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Polychronicon, 1375 - 1400

Identifier: Gordan MS 64


Table of contents: Title page written in an ornate nineteenth-century gothic hand; Prologus primus super historiam policronicam Capitulum Primum; alphabetical subject index to article 2 beginning with "Abraham ii octauo" and ending at "de zorobabel iii x;" a brief description of the six ages of man added at the end of the index; two short lists added later: an excerpt from the Domesday Book:: Eratta de Domesday Regis. . . and a list of English kings: Reges Anglie ab aduentu dacorum usque ad conquestum per Normannos. . ."


  • 1375 - 1400


1 Volumes



Custodial History

Written in England at the end of the fourteenth century. In the collections of the Marquis of Blandford (White Knights sale, 22 June 1819, lot 3606), and the seventh Duke of Newcastle (4th Clumber sale, Sotheby 14 Feb. 1938, lot 1209; catalogue entry glued inside front cover). On the verso of the first front flyleaf is an 18th century description of Ms. 64 with the name W. Trone at the end of the page; glued to this leaf is a paper label with the title in ink; additionally many numbers, written in lead are scattered over the page: "48," "24/D," "42/0/0," and "History 72." Pasted to the recto of the rear flyleaf a second, 19th-century autograph description of the MS, the bottom of this sheet has been excised, perhaps removing a signature, since traces of writing remain. A third description of the MS attributed to "Mr. Jacob Bryants" and signed on the verso: "This manuscript note is the Autograph of Jacob Bryant--Blandford--July 20th 1805-" accompanies the MS. Obtained from Maggs by Howard L. Goodhart in 1938.


  1. Higden, Ranulf, -1364

Other related names

  1. Marquis of Blandford, former owner
  2. Seventh Duke of Newcastle, former owner
  3. Sotheby, dealer
  4. Bryants, Jacob, former owner
  5. Maggs Bros. Ltd., bookseller
  6. Goodhart, Howard Lehman, former owner
  7. Goodhart, Howard Lehman, donor
  8. Gordan, Phyllis Goodhart, owner
  9. Gordan, John Dozier Jr., owner

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Left by Howard Lehman Goodhart to Phyllis Goodhart Gordan and John Dozier Gordan, Jr.

Physical Description

The book has suffered considerable water damage, and has some repair work done to the final leaves. Although some of the red ink and occasionally the blue has either smeared or faded, there is no loss of text except for f. 175 where the top outside corner of the leaf has been torn or worn away with the loss of about 15 lines of the index.

Parchment support, ff. ii (modern paper bifolium, i=front pastedown) + i (parchment) + 182 + ii (modern paper bifolium, ii=back pastedown)

England, nineteenth century, bound in brown russia, blind tooled with the arms of the Marquis of Blandford centered on the front and back. The spine is rebacked with blind-stamped, olive morocco; in gold: "POLYCHRONICON/ M.S./ MCCCLII."

283 x 225 (leaves vary from 210-230 x 145-165) mm

Article 2: written in c. 40-50 ruled lines with single horizontal and vertical bounding lines in ink. Prickings for bounding lines occasionally visible in all three outer margins. Article 3: written in two columns of 50 ruled lines, each column has been divided with 5 vertical bounding lines in ink into three smaller columns for subject, book, and chapter. Articles 4 and 5 are long lines and without ruling. I-XIII12; subsequent leaves have been tipped in in four groups of 4 leaves and two groups of 5 leaves.

English cursive and 16th-century Gothic curisve script written by several scribes; marginal notes have been made throughout in later hands.

A full page diagram on f. 3r depicts the solar system as a series of circles with the earth in the center. Several other smaller diagrams or charts appear throughout; note the genealogy from Adam to Iaphet in which each name is enclosed in a small circle, the whole linked by double lines. This diagram fills the lower margin of ff. 30v and 31r. From f. 34v to the end of article 2 a double column outlined in red recording monarchs and dates fills the outer margin. Each book begins with a large initial varying from a slim 21-line initial "I" which begins Book 4 to the more square 8- to 12-line initials in most of the other books. These initials are either red and blue or plain blue with beautiful red penwork grounds, small extensions, and infilling; the grounds include a trace of purple penwork added as an accent. Book 2 is the exception beginning with a modest 6-line initial which resembles the initials used for the chapters. These initials are similar to the larger initials but more simple: 2- to 6-lines with finely drawn red penwork grounds and infillings which often depict flowers or leaves. Other 1-line plain, red and blue initials throughout. Running heads in upper right margin, recto, sometimes trimmed off. Rubrication, paragraph markers, sentence strokes in red. Guide letters for rubricator are visible underneath the penwork in each initial. Article 5 is without decoration.

Modern foliation

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