95 folios, preceded by a single and followed by 2 paper flyleaves, on paper, with a few smaller leaves with additions bound in, watermarks, including (1) ff. 5-6: Briquet, Couronne, no. 4644, Cologne, 1455; (2) ff. 33 and 35 (etc.): Briquet, pape dans sa chaire, portant la tiare et la clef de Saint-Pierre, no. 7549, Cologne, 1471-1479; Mainz, 1473; (3), ff. 91-92: Briquet, Lettre P, no. 8610, Cologne, 1474-1475, paginated in ink top outer corner recto, modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto 1-24, 24bis, 25-94, missing an undetermined number of leaves, collation is conjectural, manuscript remounted and sewing renewed (collation i2 ii12 iii6 [-1 through 3, no apparent loss of text] iv10 v-vi12 vii12 [-6 before f. 56, cancelled] viii3 [original structure uncertain] ix12 x8 [-7 and -8, cancelled] xi6[-4 and -6, cancelled] xii8 [-8, cancelled], written in a variety of hands, mostly in very small formal cursive gothic bookhands, with ff. 15-17v copied in an insular script, in one or two columns varying considerably from page to page, contemporary marginal annotations and early additions throughout, some dated, often copied on small strips of paper bound in, red rubrics, some red paragraph marks, some guide letters, numerous capitals stroked in red, one-to five-line initials alternating red and blue, approximately 35 small colored armorial shields found in the margins, facing some of the entries (e.g. ff. 36v-37; ff. 53v-54; ff. 65v-66 et passim), two small miniatures (ff. 12 and 13v) of St. Maternus of Cologne and Pope Adrian IV, one heraldic composition with 8 colored armorial shields (f. 17v), one full-page wash-colored pen drawing of Emperor Frederick III surrounded by the seven imperial electors and with armorial shields and inscriptions [dated 1457] (f. 1v), damaged in the upper and inner margin, opening folio and edges of many leaves damaged, small tear upper margin ff. 62-63, but overall fair condition with the text undamaged and legible. Bound in deerskin over wood boards, back sewn on four bands (not its original binding, although binding is a period binding, here reused), front and back covers worn, cracking along the upper joint. Dimensions 220 x 150 mm.
This is a remarkable manuscript. Introduced by an illuminated frontispiece of Emperor Frederick III enthroned and surrounded by his electors, this volume is an example of a book copied in Germany that includes a text in Middle English, an almost unique phenomenon. Its compiler(s) exhibit a sophisticated interest in history, especially the history of the Holy Roman Empire, with an emphasis on Cologne. Its contents include abbreviated chronicles (mostly quite rare) and catalogs of bishops, archbishops, and ruling princes, numerous epitaphs, and the English Act of Accord of 1460. After copying, it was annotated and perfected by later hands until the end of the fifteenth century. Why and for whom it was made, and its exact relationship to a historical miscellany now in Hamburg with similar contents, are just some of the questions that remain to be answered.
1. Copied and illuminated in Germany, most likely in Cologne as confirmed by contents, watermarks in paper and style of colored drawings. There are a number of dates throughout, but most are dates that occur within the texts, rather than the date of the manuscript. However, the date,1457, found at the bottom of the illuminated composition on f. 1v appears to be a date of production. This same date is also found in the frame of the small miniature of Pope Adrian IV (f. 13v). The core of the manuscript was likely copied in 1457, with additions over at least 30 years, given the dates of events found in the text, including the English Acts of Accord from 1460, and the Chronicle of Cologne which continues until 1475.
Given that this was copied in Germany, the inclusion of a text in Middle English is quite remarkable. Middle English written on the continent is known, but is exceedingly rare. This appears to have been copied by someone with interests in both the Holy Roman Empire and in England, possibly an English-speaker in Cologne.
In view of that fact, it is of interest that among the epitaphs on the first two leaves is the epitaph of Sir Hartung von Clux, who died in 1445, and was buried in St Michael Paternoster Royal, London (that is, Whittington College, founded by the mayor of London, remembered in the legends about Dick Whittington and his cat). Sir Hartung, who was Danish or German by birth, served, and was well rewarded, by three English kings, Henry IV, V, and VI. He was also a trusted emissary for Emperor Sigismund (see Van Dussen, 2012). The Epitaph reads, “Anno domini MCCCCXLV…. obiit illi [...] dominus hartungus de clux miles famosus ac inclitus nacione alamanus et in collegio [circa] wichington londonensis sepelitur…” (In the year 1445....died Dominus Hartung of Clux, famous and renowned soldier of the German Nation and was buried in the College [near] Wichington of London) (f. 1). It is accompanied by a small heraldic element, with the motto of the Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 by Edward III: “Hony soet qui mal pense” (Evil to him who evil thinks), and a date 1458, a year after the dated illuminations (ff. 1v, 13v). The Order admitted foreign members, including Sir Hartung, who was elected to the Order in 1421. (Perhaps also relevant to understanding this manuscript is the fact that the Emperor Frederick III (1415-1493) was appointed a member of the Order in 1457).
Contemporary ownership inscription copied at the bottom of f. 2v: “Liber domini hermanni van wesell canonici aquensis et sancti severini coloniensis” (This book belongs to Herman van Wesell, canon at Aachen and Saint-Severinus of Cologne). On Saint-Severinus, see Cottineau, vol. I, col. 840. The town of Aachen lay within the archbishopric of Cologne. Herman van Wesel might belong to the famous family that produced the late 14th century artist Hermann Wynrich van Wesel and the merchant and trader Gerhard van Wesel, burgomaster in Cologne between 1497 and 1507 (Corley, 2000, p. 14 and note no. 27, p. 266).
2. Another, slightly later inscription, on f. 3 reads: “Pertineo D. Henrico Helmychz Deldano vicecuratori in pago Aerd (?) in superiori [...]”; we have not identified this owner.
3. Private collection, Southern Low Countries.
[Possibly now bound in the incorrect order; we suggest the original order was ff. 1v-1-2-2v]; ff. 1 and 2, various epitaphs, some with dates, many likely identifiable; f. 1v, full-page illustration of the Emperor and electors [described below];
f. 2v, Table of contents;
ff. 3-13v, incipit, “Mentes hominum divinis informate virtutibus omnem arrogantiam et omnem adulacionem …; [f. 3v], Incipit tractatus magristri Jordani quondam canonici osnaburgensi de imperio, “Multifarie multisque modis dominus...”; [f. 12], Historia de sancto materno archiepiscopo, incipit, “Istis prelibatus velut ab alio … et crescat ad laudem et gloriam nostris sui. Qui est benedictus in secula seculorum amen,” Explicit tractatus magistri Jordani de romanus imperio;
Alexander de Roes, De prerogativa Romani imperii vel super romano imperio; see Grundmann, 1930, pp. 10-36; and Grundmann and Heimpel, 1958.
Alexander de Roes (d. before 1300) was from a patrician family of Cologne where he was a Canon of St. Mary’s on the Capital; he entered the circle of Cardinal Jacobus de Columna to whom he dedicated his Memoriale de prerogativa Romani imperii, printed Cologne, 1474, Goff F-233; and edited in Grundmann and Heimpel, 1958, pp. 91-148. Alexander’s text pro-imperial text incorporated the complete text of a work by Jordanus Osnaburgensis (c. 1220-1284) who was a Canon and German political writer, which claimed that divine dispensation had allotted the Empire to Germans via Charlemagne. The fact that the work is sometimes attributed to Jacobus de Columna (c. 1250-1318) would explain the inscription found on f. 3 that reads: “Jacobo de Columna Cardinali ...inscriptum esse tradit in bibliotheca sua...”
ff. 13v-14, Epistola domini adriani papae ad fredericum imperatorum; incipit, “Adrianus episcopus servus servorum dei frederico romanorum imperatorum ... pardas nobilitated tue timemus. Vale in christo ihesu” [ends top f. 14; remainder blank];
Letter of Pope Adrian IV (1154-1159) to Emperor Frederick I; printed in Patrologia Latina, PL 188, col. 1635 (letter CCLIV). This same letter also follows the Memoriale de praerogativa imperii romani in Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, MS Hist. 31. b, ff. 57-62 (Lohse, 1968, p. 35). Pope Adrian IV was born in England, and was elected Pope in 1154 (see Bolton and Duggan, 2003.)
f. 14v, Various historical notes on crowned princes, including Philip Duke of Burgundy; John, Duke of Burgundy; Anthony, Duke of Brabant; Philip, Duke of Nevers; Margaret, Duchess of Bavaria etc.;
ff. 15-17v, Act of Accord, King Henry VI (1422-1461), dated Westminster 1460, in Middle English, copied by a different hand (characteristic insular legal script) incipit, “Blessyd be Ihesus in whose hands and bonnté restyth and ys the peas and victory … And over thys the kyng be the seyd advyse and auctorite wyll ordeyneth and stablysshyth that all other actys statutes made a for thys tyme be auctorite of any parlement nor repelled or adnulled... Factum anno prius incarnacionem nostri ihesu christi millesimo et quadragentesimo sexagesimo in mense novembri in parliamento acto apud westmonasterium et anno regni regys henrici sextus prius conquestum .xxxix.”; [followed on f. 17v by painted heraldic shields showing the lineage of Richard, Duke of York], incipit,“Thys veue (?) the grawnceres (?) of the nobel prince Richard of York of hys fader / of hys moder”;
The War of the Roses, fought roughly between 1455 and 1485, opposed the Houses of Lancaster and York (both branches of the Royal Plantagenet House). In 1422, the Lancastrian Henry VI ascended to the throne but after bouts of mental illness a council of regency was appointed, headed by the powerful Richard of York. The Act of Accord was a statute of Parliament enacted on 25 October 1460 and passed in November 1460. Under the terms of the Act, Henry VI was confirmed as king, but after his death the throne was to pass to Richard, Duke of York, and his heirs. The ensuing Battle of Wakefield at Christmas 1460 was a complete Lancastrian victory. Richard of York was slain in the battle, and both Salisbury and York’s 17-year-old second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, were captured and executed. Margaret ordered the heads of all three placed on the gates of York. The Act of Accord and the events of Wakefield left the 18-year-old Edward, Earl of March, York’s eldest son, as Duke of York and heir to his claim to the throne.
It is very curious that the Act of Accord, an intrinsically English affair, should figure in the present manuscript, a manuscript not only copied in Cologne, but one whose contents are otherwise focused on the history of the Holy Roman Empire. Moreover, the Act is the only piece redacted in Middle English in this composite manuscript, the rest of the texts being all in Latin. These few leaves were clearly copied by an insular hand. How and why did it make its way into this miscellany?
In the fifteenth century, there were men who served both the English kings and the Holy Roman Empire; Sir Hartung von Clux (d. 1455), whose epitaph is copied in this manuscript (see above, Provenance), is a well-known example from the generation before this manuscript was copied. One can also point to the strong economic connections between Cologne and England. Cologne was a member of the powerful Hanseatic League, a mercantile confederation which provided protection and privileges for the towns and seaports of Northern Europe. Cologne established business branches and strong ties in strategic Hansa towns such as Bruges, Antwerp and especially London. In the twelfth century, Henry II granted merchants the same rights as English traders. These ties could account for the circulation of English documents or the interest in English affairs in Rhenish Cologne (and for the presence of English-speakers).
ff. 18-30v, Incipit cronica regiononis abbatis prurniensis ad alberonem episcopum metensis ab origine mundi abbreviate …;
Abridgment of Regino Abbott of Prüm, Chronicon [Chronicle]. The present text is apparently an abridgement of the larger Chronicle by Regino, Abbot of Prüm. It does not seem to have been published and seems to have been composed by the compiler of the other works in this collection (see below). Clearly the compiler had access to the complete Chronicon, which he acknowledges in the rubric, but the work is only inspired by the source-text.
Regino (died 915), who was Abbot of Prüm and also an historian and scholar, was active during the Carolingian era, and was central in the writing and re-writing of history and chronicles that defined the period. Regino dedicated his Chronicle to Bishop Adalbero of Augsburg in the year 908, and as such is regarded as the last great historian of the Carolingian Empire since he wrote in the aftermath of the empire’s disintegration.
See Kurze, 1890 for an edition of Regino’s complete Chronicle. Like many nineteenth-century editions it is now regarded as in need of revision. Serious doubts about Kurze’s method were raised by Schleidgen in his study (Schleidgen, 1977). Kurze consulted only 7 of the 30 known manuscripts. Only a rigorous linguistic and stylistic comparison of all the extant codices will allow a modern editor to offer a re-edition close to Regino’s original text. There is a recent English translation based on Kurze’s edition (S. MacLean, 2009). In his introduction, MacLean (2009) stresses the interest of a study of the reception of Regino’s Chronicle, “an interesting topic in its own right” (MacLean, 2009, p. 59). MacLean states: “Regino’s work was excerpted and repackaged by several monastic compilers after Adalbert, and analysis of the ways in which this was done would contribute insights into perceptions of history and identity in the earlier Middle Ages more broadly” (MacLean, 2009, p. 59).
f. 31, Added entry, related to Maximilian I (son of Emperor Frederick III of Hapsburg), dated 1486; [f. 31v, blank];
ff. 32-38v, Incipit cronica presulum et archiepiscoporum coloniensis ecclesie abbreviate, incipit, “Circa principium descripcionis cronica presulum sancte coloniensis … anni domini MCCCLXXIIII  usque ad festum apostulorum petri et paul anni LXXV  sequitur”;
Abbreviated Chronicle of the Archbishops of Cologne (Kölner Bischofschronik), sometimes referred to as the Kölner Bischofschronik; many of the entries are widely spaced to leave room for additions. Although supplementary research will certainly allow for a more precise textual tradition, the present and following chronicles are accounted for in a few other codices including Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, MS Hist. 31. b, ff. 119-133 (date 1465-1502) (Lohse, 1968, pp. 35-36). The Kölner Bischofschronik was published by G. Eckertz as Cronica Presulum et Archiepiscoporum Coloniensis ecclesiae, in Fontes adhuc inediti rerum Rhenarum. Niederrheinische Chroniken, Koln, 1864, vol. 1, pp. 1-61. However, note that the text found in the present codex is abbreviated and is not word for word the exact copy of the Eckertz (1864) edition and our manuscript ends with Archbishop Hermannus IV. Much work remains to be done to sort the exact textual tradition of this and the following chronicles, copied by the same hand.
ff. 39-55v, [modern heading added in pencil, “Pont. Rom.”], incipit, “Beatus Petrus prefuit ecclesiae romane … Innocentius .viii....coronatus decima die septembris”;
Abbreviated Chronicle of the Popes from Peter, the first Pontiff to Pope Sixtus IV (an added inscription specifies he died in 1481). Another entry relating to Pope Innocent VIII is copied at the end of the text.
ff. 56-70v, [Chronicle of the Archbishops of Trier], incipit, “Eucharius primus archiepiscopi treverensis sedit annis .xxiii … Johannes .ii. [secundus]...soror eius nomine margareta nupta fuit alberto marchioni brandenburgensis principi electori”;
ff. 71-76v, [heading added in a 17th or 18th c. hand, Catalogus Archiepiscoporum Moguntinensium], incipit, “Crescens (or Crestens?) primus moguntinensis episcopus sedit … Dietherus intronizato an…et per sixtum papam .iiii. confirmatus”;
Catalog of Archbishops of Mainz.
ff. 77-82v, [heading added in a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century hand], Catalogus episcoporum Leodiensium; incipit, “Maternus primus tongrensis episcopus...”; explicit, “[...] Johannes .ix. de horne an…”;
Catalog of Archbishops of Tongren, Utrecht and Liège (Lüttich), excerpts from a Chronicle of Bishops of Tongeren, Utrecht and Liège (Lüttich), Cronica pontificum Tongerensium, Traiectensium et Leodiensium per diversos conscripta, also recorded in another manuscript: Hamburg, Staats- und Universitäts Bibliothek, MS Hist. 31. b, ff. 135-164 [see Lohse, 1968, p. 36]. The work is also found in Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, MS Theol. 1726, ff. 1-158 (Gesta pontificum Tungrensium et Leodiensium) (see Kruger, 1985). Text here is quite brief, often with headings and a very brief sentence, but copied broadly spaced as if a longer entry was intended.
ff. 83-85v, [Catalog of Dukes of Brabant], incipit, “Karlonianus primus dux brabantiae … Iohanna cum Wentzelao an. .li...ducissa brabatiae...”;
This text also consists of very short entries followed by blank spaces.
ff. 86rv, Epitaphs, incipit, “DONACIANI. Hic iacet examinis clarus virtute johannes...”;
ff. 87-94v, Ex cronica fratris Andree monachi monasterii sancti magni [...] ratisponensis de ducibus a quibus terra bavarrorum...; incipit, “Bavari traduntur ex armenia oriundi...”
Andreas von Regensburg, Excerpts from the Chronica de principibus terrae Bavarorum. Andreas von Regensburg (1380-1442) was an Augustinian canon. He composed his Chronica de principibus terrae Bavarorum between 1425–1428. The Chronica was published by G. Leidinger, Sämtliche Werke. Andreas von Regensburg, Munich, 1903, pp. 503-587. See F. W. Bautz in Biographisch-Bibliographische Kirchenlexikon, Bd. 1 (1975), col. 169. It is found in a number of manuscripts, including Hamburg, Staats- und Universitäts Bibliothek, hist. 31 e, ff. 12v-40 (see Lohse, 1968, p. 39). This is an extensive text with marginal notes.
This is a highly original historical and political miscellany, with diverse abbreviated chronicles and catalogs of bishops and archbishops, as well as ruling princes, copied and assembled c. 1457, and subsequently considerably annotated and perfected by later hands until the end of the fifteenth century. It is a very “European” codex with chronicles, catalogs and documents related to such diverse regions as the Rhineland, Mosan region, Bavaria, and England, all regions or countries that had strong ties with the Holy Roman Empire. The entire codex is introduced by a very interesting illuminated frontispiece that represents Emperor Frederick III enthroned and surrounded by his electors north, west, south and east.
The text includes number of chronicles and historical entries clearly copied in Cologne or around Cologne, all relating to Rhenish bishoprics, archbishoprics and the Holy Roman Empire. An early owner, if not the scribe of the main portions of this miscellany, has inscribed his name Herman van Wesell (or Wesel, on the Rhine, north of Cologne) at the bottom of fol. 2v, and was a Canon in Aachen and at St.-Severin. Could this signify the origin of the present miscellany might be related in some manner to St.-Severin of Cologne? The chronicles and lists of successive bishops and ruling princes were certainly annotated and updated by successive hands, with a number of small slips of paper inserted to complete, update and comment the main sections of the manuscript, witnessing historical chronicling at the end of the fifteenth century in a very vivid and lively manner. The miscellany was soon clearly passed on to someone who had ties or relations with England, to wit the presence of a very rare copy of the Act of Accord promulgated by the Parliament at Westminster in 1460 (thus contemporary with the few dates quoted in the manuscript and the watermarks in the paper). In a manuscript entirely redacted in Latin and copied in a Rhenish milieu, it is astonishing to find a Middle English text, illuminated at that (ff. 15-17v, with a full page of colored heraldic shields). Equally intriguing is the fact that there is another similar historical and political miscellany in Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Hist. 31. B (see Lohse, 1968, pp. 34-37), which contains very similar texts. Any study of our manuscript should include a careful comparison of these two codices and their origins.
The elegant city of Cologne was a refined center of culture and artifacts. A prominent town in Germany, the city had become a leading city in the Western Empire, which was ruled by duke-archbishops from 953 to 1288. By 1230, Cologne had developed into the largest city north of the Alps, surpassing both Paris and London. The early history of medieval Cologne is a complex tale of the worldly and spiritual power invested in its archbishops, or their territorial wars, allegiances and conflicts with emperors and popes. It is told in the Chronicle of the Bishops and Archbishops of Cologne, first written in 1370, of which the present manuscript offers excerpts in abbreviated form (ff. 32v-38). In this manuscript, the Kölner Bischofschronik are completed by other chronicles and catalogs of neighboring bishoprics, such as Trier, Mainz, Tongeren and Liège. Indeed as electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the archbishops of Cologne, Trier and Mainz enjoyed the highest status.
In the absence of modern critical editions of all the texts, it is virtually impossible to ascertain for certain just how rare these texts are. Pending further research in European libraries, the manuscript stands out as exceedingly rare as much for its individual texts as for their combination.
f. 1v, Emperor Frederick III (1440-1493) enthroned with his shield and insignia, framed on either side by ecclesiastical and crowned figures, accompanied by coats of arms and inscriptions. Each figure is identified on a scroll placed beneath the figure (e.g. Archbishops of Cologne, Mainz, Trier; Dukes of Bavaria, of Saxony; King of Bohemia...) and a text is copied in the lower part of the composition: “Coloniensis treverensis moguntinensis / Quibus imperii fit cancellatus [...] / Et palatinus dapifer dux portitor...” with the date 1457. On either side of the lower inscription are the heraldic shields of the Frederick III (1415-1493), on the left, who reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1452, and those of his wife, Eleanor of Portugal (1434-1467), on the right;
f. 12, Saint Maternus, first Archbishop of Cologne, miniature, ink drawing colored in wash, set in text column. The Archbishop holds a small-scale model of the Cathedral of Cologne;
f. 13v, Pope Adrian IV, dated miniature, ink drawing colored in wash, set in text column (dated 1457 in upper frame);
f. 17v, Coats of arms, of main ancestors of Richard, Duke of York, justifying his claims to the throne of England and France, beginning with Edward III, King of England and France; John, Count of Hannover; Peter, King of Spain; John, King of Portugal; Edmund, Count of March; Leonellus, Duke of Clarence; Thomas Holland, Count (Earl) of Kent; Richard, Count of Arundel. Between the two columns of heraldic shields are inscribed genealogical elements.
These pictorial additions are an interesting feature of this manuscript, especially the full-page composition now on f. 1v (probably mounted in disorder and probably originally the opening leaf). This and the two small historiated initials (Saint Maternus of Cologne and Pope Adrian IV [an Englishman!]) should be studied in relation to Cologne illumination and book production. In addition, the core of the manuscript contains several small heraldic shields that enliven the historical narrative.
Bolton B. and A. Duggan. Adrian IV The English Pope (1154-1159), Ashgate, 2003
Corley, B. Painting and Patronage in Cologne 1300-1500, Turnhout, 2000.
Cottineau, Laurent Henri. Répertoire topo-bibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, Mâcon, 1939-1970.
Griffiths, R. A. The Reign of Henry VI, Berkely, 1981.
Grundmann, H. “Alexander von Roes, ‘De translatione imperii’ und Jordanus v. Osnabrück, ‘De prerogativa Romani imperii’,” in Quellen zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters und der Renaissance 2, Leipzig-Berlin, 1930, pp. 10-36.
Grundmann, H. and H. Heimpel, eds. Alexander von Roes, Schriften, MGH Staatsschr., 1/1, Stuttgart, 1958, pp. 91-148.
Krüger, N. Die theologischen Handschriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg. 2. Quarthandschriften (Cod. Theol. 1252-1750), Stuttgart, 1985.
Kurze, F. ed. Reginonis abbatis Prumiensis Chronicon cum continuatione, Hannover, 1890.
Lohse, B. Die historischen Handschriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, Cod. hist. 1-100, Hamburg, 1968
Maclean, S. History and Politics in Late Carolingian and Ottonian Empire: The Chronicle of Regino of Prüm and Adalbert of Magdeburg, Manchester, 2009.
Schleidgen, R. Die Überlieferungsgeschichte der Chronik des Regino von Prüm, Mainz, 1977.
Van Dussen, Michael. From England to Bohemia: Heresy and Communication in the Later Middle Ages, Cambridge and New York, 2012.
Waitz, G. ed. Des Jordanus von Osanabrück Buch uber das Römische Reich, herausgegeben von G. Waitz, Gottingen, 1868.
Genealogy of the Richard III, Duke of York
List of bishops and archbishops of Cologne
R. A. Griffiths, ‘Klux, Sir Hartung von (d. 1445)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 http://www.oxforddnb.com.turing.library.northwestern.edu/view/article/50137