and now represents the newest, and arguably most obscure, item of the collection. As it is part of a five-volume set of the Bible, one would perhaps expect it to be a voluminous tome, but in reality it is instead rather little (203x145mm). A lavishly decorated binding makes up for its modest dimensions, presenting gold-stamped foliage and gauffered edges. It also contains one of the most puzzling features of the volume: two initials on both front and back boards, reading ES. Despite the efforts of more than one scholar, these are still waiting to be deciphered (and the Library welcomes any suggestions…!). These are also specific to our copy: the other three traceable volumes of the set (at the Houghton Library at Harvard, the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, and the private collection of the Duke of Rutland) do not present any initials embossed on their bindings.


Unfortunately, we only know very little about our book since it left Parker in 1575, but some clues of its whereabouts can be traced thanks to the annotations found on its flyleaves and contents page. These seem to suggest that it was in Oxford between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, as one signature reads ‘:Jo: :Prideaux:’, which likely refers to John Prideaux, rector of Exeter College (1578-1650), and another is ‘Robert Gregory C.C.C. Oxon.’, which refers to a student of Corpus Christi College (1819-1911). Given Prideaux and Gregory’s scholastic interest, it is only fitting that they would own a book such as the Apocrypha (although there is no evidence to suggest they knew it was indeed Parker’s own copy!).

Since the American volumes do not have the same signatures, the set probably split at an early stage, but it is impossible to say why and when. In fact, not much more is known of the dwellings of the book prior to Prideaux, or between him and Gregory. One may speculate that Parker left it to his son John, as some (unnamed) books are listed in Parker’s will as part of John’s inheritance. John also had a connection with Christ Church, Oxford, which may explain how the book travelled from one city to the other. The book then must have left the city (possibly) around the end of the nineteenth century, as our Fellow Librarian, Dr Christopher de Hamel, identified the bookplate on the inside of the front board as being that of the Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945), who had no obvious connections to Oxford. One last clue may be hiding behind a very faint inscription just under Gregory’s signature, dated 1794. But for now, we can only hope to keep adding pieces to this fascinating jigsaw.

Carlotta Barranu


CCCC MS 7, f. 121r


This manuscript comprises chronicles and records of benefactions to St Albans Abbey, compiled in St Albans in the early fifteenth century. The picture here of the abbot and his monks illustrates the account of the death of John de la Moote, abbot of St Albans 1396-1401, who died on 11 November 1401.


MS 61, f. 1v

This is the finest surviving copy of Chaucer’s epic Trojan romance, Troilus and Criseyde, illuminated in London c.1415-20, perhaps for the royal prisoner in the Tower of London, Charles d’Orléans (1394-1465). The frontispiece shows Geoffrey Chaucer himself declaiming his poem to an aristocratic party, gathered in a landscape. Chaucer himself died on 25 October 1400.


September Image

CCCC MS 582, inside front cover

Matthew Parker had been chaplain to Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. His close relationship with their daughter, Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth, had an important part to play in his life, She was born on 7 September 1533. This coloured engraving of Queen Elizabeth was pasted by Parker inside his own copy of the statutes of Corpus Christi College.