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les Enluminures

RICHERIUS SENONIENSIS [RICHER DE SENONES], Gesta Senoniensis Ecclesiae [Chronicle of the Abbey of Senones (Vosges)]; JEAN HERQUEL or HERCULANUS, Anthonii illustrissimi Lotharingie ducis vita [History of Antoine le Bon, Duke of Lorraine]

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
France, Lorraine [Vosges, Abbey of Moyenmoutier], dated 1539-1545 and 1599

TM 304

129 ff. (of which the first 119 have contemporary Roman numeral foliation), preceded by [10] flyleaves and followed by [18] flyleaves, complete (collation: i5 (6-1, first folio of quire likely cancelled or blank), ii6, iii8, iv-vii6, viii8, ix-xi6, xii-xvii8, xviii8+1), on paper (close to Briquet, “Armoiries, trois fleurs de lis”, no. 1734, Clèves, 1537; no. 1728, Clèves, 1546 or Montjoie; also not unlike no. 1722, Bar-le-Duc, 1583), ruled in pale lead, written in brown ink in a small but clearly legible cursive hybrid script, by a single hand, on up to 32 long lines (justification 105 x 75 mm), red quire signatures, paragraph marks in blue wash or brown ink, rubrics and headings in red, numerous 3- to 4-line high initials painted in red, some with calligraphic pen flourishing, some of these initials traced in brown ink, a few contemporary annotations or corrections. Bound in modern brown morocco over thick pasteboard, back sewn on 4 raised bands, gilt title on spine, boards decorated to a blind-stamped triple filet pattern, with architectural motifs at four corners and anchor motif and veil harboring a Cross of Lorraine or “croisette” in center of boards, marbled pastedowns (Overall in very good condition, with color of spine slightly fading). Dimensions 142 x 97 mm.

Sixteenth-century copy of two rare Chronicles of local importance to the Benedictine Abbeys of Senones and Moyenmoutier in the Vosges, copied by a recorded scribe, and owned by a sequence of prominent canons of Saint-Dié. These abbeys were renowned for their important intellectual and scholarly activities, where the practice of copying and commentating local chronicles was maintained throughout the sixteenth and into the seventeenth centuries as a means of affirming and defending their identity.


1. Internal scribal evidence points to a clear Vosges origin for this manuscript, more precisely the Abbey of Moyenmoutier (Lorraine, Vosges; see Cottineau, II, col. 2008). The present manuscript was owned as indicated by the ex-libris that reads: “Alberti Regnaldi Raon[ensis] pastoris humilissimi sum…” (f. VIv) and copied over a number of years by Albertus Regnaldus, scribe from Raon-l’Etape (a town near Saint-Dié), parish priest and monk of the Abbey of Moyenmoutier (as related in a number of colophons placed after the text [see Text below]).

Albert Regnauld of Moyenmoutier is mentioned in 1544-1548 as having copied a manuscript of the Chronicle of Jean de Bayon and the Historia of the Church of Saint-Dié by Jean Herquel (Nancy, Bibl. municipale, MS. 537; see Cat. général des manuscrits… [CGM], IV, pp. 204-205): he was a very meticulous scribe, and much like in the present manuscript, he signs at the end of each chapter, often providing with great precision the time of day when he accomplishes his work. (On Albert Regnauld of Moyenmoutier, see M.-J. Gasse-Grandjean, 1992, pp. 51, 55, 70-71, 75; see also Ohl des Marais, 1952, p. 55). In addition, there is another 16th c. copy of the Gesta of Richer realized by Albert Regnauld (Nancy, Bibl. municipale, MS. 542; see CGM, IV, p. 206). This scribe is recorded in Bénédictins du Bouveret, Cat. des colophons…, vol. I, no. 197 (with reference to Nancy, Bibl. municipale, MS. 537). The arms traced in brown ink and placed in the infill of the opening initial C are likely those of the scribe, with his initials A.R.

2. Another note indicates the manuscript subsequently belonged to Nicholas Du Bourg, canon of Saint-Dié who had it from his uncle Jean Herquel, canon and cantor of Saint-Dié, and author of the second text. In 1609, Nicholas du Bourg passed it on to Jean Ruyr (1560-1645?), antiquarian and author, canon and cantor of Saint-Dié (see Michaud, Biographie universelle, vol. 37, pp. 145-146; an anagram of Jean Ruyr is copied on f. VIII). The note in Latin reads: “Nobilis ac venerabilis quondam Nicolaus Du Bourg ecclesia S. Deodati canonicus hunc librum quem ex avunculo eius D. Joanne Herculano quondam ecclesia prefatae cantore, per modum hereditatis habuerat amico suo confratis Joannis Ruyr […] dedit anno domini 1609.” Added in French: “Ce livre a appartenu a Jean Herquel dit Herculanus, chanoine de St-Diez, qui a compose l’Histoire de St-Diez qu’il a tiré presque en entier du présent ouvrage qui se trouve dans le 2e tome du Spicilège de Dom Luc D’Achéry, page 603. C’est une histoire de l’abbaye de Senones” (f. VIIIv).

3. Eighteenth-century ownership, from the Congregation of the Mission of Toul (Lazarists, founded in 1635), with the following ex-libris in upper margin of opening folio: “Ex-libris domus Tulliensis congregationis missionis. 1740” (Both the Abbeys of Senones and Moyenmoutier belonged to the diocese of Toul).


ff. 1-114, Richerius Senoniensis, Gesta Senoniensis Ecclesiae [or Historia Senoniensis], rubric, Docti ac litterati viri domini ac fratris Richerii religiosi Senonensis; incipit, “Cum ea que de mundi huius creatione humani generis…”; explicit, “[…] et quos voluerunt legatos duxerunt”; added beneath text, a scribal colophon: “Amen finis […] 1539. Raon[ensis] per Albertus R[egnaldus]…”;

This work is by Richer le Lorrain or Richer de Senones (born c. 1190?-died 1266?) who is not to be confused with the other tenth-century monk and chronicler Richer of Saint-Rémi (see D. Dantand, 1994, pp. 63-70). Richer le Lorrain entered the Abbey of Senones at least before 1217, traveled and represented the Abbey extensively.

The Abbey of Senones was a Benedictine monastery located in the valley of the Rabodeau, in the present village of Senones in France. It was founded circa 661 by the Bishop of Sens, Gondelbert, and its main conventual buildings were erected by Anthony of Pavia in the eleventh century (Cottineau, III, col. 3006). Senones, together with the Abbeys of Moyenmoutier and Etival, formed what is referred to as the “Sainte Croix des Vosges,” a trio of very closely tied and geographically circumscribed monastic foundations, placed under the influence of the Princes of Salm, whose sovereignty was repeatedly questioned by the Dukes of Lorraine.

The more substantial portion of the present manuscript contains a sixteenth-century copy of the Chronicle of the Abbey of Senones, composed by Richer between 1254 and 1264. There are 9 known manuscripts of this text, of which 5 pre-date 1600. These are: Paris, BnF, MS lat. 10016, 13th c. (original manuscript, from Senones, datable c. 1254-1264); Epinal, MS 121, 16th c. (from Moyenmoutier); Nancy, MS 542, 16th c.; Nancy, MS 543, dated 1536 (from Moyenmoutier or Senones); Epinal, MS 229, dated 1588 (from Moyenmoutier) [see M.-J. Gasse-Grandjean, 1992, pp. 148-149 and pp. 152-153; manuscripts listed in note 14, p. 208-209]. The Chronicle was translated in the sixteenth century and published much later in 1842 by J. Cayon (see Literature below). The Gesta Senoniensis Ecclesia (or Historia Senoniensis) was published by d’Achéry, 1723, vol. II, pp. 603-655, and again by G. Waitz in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, t. XXV, pp. 249-345: the manuscript tradition has recently been reexamined by Dominique Dantand, 1994: “L’audience de cette Chronique a été d’un intérêt strictement local puisque les copies nous proviennent de Senones, Moyenmoutier, Etival” (Dantand, 1994, p. 68).

ff. 114v-118v, Table of contents to Richer, Gesta Senoniensis Ecclesiae, heading, Tabula, followed at end by “Expliciunt capitula quinque librorum tractatus fratris Richeri monachi Senoniensis. Amen. 1539…per Albertus Regnaldus Raone[nsis]… “;

ff. 119-119v, List of names of Abbots of Senones, compiled by Albert Regnauld, priest of Moyenmoutier, “Sequitur nomina abbatum Senoniensis in hoc libro continentur quos ego Albertus Regnaldus humilis Medianimonasterii pastor […] ordinati in unum collegi”;

ff. 120-127v, Jean Herquel or Herculanus, Anthonii illustrissimi Lotharingie ducis vita [History of Antoine le Bon, Duke of Lorraine], heading, Anthonii illustrissimi lotharingie ducis vita auctore Johanne Herculano plenitessimo canonico apud sanctum Deodatum; incipit, “Anthonio Lotharingiae duci cui postea ex bonitate nature boni cognomen fuit… “; explicit, “[…] Anthonii boni litteris mandare visum est. Amen 1599 feria .3. vigilia firmini episcopi […] et .xxiiii. septembris…;

Born in Plainfaing (Vosges), Jean Herquel (or Herculanus) was canon of the Chapter of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. He was the author of a Historia of the Church of Saint-Dié, preserved in a single manuscript (Nancy, BM, MS 537, dated 1548 and copied by the same scribe as the present manuscript, Albert Regnauld). As for the present Latin text of the “History of Antoine Duke of Lorraine” by Jean Herquel, we have identified only one other copy found in Paris, BnF, Coll. Dupuy, vol. 648, ff. 301-306, dated 1543 [this date remains to be verified]. The present copy of Herquel’s text was completed in 1599 according to the scribal colophon placed beneath the text: “Amen 1599…” (f. 127v). If one admits 1543 as a possible date of composition, provided by the Dupuy manuscript, this would mean the text in the present codex was copied just over 50 years after its original composition. Also, intriguing is the fact that the manuscript with the 1599 copy was once owned by none other than the author Jean Herquel (or a homonym, which seems improbable), who probably had his “History of Antoine the Good” copied by the same scribe Albert Regnauld who copied his Historia of the Church of Saint-Dié in 1548. The text of the “History of Antoine the Good” remains hitherto unpublished and unstudied.

Antoine, Duke of Lorraine (1489-1544) known as the “Good,” was Duke of Lorraine from 1508 to 1544. He was raised at the court of Louis XII, partook in a number of Italian campaigns, and was a visceral opponent of the Lutherans, having squelched a number of popular revolts known as the “Révoltes des rustauds.” The Vosges Benedictine abbeys maintained a tumultuous and often conflictual relationship with the local counts and later princes of Salm. It is natural that a scribe from Moyenmoutier should copy a panegyric of Antoine Duke of Lorraine, ardent defender of Catholicism, since the Counts of Salm-en-Vosges were Reformists and often opposed to the local Abbeys prerogatives and rights. The Dukes of Lorraine very often occupied the lucrative posts of commendatory abbots of Moyenmoutier, which could also explain the choice of such a panegyric.

ff. 128-129v, First paragraphs of Richer, Historia Senoniensis, copied in a later hand (19th c.).


Achéry, Luc d’. Spicilegium…olim editum opera et studio D. Lucae d’Achéry…Paris, 1723.

Calmet, Dom. Histoire de l’abbaye de Senones. Manuscrit inédit de Dom Calmet, publié dans le Bulletin de la Société philomatique vosgienne…, Saint-Dié, 1881.

Chapelier, C. “Jean Ruyr, sa biographie et ses oeuvres,” in Bulletin de la société philomatique vosgienne, 1891-1892, pp. 228-229.

Dantand, D. “La chronique de Richer, moine à Senones au XIIIe siècle,” in Ronsin, A. ed. Histoire des terres de Salm. Actes des journées d’études organisées à Senones et à Saint-Dié-des-Vosges le 16 et 17 octobre 1994, Saint Dié-des-Vosges, 1994, p. 63 et sqq.

Favier, J. Catalogue des livres et documents imprimés du Fonds Lorraine de la Bibliothèque municipale de Nancy…, Nancy, Imprimerie Crépin-Leblond, 1898.

Gasse-Grandjean, M.-J. Les livres dans les abbayes vosgiennes du Moyen Age, Nancy, 1992.

Cayon, J. ed. Chronique de Richer, moine de Senones, traduction française du XVIe siècle, sur un texte beaucoup plus complet que tous ceux connus jusqu’ici, publié pour la première fois avec des éclaircissements historiques, sur les manuscrits des Tiercelins de Nancy et de la bibliothèque publique de la meme ville, par Jean Cayon, Nancy, Cayon-Liébault, 1842.

Matter, J. Notice sur les abbayes d’Estival, Moyenmoutier et Senones et trois manuscrits de la Bibliothèque de Saint-Dié, Colmar, 1852.

Ohl des Marais, A. Histoire chronologique de la principauté de Salm, des abbayes de Senones et de Moyenmoutier,Saint-Dié, 1951.

Omont H. ed. Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France. Départements…Tome IV, Bourges […], Nancy […], Paris, 1886.

Petitdemange, A. Senones, Moyenmoutier, Etival. Pays d’abbayes en Lorraine, 2007.

Ruyr, J. Première partie (deuxième et troisième parties) de la Recherche des sainctes antiquitez de la Vosge, province de Lorraine. Par Jean Ruyr, charmésien, chanter et chanoine de l’insigne église collégiale de S. Dié, Saint-Dié, J. Marlier, 1626.

Ruyr, J. Recherches des sainctes antiquitez de la Vosge, province de Lorraine. ReveĆ¼es, corrigées et augmentées depuis la première edition, Espinal, 1634.

Waitz, G. ed. Richeri Gesta Senoniensis ecclesiae, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores tomus XXV, Hannover, 1880, pp. 249-345.

Online resources

On Richer de Senones or Richer le Lorrain

Catalogue des manuscrits vosgiens (Author records some 177 manuscripts from the Vosges region)

On the Abbey of Senones