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Orietta Da Rold provides a detailed analysis of the coming of paper to medieval England, and its influence on the litera

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Paper in Medieval England: From Pulp to Fictions
 1108840574, 9781108840576

Table of contents :
Cover
Half-title
Series information
Title page
Copyright information
Dedication
Contents
List of
Illustrations
List of
Figures
List of
Tables
A Preface with Thanks
Abbreviations and Conventions
Paper and Culture in Medieval England: An Introduction
Paper in Culture
Culture in Paper
The Book
Chapter 1 Paper Stories
A New Transnational Technology
Early Interactions
A Familiar Object
A Web of Paper
Paper: Another Story
Chapter 2 The Economics of Paper
Close Reading of an Account
The Particulars of Paper
A Paper Merchant's Register
The Quality of Paper
Sizes of Paper
The Finishing of Paper
Paper Routes to England
The Importation of Paper to England
Inland Trade
The Cost and Value of Paper
On Nuance
Chapter 3 Writing on Paper: Tradition and Innovation
Title Eighty, De instrumentis conficiendis
Normalizing Change
The Need to Write
The Need to Write Quickly
Writing on Paper and the Matter of Scribal Training
Mapping Hands on Paper
Cursivity and Paper
Chapter 4 The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books
Sources and the Character of Paper
Technological Knowledge
Paper with a Purpose
Books and the Character of Paper
Paper Chronology: Some Observations
Combining Technologies
On the Question of Pre-made Quires
The Shape of Paper
Folding Paper
Diverse Characters
Chapter 5 Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination
Chromaticity
Plasticity
Porosity and Tensility
Literary Affordances
Chapter 6 Epilogue: The Age of Paper
Appendix Paper Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library of English Provenance, datable up to s. xvex
Bibliography
Primary Sources
Catalogues, Indices and Dictionaries
Secondary Sources
Digital Resources
Index of Manuscripts
General Index

Citation preview

PAPER IN MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

Orietta Da Rold provides a detailed analysis of the coming of paper to medieval England, and its influence on the literary and nonliterary culture of the period. Looking beyond book production, Da Rold maps out the uses of paper and explains the success of this technology in medieval culture, considering how people interacted with it and how it affected their lives. Offering a nuanced understanding of how affordance influenced societal choices, Paper in Medieval England draws on a multilingual array of sources to investigate how paper circulated, was written upon, and was deployed by people across medieval society, from kings to merchants, to bishops, to clerks and to poets. Paper in Medieval England offers new insights on how medieval paper changed communication and shaped modernity.    is University Lecturer in Literature and the Material Text,  to  in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John’s College. Her publications include The Dd Manuscript: A Digital Edition of Cambridge University Library, MS Dd. . of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales () and the co-edited Cambridge Companion to British Manuscripts ().

     Founding Editor Alastair Minnis, Yale University General Editor Daniel Wakelin, University of Oxford Editorial Board Anthony Bale, Birkbeck, University of London Zygmunt G. Barański, University of Cambridge Christopher C. Baswell, Barnard College and Columbia University Mary Carruthers, New York University Rita Copeland, University of Pennsylvania Roberta Frank, Yale University Alastair Minnis, Yale University Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Fordham University

This series of critical books seeks to cover the whole area of literature written in the major medieval languages – the main European vernaculars, and medieval Latin and Greek – during the period c.–. Its chief aim is to publish and stimulate fresh scholarship and criticism on medieval literature, special emphasis being placed on understanding major works of poetry, prose, and drama in relation to the contemporary culture and learning which fostered them. Recent titles in the series Jonathan Morton and Marco Nievergelt The Roman de la Rose and ThirteenthCentury Thought George Corbett Dante’s Christian Ethics: Purgatory and its Moral Contexts Andrew Kraebel Biblical Commentary and Translation in Later Medieval England: Experiments in Interpretation Robert J. Meyer-Lee Literary Value and Social Identity in the Canterbury Tales Glenn D. Burger and Holly A. Crocker (eds.) Medieval Affect, Feeling, and Emotion Lawrence Warner Chaucer’s Scribes: London Textual Production, – Katie L. Walter Middle English Mouths: Late Medieval Medical, Religious and Literary Traditions Thomas A. Prendergast and Jessica Rosenfeld (eds.) Chaucer and the Subversion of Form Jonas Wellendorf Gods and Humans in Medieval Scandinavia: Retying the Bonds Irina Dumitrescu The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature

A complete list of titles in the series can be found at the end of the volume.

PAPER IN MEDIEVAL ENGLAND From Pulp to Fictions

ORIETTA DA ROLD University of Cambridge

University Printing House, Cambridge  , United Kingdom One Liberty Plaza, th Floor, New York,  , USA  Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne,  , Australia –, rd Floor, Plot , Splendor Forum, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi – , India  Anson Road, #–/, Singapore  Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence. www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/ : ./ © Orietta Da Rold  This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published  A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data : Da Rold, Orietta, author. : Paper in medieval England : from pulp to fictions / Orietta Da Rold, University of Cambridge. : Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, . | Series: Cambridge studies in medieval literature ;  | Includes bibliographical references and index. :   (print) |   (ebook) |   (hardback) |   (paperback) |   (epub) : : Paper–England–History–To . | Papermaking–England–History–To . | Paper industry–England–History–To . | Books–England–History–-. | Manuscripts, Medieval–England. | English literature–Middle English, -–History and criticism. :   .  (print) |   (ebook) |  ./–dc LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/ LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/  ---- Hardback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

To Inan

Contents

List of Illustrations List of Figures List of Tables A Preface with Thanks Abbreviations and Conventions

page ix xi xii xiii xviii

Paper and Culture in Medieval England: An Introduction Paper in Culture Culture in Paper The Book



    



The Economics of Paper

    

Close Reading of an Account The Particulars of Paper Paper Routes to England The Cost and Value of Paper On Nuance



  



Paper Stories A New Transnational Technology Early Interactions A Familiar Object A Web of Paper Paper: Another Story





Writing on Paper: Tradition and Innovation Title Eighty, De instrumentis conficiendis Normalizing Change Mapping Hands on Paper Cursivity and Paper

vii



   

Contents

viii 

The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books Sources and the Character of Paper Books and the Character of Paper Diverse Characters



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination Chromaticity Plasticity Porosity and Tensility Literary Affordances



Epilogue: The Age of Paper

Appendix Bibliography Index of Manuscripts General Index

   

    

    

Illustrations

. . . . . . . . . . . .

The National Archives, ref. E //, p. . page  The National Archives, ref. E //, p. .  The National Archives, ref. E //.  Cambridge University Library, MS  D (). Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.  Cambridge University Library, MS Add. , fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.  The National Archives, ref. E //.  Oxford, Lincoln College, MS Lat. , n., fol. v. Reproduced by permission of the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College, Oxford.  Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodl. , fol. v. Reproduced by kind permission of the Bodleian Libraries, the University of Oxford.  Cambridge University Library, MS Add. , fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.  Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.  Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.  Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. 

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List of Illustrations

. Cambridge University Library, MS Ff.., fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. . Cambridge University Library, MS Kk.., fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. . Cambridge University Library, MS Kk.., fol. r. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. . The National Archives, ref. KB ///; open document with visible longstitches. . The National Archives, ref. KB ///; wrapper.

    

Figures

. Distribution of scripts in Cambridge University Library medieval paper manuscripts listed in Appendix. . Percentage of manuscripts in each broad chronological divide. . Number of manuscripts in each chronological divide arranged according to types of material. . Percentage of paper and mixed manuscripts in Appendix. . Count of sizes of paper in Appendix. . Count of types of format. . Distribution of types of material in relation to types of format.

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page       

Tables

. Thirteenth-century paper documents in The National Archives. . Some fourteenth-century paper documents in The National Archives, ref. E . . Paper in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. . . Type of rags in relation to quality of paper. . Importation of paper in The National Archives, refs E//, E//, E//. . London imports, –. . Southampton, –. . Inventory, Thomas Gryssop, York,  October . . Cost of parchment at Beaulieu Abbey. . Distribution of paper stocks in Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., part .

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page          

A Preface with Thanks

Il est aussi facile de rêver un livre, qu’il est difficile de le faire. It is as easy to dream up a book as it is difficult to produce it. (Balzac, Le cabinet des antiques)

The idea of this book emerged in one of those many serendipitous accidents in the life of a student. It came about many years ago with a conversation and a manuscript during one of my last PhD supervisions. It was a discussion on why Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.., an early copy of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, has had a mixed reception among scholars. The material, paper, was at fault. ‘What’s wrong with paper and scholars! Don’t they realize what a wonderfully rich and informative material it is?’, I said. My amused supervisor smiled, and calmly replied: ‘Well, that’s something for you to sort out and tell us’. But ‘sorting out’ paper in medieval book production has been a rather long and complex process. What seemed a straightforward assertion during that supervision was a challenging idea to pursue. As Stevenson noted: ‘In England . . . most of the paper story remains to be worked out’. Hills added a considerable amount to this story in his important study on the history of paper in post-print Britain, and yet the arrival, adoption and use of paper before the advent of print have more stories to tell. Paper is a material that may seem simple – after all, paper is made from rags and water – but presents modern scholars with an array of challenges. How do we talk about paper? What knowledge are we seeking in studying paper? And what methods or frameworks are there to enable us to ‘think paper’ in medieval England? Of course, codicologists, bibliographers and  

Briquet’s ‘Opuscula’: The Complete Works of Dr. C. M. Briquet without ‘Les filigranes’, ed. by Allan Stevenson (Hilversum: Paper Publications Society, ), p. xxix. Richard Leslie Hills, Papermaking in Britain, –: A Short History (London: Athlone Press, ).

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Preface

filigranologists have taught us a number of invaluable lessons on how to approach paper, in particular its watermarks, for dating books and solving fascinating textual puzzles. A survey of paper evidence in medieval England was, I thought, a good starting point and I began following the steps of two excellent European projects, the Progetto Carta as well as the Bernstein Project. My early work confirmed to me that there is more to paper than watermarks. As I was busy collecting and measuring watermarks, other evidence on the distribution, circulation and use of paper in medieval England and Europe captured my curiosity; the story of paper became more intriguing and the project substantially different. The debates on whether book history ought to be about analytical evidence or conceptual propositions also made me realize that one does not need to exclude the other. Scholars in manuscript studies often combine the two. Indeed, the importance of writing about paper in medieval manuscript production ought to be complemented by other concerns: scholarly perceptions, terminology and an understanding of the wider use of paper in medieval society. In essence, what I wanted to know was why paper matters to our understanding of late medieval English culture. England is situated on the fringes of the European centres of paper production, and yet it is central to the perception of the ‘idea’ of paper, both as a writing material and a cultural artefact. I use English rather than British under advisement. I soon realized that, as I broadened my research questions, the geographical scope of the project had to be narrowed. The amount of evidence I discovered was such that it was impossible to propose a full examination of the arrival of paper in all the territories under the Angevin kings. The arrival of paper in Ireland and Wales as well as the use of paper in the Angevin regions in France demand a study in their own right. Scotland also deserves a separate investigation. I therefore decided to focus on evidence mainly pertaining to England as a geographical entity within a complex system of political influences, 



 

For an initial overview, see Philip Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ); Allan Stevenson, The Problem of the Missale Speciale (London: Bibliographical Society, ); and Stephen Spector, ed., Essays in Paper Analysis (London: Associated University Presses, ). Research from the Progetto Carta has appeared in Ornato et al. For the Bernstein Project, see www .bernstein.oeaw.ac.at/ and the Memory of Paper, www.memoryofpaper.eu/BernsteinPortal/appl_ start.disp (accessed  December ). See the very interesting discussion in William Kuskin, Caxton’s Trace: Studies in the History of English Printing (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, ), p.  n. . For example, see Pádraug Ó Macháin, ed., Paper and the Paper Manuscript: A Context for the Transmission of Gaelic Literature (Cork: University College Cork, ).

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xv

annexations and possessions. Naturally, the evidence of paper in some of these other regions also informs my discussion on paper in England. Broadening my approach, and focusing my geographical remit, offered the answer to my initial question and suggested that ‘thinking paper’ comprises three interrelated themes: ‘Paper in Culture’, ‘Paper in Time’ and ‘Paper in Space’. All three interrelated themes, however, could not be compressed into one book, and in the present investigation I set out to examine ‘Paper in Culture’, planning a subsequent volume on ‘Paper in Time and Space’. Paper in culture pushes the boundaries of historicism to articulate the many questions that paper presents to us and the answers to these questions. This book is not exclusively about book history or the codicology of medieval paper manuscripts. It is not about watermarks in medieval paper. It is not a new Briquet. It is an invitation to read the evidence of paper beyond bibliographical details, and yet it is informed by the experience of studying hundreds of paper manuscripts and searching for the significance of paper use in books. This approach compelled me to seek where else paper was used in the Middle Ages, why it was adopted and what its uses might signify. This book is grounded on a conception of paper studies as defined by paper’s use in manuscript culture, but my work has also profited immensely from economic and cultural history, anthropological readings on agency, philosophical methodologies on tacit knowledge, media studies and close readings of literary texts. The interdisciplinary approach which I offer in this book has helped me to think through why paper became a success story in pre-modern England. This project owes its completion to the British Academy. I am very grateful for the award of a Mid-Career Fellowship in . This fellowship gave me time to gather my thoughts and write up my past and recent work on medieval paper. However, this project is also the result of many conversations and the generosity of colleagues. It has its foundations on the learning of other scholars who helped me to refine my thinking even though my own argument differs. Knowledge and scholarship are incremental, especially on a subject of study like paper, and it was often difficult to be selective. I point to further readings within specific references as a way to acknowledge the breadth and depth of the field. My project was also greatly facilitated by those often invisible and anonymous people who have laboured over the compilation of ground-breaking resources, especially in their digital iterations: The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, Geiriadum Prifysgol Cymru (A Dictionary of the Welsh Language), The Middle English Dictionary and The Oxford English Dictionary.

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Preface

I am extremely grateful to the librarians and the staff of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the British Library and the Bodleian Library for giving me permission to examine material in their care. I would like to thank Frank Bowles and the manuscript reading room team of Cambridge University Library for putting up with a large number of requests at, sometimes, very short notice, and James Freeman for further thoughts on some of these manuscripts and for reading sections of the manuscripts. The Appendix in this volume pays tribute to this team of people for their patience and insights. I wish also to thank Consuelo W. Dutschke, Curator of the Medieval and Renaissance Collections of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University; Vanessa Wilkie, William A. Moffett Curator of Medieval Manuscripts and British History at the Huntington Library; Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, Princeton University Library; Melissa Grafe, John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History, Yale Medical Historical Library; Gina Hurley and Ingrid Lennon-Pressey at The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. A big thank you also to Alison Archibald, Conservation Manager, Paul Drybugh, Principal Record Specialist, and Sonja Scwoll, Senior Conservation Manager at The National Archives for showing me some of the very early paper held in their care and very patiently answering my questions on their records. Also, thank you to Robert Bell at Wisbech Museum, and John Alban and Susan Maddock formerly at The Norfolk Record Office. Every project of long gestation accrues many debts of gratitude which I here wish to repay. I am extremely thankful to Elaine Treharne for her friendship and support. This book would never have been completed in this current form without her inspiring conversations and her suggestions on the final draft of the manuscript. I thank Suzanne Paul for her friendship, for sharing generously her knowledge of Latin and reading sections of the book. I am also thankful to: Gowan Dawson, Andrew Chen, Kate Loveman, William Noel, Serena Povia, Wendy Scase, Jason Scott-Warren, Christopher Tilmouth, Elizabeth Tyler, Daniel Wakelin, Greg Walker, Tessa Webber and Alex Wong for offering suggestions and thoughts on this project. I thank Eyal Poleg for reading all the chapters in their embryonic, and more advanced, stages, and for very enjoyable conversations on our books in progress. Richard Beadle has offered research material, consultation on transcriptions, and patiently read through sections of the book. I am grateful for his continuous support and advice. I have greatly benefited from the expertise of Richard Dance on the language of the Gawain poet; David Callander on Medieval Welsh; Andrew Prescott on historical matters and for reading Chapter ; Jim Bolton on medieval economic history and for reading Chapter ; Edward

Preface

xvii

Cheese for offering insightful comments on manuscript conservation; Sarah Knight for wonderful conversations on translating and interpreting Medieval Latin; Nicola Morato for reading parts of the book and inviting me to explain some of my methodological approach; and David Rundle on humanist manuscripts. I thank Bernardo S. Hinojosa for reading sections of the book, and Daniel Sawyer for further checks on manuscripts in Oxford. For further suggestions and references, I thank: John Bollard, Patrick Boyde, Mark Clarke, Siân Collins, Helen Cooper, Godfried Croenen, Emanuela Di Stefano, Jane Gilbert, Philip Knox, Raphael Lyne, J. P. McDermott, Laura Moretti, George Younge and Nicolette Zeeman. I am also grateful to Hollie Morgan for inspirational cards throughout the last stages of this project as well as for reading each chapter, and for humorous conversations on my neologisms, false friends and idioms. I am grateful to past and current colleagues at the Universities of Leicester and Cambridge for helping me to think through this project in different ways and from different angles. In particular, I thank my colleagues in St John’s College, Ruth Abbott and Chris Warnes, for support in the final stages of this book. To all of you, my most sincere thanks. The proofs of the book arrived in the spring of  when the world was in lockdown due to the COVID- pandemic. This made it impossible to complete all the further checks I intended to do at this stage. All remaining errors are my own. Earlier versions of sections of this book have been presented at national and international events. I am grateful to the participants of the Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford Medieval Research Seminars, East–West Text Technologies Project in Beijing, the third annual collegium ‘TexTexTileTexTure’ at Stanford University, the London Medieval Manuscripts Seminar, the Cambridge Palaeography Workshop and History of Material Text Seminar for their insights and suggestions. My students have always been sources of inspiration: Freya Brooks, Elena Violaris, Abi Glen and Carlotta Barranu, thank you for making the writing of this book more bearable, and for discussing some of its sections with me. At Cambridge University Press, I would like to thank Emily Hockley and Daniel Wakelin for believing in this project, and the production team for their patience. Dan, in particular, has been a most attentive Series Editor, offering invaluable suggestions especially on the final version of the manuscript. I also thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments, and for encouraging me to write better. Last, but not least, my very special thanks to Cecilia Pietropoli, who first believed in me, and to N. F. Blake, the aforementioned PhD supervisor, whose witty smile I will never forget; and to my family, Inan, Elif and Eren for their unabated support and encouragement. To my husband, I hope this book will make a good doorstop.

Abbreviations and Conventions

Beadle, Paston BL Bodl. Briquet

Chaplais CUL Davis, Paston DMBL

DMCL DMLBS

DMLL

Richard Beadle and Colin F. Richmond, eds, Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, EETS, s.s.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) British Library, London Bodleian Library, Oxford C. M. Briquet, Les filigranes: dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers  jusqu’en ,  vols (Paris and Geneva: A. Picard & fils and A. Jullien, ) Pierre Chaplais, Diplomatic Documents Preserved in the Public Record Office (London: HMSO, ) Cambridge University Library Norman Davis, ed., Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, EETS,  vols, s.s. ,  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts, c.– in the Department of Manuscripts, the British Library,  vols (London: British Museum, ) Pamela R. Robinson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.– in Cambridge Libraries,  vols (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, ) The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, ed. by R. E. Latham et al.,  vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, –), www.dmlbs.ox.ac.uk/web/ online.html Pamela R. Robinson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.– in London Libraries,  vols (London: British Library, ) xviii

Dating Conventions EETS fol./fols GPC IBP

MED ODNB OED Ornato et al. Riverside s. TNA Zonghi

xix

Early English Text Society (o.s.: original series; s.s.: supplementary series) folio/folios Geiriadum Prifysgol Cymru (A Dictionary of the Welsh Language), http://welsh-dictionary.ac.uk/gpc/gpc.html Frieder Schmidt and Elke Sobek, eds, Internationale Bibliographie zur Papiergeschichte (IBP): Berichtszeit: Bis Einschliesslich Erscheinungsjahr  (Munich: K. G. Saur, ) The Middle English Dictionary, ed. by Hans Kurath et al.,  vols (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, –), https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/ The Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography, www .oxforddnb.com/ The Oxford English Dictionary, ed. by John A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, nd edn,  vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), www.oed.com Ezio Ornato, C. Federici, P. Busonero et al., La carta occidentale nel tardo medioevo,  vols (Rome: Istituto centrale per la patologia del libro, ) The Riverside Chaucer, ed. by Larry D. Benson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) saeculo The National Archives, Kew A. F. Gasparinetti, ed., Zonghi’s Watermarks, Monumenta Chartae Papyraceae Historiam Illustrantia (Hilversum: Paper Publications Society, )

Dating Conventions I have adopted the system which was suggested by N. R. Ker in his Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, vol. , p. viii: s. xivin [= ‘ineunte’] for ‘early fourteenth century’, s. xiv for ‘first half of fourteenth century’, s. xivmed [= ‘medio’] for ‘middle of the fourteenth century’, s. xiv for ‘second half of the fourteenth century’, s. xivex [= ‘exeunte’] for ‘late fourteenth century’, and s.xiv/xv for ‘around the turn of fourteenth century’, and their permutations across the fifteenth century.

xx

Abbreviations and Conventions

Transcriptions For the material transcribed from documents and manuscripts, I have adopted some simplified principles. I retain manuscript orthography, but I have modified word spacing for the sake of clarity. I have retained the original capitalization, punctuation and lineation. When transcribing a prose text, lineation is indicated by a vertical stroke. | denotes a line break; || denotes a page break. I have silently expanded all abbreviations. Unreadable letters have been marked by ‘x’; additions by { } and deleted letters and words (crossing out, erasure or expunctuation) in < >. Translations Unless otherwise stated all translations in the book are my own. I have always opted for as literal a translation as possible to enable readers to make their own interpretations. I translate quotations from languages other than Middle English either implicitly in the text by paraphrasing quotations in the original or translate passages immediately afterwards.

Paper and Culture in Medieval England An Introduction

Upon a thikke palfrey, paper-whit, With sadel red, enbrouded with delyt, Of gold the barres up enbosede hye, Sit Dido, all in gold and perre wrye; And she as fair as is the bryghte morwe, That heleth syke folk of nyghtes sorwe (Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women: The Legend of Dido, ll. –)

Why paper? Chaucer chooses paper and other exquisite objects to define one of the most significant moments in his late fourteenth-century version of the love story between Dido and Aeneas. A sturdy horse as white as paper carries Dido to meet Aeneas and his retinue in order to go hunting. A red saddle, Chaucer notes, adorns the horse and is delightfully embroidered with embossed bars of gold. Dido is covered in precious stones, and gold and is as beautiful as a bright morning. Chaucer associates paper with rich embroideries, gold and gems. In this association, paper stands out as an unusual material for comparison, both for the novelty of the lexical choice and the adaptation of the source. Chaucer reads paper as a precious, beautiful and luxurious material, rather than a utilitarian, cheap and worthless surface, creating a surprising contrast for a modern reader who often expects medieval paper to be a serviceable writing tool. Chaucer achieves this effect intentionally by substantially reinterpreting Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid. A close analysis of the poet’s adaptation of the Aeneid will 



On the context and the interpretation of the poem, see Robert Worth Frank, Chaucer and The Legend of Good Women (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ) and Carolyn P. Collette, Rethinking Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ). See Amanda Holton, The Sources of Chaucer’s Poetics (Aldershot: Ashgate, ), p. . It is now accepted that Virgil’s Aeneid had a significant role in shaping ‘The Legend of Dido’, even though it is recognized that here and elsewhere in The Legend of Good Women Chaucer uses Ovid’s Heroide and possibly fourteenth-century Italian vernacular translations of both Virgil and Ovid. It is unlikely that Chaucer used the translation of Andrea Lancia at this point of the story; see Andrea Lancia, trans.,





Introduction

help to understand further why Chaucer used paper at this specific point of the story, and my approach to paper in this book. Chaucer’s version of the story abbreviates Virgil’s text substantially, retaining key moments leading up to the appearance of Dido, but suggestively shifting the mood of the narrative in what follows. Chaucer begins by relating to his reader Dido’s sleepless and tormented night and explains how this night brought clarity to her feelings for Aeneas; he then swiftly moves to the beginning of the dawn, rising from the sea: ‘The dawenyng up-rist out of the se’. This line translates fairly literarily Virgil’s mythological personification, ‘Oceanum interea surgens Aurora reliquit’, and pointedly indicates the beginning of a new day and the premonition of a change in the story, which brings joy to counter the previous night’s pain of love. Dido’s feelings and emotions speak through the movement between the night and the new day before the reader is told how Dido met Aeneas. This moment is substantially different from Virgil’s Aeneid. Virgil describes the queen lingering in her room, almost delaying the beginning of the hunt. The emphasis of the description is on the fierce horse kept waiting with the retinue of Punic princes. When Dido arrives, she is surrounded by a great crowd. Dido does not sit on a white horse when the reader encounters her, nor is she dressed in white and gold. In Virgil, Dido’s horse is not white, rather it is decorated with red and gold (‘ostroque insignis et auro / stat sonipes’), which are a fitting complement to Dido’s purple dress with a gold brooch (‘aurea purpuream subnectit fibula vestem’). These are the colours of the emperor and the wealthy. Both Dido and her horse wear the distinctive insignia of magnificence in traditional Roman hues. Chaucer reworks these lines by describing Dido on her horse, and offers to the reader an ekphrastic description of a powerful portrait of the queen, shifting the dominant colours of the section from purple and gold to white, red and gold. The horse, strikingly,

  

Compilazione della Eneide di Virgilio, ed. by Pietro Fanfani (Florence: Stamperia sulle Logge del Grano, ). For further discussion on sources, see Louis Brewer Hall, ‘Chaucer and the Dido-andAeneas Story’, Medieval Studies,  (), –; Frank, Chaucer, pp. –; and, for additional directions, ‘Explanatory Notes’, in Riverside, p. . On Chaucer and Ovid, see Sanford Brown Meech, ‘Chaucer and an Italian Translation of the Heroide’, PMLA,  (), –; further discussed with an updated critical apparatus in Kenneth Patrick Clarke, Chaucer and Italian Textuality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –. Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women: The Legend of Dido, l. , in Riverside (all quotations are from this edition). R. A. B. Mynors, ed., P. Vergili Maronis: Opera (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), IV, l. .  Ibid., IV, ll. –. Ibid., IV, l. .

Introduction



becomes white, with a red embroidered saddle, and Dido is covered in gold and precious stones. Chaucer evokes majesty with the glittering of the gold, the preciousness of stones and the brightness of light. Paper sharpens this effect, impressing upon the reader the idea that Dido is enveloped by light rather than by people. Chaucer uses paper as a reflective surface which enhances the beauty of the queen. He demonstrates that he had a good sense of the optical properties of paper and its ability to reflect light, as well as being aware of the effect. Of course, parchment reflects light too. It is intriguing to note, however, that Chaucer’s choice of comparison is white paper, a rough material. Physics explains that an uneven surface has the effect of a diffuse reflection; that is, the light hits the object and shines back in lots of different directions. A diffuse reflection would create the impression that Chaucer is evoking in these lines. Dido’s arrival is almost a rebirth: the queen emerges from the beams of light that paper creates like the dawn emerging from the sea. Chaucer enhances the juxtaposition with the previous lines, ‘so priketh hire this newe joly wo’, and the closing line of the description, ‘That heleth syke folk of nyghtes sorwe’. The oxymoronic connotations of the ‘newe joly wo’ contrasts the dark night of pain with the morning of joy, but then the new day will heal those who are sick of the night’s sorrow, because with the new day there is light. Chaucer’s scene is emotionally charged. The splendour of the appearance of Dido juxtaposes the sadness of Dido’s spirit, but also signals a new beginning. Even though the tone is solemn in both versions of the story, the mood substantially differs. That change is set by the colours and the objects which define the passages themselves. One of the crucial elements of Chaucer’s description is the colour of the horse, a detail that Virgil does not mention, but that Chaucer introduces. The horse is not just white, but ‘paper-whit’. The association of the colour of paper, the light at the beginning of a new day and the brightness of the attire of the queen is brought together by one material: paper. Paper in these lines is imagined as bright and luxurious. Chaucer evokes it for its chromatic properties and places it among other wonderful, luxury objects.





Peter Brown investigates the influence of perspectiva or ‘the medieval science of optic’ on Chaucer and demonstrates that Chaucer was aware of medieval theories of optical space in his poetry. Brown considers, for example, Robert Grosseteste (c.–), Alhacen (c.–c.) and Roger Bacon (c.–c.), who discuss in different ways the properties of light and how objects reflect it. See his Chaucer and the Making of Optical Space (Oxford: Peter Lang, ), pp. –.  Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women, l. . Ibid., l. .



Introduction

The way in which Chaucer imagines and uses paper is very different from the current scholarly understanding of what paper meant in the medieval period; indeed, this episode defies modern expectations of what paper ought to represent. Chaucer invites us to read paper as a sophisticated object, used here for skilful rhetorical effect, rather than a poor tool for writing. Was this image, a poetic innovation, legible by Chaucer’s audience? In order to be so, it required multiple levels of familiarity with paper by both author and audience, thus strongly suggesting that modernity needs to rethink and broaden the way in which it discusses medieval paper, and its cultural value in medieval society. Scholarly discourses on the arrival of paper to England are shaped by the belief that paper is a cheap substitution for parchment; Chaucer tells us that this discourse needs to be corrected. Chaucer initiates a story of medieval paper in England which is multifaceted and needs a clearer articulation to take into consideration the affordances of paper as a material, an object in its own right and a technology. Paper is a material when it is used for writing upon, for wrapping, or for any of its physical affordances. It can also be imagined as a thing, as an object; when its use relates to perception, that is the way in which paper was seen, understood or sensed. Paper is a technology, the product of innovative knowledge, which can also be improved by new techniques and methods. There are no hard boundaries to the ways in which medieval society and culture understood these three definitions of paper. Chaucer was familiar with paper as a writing material, he then imagined it as an object, and yet, as I explain further in Chapter , that object would not look white had it not been for the know-how of the papermakers who made it so. Affordance, then, shapes the complex ways in which paper can be studied and investigated. Paper was a cultural product with its own connections and, at the same time, an instrumental material in defining that culture. Latour’s actor– network theory cemented much of my thinking on this idea of cultural interconnection determined by a web of affordances, to which I will return below. However, my thoughts on agency diverge. Latour observes that 



For an overview of the many medieval technological innovations, from glasses to paper, see Lynn Townsend White, Medieval Religion and Technology: Collected Essays (Berkeley: University of California Press, ); and, more recently, Leonard C. Bruno, The Tradition of Technology: Landmarks of Western Technology in the Collections of the Library of Congress (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, ) and Elaine Treharne and Claude Willan, Text Technologies: A History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, ). Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor–Network Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ).

Introduction



an object can be an ‘actant’, that is have some kind of agency or influence on an actor. The term ‘agency’ has troubled me over the years, especially in arguments that put agency onto the object itself. Brown has extensively reviewed the subject–object dichotomy and the debate on locating agency, presenting a balanced overview to which I defer. I have tried to work with this debate in my own conceptualization of paper and its effect, and I propose that the concept of agency may be supplemented or substituted by the concept of affordance. Cave explains that affordance ‘necessarily implies agency, intention, purpose, but (initially at least) as a potential to be realized’. Agency in this context is not the ability of the object to make humans do things, but the ability of humans to select and use certain affordances. This idea extends Gell’s argument that agency resides with the maker of the objects and its social interactions rather than with the object itself, and redirects ‘our attention from the materiality of objects to the properties of materials’. Paper does not actively do things, but inspires and invigorates accomplishments through how it is seen or experienced. The polarity between object–agency and subject–agency is neutralized by the idea of the affordances of paper. Affordance is a concept which was devised by James J. Gibson in his work on cognitive psychology and visual perception. Gibson argues: When the constant properties of constant objects are perceived (the shape, size, color, texture, composition, motion, animation, and position relative to other objects), the observer can go on to detect their affordances. I have coined this word as a substitute for value, a term which carries an old burden of philosophical meaning. I mean simply what things furnish, for good or ill. What they afford the observer, after all, depends on their properties. 

 

   

Ibid., p. . Latour was heavily influenced by Greimas’ narratological categories which differentiated actors, actant and figures on discursive structures. See A. J. Greimas, ‘Actants, Actors, and Figures’, in his On Meaning: Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory (London: Pinter, ), pp. –. For a review and the discussion, see Brown, Other Things, pp. –.  Brown, Other Things, pp. –. Cave, Thinking with Literature, p. . This idea of how books can be read as trophies and tools, for example, has been admirably discussed by Leah Price in How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, ). In her discussion, Price does not consider affordance, but uses ‘reception theory’ and the reader’s perspective to investigate the book as an object, as well as its circulation and handling in Victorian Britain. Alfred Gell, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ). Ingold, Being Alive, p. . James J. Gibson, The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ), p. . Ibid., p. .



Introduction

For Gibson, affordance is about perception and selection or choice: ‘the information registered about objects and events becomes only what is needed, not all that could be obtained. Those features of a thing are noticed which distinguish it from other things that it is not – but not all the features that distinguish it from everything that it is not’. In essence, affordance is about use and how individuals choose to use an object, but it can be extended to include ‘not only the uses of an object but also the object itself viewed in the light of those uses’. Gibson argues that ‘an affordance cuts across the dichotomy of subjective– objective and helps us to understand its inadequacy. It is equally a fact of the environment and a fact of behavior. It is both physical and psychical, yet neither. An affordance points both ways, to the environment and to the observer’. Gibson’s contribution to the subjective–objective debate demonstrates that an environment ought to be understood as an occasion for action. As Withagen et al. clarify, ‘action possibilities exist by virtue of a relation between the properties of the environment and the actor . . . This means that the same object can afford different behavior to different animals, and even to the same animal at different moments in time’. Withagen et al. argue that Gibson’s theory of affordance could be usefully expanded to ‘explain why animals utilize certain affordances and not others at a certain moment in time. This is all the more true because a single object generally offers multiple action possibilities to an individual agent . . . implying that selecting affordances is a ubiquitous and continuous process’. In this continuous process, affordance and choice are important, because the uses of paper in England are manifold. It is through this lens that I investigate paper in this book, steering the discussion away from the ‘parchment versus paper’ debates in manuscript studies to a holistic approach which differs substantially from the current discourse on paper studies.

   



Ibid., p. . Terence Cave, Thinking with Literature: Towards a Cognitive Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), p. . James J. Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, ), p. . Rob Withagen, Harjo J. de Poel, Duarte Araújo and Gert-Jan Pepping, ‘Affordances Can Invite Behavior: Reconsidering the Relationship between Affordances and Agency’, New Ideas in Psychology,  (), p. . Ibid, p. .

Paper in Culture



Paper in Culture Modern readings of medieval sources often argue that medieval society was sceptical of paper and perceived it as a problematic material. Scholars substantiate these arguments by quoting the writing of Peter the Venerable (a Benedictine monk at Cluny, d. ), who allegedly condemns paper in Jewish book production; and the edict of Frederick II, which prohibits the adoption of paper in his chancery in . Scholars also refer to the  Statutes of the University of Cambridge, which denounce paper books as items of little value; and refer to Johannes Trithemius, abbot of the Benedictine monastery at Spohnheim, who praises parchment for its durability and condemns paper for its fragility in his De laude scriptorum (). These historical instances are, however, usually presented in a vacuum, removed from their social, historical and economical contexts, which inevitably results in claims that paper in medieval Europe was considered ‘an inferior material’. This argument is a rather crude assessment of a richer transnational phenomenon demanding a more sympathetic approach and a careful consideration of the economic, social, political and cultural implications which enabled the introduction and acceptance of paper in the West. I will return to these sources in the following chapters to reflect on the cultural and social significances of these examples, because they offer opportunities for multiple readings and interpretations. In the late medieval period, paper was a new material to which society needed to adjust. Sometimes it is accepted with scepticism; on other occasions it is embraced with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, its stable growth shows that what seem to be two opposite, almost polar, positions are often united and should invite modern scholars to think differently about paper. These positions also stress the need to reconsider the role of those countries, in this case England, which do not invest in papermaking 



For a starting point, see Robert I. Burns, ‘Revolution in Europe; Crusader Valencia’s Paper Industry: A Technological and Behavioral Breakthrough’, Pacific Historical Review,  (), –. Martha Rust also thoroughly peruses the sources of this narrative in her ‘Love Stories on Paper in Middle English Verse Love Epistles’, Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History  (), –. See also John Gagné, ‘Paper World: The Materiality of Loss in the Pre-Modern Ages’, in Approaches to the History of Written Culture, ed. by M. Lyons and Rita Marquilhas (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ), pp. –; and on Trithemeus, Paul Needham, ‘Book Production on Paper and Vellum in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries’, in Papier im mittelalterlichen Europa: Herstellung und Gebrauch, ed. by Carla Meyer, Sandra Schultz and Bernd Schneidmu¨ller (Berlin: De Gruyter, ), pp. –. Erik Kwakkel and Rodney M. Thomson, ‘Codicology’, in The European Book in the Twelfth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. .



Introduction

until the late fifteenth century, but clearly have a role in the consumption of medieval paper. The history of medieval paper has been told from the main places of its European production. Briquet, in his introduction to Les filigranes, explains that the premises of his investigation on paper in Europe are based on two main questions: when paper was first used in Europe and where it was first produced in Switzerland. This rationale was then applied more expansively to those European countries which established paper mills up to the seventeenth century, excluding Turkey, Greece, Russia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Britain gets a special mention in his avant-propos, but it is discarded from the investigation because of the relative absence of evidence about the paper-making industry. Nous avons également laissé de côté l’Angleterre, parce que l’industrie papetière ne s’y est pas développée de bonne heure, malgré l’existence durant quelques années (de  à ) du battoir de John Tate à Herford [sic]. We have equally set aside England, because the industry of papermaking had not developed early, despite the fact that during those years (from  to ) John Tate had his paper mill in Hertford.

The mammoth effort that Briquet had undertaken easily explains the need to be selective in his approach to the origin and subsequent development of papermaking in Europe, and yet this decision had a long-lasting effect on how paper is perceived across Europe. More than a century has passed since Briquet’s publication, and some countries are still regarded as peripheral to the dissemination and use of medieval paper. In this sense, I suggest a dislocation of our approach to paper studies from close analysis of where paper was made to where it was used, how it got there and how it was adopted. The diffusion of paper was the result of trial and error which built resilience in the development of the technology itself. I argue that paper is a new material facilitating new developments for those using it. Cultural acceptance works at more than one level and leads to the absorption of new ideas, and thus the dissemination of new practices. Chaucer and other literary authors disrupt the narrative that cultural histories of paper have so far professed. The compound ‘paper-whit’ (of course only hyphenated by editors) is a neologism that Chaucer introduces into the English language at the end of the fourteenth century. Its first and unique attestation in Middle English can be found in the lines 

Briquet, vol. , p. xiii.

Paper in Culture



(cited above) from ‘The Legend of Dido’. It is then sporadically in use during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries until it appears more frequently in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, not exclusively in literary constructions. Lexical ingenuity, however, is not in itself extraordinary, because cultural contacts enable this type of linguistic usage. As I discuss in Chapter , evidence of paper use in England goes back to the end of the thirteenth century and so Chaucer had opportunities to see and use paper in England and in his travel during the later fourteenth century. What is remarkable, though, is Chaucer’s choice of paper as a term of comparison. This choice indicates that paper has a place in his cultural environment, an importance that he shared with his audience. Paper is an object charged with significance. Analysing the process by which paper became a cultural touchstone in the late medieval period requires scholars to shift the focus of their enquiry from paper as a writing or printing tool to paper as a commodity. The success of paper as a writing support goes hand in hand with a range of other uses and cultural perceptions which need careful consideration. It is also important that any inquiry into the technology of paper is decoupled from post-medieval printing economies. Eisenstein’s important work on the profound changes in communication that the arrival of the printing press in the West brought about has consolidated the understanding that printing is a paradigm-shifting technology. It has also contributed, perhaps unintentionally, to the scholarly perception that firmly associates paper with the printing press, and to the establishment of an opposition between printing and handwritten culture. This antagonism, which has now been challenged, is still present in current academic debates in book and literary histories. As Gitelman notes: ‘The history of communication typically defines print by distinguishing it from manuscript, yet there is considerable poverty in that gesture’. What can be interpreted as competing technologies for some can be complementary tools or just a different  

 



 MED, ‘papir-e’ (n., b). OED, ‘paper-white’ (adj.). John Bidwell, ‘Study of Paper as Evidence, Artefact, and Commodity’, in The Book Encompassed: Studies in Twentieth Century Bibliography, ed. by Peter Davison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. For a recent debate on paper as commodity, see Lothar Mu¨ller, White Magic: The Age of Paper, trans. Jessica Spengler (Boston: Polity, ), pp. –. See Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe,  vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). As David McKitterick explains and problematizes in his Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), but on this topic see the excellent introduction in Lisa Gitelman, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents, Sign, Storage, Transmission (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, ), pp. –. Gitelman, Paper Knowledge, p. .



Introduction

option for others. Equally, the technology of paper was not developed to enable printing; it was in use in the West for more than three hundred years prior to the arrival of print (and for far longer in the East), and by the middle of the fifteenth century it had become a sturdy material of choice. This book will not look at the coexistence of printing and handwritten technologies, because the significance and extent of that investigation warrants a separate study, but this will be an attempt to reconsider the importance of paper across cultural practices within medieval handwritten culture. It is often argued that the use of paper in the late medieval period contributed to reducing the cost of books and thus enables the spread of literacy. But the extent to which this is true requires further analysis. Does paper fulfil a need or create one? Chapter  will consider how the investment in this technology enabled a process of slow and firm integration of paper, encouraging people to use it in a wide range of ways either to fulfil a need already in existence or to create new uses; for example, in transportation of goods, medical practices and making books. Chaucer does not seem to be interested in either literacy or cost when he writes of paper, strongly suggesting that there is more to paper use than its impact on book production, and yet rarely are the discussions about paper in literary book production informed by discoveries and research in cognate fields such as economics or diplomatic. Our knowledge of medieval European paper has steadily increased over the past thirty years, but important milestones were achieved in the previous  years too. Pan-European paper histories have also 



For an initial discussion, see M. B. Parkes, ‘The Literacy of the Laity’, in The Medieval World, ed. by David Daiches and Anthony Thorlby (London: Aldus Books, ), pp. –, but the literature on this topic is vast. See, for example, Donald Roy Howard, The Idea of the Canterbury Tales (Berkeley: University of California Press, ), pp. –; R. J. Lyall, ‘Material: The Paper Revolution’, in Book Production and Publishing in Britain –, ed. by J. Griffiths and D. Pearsall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –; Erik Kwakkel, ‘A New Type of Book for a New Type of Reader: The Emergence of Paper in Vernacular Book Production’, The Library, . (), –. A perusal of the excellent bibliography by Schmidt and Sobek will offer a sense of the growth of the field in these years; see IBP. All the volumes of the Paper Publications Society, which started with the book by Edward Heawood, Watermarks Mainly of the th and th Centuries (Hilversum: Paper Publications Society, ), are relevant in setting these milestones. Another important milestone in the study of watermarks is the recent project, Bernstein: The Memory of Paper, www .memoryofpaper.eu/BernsteinPortal/appl_start.disp (accessed  December ). This is one of the most recent attempts to bring together databases of watermarks across several countries. Little evidence from British archives is included. For an excellent overview on the rich bibliography on medieval paper, see also Ornato et al.; in particular, vol. . A copious bibliography is also available in Marilena Maniaci, Archeologia del manoscritto: metodi, problemi, bibliografia recente (Rome: Viella, ), pp. –.

Paper in Culture



investigated the importance of those countries which produced paper, their immediate vicinities and their impact on book culture in mainland Europe. Recently published works on paper studies have delved into European archives to recover the history of paper from centres of production, such as Fabriano and the Marche region more widely in central Italy. It is, however, a fact that well before the craft of papermaking was established in these countries, regions and towns, the use of paper itself paved the way for its manufacture. In France, Italy and the Spanish peninsula, the importation of paper in response to demand preceded the foundation of the first paper mill by several years and even after the establishment of mills the two practices coexisted. It is the demand that interests me in my investigation. If much has been said about paper in Continental Europe, an investigation of the penetration, diffusion and utilization of paper in England will contribute to a better understanding of pan-European culture and socioeconomic history as well as material culture, book and literary history. This interest is a significant departure from the current understanding of what constitute British paper studies. The British tradition of studying paper focused on bibliographical analysis, and started as early as the eighteenth century. Early interest in paper was concerned with watermark studies, but scholars often pondered how paper arrived in England. One of the pioneers of watermark studies was W. Y. Ottley (–), well known as an art collector, who became the keeper of prints and drawings at the British Museum in . His watermark albums were never published 



 





See, for example, Dard Hunter, Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft (London: Dover Publications, ); Ornato et al.; Peter Tschudin, Grundzu¨ge der Papiergeschichte (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, ); and, more recently, Meyer, Schultz and Schneidmu¨ller, Papier im mittelalterlichen Europa: Herstellung und Gebrauch. See the recent overview in English about paper production in Fabriano by Sylvia Rodgers Albro, Fabriano: City of Medieval and Renaissance Papermaking (New Castle, DE and Washington, DC: Oak Knoll Press and Library of Congress, ) and Emanuela Di Stefano, Fra le Marche, il Mediterraneo, l’Europa. Pioraco: radici ed espansione di un centro cartario la fase camerte-oiorachese (Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, ).  Hills, Papermaking in Britain, pp. –. Burns, ‘Revolution in Europe’. From now on, ‘English’ will be used either with reference to the vernacular or to England as a country within a wider political and administrative system, whilst ‘British’ will be used in the contemporary sense. For an overview, see E. J. Labarre, ‘The Study of Watermarks in Great Britain’, in The Briquet Album: A Miscellany on Watermarks, Supplementing Dr. Briquet’s ‘Les filigranes’ by Various Paper Scholars, ed. by E. J. Labarre (Hilversum: Paper Publications Society, ). pp. –. See also Orietta Da Rold, ‘Fingerprinting Paper in West Midlands Medieval Manuscripts’, in Essays in Manuscript Geography: Vernacular Manuscripts of the English West Midlands from the Conquest to the Sixteenth Century, ed. by Wendy Scase (Turnhout: Brepols, ), pp. – n. . Nicholas Turner, ‘Ottley, William Young’, Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography ().



Introduction

and are very little known. They have not been included in any survey of British watermark studies. However, the way in which Ottley studied, traced, catalogued and indexed the watermarks that he found is remarkable and deserves a little discussion here. He pioneered watermark studies by anticipating the tracing of watermarks as a method to recognize, compare and identify paper marks. Ottley also seemed to have grasped the concept of twin marks or paper stocks, that is the use of two moulds with similar watermarks in the making of a batch of paper, although he did not label them as such. He had already come up with a nomenclature in English of the marks he traced, and fully understood the potential of using paper for chronological investigations. The scale of his enterprise is smaller than other publications by nineteenth-century filigranologists, such as Zonghi and Briquet, but the method is remarkably similar. Some of the other early attempts to discuss the arrival of paper in England include Hunter’s work on the watermarked paper of some documents held in the Public Record Office, now The National Archives. He noted the numerous documents which arrived in England from the Angevin territories in France and suggested that the introduction of paper into England was probably a consequence of the close connection between







The four volumes are Cambridge University Library, MS Add. . Volume A contains tracings of watermarks of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century books which were made by Ottley during a visit to The Hague in . Volume B continues the collection of tracings of watermarks in manuscripts and printed books from the journey in The Hague up to fol. . From fol. , he describes the watermarks in books printed by Ulrik Zell (fols –). It also contains tracing of watermarks from paper books in England; that is material now held in The National Archives, then the Tower of London (fols –) and manuscripts in the British Museum, now the British Library, fols –, which he studied between  and . Against these tracings he adds information about his source. The indices of the tracings in The Hague appear in volume D. They are arranged alphabetically by subject and within each subject chronologically. Volume E contains indices of the same watermarks but arranged chronologically (with a summary table), with additional memoranda and notes, including a list of paper accounts he consulted in The Hague. It is striking that these volumes contain several types of aiding tools to navigate Ottley’s reproductions of watermarks, perhaps with the view to preparing them for publication. The volumes were known by Samuel L. Sotheby, who mentioned Ottley’s work on watermarks in his Principia Typographica,  vols (London: Walter McDowall, ), vol. , p.  and passim, but they are very little known amongst paper historians. Edward Potten and I are currently seeking funding to make Ottley’s work more widely available. On the definition, see the foundational Allan Stevenson, ‘Watermarks Are Twins’, Studies in Bibliography,  (–), –. For a useful guide on the terminology of paper and papermaking, see E. J. Labarre, Dictionary and Encyclopaedia of Paper and Paper-Making (Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger, ). Briquet and also Aurelio Zonghi, Le marche principali delle carte fabrianesi dal  al  (Fabriano: Tipografia Gentile, ); and see, in English, A. F. Gasparinetti, ed., Zonghi’s Watermarks (Hilversum: Paper Publications Society, ) (Zonghi).

Paper in Culture



these two countries. A later study by Heawood reached different conclusions on paper provenance. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the important work of Briquet appeared, and the information that Heawood was able to gather from Briquet enabled him to note that the majority of the paper employed in English documents was of Italian origin, observing that importation of French paper only started after . Thirty years later, Ivy concurred with Heawood that paper was introduced into England from France and Italy, and noted that paper must have arrived in England before , but was not widely used for manuscript books before , or indeed after the turn of the fifteenth century. The nature and the quality of paper, according to Ivy, were the main reasons for its infrequent, sporadic uses. However, Ivy observed that medieval paper had some advantages. It was tougher than modern paper and ‘paper made books much cheaper to buy. Its availability was not dependent on fluctuations in the numbers of local cattle; it was easier to store than skins and required no further treatment after its initial manufacture. For these reasons, it encouraged the making of books by people who were not professionals’. Ivy sets the tone of the main discussion about medieval paper in England for later scholarship: namely, that paper was used because cheap and convenient. This approach was only superseded by Lyall thirty years later. Lyall introduced the argument that the growth of the paper trade and accessible prices for large quantities of writing substrate encouraged consumers’ interest in paper. He also maintains that there was a lower status attached to paper and because of that paper was excluded, for instance, from liturgical book production. He added that the choice of material had strong correlations with the type of text and the audience of a given book. To this effect he noted that paper ‘was quickly accepted in the universities – where, even in the fifteenth century, the cost advantages may have been particularly significant’, and concluded that merchants and people in the trade, who used paper in their main occupation, then ‘would naturally have extended its use into the devotional and other books which      

J. Hunter, ‘Specimens of Marks Used by the Early Manufacturers of Paper, as Exhibited in Documents in the Public Archives of England’, Archaeologia,  (), –. E. Heawood, ‘Sources of Early English Paper-Supply’, The Library, . (–), –. Briquet. His work was the result of the nineteenth-century interest in filigranology. Heawood, ‘Sources’, pp. –. G. S. Ivy, ‘The Bibliography of the Manuscript-Book’, in The English Library before : Studies in its History, ed. by Francis Wormald and C. E. Wright (London: Athlone Press, ), pp. –. Lyall, ‘Material’, pp. –.



Introduction

they were increasingly coming to own’. The conclusions of these early works were remarkable. They initiated paper studies in Britain and encouraged investigations into the bibliography and codicology of paper books with an English provenance. However, they also perpetuated a number of pronouncements which influenced how recent scholarship assessed and understood late medieval book production on a number of counts. It is now widely assumed that paper was rarely used for bookmaking in England prior to the fifteenth century and was not extensively in use until the third quarter of the fifteenth century. It is also recognized that paper was used mainly by non-professionals and it was accorded a lower status than parchment. These assertions are based on a sample of books containing texts in the English vernacular. Such a focused approach has its uses; however, it elides other valuable evidence. It is important to note that such a quantitative methodology offers clues and patterns for further investigation, but it never indicates absolute results. Reflecting on the validity of using the volumes in the ‘Catalogues de manuscrits datés’ for statistical comparison in book production, Needham notes: ‘Dated manuscripts are probably not in direct correlation with the considerably larger number of undated manuscripts written in the same years’. Having extensively used this methodology, I am deeply aware of its advantages as well as its limitations. Statistical data give an indication of trends but not the point at which a trend begins or ends. It is unfortunate that often this sort of work is used as a termini a quo and ad quem rather than as an opportunity to search further into the archives. It is the sustained consultation of archival material which has enabled me to find new evidence of fourteenth-century paper consumption in English writing environments and that has prompted further reflection. In particular, new quantitative work on the use of paper in late medieval  

 





Ibid., p. . Kwakkel, ‘A New Type of Book’, p. ; Pamela R. Robinson, ‘The Format of Books: Books, Booklets and Rolls’, in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. , –, ed. by Nigel Morgan and Rodney M. Thomson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. ; Rust, ‘Love Stories’; and Kwakkel and Thomson, ‘Codicology’. In addition to the sources cited above, see Curt F. Bu¨hler, The Fifteenth-Century Book: The Scribes, the Printers, the Decorators (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ). For a discussion, for instance, on the need to search further into fourteenth-century practices, see Orietta Da Rold, ‘Materials’, in The Production of Books in England –, ed. by Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. The ‘Catalogues de manuscrits datés’ Project was developed under the auspices of the Comité international de paléographie latine. Publication of the catalogues is still ongoing and a current list is available at www.palaeographia.org/cipl/cmd.htm (accessed  December ). Needham, ‘Book Production’, p. .

Paper in Culture



English book production reinforces the need for a fresh look at paper evidence in book making practices and beyond. The ‘Mapping Medieval Paper in England Project’ has identified hundreds of manuscripts which were written on paper between the fourteenth century and the end of the fifteenth century. These include paper manuscripts of devotional, religious and secular literary texts. They also include alchemical, medical and moral treatises as well as legal and administrative documents, such as account books and registers and single leaves of correspondence. Such texts are written in English, Latin and French. Much of this material will inform the discussion on paper manuscript production across this study, but never in absolute terms. It became apparent as I found yet another document or book on paper that current evidence can easily be superseded by more research. The technology of papermaking is another important issue to consider in analysing the cultural acceptance and perception of paper in England. In this context, the work by Hills on the technical changes in the making of paper is essential. As I discuss in Chapter , the technology of paper has been developed since its introduction to the West by perfecting and strengthening the end product. Scholars have still not fully understood the impact of these developments on the adoption, circulation and commercialization of medieval paper. As noted above, paper in England was an imported commodity. It remained so well past the medieval period despite an attempt at making paper at the end of the fifteenth century when John Tate set up a paper mill in Hertfordshire in the s. The details of such importation remain, however, unclear. For instance, it is still not 





This project was funded by a Cambridge Humanities Research Grant. For the method of collecting the data, see Orietta Da Rold and Hollie Morgan, ‘Mapping Medieval Paper in England’, The Manuscripts Lab (), www.english.cam.ac.uk/manuscriptslab/mapping-medieval-paper-inengland/ (accessed  December ), and for some preliminary observations, ‘Paper in Medieval English Books’, in Paper and the Paper Manuscript: A Context for the Transmission of Gaelic Literature, ed. Pádraug Ó Macháin (Cork, University College Cork, ), pp. –. Richard Leslie Hills, ‘Early Italian Papermaking, a Crucial Technical Revolution’, in Produzione e commercio della carta e del libro secc. XIII–XVIII: atti della ‘ventitreesima settimana di studi’, – aprile , ed. by Simonetta Cavaciocchi (Florence: Le Monnier, ), pp. –; Richard Leslie Hills, ‘The Importance of Laid and Chain Line Spacing’, in Le papier au moyen âge: histoire et techniques, ed. by Monique Zerdoun Bat-Yehouda (Turnhout: Brepols, ), pp. –; Richard Leslie Hills, ‘A Technical Revolution in Papermaking, –’, in Looking at Paper: Evidence & Interpretation, Symposium Proceedings, Toronto , ed. by J. Slavin, Linda Sutherland, John O’Neil, Margaret Haupt and Janet Cowen (Ottawa: Canadian Conservation Institute, ), pp. –; and Hills, ‘The Importance of Early Italian Paper and Papermaking in Britain’, in L’impiego delle tecniche e dell’opera dei cartai fabrianesi in Italia e in Europa: atti delle giornate europee di studio: Fabriano – giugno , ed. by Giancarlo Castagnari (Fabriano: Cartiere Miliani Fabriano, ), pp. –. Hills, Papermaking in Britain, p. .



Introduction

known when paper began to be imported into England and for what purpose, and what commercial routes it may have been taken. Most importantly, paper as a commodity implies desirability. Paper was wanted, but for which reasons? Uncovering, studying and explaining its significance is not straightforward. It is equally difficult to reconcile the claimed paucity of evidence in paper book production with the literary evidence which reading Chaucer revealed at the beginning of this Introduction. As Holton notes, Chaucer takes inspiration for invention from the bookish culture in which he thrives, and paper seems to be very much part of this culture. Indeed, Chaucer’s diction argues for a rich fourteenth-century culture of paper in England and offers an intriguing starting point for a new investigation into how culture can be understood through examining paper.

Culture in Paper The idea that culture can be understood through books has been explored by scholars since the nineteenth century, but probably even earlier when Immanuel Kant defined philology as a discipline which explored not only languages but also the critical knowledge of books – ‘eine kritische kenntnisz der bu¨cher und sprachen in sich faszt’. That critical knowledge is the crucial element in the understanding of books as cultural objects was further expanded by Friedrich Ebert in  when he published what may be considered the first attempt to conceptualize handwritten culture. In his Zur Handschriftenkunde, Ebert ambitiously explored and delineated the theoretical challenges underpinning the understanding of manuscript books as cultural artefacts. He passionately argued for the study of each minute detail of the book as a cultural manifestation of literary, social and historical synergies. Books are knowledge not just because of what they come to transmit, but because of the industry and invention applied to their making. Some of this knowledge is tacit and some is explicated through the constituent elements of the books, and the interaction of  



Holton, Sources, p. . ‘Philologie’, in Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm,  vols (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, –); Quellenverzeichnis (Leipzig ), http:// woerterbuchnetz.de/cgi-bin/WBNetz/wbgui_py?sigle=DWB&mode=Vernetzung&lemid= GP#XGP (accessed  December ). See also Alberto Vàrvaro, Prima lezione di filologia (Rome: Laterza, ), p. . See Friedrich Adolf Ebert, Zur Handschriftenkunde (Leipzig: Steinacker und Hartknoch, ). On Ebert’s contribution, see Johann Peter Gumbert, ‘Ebert’s Codicology a Hundred and Fifty Years Old’, Quaerendo,  (), –.

Culture in Paper



those people who made, desired and read them. In this sense, Ebert invented, even though he did not name, codicology: the study of the codex. In doing so, he advocated for a wider approach to understanding past culture through books. This very same concept then is endorsed in the twentieth century by Dain, who coined the term codicologie in  in his Les Manuscrits. Understood holistically, the medieval book does not only contain ‘cultural residues’, nor should attempts at conceptualizing the book be confined to very recent thinking. Peter Burke gives us a number of examples of how culture has been understood in recent historiography. Additional frameworks using material culture, microhistory and thing theory have offered a number of interesting approaches to materials and objects. More importantly, they have drawn the attention of modern critical discourse in literary studies closer to manuscript studies, in the so-called material turn. Material culture theory forms a significant starting point for thinking about paper. Useful concepts such as objectification, commodification and agency help to explain that objects – in this case, paper – enable scholars to consider the origins, movement and associations of these cultural items within human culture and society. Scholars have also critically appraised this approach, emphasizing the need to stay close to the material itself when trying to conceptualize its significance. Material culture studies are vital especially in a context in which the nature of the evidence is constituted almost exclusively by the object. This approach is fundamental in my own understanding of the affordance of paper, and yet my approach diverges because, as I noted earlier, paper is 



 



A. Dain, Les Manuscrits (Paris: Belles Lettres, ), pp. –; also F. Masai, ‘Paléographie et codicologie’, Scriptorium,  (), –. For a short overview, see Orietta Da Rold, ‘Codicology’, in The Encyclopaedia of Medieval British Literature, ed. by Siân Echard and Robert Rouse (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, ), pp. –. See Erik Kwakkel, ‘Decoding the Material Book: Cultural Residue in Medieval Manuscripts’, in The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches, ed. by Michael Johnston and Michael Van Dussen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –; and for an argument about recent conceptualization in manuscript studies, see Johnston and Van Dussen, ‘Introduction: Manuscripts and Cultural History’, in The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches, pp. –. Peter Burke, What Is Cultural History? (Cambridge: Polity, ). Christopher Y. Tilley, Handbook of Material Culture (London: SAGE, ); Daniel Miller, Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter, Consumption and Space (London: UCL Press, ); Bill Brown, ‘Thing Theory’, Critical Inquiry,  (), –; Bill Brown, Other Things (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ); Tim Ingold, Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description (London: Routledge, ); C. Gizburg, ‘Microhistory: Two or Three Things That I Know About It’, Critical Inquiry,  (), –. Ingold, Being Alive, p. .



Introduction

more than an object – it is a material as well as a technology. Paper is adopted in a historical, social and economic environment upon which its affordance depends. In essence, the use of paper lends itself to further exploration using one or more of these methodologies. As Biswell notes: ‘the study of paper extends across many disciplines, opening new fields of research in some and consolidating the achievements of others. In none, however, has it reached the point where its methodology has fully matured, where its relevance is immediately obvious. This leaves intriguing possibilities, particularly for learning about book production’. I would argue these intriguing possibilities extend to our understanding of how paper is perceived as a cultural object. Ornato, in his Preface to the Italian translation of Peter Tschudin’s Grundzu¨ge der Papiergeschichte, notes how the study of paper is often fragmented into disciplinary boundaries which do not enable a homogeneous approach to the study of the cultural history of paper. For example, the historian of paper looks at the techniques of papermaking, the economist looks at paper as a commodity, the codicologist studies paper as a clue to answer questions in book making, the philologist looks at paper for dating and localizing texts and the conservator thinks of paper as a material to keep in stable condition. Cultural studies of medieval paper, he adds, are difficult to come by, because the surviving evidence tends to be in the form of books and drawings – that is, paper as a writing support. It is indeed difficult to find evidence beyond the more practical and perhaps expected use of paper, but in the course of my research I discovered other evidence in accounts and recipes, as well as in literary texts, which has helped me to recover local practices and revisit the role that paper had in late medieval society and culture. At this juncture, literary studies intersect not only with manuscript studies, but also with cognitive psychology, sociology, economics and history. This is the method I have adopted in this book.

The Book I interpret culture as a concept which may relate to an overarching idea deriving from social, economic, historical, technological literary values and  



Bidwell, ‘Study of Paper’, p. . Ezio Ornato, ‘Prefazione’, in Peter Tschudin, La carta: storia, materiali, techniche (Rome: Storia e letteratura, ), p. xvii. For the original publication, see Peter Tschudin, Grundzu¨ge der Papiergeschichte (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, ).  Ornato, ‘Prefazione’, pp. xvii–xviii. Ibid.

The Book



customs, and I explore it through paper and its uses. I map out the uses of paper as a web of interrelated factors and pieces of evidence that explain the success of this technology in medieval culture. My own approach to this web of interrelated nodes defines paper as a cultural product with its own associations and, at the same time, as an instrumental material in defining that culture. If conceptually each node represents a disciplinary approach, the affordances of paper define the interaction between these nodes and paper culture more expansively. The synergies that the nodes create enable us to see paper as the fabric of its own cultural success, and an investigation of its affordances consolidates the analysis of the cultural significance of paper. The knowledge that derives from making explicit the tiny, almost invisible synapses that connect the nodes of the web of paper is what interests me in this book. Thinking through how the multi-layered understanding of affordance influenced societal choices is foundational to how I conceptualize the book as a whole. The web is an idea which seeks to represents how people interacted with paper. The web is not a microscopic nor a telescopic lens, but rather a way to ‘analyse the relation between the community and the world outside it’ on the subject of medieval paper. It is an idea which helps to explain the knowledge that paper transmits as a technology, a material and an object. Some of this knowledge is tacit, unknown because developed through practices which are not always explicitly declared but can be analysed through affordances. What I offer is a web on medieval paper knowledge and its many affordances. Each of the following chapters has been organized around one of these disciplines which throws light onto paper: history, economics, palaeography, codicology and literature. Chapter  invites readers to think more carefully about paper as a technology. It begins with a brief investigation of the history of paper as a technological innovation, of its travel to the West, and of its introduction to England. It then considers the story of paper entangled with other goods, such as wool and other luxury items, such as spices. It tells a story of ingenuity, cultural contacts and convenience, considering how investments in the making of paper are pivotal to the success of the craft itself. It reconstructs the social circumstances of the arrival of paper to England and its reception there. Instead of arguing for the revolutionary impact of paper or for scepticism about its adoption, this chapter argues for the acceptance of it within a complex set of transnational diplomatic and mercantile connections. 

Burke, What Is Cultural History?, p. .



Introduction

Chapter  looks in detail at the economics of paper and its value. Starting from the vexed question of cost, it untangles a number of threads on other economic concerns relating to the journey of paper to England. England was not at the periphery of paper use, because it was a leading producer of wool. This flourishing market attracted the mercantile community which elected to use paper as the tool of their trade. This chapter also suggests that the great success that paper enjoyed as a technology and craft was in direct proportion to its multiple uses, of which book making is only one aspect of that story. This chapter discusses the availability of Italian paper and its distribution from Italy to Europe more widely, and thinks more carefully about the quality of paper, different types of paper, and the evidence for its arrival in England. This chapter reconsiders the papermaking process from the point of view of its many products and how these products then circulated within international and English markets. Building on the first chapter, I argue that the arrival of paper to England and its use in administrative and book production is not dissimilar from that of other European countries. Chapter  considers perceptions of and practices in writing on paper. The famous edict of Frederick II, declaring that paper was banned from his archives, is the initial occasion for this reflection. I then investigate the cultural significance of writing on paper and why paper was adopted in certain writing environments. Armando Petrucci’s proposition that a need to write rather than a need to read drives this process is explored in relation to his other suggestion – that the use of paper was never automatic but was always a choice, either voluntary or constrained by specific economic or social circumstances. The discussion then branches out into palaeographical considerations of cursivity, writing on paper and training. The chapter further considers the role of professional and non-professional hands in medieval literary culture. This reassessment suggests that it is difficult to maintain these boundaries in late medieval manuscript production, in particular for those books written on paper. Chapter  considers the complexities of how to judge paper, and paper’s affordances in making books. The chapter begins by surveying the writings of some medieval commentators on paper, from Peter the Venerable, through the Italian humanists, to the late medieval English Paston family in their letters. This chapter then considers the variety of books written on paper and the problems associated with their interpretation of their value. It is all too easy to classify paper books as being of lower status, lower quality and ephemeral intent. Paper had a multiplicity of potential uses. The arguably aesthetic hierarchies often applied to paper manuscript

The Book



production do not take into consideration the quality of paper, nor the different types of paper in circulation. This chapter considers how the differing sizes of paper work together in book production. I also return in this chapter to the question of choice, exploring whether, in the current state of research in medieval book production, scholars can find an alternative way of describing differences between materials and artefacts, which does not involve judgements about superiority or status. The chapter argues for a more nuanced understanding of paper codices. Chapter  returns to the question of the affordance and ductility of paper in Italian, Welsh and English literature. The use of paper in literary manuscripts is not just a question of production, but has implications for the reading of medieval literature itself. The interplay of Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde and his sources in their comments on the material properties of writing-supports is evidence of paper’s wider cultural acceptance, as well as literary ingenuity. In the light of the foregoing chapters’ exploration of paper books as precisely defined and individually distinctive objects, with very specific properties and effects, this chapter explores the fascinating relationship between the material aspect of book production and the literary world of medieval authors to offer new readings of their works. The Epilogue explains how I ask the reader in this book to take a number of leaps in the evaluation of paper evidence in late medieval English culture. I propose we give up ‘paper and revolution’ and accept, perhaps, ‘paper and accommodation’. It is often the case that media histories are defined by the battle between media, but the metaphor of ‘battle’ can be altered by thinking more carefully about affordance. The convenience of paper goes beyond monetary worth and the modern scholarly preoccupation with what constituted cheap and expensive materials in earlier centuries. The Epilogue invites a more careful consideration of the effect that paper has on English written culture rather than just on the readership, and entreats modern readers to give up perceptions about the status of material in order to think more carefully about the significant contribution that paper made across social and cultural practices. Across the book, I read paper as a luxury item in literary texts in those early moments of its arrival in England, and I look at the arrival of paper not as one of the last moments in the diffusion of this material from Italy to Europe, but as a phenomenon concurrent with the development of the papermaking technology. I reject some of the most common mantras in paper history – low cost and low status – to tell more accurately the stories of paper across complex social and cultural scenarios.

 

Paper Stories

Every sheet of paper tells a story; it contains the marks of its making and, as such, is worthy of close examination. Peter Bower

Any new technology, just like any new idea, requires some understanding not just of what is new, but also of what it replaces . . . It offers new ways of doing things, and new ways of thinking. It offers opportunities for creativity and imagination on a scale and by routes of which we are so far scarcely aware. David McKitterick

It is customary to begin the story of paper in England early in the fourteenth century with two paper registers: the Red Register of King’s Lynn in Norfolk, which is dated on internal evidence to , and the Register of Lyme Regis in Dorset, whose entries started in . These two registers provide a date and justification for the argument that ‘the most significant fact about paper in England in the period up to  is that it was scarcely known’. If this is the case, the observation also prompts a further question about what was known of paper before then. The journey of paper to England is established by its early use, but scholars have also noted that it arrived in England before the beginning of the fourteenth century, and yet these early moments have hardly been 

 



Peter Bower, ‘The White Art: The Importance of Interpretation in the Analysis of Paper’, Looking at Paper: Evidence & Interpretation: Symposium Proceedings, Toronto .. . ., ed. by J. Slavin, Linda Sutherland, John O’Neil et al. (Ottawa: Canadian Conservation Institute, .. . .), p. . David McKitterick, Old Books, New Technologies: The Representation, Conservation and Transformation of Books since  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. ix. Respectively, King’s Lynn, Borough Archives, King’s Lynn, KL/C / and London, BL, Add. MS . See Edward Maunde Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. –; Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, p. ; M. T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England, –, rd edn (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, ), p. ; and Robinson, ‘The Format of Books’, p. .  Clanchy, From Memory, p. . See, for example, the discussion in Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, p. .



Paper Stories



studied, and could usefully be considered to tell a broader story about the arrival, acceptance and diffusion of paper in England. This chapter will investigate and reassess these early moments, providing information about how, when and under what circumstances paper began to be accepted as an alternative and desirable technology. It will also retrace the steps of the journey of paper to the West, and the key technological development in the papermaking industry which began in the thirteenth century. Such steps will lead to a better understanding of paper as technological innovation, and more significantly to how the idea of paper disseminated into Europe and England. As McKitterick observes above, the appearance of a new technology implies the acceptance of a new idea, but it also invites scholars to think more carefully about the mechanisms by which this new idea spread. The emphasis of the current scholarly discussion on paper as a writing material has so far considered the relationship of this material to parchment, which paper allegedly displaced on economic grounds. Before it is possible to consider fully this technological competition, if indeed there was such a thing, it is important to understand how English medieval society encountered ‘the idea of paper’, and understood what to do with it. The story of this chapter focuses on people’s knowledge of paper before and after its use in these early registers, but it also broadens into an investigation of how paper influenced other social practices beyond writing. The use of paper to write books constituted only one of several uses which this material afforded. This story cannot be divorced from a discussion of how papermaking developed over time. Paper reached technological maturity through an interconnected multilingual and multicultural process, which explains its acceptance, diffusion and success. The sheets of paper which make up the Red Register of King’s Lynn and the Register of Lyme Regis are not of the same quality or size. Such differences can be explained by noting that papermaking techniques changed over time, and that different types of paper were available for purchase in England at the beginning of the fourteenth century. I discuss quality, sizes and the commercialization of paper in the following chapter. I note here that the paper in these two registers feels rough, with visible unprocessed threads. The surface of the 

The Red Register of King’s Lynn is written on a royal size paper folded in folio, which measures  mm in width and  mm in height. The paper appears to be unwatermarked, with chainlines about  mm apart. The leaves of the Lyme Regis register are currently mounted on modern paper frames, but it is possible to discern that the book was made with chancery size paper, possibly unwatermarked. One leaf measures  mm in width and  mm in height. The sheet of paper seems to have been folded twice along the wider side to make an oblong shape.



Paper Stories

King’s Lynn register is, however, slightly smoother. It looks to be a better quality of paper, which was made with better pulp, possibly with better papermaking technologies. Bower noted that a close examination of every sheet of paper is a precious way of learning about paper; this examination also explains its integration within social modalities. Between the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the following century, the technology of paper dramatically improved in conjunction with the diaspora of paper, and such improvements can be detected from the paper available in British archives. Hills examined fourteenth-century documents from Hereford Cathedral Archives and noticed that the fabric of the paper changed considerably from the earliest example, a letter dated  from Avignon to the Hereford Cathedral personnel, to other missives dated to / and . The paper of the early letter is characterized by a soft, flexible and rough surface, which is very similar to earlier thirteenth-century paper of Arabic/Spanish manufacture. Hills also observed that the quality of the paper improves as the dating of the paper moves closer to the fifteenth century. As the chronology changes, the sheet of paper becomes more flexible and its surface is more even. Hills posited that these changes showed the technological evolution of Italian paper production in this period. -The early paper in the Registers is remarkably similar to some of the early samples in Hereford Cathedral, and suggests that paper is a technology that should be understood on a transnational basis. Paper travelled and was sought across regions and countries. Tracing this technological development as an interconnected, multilingual and multicultural process explains why the paper in the two registers is so different, and clarifies the complex cultural ramifications of the arrival of this new material to England. It may even be possible to suggest why people in England chose to write on an imported commodity rather than on writing materials which could be sourced locally, such as animal skin. Much of this important story will be told through unexplored evidence from British archives. 

  

Perhaps because of the provenance of the paper, or its chronology; both are difficult to ascertain because I was unable to detect a watermark. Richardson suggests that the compilation of the Red Register of Lynn might have started around , based on the discussion in R. F. Isaacson and H. Ingleby, eds, The Red Register of King’s Lynn (King’s Lynn: Thew, ), pp. xii–xiv. See M. Richardson, MiddleClass Writing in Late Medieval London (London: Pickering & Chatto, ), p. . Hills, ‘The Importance of Early Italian Paper and Papermaking in Britain’, p. . This is a topic which Hills has frequently debated; see his ‘Early Italian Papermaking’ and ‘A Technical Revolution in Papermaking, –’, in Slavin et al., Looking at Paper, pp. –. A recent analysis of sample membranes from thirteenth-century Bibles suggests that sheep skin was used regularly in England. Goat skin was favoured in Italy, whilst the majority of writing membranes

A New Transnational Technology



A New Transnational Technology The Hereford Cathedral documents show not only how the technology of paper developed, but also demonstrate how English people encountered paper in letters and documents from overseas. Thompson, in his  overview of Greek and Latin palaeography, had already documented a number of similar, but earlier thirteenth-century instances. In particular, he mentioned diplomatic envoys and letters from royal and aristocratic households to the English Crown. Thompson’s documents are not dissimilar in function to the papal letters that Hills considers. Thirteenth-century diplomatic envoys represent a clear point of contact between people and institutions in influential and prominent positions, which Hills did not pursue. This evidence can tell us important information about the beginning of the story of paper in England and offers an opportunity to reflect on how knowledge about paper was disseminated, as well as how the craft of making paper evolved over the years. Technological novelties happen in stages, a point which Hills illustrates in his discussion of fourteenth-century paper. Everett Rogers, in his influential work on the diffusion of innovations, argues that technology





in France derived from cattle. Additional experimental work on other types of books which are written on animal skin in England offers the same result. However, cattle skin is also found, and goat skin is occasionally present. See Sarah Fiddyment, Bruce Holsinger, Chiara Ruzzier et al., ‘Animal Origin of th-Century Uterine Vellum Revealed Using Noninvasive Peptide Fingerprinting’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  (), –. However, this investigation does not take into account the fact that animal skins could also have been imported. For Ipswich, for instance, a local custom in  records the importation of ‘pellium ovium’, ‘pellium agnorum’, ‘pellium caprarum’ etc. See Norman Scott Brien Gras, The Early English Customs System (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), p. . Thompson also considers an early paper manuscript (London, BL, MS Arundel , Part , fols r–v) is on unwatermarked paper, and is now bound with other fourteenth-century texts. An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography, p. . It is not altogether clear when this manuscript arrived in England and thus it is excluded from the present investigation, because Reeve proposes that Arundel  was probably written in Sicily in the first half of the thirteenth century and that it is ‘the earliest chartaceous of a classical Latin text’. See M. D. Reeve, ‘Aratea’, in Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics, ed. by L. D. Reynolds (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. –. See also C. Burnett, ‘Reading the Sciences’, in The European Book in the Twelfth Century, ed. by Erik Kwakkel and Rodney M. Thomson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –, at . The paper, however, is even and sturdy, very different from other thirteenth-century paper I have had the opportunity to examine. This suggests that more work could usefully be done on the chronology of this part of the manuscript in relation to the other parts to determine what this type of paper may reveal about local resourcing practices in Sicily. See also the description in The British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, www.bl.uk/catalogues/ illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID= (accessed  December ). Hills (‘The Importance of Early Italian Paper’, p. .) notes: ‘The earliest paper document in the Public Record Office dates from about . Unfortunately, no reference has been given so it has not been possible to locate this document’.



Paper Stories

is a process whose adoption advances through five main phases: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation. Individuals, as well as communities through their networks, pass ‘from first knowledge of an innovation [knowledge] to forming an attitude toward the innovation [persuasion], to a decision to adopt or reject [decision], to implementation of the new idea [implementation], and to confirmation of this decision [confirmation]’. Rogers’ model operates within other parameters, which influence the process itself, and these include: the extent to which an idea or object may be perceived as new; the communication channels available to share the information; time, understood as a variable dimension, which is involved in the diffusion of the technology; and the existing social system, that is ‘a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal’. Rogers’ conceptualization is useful in understanding why it is important to recover how individuals, groups or communities learned about the idea of paper as well as paper itself. Whoever introduced paper to England provided a choice for individuals who needed writing material, and offered something new to buyers. Critics of this model have pointed out that interconnections and interactions can be difficult to understand linearly, because the clustering of ideas show simultaneous thinking rather than sequential phases. Although the embedded determinism in this schema may lead scholars to explain adoption in almost a cause-and-effect manner, the underpinning theoretical framework helps to identify key areas for further exploration. The nature of modelling is to simplify and explicate processes. Rogers’ model can be further refined by acknowledging the complications of cultural contacts and the significance of technological clusters. Such areas of investigation include an exploration of the historical, cultural and social circumstances of the journey of paper to England, the reason why paper started to arrive and in what ways it was used. Rogers explains that some technologies succeed whilst others do not. Paper worked, but why? Paper’s potential for technological resilience gave it the necessary longevity in a global, demanding and volatile     

Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, rd edn (New York and London: Macmillan, ), p. . Content in square brackets is added for clarity. Ibid., pp. –. Mario R. J. Bick, ‘Review of Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers’, American Anthropologist,  (), –. Rogers, Diffusion, and further discussed in Everett M. Rogers, Communication Technology: The New Media in Society (New York: Collier Macmillan, ). Rogers, Diffusion, p. xviii.

A New Transnational Technology



communication market. During the thirteenth century, paper underwent some of the most significant refinements in its history, in terms of both the way in which it was made and the tools used to achieve this. Papermaking, like all technologies, took time to spread, but also to be developed and perfected, and of course, the spread of paper and the spread of papermaking technologies, did not go hand in hand, as noted earlier. Often across Europe, the spread of paper anticipated the arrival of papermaking. It took almost a thousand years for paper to reach the West. Its story has been rehearsed on several occasions. It travelled across the Eurasian geopolitical axis from China to the Arab world via Samarkand, Baghdad, Damascus and Fez, arriving in the Iberian Peninsula in the eleventh century and then Italy during the thirteenth century. Making paper was mastered by the Arabs and further developed when it reached European countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Germany. The exact process for making paper in this period is not known; as a craft, much of the knowledge was embedded in tacit practices, and guarded carefully rather than explicated in manuals. However, commentaries have survived on some of these practices from both Arabic and Christian sources. Western paper was made with rags. These rags went through a number of processes, some of which are still unexplained. The rags were selected according to quality, then washed and bleached with ashes and boiling water. The process of











Hill, Papermaking, pp. –. See, for a discussion on the spread of paper in the West, Anne Basanoff, Itinerario della carta dall’oriente all’occidente e sua diffusione in Europa (Milan: Il polifilo, ). On Spain, see Oriol Valls i Subirà, The History of Paper in Spain, trans. Sarah Nicholson,  vols (Madrid: Empresa Nacional de Celulosas, ), vol. , pp. –, but also Giancarlo Castagnari, ‘L’arte della carta nel secolo di Federico II’, in Federico II e le Marche, ed. by Cosimo Damiano Fonseca (Rome: De Luca, ), p. . Basanoff, Itinerario; Jonathan Bloom, Paper before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, ); and Lucien X. Polastron, Le papier:  ans d’histoire et de savoir-faire (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, ), p. . The classic starting point is Hunter, Papermaking. For a succinct and extremely useful overview, see Hills, Papermaking in Britain, pp. –. For a detailed discussion, see Basanoff, Itinerario and Benjamin Z. Kedar, ‘The Use of Paper in the Frankish Levant: A Comparative Study’, in Crusading and Trading between West and East: Studies in Honour of David Jacoby, ed. by Sophia Menache, B. Z. Kedar and Michel Balard (London: Routledge, ), pp. –. See Timothy Barrett, ‘Parchment, Paper, and Artisanal Research Techniques’, in Scraped, Stroked, and Bound: Materially Engaged Readings of Medieval Manuscripts, ed. by Jonathan Wilcox (Turnhout: Brepols, ), pp. –. Barrett has dedicated a great part of his life to researching how the technique of papermaking was perfected by Italian and Japanese papermakers. See, for example, Hills’ discussion on the comments by Emir Mu’izz Badis (–) in ‘Early Italian Papermaking’, pp. –. See also Zohar Amar, ‘The History of the Paper Industry in Al-Sham in the Middle Ages’, in Towns and Material Culture in the Medieval Middle East, ed. by Zohar Amar (Leiden: Brill, ), pp. –.



Paper Stories

decomposition was enhanced by immersing the rags in a lime-based solution. The decomposed mixture was pulped by hand with wooden mallets, before hydraulic hammers were introduced later. From the resulting pulp, papermakers would make sheets of paper from moulds of different sizes; the quality would also vary as the selection of the rags gave different textures. When this process was complete, the sheets of paper were dried and those sheets that were to be sold for writing were sized and then dried again. The process of making paper is constituted by numerous stages and, over a number of years, papermakers adopted a number of innovative techniques to improve the quality of the finished product. To study the quality of the thirteenth-century product, I have further searched into the archives. Table . shows letters and documents I have located in The National Archives and which are dated or datable to the thirteenth century. The majority of these documents, with the exception of some letters by an Italian baking firm, the Riccardi (discussed below), are short missives from European chanceries or aristocratic households to the English monarchs. The early paper on which they are written confirms some of the observations I have made here. The paper in the letters to Henry III from Spain and France is particularly fragile and shows the Arabic/Spanish influence on papermaking techniques. These letters are now mounted in frames and glued onto modern paper supports; they can only be handled with care, but it is possible to observe the soft nature of the material, perhaps deriving from hand-beaten rags and the imperfections of a pulp in which the threads of the textile have not completely dissolved. This feature is visible on paper which was made until the beginning of the fourteenth century, like those







Albro, Fabriano, pp. –. The process is also discussed and illustrated in Ulisse Mannucci, La gualchiera medievale (Fabriano: Museo delle Carta e della Filigrana, ) and A. F. Gasparinetti, and Nora Lipparoni, L’arte della carta a Fabriano (Fabriano: Casa editrice fabrianese, ). See various manuals, including Maria Luisa Agati, Il libro manoscritto da oriente a occidente: per una codicologia comparata (Rome: ‘Erma’ di Bretschneider, ); Hunter, Papermaking, pp. –; Albro, Fabriano, pp. –. On Arabic papermaking techniques, see Jean Irigoin, ‘Papiers orientaux et papiers occidentaux: les techniques de confection de la feuille’, Bollettino dell’Istituto centrale per la patologia del libro ‘Alfonso Gallo’,  (), –; Malachi Beit-Arié, ‘The Oriental Arabic Paper’, Gazette du livre médiéval,  (), –; Malachi Beit-Arié, ‘Quantitative Typology of Oriental Paper Patterns’, in Le papier au moyen âge: histoire et techniques, ed. by Monique Zerdoun Bat-Yehouda (Turnhout: Brepols, ), pp. –; Paul Canart, ‘Observations sur les papiers non filigranés des manuscrits grecs de la bibliothèque vaticane’, in Bat-Yehouda, Le papier au moyen âge, pp. –; Monique Zerdoun Bat-Yehouda, ‘Enquête sur les papiers non filigranés des manuscrits hébreux datés antérieurs à ’, ibid., pp. –; Carme Sistach, ‘Les papiers non filigranés dans les archives de la couronne d’Aragon du XIIe au XIVe siècle’, ibid., pp. –; and Hunter, Papermaking.



A New Transnational Technology

Table . Thirteenth-century paper documents in The National Archives* Citable Reference

Title

Date

SC //

Berengaria, queen of Castile, to Henry III: credence for bearer Berengaria, queen of Castile, to Henry III: request for news. Raymond, duke of Narbonne and count of Toulouse, to Henry III: recover a debt from David le Lenie, draper of London. Sancho VI, king of Navarre, to Henry III: the dispute between Dax and Bayonne; the loyalty of Bayonne. William Raymond, Viscount of Béarn, to Henry III: the loyalty of the men of Bayonne. Brother [—] to Henry III: the arrears of pension. Angelo Romeyn, papal notary, canon of Cambrai, his clerk at the Roman court, to Edward I. Viterbo. Angelo Romeyn, papal notary, to Edward I. Rome. Peter, infant of Aragon, to Edward I: credence for his envoy to discuss a marriage alliance. Dated at Milleunum. John de Ardir, and others to Edward I: ships for the King of Castile. Arnold du Got, bishop of Agen and William de Valence, lord of Pembroke, to Edward I: their meeting with the archbishop of Bordeaux. Bishop of Aire-sur-l’Adour and Ste. Quitterie, to Edward I: Gaston de Béarn and Luke de Tany. Peter, count of Alençon and Blois, to Edward I: release the goods of Alphonse de Burs, burgess of Sens. Paris. Peter, count of Alençon and Blois, to Edward I: the well-being of the French royal family. Paris. John Geraldi, bishop of Agen, to Edward I: request for protection for himself and his church. Edward I to the abbot of St. Emilion: the election of Beraud du Got, the archdeacon of Montaut, as archbishop of Bordeaux. Gerald V, count of Armagnac and Fezensac, to Edward I: a new town taken into the hands of the king of France. Péronne.

–

SC // SC //a SC // SC // SC // SC // SC // SC // SC // SC //

SC // SC // SC // SC // SC // SC //

– –     January [Early Edward I]  April [Early Edward I]  March  [c.February ] [c.August ]

 January   August []  July [–] [May ] [November ]  October []



Paper Stories Table . (cont.)

Citable Reference

Title

Date

SC //

Alfonso, infante of Aragon, to Edward I: family news. Valencia. John Geraldi, bishop of Agen, to Edward I: complaints against the offices of the Agenais. John de Chalon, lord of Arlay, to Edward I: the fall of Ornans castle. John de Chalon, and others to Edward I: the fall of a castle in Burgundy. John, lord of Audenarde and Rosoit, to Edward I: has he displeased the king? Letters from the Riccardi’s headquarters in Lucca to their office in London.

 April 

SC // SC // SC // SC // E // SC //, 

Letters from the Riccardi’s headquarters in Lucca to their office in London.

[]  October [] [c. October ] [–]  November – November   April – c./

* Table . derives from the following sources: Emilio Re, ‘La compagnia dei Riccardi in Inghilterra e il suo fallimento alle fine del sec. XIII’, Archivio della società romana di storia patria,  (), ; Edward Maunde Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), p. ; Chaplais; Richard W. Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, ); Michael T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England, –, rd edn (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, ), p. ; and my own searches in The National Archives. Thompson dates TNA SC // and TNA SC // to Edward I, but they are from an earlier period. I also followed Pierre Chaplais, ‘Some Private Letters of Edward I’, English Historical Review,  (), –. For correspondence in Edward I’s reign, see also TNA SC /, TNA SC / and TNA SC /. More paper correspondences may emerge from a thorough examination of TNA, SC category.

I discussed above in the two registers, and those Hills investigated in Hereford. Lump-filled pulp is also one of the characteristics of thirteenth-century paper. A smoother type of pulp starts to appear at the beginning of the fourteenth century, when a better beating of the rags was facilitated by ‘more suitable stampers (equipped with different types of nails on the stamper heads to cut and pound the rags) and the use of waterpower to drive them’. 

See, for a discussion, E. G. Loeber, Paper Mould and Mouldmaker (Amsterdam: Paper Publications Society, ), p. . For example, some of the paper in the earliest documents in Table . has a better-looking and more uniform texture; see TNA E //, E //, E // and E //.

A New Transnational Technology



Almost all thirteenth-century paper has no watermark, and was probably made with a wooden flexible mould. This material left a distinctive print on the sheet of paper with wide laid lines running horizontally across the sheet of paper, that is, . the lines themselves are thick, and . the lines are widely spaced. Wide laid lines are present on paper which was made throughout the fourteenth century, and after papermakers started to employ the wire rigid mould with its fixed frame and the free deckle. Up to the end of the fourteenth century, laid lines of about  mm apart were necessary in order to enable the man at the vat better to drain the pulp. As papermakers learned to make thinner pulp, it became possible to use thinner wires, more closely spaced in the mould, to produce paper of finer texture and in which the mould left a different impression. The space between laid lines became finer towards the end of the fourteenth century until it reached about  mm, and then became even tighter as the technology of the mould kept improving in the following century, reaching a distance of about  mm. There is a close correlation between the consistency of the pulp and the making of the mould: the finer the pulp, the finer the laid lines could be. This technological evolution, however, would not have been possible had the fixed wired mould not been introduced in the papermaking chain of production. Indeed, it is the invention of the fixed mould which, in turn, enabled another key innovation in papermaking: the attachment of profiles and/or designs drawn in wire to the mesh of the mould. As Loeber puts it: ‘Watermarks could have been made in no other way’. In Table ., some of the sheets of paper in the Riccardi’s letters, despite their rough surface, show visible signs of this early technological improvement. Several letters are written on watermarked paper whose quality varies substantially. The condition of the paper makes it difficult to assess the types of watermark in these sheets. An interesting example appears in two letters datable to  December . These letters occupy pages  to  of the 



 

See for a discussion, see Loeber, Paper Mould, p. ; and, more recently, Giancarlo Castagnari, ed., La forma: formisti e cartai nella storia della carta occidentale, l’era del segno (Fabriano: ISTOCARTA, ). Loeber notes that the ‘rigid mould consists of a rectangular frame the long sides of which are connected by ribs about one inch apart. On top of this a metal cover is placed resembling the original bamboo or grass cover with its closely spaced laid wires, set parallel to the long sides with the linking chain wires crossing them at right angles. The vatman used a pair of similar moulds but had only one removable deckle, an open frame enclosing the upper part of the mould itself. The size of the sheet is determined by the inner border of the deckle’. See Loeber, Paper Mould, p. . On the significance of laid lines, see Hills, ‘The Importance of Laid and Chain Line Spacing’, pp. –. Loeber, Paper Mould, p. .



Paper Stories

Illustration .

The National Archives, ref. E //, p. 

 pages which make up the complete bundle of documents, and their text covers six folded full sheets of paper (two are detached). The watermark appears close to the gutter of each half of the sheet and it represents letters of the alphabet. It is not altogether clear what letters they are because they look slightly damaged, but pages  and , for example, seem to show an ‘a’ and a ‘b’ or ‘p’ opposite to it (see Illustration . and Illustration .). Illustrations . and . are some of the very early examples of most probably Italian watermarked paper held in European archives outside Italy, which confirm a widely accepted argument that the innovative  

One sheet of paper for these letters measures  mm   mm, although there are variations. See, for comparison, the early watermark collections in Aurelio Zonghi, Le marche principali delle carte fabrianesi dal  al  (Fabriano: Tipografia Gentile, ), p. , translated as Aurelio Zonghi, ‘Le antiche carte fabrianesi’, in Aurelio Zonghi and Augusto Zonghi, L’opera dei Fratelli Zonghi: l’era del segno nella storia della carta, rev edn by Giancarlo Castagnari (Fabriano: Cartiere Miliani, ); and Zonghi.

A New Transnational Technology

Illustration .



The National Archives, ref. E //, p. 

practice of making watermarked paper started in Italy, even though the finer details of this argument are still to be fully understood. Scholars have observed that the production of watermarked paper began in the Marche, a region in central-eastern Italy, and attributed the innovation to artisans in the town of Fabriano. However, determining the precise origins of this practice is complicated by the concentration of centres of papermaking excellence in the province of Ancona, located in the Marche. Towns such as Fabriano but also Pioraco and Camerino formed a closely interconnected nexus of papermaking from the end of the thirteenth century 

See, for a recent discussion, Giancarlo Castagnari, ‘Le origini della carta occidentale nelle valli appenniniche delle Marche centrali da una indagine archivistica’, in Alle origini della carta occidentale: tecniche, produzioni, mercati (secoli XIII–XV): atti del convegno, Camerino,  ottobre , ed. by Giancarlo Castagnari, Emanuela Di Stefano and Livia Faggioni (Fabriano: ISTOCARTA, ), pp. –. On a wider discussion on Italian papermaking, see references in IBP, pp. –.



Paper Stories

and throughout the fourteenth century and paper mills in these other towns may also have used watermarks before the technique spread more widely across Italy and Europe. As papermaking developed, letters of the alphabet started to appear as watermarks on paper from the last two decades of the thirteenth century, followed by papermakers’ names at the turn of the fourteenth century. The technique was further developed when the representation of objects and animal and human figures made an appearance in the course of the fourteenth century. The original purpose of this technological innovation is not known. It is possible that papermakers wished to differentiate their products from those of their competitors by attaching a design to the finished product. However, a recent analysis of contemporary sources argues that watermarks were a simple means of confirming place of origin of the product. Whatever prompted their introduction, watermarks soon took on additional significance, becoming markers of the cultural acceptability of a good based on whether it originated in the Christian West or the Islamic Middle East. At the end of the thirteenth century, watermarks on paper enabled its makers and users to prove that the material they manufactured and employed did not infringe the papal embargo imposed on imported luxury goods from Eastern regions. The technique of watermarking was never adopted by Arabic papermakers – whether for technological or other reasons – but in similar manner the absence of watermarks in Arabic paper came to be used as a means of enforcing a fifteenth-century fatwa against the importation of Western paper. 



 

 

Di Stefano, Fra le Marche, il Mediterraneo, l’Europa. For a discussion on the expansion of papermaking and its commercialization in these regions during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries despite the Black Death, see Emanuela Di Stefano, ‘L’impatto delle crisi di morbilitàmortalità sui centri manifatturieri della Marca medievale: il caso di Ascoli, Camerino-Pioraco, Fabriano’, in Le interazioni fra economia e ambiente biologico nell’Europa preindustriale secc. XIII– XVIII, atti delle ‘quarantunesima settimana di studi’, – aprile , ed. by Simonetta Cavaciocchi (Prato: Fondazione Istituto internazionale di storia economica ‘F. Datini’, ), pp. –. See Loeber, Paper Mould, p. . For an overview, see G. Castagnari, ‘La galassia “Forma” nell’universo carta. Forme e formisti dell’era del segno ai tempi delle Cartiere Milani’, in La forma: formisti e cartai nella storia della carta occidentale (Fabriano: ISTOCARTA, ), pp. –; A. F. Gasparinetti, ‘The Fabrianese Paper, Papermills and Papermakers’, in Carta, cartiere, cartai: la tematica storica di Andrea Gasparinetti, ed. by Giancarlo Castagnari (Fabriano: Pia Universitá dei Cartai, ), pp. –. Albro, Fabriano, pp. –. Caroline Fowler considers fourteenth-century sources to argue that watermarks were connected to a specific place of paper production, rather than the papermakers. See Caroline Fowler, The Art of Paper: From the Holy Land to the Americas (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, ), pp. –. Albro, Fabriano, p. . Leor Halevi, ‘Christian Impurity Versus Economic Necessity: A Fifteenth-Century Fatwa on European Paper’, Speculum,  (), –. On unwatermarked paper, see below, n. .

Early Interactions



Many circumstances may have influenced the introduction of adjustments in the stages of paper production in this period, and clearly the continuing effort to perfect the sheet of paper drove changes to papermaking procedures during the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. For example, gelatine or animal glue derived from parchment fleshing and scraps from local tanneries was used to seal sheets of paper, superseding an earlier wheat starch-based mixture. The starch attracted insects which in turn destroyed the documents, but the gelatine coating made the sheets more durable. These advances indicate that thirteenth-century papermakers strove to manufacture better-quality paper, not only in response to an increased demand for paper, but also in response to a need to supply good paper. Local, national and international consumption of paper grew in this period because of an expansion in international communication and the need to validate acts in writing. Merchants, notaries and the ruling aristocratic elite endorsed the initial adoption of paper in their own ways. Aristocratic elites, in particular, facilitated this technological innovation in writing practices, before banning it, and enabled the idea of paper to spread from East to West. This aspect of the paper story is seldom considered. The evidence I presented in Table . suggests that the diffusion of the idea of paper in thirteenth-century Europe, and more specifically England, went through chanceries as well as merchants’ offices. This narrative and its implications need to be further discussed in wider historical and social contexts in order to be fully understood.

Early Interactions In Eastern and Western traditions, the aristocratic milieu supported the introduction and use of paper. In , Henry VII visited the paper mill – the first in England – which John Tate had established near Hertford. The king extended his support with a reward of s. d., repeated the following year. The interest that Henry VII showed in Tate’s paper mill is but one of many similar occurrences demonstrating that the ruling class supported the diffusion of paper since its early moments. It is now believed that the story of Tshai Lun, the court official who brought paper to the attention of the Chinese court in the second century , needs to accommodate earlier   

See Gasparinetti, ‘The Fabrianese Paper’, pp. –. See Castagnari, ‘L’arte della carta’, p. . See Hills, Papermaking in Britain, pp. –; Tracey A. Sowerby, A Monarchy of Letters: Royal Correspondence and English Diplomacy in the Reign of Elizabeth I (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ), p. .



Paper Stories

paper evidence which has emerged from archaeological excavations. It seems possible that an imperial interest might have supported the development of this technology. This support enabled Chinese paper to become a renowned product in other Eastern countries, despite the profusion of local production practices. The expansion of paper into Arabic countries was also buttressed by local caliphs and viziers who considered it worthwhile to invest in the production of this material to cope with the administrative demands of their courts, but also for the dissemination of knowledge. Other surviving evidence establishes that paper was used in letters or official acts of royal and imperial chanceries as well as aristocratic households during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This use encouraged the diaspora of paper and eventually the establishment of papermaking in Western Europe. Greek emperors, for example, used paper for their correspondence, and letters on this material survive in Genoa dated –. Countess Adelaide, wife of Roger I of Sicily, issued a deed on paper written in Arabic and Greek in . Paper by then had reached the shores of the Italian peninsula, but it was an imported commodity, a lavish item introduced to Italy along with other similar luxurious goods from the East and the Iberian Peninsula. Recent 





 







For the most recent debate on the origin and diffusion of paper in China with translation of sources, see Jean Pierre Drège, Le papier dans la Chine impériale: origine, fabrication, usages (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, ), pp. xi–clx. See Bloom, Paper before Print, p. . On the connection with the Imperial court, see Tsuen-hsuin Tsien, ‘Part : Paper and Printing’, in Science and Civilisation in China, ed. by Joseph Needham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. . For example, the intriguing reference to a seemingly prestigious gift of a crate of Chinese paper, which is discussed in the twelfth-century life of Ibn Hanbal, a ninth-century Islamic scholar. See Ibn al-Jawzī, The Life of Ibn Ḥanbal, trans. by M. Cooperson (New York: New York University Press, ), p. . Bloom, Paper before Print, pp. – and several essays in Bat-Yehouda, Le papier au moyen âge. Valls i Subirà, The History of Paper in Spain, vol. , pp. – and see also the discussion on the diffusion of early paper, also in correspondences, in C. M. Briquet, Recherches sur les premiers papiers employés en occident et en orient du Xe au XIVe siècle, Mémoires de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France,  (), republished in Stevenson, Briquet’s ‘Opuscula’, pp. –. Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography, p. . On paper in Greek manuscripts, see Isabelle Heullant-Donat and Henri Bresc, ‘Pour une réévaluation de la “révolution du papier” dans l’Occident médiéval’, Scriptorium,  (), –. Giuseppe La Mantia, Il Primo documento in carta (contessa Adelaide, ) esistente in Sicilia (Palermo: Giannitripani, ); for another eleventh-century example of paper use, see MarieThérèse Le Léannec-Bavavéas, ‘Un papier non filigrané occidental datable de  (Athènes, Bénaki )’, Scriptorium,  (), –. Sylvia Rodgers Albro, Fabriano, pp. –; see also on the wide network of the commercialization of paper from the Iberian peninsula and importation to Sicily, Valls i Subirà, The History of Paper in Spain, vol. , p.  and passim; and Bloom, Paper before Print, pp. –.

Early Interactions



research has suggested that some local papermakers may have existed in Sicily, but in this period the demand for paper was mostly met by bringing it from abroad. It is interesting to note that if on the one hand these early instances of paper use are closely associated with royal correspondence, on the other hand the chanceries of these kings and queens tried to put a stop to twelfth-century paper use. In , the chancery of Roger II, son of Countess Adelaide, released an injunction to transcribe official acts on parchment, demonstrating that the practice of using paper for state documents was common enough to warrant an indictment, and, Gasparinetti notes, the same can be observed in other Italian towns. In the Kingdom of Sicily, however, the endurance of paper for correspondence is also evinced later in the thirteenth century in the diplomatic envoys of the emperor Frederick II, who reissued Roger II’s ordinances (Frederick II’s grandfather), which prohibited the use of paper in legal acts, whilst importing paper from near-by countries to write letters. In Spain, the Aragon and Castilian court used paper occasionally before the thirteenth century. Only with the reconquest of the Valencia region in the thirteenth century, particularly the city of Xàtiva, already famous for its high-quality papermaking industry, did the use of paper spread in the Spanish kingdoms. It seems then natural to expect that some of the early letters I collect in Table . come from Spain. The Arabic invasion of the Iberian peninsula had brought paper and established an important papermaking tradition before the thirteenth century. Thus, the subsequent use of paper in the chancery of the Christian rulers of those regions to communicate with other European royal courts is not surprising, because it was already known locally. This thirteenth-century diffusion of paper in Europe brings us back to the evidence I collected in Table . and the early interactions between paper and people in England, and to reflect on how these interactions may 

 



Gasparinetti, ‘The Fabrianese Paper’, pp. –. Ventura suggests that papermaking in Sicily may have started in the eleventh century. See Domenico Ventura, ‘Sul ruolo della Sicilia e di Amalfi nella produzione e nel commercio della carta: alcune considerazioni in merito’, in Castagnari, Di Stefano and Faggioni, Alle origini della carta occidentale, pp. –. Gasparinetti, ‘The Fabrianese Paper’, p.  and passim, and Castagnari, ‘L’arte della carta’, p. . Albro, Fabriano, p. . But also see Briquet, ‘Recherches sur les premiers’, in Stevenson, Briquet’s ‘Opuscula’, p. . The paper that Fredrick II used came from Syria, Spain and Sicily. See Castagnari, ‘L’arte della carta’, p.  and also C. Paoli, ‘La Storia della carta secondo gli ultimi studi’, Nuova antologia, . (), –. See Burns, ‘Revolution in Europe’. Irigoin argues that the exportation of paper from Catalogne and Valencia is well-documented in the thirteenth century. See Irigoin, ‘Papiers Orientaux’. See also Valls i Subirà, The History of Paper in Spain, vol. , pp. –. For further references, see IBP, pp. –.



Paper Stories

have influenced the subsequent adoption of paper. These correspondences constitute only a small part of the missives which were probably circulating in this period between royal households and in business administration. There is no critical mass of material which has been amassed, and no means to know the totality of what has survived, or what might have been available or lost. What follows here are a number of observations, not intended to be exhaustive, which, I hope, will establish patterns of contacts for further consideration if more evidence comes to light from other archives in England and abroad. The documents in Table . demonstrate a flourishing thirteenth-century diplomatic paper correspondence in an established network of high-profile figures. They seek or communicate news, relate political alliances and distribute economic information. These letters show the type of relationship that Henry III enjoyed with Queen Berengaria of Castile, and the influence that Raymond, Duke of Narbonne and Count of Toulouse had on Henry III. Other correspondence relates to economic affairs and a trading dispute in Gascony, which also involved the King of Navarre. These letters are, of course, not just about diplomatic envoys, they also discuss private and family affairs in the context of Henry III’s role as patron of his wife’s family; for instance, there is a request to Henry III for arrears of a pension. The letters that Edward I received are similar in nature as they inform the king about political and religious events from France and Italy. Amongst these letters there are some early examples of paper use for correspondence from the chancery of bishops and one from Edward I to the Abbot of St. Emilion. These letters show how correspondences greatly influenced the diffusion and subsequent adoption of paper across Europe, perhaps even before its use in accounting practices, especially in those neighbouring regions to areas with established papermaking practices. The letters from Castile, Navarre, Gascony and the Occitan region to Henry III are all from areas in close proximity to Valencia, a papermaking region, and from royal and aristocratic courts which were receptive to the adoption of paper for networking and communication. These letters   

 

For other thirteenth-century letters to the English crown, see Chaplais. TNA SC //a, TNA SC // and TNA SC //. See Chaplais, nn. ,  and . TNA SC // and published in Chaplais, n. . See also Walter Waddington Shirley, ed., Royal and Other Historical Letters Illustrative of the Reign of Henry III: From the Originals in the Public Record Office,  vols (London: Longman and Roberts, ), vol. , nn. , , , , . TNA SC //; see Chaplais, n. . Also Eugene Lionel Cox, The Eagle of Savoy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, ), pp. –. Valls i Subirà, The History of Paper in Spain, vol. , pp. –.

Early Interactions



indicate that the use of paper in these areas increased from occasional examples to a more deliberate use as demonstrated in the letters to Edward I. The slow spread of paper through diplomatic correspondence is key to the way in which medieval people encountered paper and this technology got to be known. Epistolary culture during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, however, grew for both public and private correspondence, bringing a renewed emphasis on writing and a need for more writing material. The social, historical and cultural changes across Europe in this period were such that they required people either to look for or communicate information about political, economic and financial events more assiduously than before. This does not mean that in earlier centuries people did not write to each other (personal and official communications abound) but it means that the nature of the correspondence intensified and became more frequent. All the letters in Table . carry news, simple instructions or simply seek news on business transactions. Petrucci declares: ‘L’Europa reimpara a scriversi’ (‘Europe relearns to write itself’). The proliferation of correspondence reflected the expanding economy as well as a desire to intensify diplomatic envoys. Spufford discusses the immense growth in local, national and international trade from the thirteenth century onwards, noting how a steady increase in population influenced economic expansion. He examined the economic factors which produced changes; for instance, the circulation of coins in a system of credit or exchange notes, which required very little movement of money, as well as the diversification of business practices. The travelling merchant set up shop in key cities and established a dense network of agencies in European centres with a number of affiliated companies and trusted men. Goods were sent by sea and land on well-established trading routes. Italian merchants were deeply, but not exclusively, involved in this developing  

 

Armando Petrucci, Scrivere lettere: una storia plurimillenaria (Rome: Laterza, ), pp. –. The question of written correspondence in the context of literacy has also been widely discussed. For English thirteenth-century practices, see Martha Carlin and David Crouch, eds, Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, – (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ), and for the later period, John Taylor, ‘Letters and Letter Collections in England, –’, Nottingham Medieval Studies,  (), – and Richardson, Middle-Class Writing, p.  and passim. Petrucci, Scrivere Lettere, pp. –. Peter Spufford, Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe (London: Thames & Hudson, ), pp. –. On bills of exchange, see E. Bond, ‘XI Extracts from the Liberate Rolls, Relative to Loans Supplied by Italian Merchants to the Kings of England, in the th and th Centuries’, Archaeologia,  (), –.



Paper Stories

economic scenario. The system, however, could only function if news was communicated promptly and effectively. The bundle of letters of the Riccardi, merchants of Lucca, bears witness to this changing need. These twenty letters and some fragments contain the business communication from the company headquarters in Italy to the subsidiary office in London during the last years of the thirteenth century from October  to September . Much is known about these letters in relation to the commercial and financial interests that the Riccardi had in England and Wales. Scholars have commented on their dealings as moneylenders to Edward I and money collectors on behalf of the Pope. Their role as wool merchants has also been explored alongside their famous bankruptcy at the turn of the fourteenth century. These letters are not short missives; they are written on full sheets of paper measuring approximately  mm by  mm and then folded into bifolia. Paper is here used to fulfil the need for sharing financial and commercial affairs. The Riccardi’s business relied on receiving and communicating precise and detailed news about corporate transactions, international trade and personal networking. This is the world of the entrepreneur. In this world, paper was easily accommodated not only to exchange news, but also for other commercial activities. It is in these uses that evidence for paper use emerges in late thirteenth-century England. On  September , Henry of Cortona inscribed on behalf of William of March, the King’s Treasurer, the following note in the Memoranda Roll of the Exchequer: Memorandum quod Willelmus de Marche Bathonis et Wellensis Episcopus / nuper Thesaurarius Regis / per Henrici de Cortonis clericum suum .xviij. die Septembris / Anno .xxiijo. coram . Johane de Drokenesford contrarotulator rotulatore Garderobe Regis Philipo de Willugby tunc Cancellarus de scaccario et Petro de Leycester barone eiusdem / liberauit ad idem scaccarium / I. librum Papiri ligatum et I. quaternum Papiri in I. pucha sigillata / que sunt Mercatorum de societate Ricardorum de Luca, videlicet de lanis eorum. Et que dictus Episcopus tempore / quo fuit Thesaurario ceperat ab eisdem Mercatoribus {vt} pro Rege / de predictis lanis / per dictos Papiros plenius certificaretur. Et qui quidem libri librorum fuerunt Predicto Petro de Leycester deferendum in Thesaurium {et custodiendum}





The content of the letters has been analysed in Re, ‘La compagnia dei Riccardi’ and more recently in Arrigo Ettore Castellani and Ignazio Del Punta, eds, Lettere dei Ricciardi di Lucca ai loro compagni in Inghilterra (–) (Rome: Salerno Editrice, ). For a thorough overview, see Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown.

Early Interactions



quousque Rex per dictos libros et perfecte Mercatores de dictis lanis certoratetur ad plenum. Memorandum that William of March, bishop of Bath and Wells, new treasurer of the king, by the hand of Henry of Cortona his clerk on the  of September in the rd year in the presence of John of Droxsford controller of the comptroller of the King’s Wardrobe, Philip of Willoughby at the time Chancellor of the Exchequer and Peter of Leicester its baron (Baron of the Exchequer) delivered to the same exchequer:  bound paper book and  paper quire in a sealed pouch, which belong to the merchants of the society of the Riccardi of Lucca, namely about their wool. And the time that the said bishop who was the treasurer took from these same merchants as on behalf of the king the aforementioned wool as the said papers fully certify. And that, indeed, there were records about books that the aforesaid Peter of Leicester was in the process of granting to keep in custody until the king, according to the record completed by the Merchants of this wool, had authorized the writ before all present.

One paper book and a paper quire in a sealed pouch constituted the documentation that needed to be audited regarding the wool transactions of the company of the Riccardi, and the clerk in charge not only registered the receipt of this material, but made a note of the material upon which the records were written. One can never know whether the clerk was surprised or not at the sight of paper, but it seems that it was a remarkable material feature of the document worth recording. This moment is significant because not only does it give us a sense of how paper circulated in England before , it also offers an eyewitness account of paper use at the end of the thirteenth century. Merchants brought paper to England to record their wool trade. During the reign of Henry III and, in particular, during the sovereignty of Edward I, Italian merchants seeking economic advantages became involved with the commercial and financial activities of the English crown. The wool trade, however, was the main commercial interest of this community of merchants in England, Wales and Ireland. Between  and , it has been estimated that Italian merchants agreed  of about  wool contracts ( monastic and  lay). Since paper was used to record the business of the wool trade, it is possible that it   

Memoranda Roll, TNA, E / m. . Partially transcribed in Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown, p.  n. . A hypothesis that Hills considered; see Hills, ‘The Importance of Early Italian Paper’, pp. –. See Adrian R. Bell, Chris Brooks and Paul Dryburgh, The English Wool Market, c.– (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ); in particular, appendix  for these figures and appendix  for further details on the list of contracts.



Paper Stories

was also used to record its transactions, especially given the extent of this industry’s economic influence. In the thirteenth century, then, it is significant that, despite the probable absence of an organized paper trade import, paper was brought into England to aid record-keeping in business. The books of customs which record the transactions of the port of Bordeaux clearly demonstrate that by the end of the thirteenth century and the very beginning of the fourteenth century paper was not difficult to find across Europe and it came in large volumes and in two different sizes. The massive book containing the transactions from the st and nd year of Edward I ( November  to  November ) is made up of  sheets of large paper folded on the shorter side in a folio to an oblong shape which measures  mm in width by  mm in height. The same size of paper features in the two subsequent account books for the years  to . A smaller size of paper is used in another account datable to the st year of Edward I, which measures  mm in width and  mm in height. It is not unusual to find these quantities of paper in later record-keeping practices, and linguistic evidence may also be considered to seek further information about this early period of transition and contact. The earliest attestation of papyrus (or papirus) in its meaning as ‘paper document, register, record’ is cited in documents which are dated to the end of the thirteenth century. The London Annals report that in  provisions were made for those entering apprenticeship in any of the London Liberties to be enrolled in the papirio (register) of Guildhall. The same term appears in relation to the  London ordinance relating to the registration of the name of apprentices, but also as a way of referring to old records in London customs. Clanchy notes these uses, and

 



  

TNA E //. TNA E // concerning Constables Richard de Havering and Jordan Morant is datable to the th and th years of Edward I to the nd year of Edward II ( November  to  July ), and made of  fos. TNA E //, a book of John Guiciardi, controller of Bordeaux, rd to th year of Edward I ( November  to  November ), comprises  fos. TNA E //, st year of Edward I ( November  to  November ), made up of  fos. Another paper fragment of a custom account book which survives in a separate account bundle and possibly belonging to this very early period is TNA E //. DMLBS, ‘papyrus’ (). See William Stubbs, ed., Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II,  vols (Nendeln: Kraus Reprints, ), vol. , pp. –. See Munimenta Gildhallae Londiniensis,  vols (Nendeln: Kraus–Thomson Organization Ltd, ), vol. ., pp.  and . This use is also found in relation to papal tax collection in ; we find ‘in papiru [sic] nomina aliquorum sunt scripta’: ‘the names of some [people] are written in the papers’. See W. E. Lunt, ‘William Testa and the Parliament of Carlisle’, English Historical Review,  (), .

A Familiar Object



emphasizes that the early surviving records are on parchment. The term charta is attested in the sense of record, but from the end of the thirteenth century it is used alongside papyrus. The use of these terms may indicate that the materials to which they refer were made of paper or they suggest that paper use and documentary culture were becoming synonymous, indicating a broader cultural expectation that paper was coming to be a common (even dominant) mode of recording the transaction of business. This illustrates one strand in the history of the encounter and adoption of paper as a medium and how it was conceived by contemporaries, and, indeed, linguistic usage may corroborate one of the possible connections between paper, record-keeping and accounting at the time when government officers noted the use of paper in transactions arising from the national wool trade in the hand of Italian merchants. Table . illustrates evidence of thirteenth-century paper which was either unknown to previous scholars or quickly dismissed. This material further suggests that the story of the coming of paper to England may go hand in hand with the development and expansion of paper in other European centres of production, which were directly connected with the emerging thirteenth-century wool trade and textile economy. Diplomatic exchanges between European courts and the direct commercial and financial links that Italian merchants created in England with the monarchy and other institutions facilitated the arrival of paper in England. By the end of the thirteenth century, knowledge about paper, acquired by correspondence from abroad, started to develop into actual sporadic paper use. The awareness that paper could be used for letters, accounts and record-keeping practices across a number of geographical areas grew from spots of use into wider adoption circles, especially in England.

A Familiar Object If knowledge of paper use arrived in England from abroad in the thirteenth century by way of epistolary and administrative practices, the idea of paper became fully accepted in the following century with increasing evidence of adoption in writing practices. Paper use flourished and this material became a familiar object in royal administration, commercial enterprises and trade. This familiarity is evinced in more than one way. On the one hand, records, which were compiled in overseas English territories or 

Clanchy, From Memory, p. .



DMLBS, ‘papyrus’ () and ‘charta’ (c, ).



Paper Stories

during diplomatic envoys abroad, were transferred to the Exchequer. On the other, there is a steady increase in documented local use of paper in accounts, registers, correspondence and books. Many of the fourteenth-century records written on paper were presented for reimbursement of expenses sustained on behalf of the Crown, or for the auditing of accounts, preserved in the King’s Remembrance records. Table . offers an overview of the types of paper documents in this series. It offers an illustrative sample of the range of uses of paper. Records in Table . show a continuation of international relationships. The second item in the table, the Friscobaldi account book, indicates that Italian merchants continued to use paper for account-keeping, but in general for tracking the volume of their business. The list in Table . also includes receipts for various expenditures from buying paper and parchment to repairing buildings to purchasing provisions. There are also inventories, account books of chancery officials and merchants, and bills from apothecaries. Paper comes in different formats, from small strips of paper to rolls, single sheets, smaller fragments, quires of a handful of sheets gathered into bifolia and bound in books. There is no detectable pattern to the shape of paper in these documents – and nor is there one pattern to their use. The purpose of these records is to communicate in written form transactions, payments and acknowledgment of remunerations of diverse sorts. For example, on a small strip of paper, several hands jotted down payment for passage, possibly tolls, in leaving and returning to London on several occasions over a period of time. The first toll was paid on  May and then several other journeys took place afterwards in July, returning in August (see Illustration .). Earlier journeys were struck through and





On the accounts of the customs of Bordeaux, see p.  and also TNA E //. More documents can be found in The National Archives relating further to the customs of Calais and other affairs on the territories in France. All these documents are on paper and can be found by perusing the series TNA E . On the accounts of travellers, see, for example, TNA E //, Account of John de Woume of a journey to Holland, Flanders and Brabant, dated  January – January ; TNA E //, Account of Jacke Faukes of a journey to the Roman court, dated  January – January ; TNA E //, Particulars of the account of Hugh de Neville of a journey to Brabant and Cologne, dated  January – January ; TNA E //, Particulars of the account of Richard, earl of Arundel, of a journey to Calais, dated  January – January ; TNA E //, Account of Nicholas de Louayne, appointed to transact business with the Pope at Avignon, dated  January – January . TNA E . This series gathers the records from a number of offices across the Exchequer, including the Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, the Augmentation Office, the General Surveyors, the Auditors of the Land Revenue, the Treasury of the Receipt and the Exchequer of the Receipt. On this series, see the very useful information in The National Archives Catalogue, https:// discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C (accessed  December ).



A Familiar Object Table . Some fourteenth-century paper documents in The National Archives, ref. E * Citable Reference

Title

Date

E //

s. xiv med

E //

Expenses of a journey. Possibly a receipt for passage. (One strip of paper) Account book of the Friscobaldi.

E //

Account of medicines. (Roll)

E //

Paper roll showing the strength of the garrisons of Calais and the neighbouring castles. Copy of a valuation of certain profits in the Channel Islands. (One sheet) Account book of Henry, bishop of Lincoln, and other persons engaged on diverse missions. Particulars of the account of William Burdon, appointed to seize goods of Hanse merchants in the county of Hereford. (One strip of paper) Copy of an account of repairs at some monastery. (One sheet). Receipt for stores by Robert de Bernham to Richard de Rocheles, surveyor of works at Windsor. (One strip of paper) Expenses of repairs at Somerton. (One sheet)

E // E // E //

E // E // E // E // E // E // E // E // E // E // E // E // E //

Particulars of the account of Thomas de Bello Campo, earl of Warwick. (One sheet) Accounts or receipts of parchment and paper for the exchequer. (single small sheets) Gilbert Maghfeld’s account book. Paper account book of the receiver of benefices held by aliens in England. Part of a muster. (One sheet folded along the longer side) Part of an inventory of jewels, plate and other articles. (Roll) List of loans. (One sheet) Account of provisions for the council at Westminster. Household account of John de Catesby. (Roll) Draft account of Ranulph de Hatton, clerk of the privy wardrobe. (Roll)

 July   July   July   July   January   June     

January  June  January  January 

 January   January     

January January January January

   

 January   January   January   January   January   January   January   June   January   July   June   June   June   September   June   September   June   June   June   June   June   June 



Paper Stories Table . (cont.)

Citable Reference

Title

Date

E //

Portions of account books. This is the main part of E above. (Quire-Fragment) Expenses at the manor of Goldyngham (Essex), after the entry of John de Goldyngham. (Roll) Apothecaries’ bills for articles supplied to the queen. (Quire) Roll of payments to messengers for carrying letters. (Roll) A small paper account of affairs of the abbey of Fécamp. (Roll)

 January   December   June   June 

E // E // E // E //

 June   June   September   March   September   September 

* This material could usefully be expanded into a full census of the material evidence in this category of documents as well as a more detailed search for paper use in fourteenthcentury record practices in all medieval governmental departments.

Illustration . The National Archives, ref. E //

updated with more recent records. Other interesting documents include a roll which contains an account of medicines for Edward II, and another which details an inventory of jewels, plates and other articles from the household of Richard II. In Table . only a handful of paper records are in book format. According to Bearman, this practice of binding sheets of paper together for record-keeping purposes is a direct influence of

A Familiar Object



thirteenth-century Italian accounting practices. The account books of the Friscobaldi (mentioned earlier) and of Gilbert Maghfeld constitute examples of such practice. These books, however, are only a small sample of the greater number of loose sheets containing receipts of expenses, sundry accounts, proofs of transactions, and detailing expenses of travel. Indeed, one overall impression from these records is that paper was associated with transportation and travel. Very much like the thirteenthcentury letters that came into England, paper in its initial adoption is a portable material. Numerous letters on paper can be found in royal correspondence, with a notable increase in frequency towards the end of the fourteenth century. Paper was regularly purchased in preparation for travel. In the provisions for the journey of Henry, Earl of Derby, to Europe in the s, paper was an item bought repeatedly. The spicers, who seem to have been in charge of buying writing materials, started the list of things to take on the expedition by buying three quires of paper as well as three quires of parchment in London, and then renewed such purchases at regular intervals during the journey. For some of the records in Table ., paper may have been chosen because it was a conveniently light material and easily transportable, as well as for its function. It is such documentary uses that have prompted scholars to conceptualize medieval paper as ephemeral and disposable. However, that these materials were carefully kept and archived tells us that its documentation of vital transactions and expenditures meant that its safekeeping mattered. Table . is a snapshot from one archive of several









Frederick Bearman, ‘Parchment Booklets, the Royal Wardrobe and the Italian Connection: How the Parchment Booklet Was Adopted as an Administrative Tool in England during the Reign of King Edward I and Edward II (–)’, in Care and Conservation of Manuscripts , Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Seminar Held at the University of Copenhagen, – April , ed. by Matthew James Driscoll (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, ), pp. –. TNA DL // is of the earliest letters on paper sent by Edward III to the Duke of Luxemburg asking protection for the Earl of Northampton, dated  September . See H. C. Maxwell Lyte, ed., List of the Records of the Duchy of Lancaster Preserved in the Public Record Office, vol. , Lists and Indexes (New York: Kraus Reprints, ), p. . On evidence for paper used in Richard II’s correspondence, see the warrants under the signet and other small seals, TNA C /. On letter writing on paper, see Chapter , pp. –. Lucy Toulmin Smith and Richard Kyngeston, eds, Expeditions to Prussia and the Holy Land Made by Henry, Earl of Derby (Afterwards King Henry IV) in the Years – and – (London: Camden Society, ), p. . Kedar relates that Franks in the twelfth-century Levant used paper messages to be sent by carrier pigeons, a technique they learned from their Muslim allies and enemies. Parchment, Kedar notes, would be too heavy for the birds. See Kedar, ‘The Use of Paper in the Frankish Levant’, pp. –.



Paper Stories

types of paper use and their geographical spread. Those records relating to affairs in Windsor, Hereford and Essex show that paper circulated in the South, but its adoption is much wider once the focus of the search broadens into record-keeping practices in institutions and administrative centres outside the central government. Towards the middle of the fourteenth century, guilds, local borough records and institutions adopted paper for book-keeping. In , the Goldsmiths purchased ‘a large paper register bought by the aforesaid three wardens in order to record all manner of matters worthy of memory’. The records of the Mercers were also kept on paper from , and the Scriveners’ Company manuscript is made of paper, as are the archives of Old London Bridge, the Bridge House Accounts and the Expenditures of the Bridge. The account book of the York Gild of St Mary is also on paper and dated –, and the Guild of the Holy Trinity in Wisbech, originating in , elected to keep its records on paper. The Register of Kyng’s Lynn (mentioned earlier in this chapter) is often said to provide a starting point for the arrival of paper in England, but its real significance is the use of paper to record town business, and in this function it is similar to the Red Paper Book of Colchester, which contains records from about the middle of the fourteenth century. Similarly, same of the expenses of the Guildhall of Leicester, datable to , are on paper. In this quite significant movement towards recordkeeping and accounting on paper, a broad range of institutions also elected

  

 

 

Jefferson, ‘Wardens’ Accounts’, p. xiv. Anne F. Sutton, The Mercery of London: Trade, Goods and People, – (Aldershot: Ashgate, ), p. . London, Guildhall, MS ; for the London Bridge Accounts, see C. Paul Christianson, Memorials of the Book Trade in Medieval London: The Archives of Old London Bridge (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, ), p. . David M. Smith, A Guide to the Archives of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of York (York: Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, ), p. . Wisbech, Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Guild of the Holy Trinity. The paper was purchased for half a penny with no indication from where. The paper is folded into folio and it is of a royal format; a folio measures  mm in width by  mms in height. On the guild, see T. D. Atkinson, Ethel M. Hampson, E. T. Long et al., ‘Wisbech: Guild of the Holy Trinity’, in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely, vol. , City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds, ed. by R. B. Pugh (London: Victoria County History, ), pp. –. British History Online, www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol/pp– (accessed  December ). For a description and transcription, see W. Gurney Benham, The Red Paper Book of Colchester (Colchester: Essex County Standard, ), p. . Box , No.  (); but also for several other documents, see Mary Bateson, William Henry Stevenson and J. E. Stocks, eds, Records of the Borough of Leicester, vol.  (London: Clay etc., ), p. .

A Familiar Object



to use paper to register their activities: famously, Merton College, Oxford, used paper for its accounts, and the registers of King’s Hall, Cambridge, are also on paper. At this juncture, paper has become an accepted and sought-after medium to fulfil the demands of maintaining accurate information and effectively building long-lasting archives, essential for future consultation and reporting purposes. This is the material context in which fourteenthcentury paper book production flourished. By the middle of the fourteenth century, contemporary paper is found in copies of romances and religious and pedagogical texts in English and Latin. The paper in these books is characterized by the thick chainlines I described above, and its watermarks, when visible, confirm an Italian origin. A fragment from a binding of a copy of Havelok the Dane datable to the middle of the fourteenth century on palaeographical grounds is perhaps one of the earliest surviving examples of a medieval romance written on paper. Although the fragments do not provide much information about the original manuscript and its size, the text was arranged in two columns, and in its presentation looks rather different from another medieval romance also written on early paper. Sir Firumbras, in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole , is copied on watermarked paper folded into quarto. This text and its manuscript have attracted much scholarly attention, because of the possible relationship between the wrapper of the book, made of parchment, and the book itself, made of paper. The wrapper contains  lines of the poem which appear again in a different version within the main text of the book. Shepherd suggested that the text written on the wrapper may be an early attempt by the translator to compose the







Oxford, Merton College, Cuxham MM, MS , account roll, –, parchment with two paper sheets attached; Oxford, Merton College, MM, MS , s. xiv, notes on leases etc.; Oxford, Merton College, Cuxham MM, MS , mem. , containing a list of stock and dated , both on paper. The King’s Hall Accounts, made up of  manuscript volumes from – to –, are on paper (Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.. to MS O..). The full list is given in Alan B. Cobban, The King’s Hall within the University of Cambridge in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. . The fourteenth-century paper is studied in Paul Needham, ‘“Res papirea”: Sizes and Formats of the Late Medieval Book’, in Rationalisierung der Buchherstellung im Mittelalter und in der fru¨hen Neuzeit: Ergebnisse eines Buchgeschichtlichen Seminars der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbu¨ttel, – November , ed. by Peter Ru¨ck (Marburg: Institut fu¨r Historische Hilfswissenschaften, ), pp. –. Heawood had already noted that fourteenth-century paper circulating in England was Italian. He also argues that from the middle of the fifteenth century the paper is French. E. Heawood, ‘Sources’. CUL, MS Add.  D (). For a description of these fragments, see G. V. Smithers, ed., Havelok (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. xiv–xvi.



Paper Stories

later version of Sir Ferumbras on paper. Hardman further analysed this relationship to discuss scribal strategies of composition and argued that the version on the paper leaves is not a direct copy from the text in the wrapper, but, possibly, a second copy of that text. It is intriguing that in these compositional stages paper does not function as the drafting material. Parchment served both as the receiver of an earlier compositional stage of the romance to be discarded, but not destroyed, and be put to good use to bind a new version of the poem, this time on paper. The material story of the media which make up this book disrupts modern expectations which understand paper to be for drafting, whilst parchment is for the permanent copy. Paper might well have been a new material for the scribe of MS Ashmole , as it was for other contemporary authors, including Chaucer. Fourteenth-century paper can also be found in numerous other books. Two more famous examples are Cambridge University Library, MS Hh.., datable to –, which belonged to a grammar-master who died in , and is made up of thick paper; and London, British Library, MS Harley , fols –, which was written at Brasenose College, Oxford and is dated to . These two books have been regarded as the traditional beginning to the story of paper in book production in England outside administrative environments. Unfortunately, they have also given a one-sided view of this story which often betrays only the lack of a full survey of the extant evidence. I will return to the problem of formulating a better understanding of paper chronology later in this study, but evidence of early paper use in book production can be readily found if one is alerted to the technical details of fourteenth-century paper. For example, I have found early paper in books with texts for education and edification, as well as in scientific and historical writings. 



   

Shepherd illustrates the manner in which the wrapper was folded. See Stephen H. A. Shepherd, ‘The Ashmole Sir Ferumbras: Translation in Holograph’, in The Medieval Translator: The Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages. Papers Read at a Conference Held – August  at the University of Wales Conference Centre, Gregynog Hall, ed. by Roger Ellis (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, ), pp. –. Phillipa Hardman, ‘Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole : Thoughts on Reading a Work in Progress’, in Middle English Texts in Transition: A Festschrift Dedicated to Toshiyuki Takamiya on His th Birthday, ed. by Simon Horobin and Linne R. Mooney (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ), pp. –.  I will return to this discussion in Chapter  (pp. –). DMCL, p. , entry .  DMBL, p. , entry . Robinson, ‘The Format of Books’, p. . Chapter , pp. –. For example, Oxford, Lincoln College, MS lat. , is a miscellany containing Latin and English sentences written by Thomas Schort at Newgate school in Bristol; see Nicholas Orme, Medieval Schools; Roman Britain to Renaissance England: From Roman Britain to Tudor England (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, ), pp. –. For a possible educational connection

A Familiar Object



It would be wrong to deduce, from previous scholarship, that there was a lack of paper in fourteenth-century English books. More importantly, however, research demands a more nuanced use of the quantitative data collected from a perusal of the ‘Catalogues de manuscrits datés’. This method has often led to the discussion of the early/late arrival of paper in countries across Europe in a competitive manner, seeking out which European country used paper in book production first. In my Introduction, I outlined the danger of using the numbers that these catalogues provide to tell stories of primacy; in fact, these numbers tell a fuller story than that. They tell us about the resilience and expansion of a technology which could be efficiently distributed from centres of production to consumers. The information shows an increasing trajectory across Europe of paper use in books. The helpful data published by Kwakkel and, more recently, by Needham demonstrate the economic growth of the paper trade across the decades of the fourteenth century, rather than establishing a hierarchy of which countries used paper in book production first. It is the commercial expansion and the perfecting of the technology of paper which enabled book makers to accept this material. The evidence of paper use in fourteenth-century England and its adoption in book production share a common story with other European countries. As Wittek demonstrates, the majority of the paper employed in the town records of Malines in Belgium during the fourteenth century is Italian. The earliest records begin in –. French paper from Troyes



with paper, see Oxford, Bodl., MS Bodley , fols –. CUL, MS Add.  contains a copy of Robert Grosseteste’s translation of Testamenta duodecim patriarcharum; see J. S. Ringrose, Summary Catalogue of the Additional Medieval Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library Acquired before  (Woodbridge: Boydell, ), p. . Oxford, Bodl., MS e Mus.  contains a copy of the Prick of Conscience on early paper; see Robert E. Lewis and Angus McIntosh, A Descriptive Guide to the Manuscripts of the Prick of Conscience (Oxford: Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages and Literature, ), pp. –. Oxford, University College, MS  is a copy of Piers Plowman, version A, on fourteenth- rather than fifteenthcentury paper; see Piers Plowman, the A Version: Will’s Visions of Piers Plowman and Do-Well, ed by George Kane (London: Athlone Press, ), p. . The Latin Chronicle in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS A, The Chronicle of the Monk of Westminster is also on paper; see L. C. Hector and B. Harvey, eds, The Westminster Chronicle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. xiv– xxi. Other texts regularly emerge written on early paper. They include a medical compendium in Oxford: Bodl., MS Bodley , a copy of Robert of Finningham, Summa excommunicationum in Oxford, Bodl., MS Bodley , part , fragments of the South English Legendary in Oxford, Bodl., MS Eng. poet. c.  (part ) and a copy of Treatise on Virtues and Vices in Oxford, Bodl., MS Rawl. C. . For a summary description on these manuscripts, see A Catalogue of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and Selected Oxford Colleges, https://medieval.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/?f%Btype %D%B%D=manuscript (accessed  December ). Kwakkel, ‘A New Type of Book’, pp. – and Needham, ‘Book Production’, pp. –.



Paper Stories

and neighbouring areas starts to be used only from . Wittek also shows that paper arrived in Flanders only from the end of the thirteenth century and the first dated record in Bruges on paper dates to . The arrival and use of paper in Northen European regions, including England, share similar chronological evidence. This spread of paper across Europe correlates sharply with its technological development, which enabled the production of better-quality paper, and the speed of its commercialization. The fourteenth-century books and documents in this section are written on paper of varying quality, which shows a steady improvement in the appearance of the surface of the sheet as well as its flexibility, over the course of the century, just as Hills noted in the documents he examined in Hereford. The expansion of European papermaking, especially at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and the intensification of trade facilitated the circulation and import of paper to fulfil a growing demand. Other important events testify to this growth; for example, the spread of papermaking across several Italian centres of production, the redaction of the statutes of Bologna, which regulated the sizes and cost of paper, and finally the  edict, which forbade the emigration of papermakers from Fabriano to stop the diaspora of talents and protected the craft in Fabriano. Papermaking in France and Germany also began in this century, although the commercialization of this paper seems to have been fairly local. Italian paper mills were able to take advantage of developed routes along which spices, wool and textiles were traded to bring paper to Europe. Capitalizing on the technological cluster with leathermaking and textileweaving, papermakers, especially from the Marche region, almost took over the paper market. I will return to this crucial detail in the following 

  

Martin Wittek, ‘Observations sur les papiers utilisés par la ville de Malines aux XIVe et XVe siècles’, in Liber amicorum Raphaël de Smedt, vol. , Litterarum historia, ed. by André Tourneux (Leuven: Peeters, ), pp. –, at –. See also the discussion about the use of Italian as well as possible local paper in Mons, in Christiane Piérard, ‘A propos de l’usage du papier au XIIIe siècle dans une administration urbaine: étude des textes du plus ancien mémorial conservé à Mons’, in Liber memorialis Émile Carnez (Louvain and Paris: Éditions Nauwelaerts/Béatrice Nauwelaerts, ), pp. –.  Wittek, ‘Observations’, p.  n. . See also p. . On the Bologna Statues, see Chapter , p. . A. F. Gasparinetti, ‘The Fabrianese Paper’, pp. –. See, for further references on papermaking in France, IBP, pp. –; and for an initial discussion on German papermaking, Wolfgang Freiherr von Stromer, ‘Die erste papiermu¨hle in mitteleuropa: Ulman Stromeirs ‘Hadermu¨hle’ Nu¨rnberg –, an der wiege der massenmedien’, in Cavaciocchi, Produzione e commercio della carta e del libro, secc. XIII–XVIII.

A Web of Paper



chapter, but it is essential to realize that paper could potentially travel quite expeditiously, as the network of communication which merchants created via Bruges was very well established. There is no paucity of evidence of paper use in fourteenth-century England, but there is a need to re-evaluate how we apply the knowledge of the technological advances of paper to the dating of medieval material written in England. The use of paper in England, in fact, shows a trend that is not dissimilar to other fourteenth-century European practices, and is firmly associated with the expansion of the papermaking industry primarily in Italy. This buoyant thirteenth- and fourteenth-century environment in which the technology of paper is constantly improved favoured the spread of paper, but at the same time responded to an increasing European demand for writing material to communicate, record and exchange knowledge of any kind.

A Web of Paper By the end of the fourteenth century, paper served the writing needs of scholars, administrators, accountants, merchants and nobility. Paper had been fully integrated in various milieux, and people soon discovered that its affordances could go further, and its uses could have wider applicability. From a full acceptance of the idea of paper, people began to imagine new ways of using paper for established, evolving or new practices. The adoption of paper in medical and healing procedures is one of the most striking innovations in this period. It is used for charms and prayers, odontic remedies and the cure of more serious wounds. The prescription of charms and prayers as effective medical remedies against, for example, fever, bites, toothache, bleeding, nosebleeds, insomnia and poisoning is well documented. Both local healers and doctors, professionals educated at university, recommended such remedies to their patients. From the fifteenth century, such practices include specific instructions to incorporate paper into the performance of the ritual. In a collection of fifteenth-century medical recipes and texts, one recipe advises: ‘For to destruye alle maner of feueres wryt þes ix wordes  

See Chapter  (pp. –) and also Bart Lambert, The City, the Duke and their Banker (Turnhout: Brepols, ). For a thorough discussion on these practices, and an appendix with a list of what type of remedies could heal which complaint, see Lea T. Olsan, ‘Charms and Prayers in Medieval Medical Theory and Practice’, Social History of Medicine,  (), –.



Paper Stories

in pauper’. The charm stipulates that in order to perform their magical and healing duties against all types of fever these nine special words must be written on paper. But then the remedy continues, in a different hand, and says: ‘eueryday ʒif þe sike to drynke o word’. It seems that paper was administered as a pill to make the feverish patient better. It is intriguing to wonder whether paper in itself might have been thought to have special restorative properties; the specificity of the instruction suggests so. The malleability of paper is also called upon in a fourteenth-century English version of Lanfranc’s Science of Cirurgie. Lanfranc recommended the use of paper in a number of recipes. In a recipe to whiten teeth, paper was folded and used as a plaster to apply a mixture of flour, ‘sal ana’ and honey. In another recipe, burnt paper ashes were used with borax to staunch blood after phlebotomy. Paper is ductile: it can be mashed, combined with other ingredients and transformed into a tool for healing; it can also be burnt, and its ashes then used for their healing properties. Several charms survive which are based on blood-staunching texts, and Skemer has provided an informative account of how such charms instructed readers to prepare amulets, but also to test their efficacy. These amulets, Skemer argues, ‘would have been useful to anyone, either in a lay household or a religious house’. The medical recipes which advised the reader to use paper to stop bleeding are of a different type. They do not require paper to conjure the halting of the blood; they require paper to apply a paste onto the wounds. This paste was made from paper – then a familiar item in medieval households. The ashes of paper in combination with other ingredients created the paste for covering cuts and wounds so similar to the modern plaster. These recipes also offer practical advice in moments of danger, and discriminate between the severity of the complaints in relation to household healing and selfremedy. The burning of paper is advised for those wounds which are not too severe; thus, a recipe instructs that if ‘a grete quarel oþer suche a noþer





 

Oxford, Bodl., MS Laud Misc. , fol. v. S. J. Ogilvie-Thomson, Manuscripts in the Laudian Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford, Index of Middle English Prose (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, ), p. , item . I should like to thank Lea T. Olsan for drawing my attention to this reference. See Robert von Fleischhacker, ed., Lanfrank’s ‘Science of Cirurgie’, EETS o.s.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. , . The edition is based on Oxford, Bodl., Ashmole MS , unfoliated. Don C. Skemer, Binding Words: Textual Amulets in the Middle Ages (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, ), pp. –. See also Olsan, ‘Charms and Prayers’. Skemer, Binding Words, p. .

A Web of Paper



grete þing stondeth stille in a place as in the breste’, taking this thing out may lead to bleeding, and then a surgeon must be called. These examples show a keen interest in using paper in traditional medical practices as an alternative to textiles to treat injuries. It seems that some medical customs, which traditionally employed linen cloth and wool to medicate and wrap wounds, but also to make potions, could be adapted to use paper as a convenient substitute. This seems to be a recurrent theme in recipes. In a late fifteenth-century recipe, brown paper, a lower quality type of paper, is invoked as an ingredient to heal a head wound: ‘ffor the sowndinge in the hedd: take ij sheetes of browne paper’. The wrapping of paper around a sore head is part of a wider practice of selecting paper for quotidian functions. The paper selected for these uses, as I will explain in the next chapter, is of a very different kind and it is often referred to in contemporary accounts as ‘espendable’. Paper by the fifteenth century is fully integrated into mundane needs for which we also have evidence in the fourteenth century. For example, paper bought by the imprisoned king of France, John the Good, in  was used to wrap up the six ‘escrins’ which the king purchased to conserve the large quantity of jam he had also bought on the same day from a merchant in London. Was the paper bought to make pretty presents or for protecting the boxes? It is not possible to say. The paper which fastened Edward IV’s box of books from London to Eltham might have been used both as security and protection during the transportation. If paper was used to protect valuable objects and secure their contents, it was also employed for ludic purposes and leisurely pursuits. For instance, playing cards were popular in aristocratic circles, and it has been argued that they were made out of paper. Paper towards the end of the fourteenth century also started to be used in heraldry and in tournaments. For example, in his expedition to Prussia in the s, the private chamber of Henry of Bolingbroke purchased ‘iij papris armorum domini empties   





Glasgow, University Library, MS Hunter , fol. v. Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.., fol. v. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. , fol. v, available at Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica, https://gallica.bnf.fr/. The accounts are transcribed in Louis Claude Douèet d’Arcq, Comptes de l’argenterie des rois de France au xive Siècle (Paris: J. Renouard, ), p. . ‘Robert Boillett for blac papir and nailles for closyng and fastenyng of divers cofyns of fyrre wherein the Kinges books were conveyed and caried from the Kinges grete Warderobe in London unto Eltham’, in Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York: Wardrobe Accounts of Edward the Fourth, with a Memoir of Elizabeth of York, and Notes ed. by Nicholas Harris Nicolas (London: W. Pickering, ), p. . Mu¨ller, White Magic, pp. –.



Paper Stories

ibidem pro dicto heraud’ and ‘xij scochons papiris armorum domini’ (‘for the purchase of three papers for the armour of the master for the said herald’ and ‘ paper escutcheons for the armour of the master’). Local artists were enlisted to make heralding insignia especially for Henry on several occasions. Escutcheons or depictions of coats of arms are attested in English and Latin sources, and seem to have been particularly fashionable in the fourteenth century. Precise references to these decorative badges painted on paper are attested to in fewer documents, but they do make an appearance and show the ways in which paper afforded representation and mediated meaning. Medieval accounts and recipes show a steep increase in the demand for paper to cover both the need to write and the need to wrap goods, or to provide a sealed, clean surface for a practical activity such as making confectionary. At the end of the fourteenth century, in a recipe on how to make ‘Gobbettes ryal’, or royal bites, a type of confectionery which was made with red roses and sugar, the advice is to preserve the sweets ‘in fayre cofyns vpon a faure whijt paper and kepe it, for þat confectioun is gode and prophitable for eny man or woman’. In these recipes, paper has clearly become a household object, a material readily available in culinary practices as it was in medicinal remedies. By the end of the fifteenth century, medieval society considered paper as a commodity which could be employed everywhere in the household, from the kitchen to the hall and the chamber. Paper also could be used in private and professional areas, such as an artist’s workshop as a tool to dry pigments as an alternative to parchment, but also for the storage of pigments and to make funnels. The advantages of paper go beyond its capacity to receive writing; as I will discuss further in the next chapter, the production of paper went through a number of stages which enabled the diversification of paper as a product with the consequences of enabling different typologies of paper to be used in different and specialized ways. Wrapping paper is not made with the same primary material as the finest paper for writing, and yet it derives from the process of selecting the rags needed to make the best paper.

  



Toulmin Smith and Kyngeston, Expeditions to Prussia, pp. –. DMLBS, ‘scuchettum’; MED, ‘scochǒun’, (n., ); and OED, ‘scutcheon’ (n., ). In Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.., p. , and edited in Mark Clarke, The Craft of Lymmyng and the Maner of Steynyng: Middle English Recipes for Painters, Stainers, Scribes, and Illuminators, EETS o.s.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), p. . Clarke, The Craft of Lymmyng, l. , p. .

Paper: Another Story



Paper: Another Story The paper story traced in this chapter builds significantly on what is currently known about the arrival of paper to England, its knowledge, acceptance, implementation and diffusion. The journey of paper to England is concurrent with the speed of its technological development, and initially served the need to write, to communicate and to exchange information as well as to record business. Paper was a light material, particularly well-suited for the exchange of news. Its introduction into thirteenth-century Western communication practices facilitated the spread of the knowledge of paper to those countries which did not establish a papermaking industry. This is how paper arrived in England. Its use on the ground was then further honed by Italian mercantile record-keeping customs, which were deeply connected with the wool trade. After paper arrived, it flourished and started to be used by local scribes and English society more widely. Paper can also be understood as a luxurious item, as well as a ductile material which can be readily employed for various uses across multiple locales and spaces. This narrative has shown the extraordinary capacity of papermakers to adapt and diversify paper as a product and ultimately to develop paper as a commodity for many uses across a range of public and private spaces. When paper arrived in the English household, it started to be employed in a variety of ways, and spread into practices which required a pliable, porous and easily pulpable material to support medical and culinary recipes, as well as adaptable for wrapping goods and still fulfilling writing needs. This process is very much embedded into fourteenth–century culture, and the use of paper in book production is part of this culture. Medieval people invented new ways of accommodating paper in their lives as the material became more popular, and its commercialization more agile. Paper in England did not arrive ‘late’; it arrived concurrently with the diaspora of paper in other European regions from centres of paper production out towards European markets, which sought paper and accommodated it in their various needs. In the following chapter, I will consider the details of such commercialization, and discuss the complexities of the paper trade on economic grounds.

 

The Economics of Paper

Scholars often link the economics of medieval manuscript production to the cost of books and their writing materials. In this chapter, I propose that thinking about the economics of the manufacturing of books requires a closer look at a wider range of factors. The story of paper in the previous chapter emphasized that paper was a commodity which travelled and was traded across space and time. It also demonstrated that paper existed in a variety of qualities, quantities and contexts, and the selection of paper as a writing and trading material had a purpose beyond its cost. These considerations are too often brushed aside with a quick assessment and recourse to prices. In the following investigation, I wish to suggest another way of thinking about the economics of paper. I propose that the adoption of paper is dependent on the commercialization, availability and distribution of this product. This adoption relies on how people connect in a wide network of relationships, and it is part of well-established trading routes associated with spices. Cost in this discussion is intentionally relegated to secondary considerations. It is undeniable that cost matters, but it polarizes the discussion into two main types of book making: expensive versus cheap. The argument, then, is often proposed that using paper made for inexpensive books and dramatically reduced the book’s price. This understanding has forcefully and ubiquitously influenced literary histories and commentaries across 

See N. E. Bell, ‘The Price of Books in Medieval England’, The Library, . (), – and W. L. Schramm, ‘The Cost of Books in Chaucer’s Time’, Modern Language Notes,  (), –. These two studies have been very influential, and are a good starting point, but little work has been done on medieval accounts to refine their findings. On paper, for instance, Bell focuses on the value rather than thinking about the actual cost of the material (p. ). Schramm does not question what a ‘quire’ of paper may imply, assuming that it is the same as a quire of parchment (p. ). For a more nuanced discussion of prices of material in French book production, see the discussion in Ezio Ornato and Carla Bozzolo, eds, Pour une histoire du livre manuscrit au moyen âge: trois essais de codicologie quantitative,  vols (Paris: Éditions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ), vol. , pp. –.



The Economics of Paper



literary genres and manuscript studies, arguing that the decrease in cost enabled more readers to read. For instance, Howard, anticipating a new wave of interest in editorial matters and manuscript work in Chaucerian studies during the s and s, discussed the impact of paper on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in precisely these terms, and argued that ‘the introduction of paper into Europe in the twelfth century is one of the most important events in European intellectual history – compared to it, the printing press was only gadgetry’. Lyall significantly nuanced this argument, noting that even though ‘a quire of paper (twenty-five sheets) cost no more than the average skin . . . it gave eight times as many leaves of equivalent size’. I share Howard’s admiration for the introduction of paper in medieval written culture and find Lyall’s argument equally persuasive. The understanding that there could have been a financial benefit in using paper for writing and in book production is true, even though it did not materialize immediately, but I maintain that it is not the most important factor of the success of paper in the European West and in England. In economic terms, the law of supply and demand of paper across Europe had an impact on its cost as the technology developed and spread in several countries during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Medieval writers might also know of an economic advantage in the choice of their writing material, but the extent of that preoccupation has still not been fully understood either for paper or for parchment. Clanchy made this point clearly and succinctly when he corrected the existing narrative surrounding the assumption that ‘parchment was rare and expensive, and that its high cost obstructed the spread of literacy’. He explained that different grades of parchment were available in the medieval period, ranging from ‘the finest parchments, required for illuminated manuscripts like the Bury Bible’ to ‘cheaper varieties’. Furthermore, he noted that other costs were associated with the production of books and documents, and that all these expenses had to be evaluated in relation to the cost of 

 

 

See the important discussion in Parkes, ‘The Literacy’, pp. – and Erik Kwakkel, ‘Commercial Organization and Innovation’, in The Production of Books in England –, ed. by Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. Howard, The Idea of the Canterbury Tales, p. . Lyall, ‘Material’, p. . In this context, Wolfe notes the difficulty of thinking about paper as cheap in the early modern period: see Heather Wolfe, ‘Was Early Modern Writing Paper Expensive?’, The Collation (), https://collation.folger.edu///writing-paper-expensive/ (accessed  December ). Key essays include Kwakkel, ‘A New Type of Book’ and Rust, ‘Love Stories’, p. .   See Albro, Fabriano, pp. –. Clanchy, From Memory, p. . Ibid.



The Economics of Paper

living. The relationship between quality, price and use of parchment still requires attention. This is, of course, similarly true for paper. The introduction of paper to English medieval culture is not straightforward, because the acceptance of a new technology in any culture relates to a number of causes, which may be influenced by the affordance of the technology itself and society’s readiness. People learned to develop and use the technology of paper in an array of ways from letter writing to book production, medical applications and other practical uses. The cultural practices that emerged from these uses were directly related to the properties of the material itself, and influenced the selection of the material itself. The answer to why paper was chosen rather than parchment in book production and beyond cannot simply be a given, assuming that paper is the cheaper of the two. Cost is only one of the many factors that may be considered in the multifaceted scenarios of medieval book production and medieval paper economy, and is, perhaps, not even the determining one. The economic choice of writing on paper has wider implications than its cost and the amount of the writing area that this material affords. This choice is dependent on the availability of paper, its distribution from the centres of paper production to Europe as well as personal or professional preferences. Likewise, the term ‘paper’ is often used in scholarship in a general sense to indicate a man-made rag-derived material. Medieval society, however, qualified this term and such qualification is a prerequisite to any further consideration of cost. Book production should be considered in relation to paper sizes, quality, selling units and, only as a consequence of all these considerations, prices. Such narratives are found in the accounts, registers and correspondence which are consulted to see what medieval people bought, from where and from whom, and they offer precious evidence of paper circulation and use.

Close Reading of an Account A rich and informative context of paper consumption can be found in the accounts of the household of King John II of France during his captivity in  

Ibid. Recent scholarship has focused on assessing how the utilization of parchment scrap in book production may have reduced the cost of the medieval book, and some attention has been given to the quality of parchment: see Erik Kwakkel, ‘Discarded Parchment as Writing Support in English Manuscript Culture’, English Manuscript Studies: –,  (), –. For a wider consideration on sustainability, see Hannah Ryley, ‘Waste Not, Want Not: The Sustainability of Medieval Manuscripts’, Green Letters,  (), pp. – and her forthcoming book on medieval parchment.

Close Reading of an Account



England in the middle of the fourteenth century. I have mentioned some of the entries of the account previously, and I now return to a closer reading of these accounts as they open a window into the multifaceted components of English fourteenth-century paper trade. This discussion will enable a more detailed analysis of size, quality, colouring and finishing of paper in England. The accounts are written on a paper register, which was kept by Denys de Collors, the trusted chaplain and notary of the king, and relate to the last years of the king’s imprisonment from  July  to  July . Matthews has already commented on this invaluable source of information for ‘showing the wide range of spices and drugs available in England in the middle of the fourteenth century’. Equally, the evidence of paper consumption in these accounts is remarkable. The purchase of paper across these accounts is made in significant amounts, and is made from several merchants across different English towns. Parchment is also bought, but less frequently. I have collated these entries in Table ., which shows the details of the people involved in the purchasing of paper and parchment, the place of purchase, the type of paper purchased, the cost and the date of the transaction. The records do not always specify the purpose of the purchase of paper, but when they do they offer a glimpse into why the king’s clerks and personnel bought paper to fulfil the everyday needs of his household. Special paper for shredding was purchased for the spicer and bought in Boston from another spicer, Jehan Kelleshulle. As this entry is inserted after an itemized list detailing the purchase of sugar, conserve and several types of spices, it is reasonable to suggest that this type of paper was used to prepare sachets to store spices. Paper was also bought for wrapping, as we have seen earlier, and for writing. The qualification regarding the paper for writing ‘de la grant forme’ confirms that paper circulated in different sizes, a smaller and larger shape, and probably the larger format was used for writing, although we have already seen that large and small sizes were used at least for record keeping. 

 

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. . The paper is watermarked chancery paper, folded in folio and measuring  mm by  mm, with a watermark of two spheres impaled on a cross. This is not in Briquet. The watermark is clearly visible on several blank folios; for example, see fol. r, available at Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ (accessed  December ). Leslie G. Matthews, ‘King John of France and the English Spicers’, Medical History  (), –. Douèet d’Arcq, Comptes, pp. –.



The Economics of Paper

Table . Paper in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. * Seller

Place

Type

Cost

Date

Michiel Girart

London

 quires, paper

s. d.

Jehan Weles

London

 dozen, parchment

s. d.

Michiel Girart

London

 quires, paper

s. d.

Pierre de BelleAssise Jehan Kelleshulle

Lincoln

 quires, paper

s.

Boston

d.

Jehan Kelleshulle

Boston

 quires, paper for shredding for the spicer  quires, paper

Thursday,  July  Thursday,  July  Thursday,  July  Tuesday,  September  Monday,  October 

Wile, parchment maker in Lincoln Pierre de BelleAssise Jehan Kelleshulle

Lincoln

 dozen, parchment

s.

Lincoln

 quires, paper

s. d.

Boston

 quires

s. d.

Jehan Huitasse

London

d.

Peter, the parchment maker Berthélemi Mine, spicer Jehan Fauveau

London

‘main’, paper and a little parchment for master J. le Royer when he was in London  dozen, parchment

s. d.

Sunday,  May 

London

 quires, paper

d.

London

 dozen, parchment, delivered to the secretaries  quires, paper  dozen, parchment, s per dozen

s. d.

Monday,  June  Friday,  June 

s. d. s.

Friday,  June  Sunday, feast of St John 

 quires, paper for wrapping  quires, large paper for writing, ‘de la grant forme, à escrire’

d.

Sunday,  June  Sunday,  June 

Berthélemi Mine William, the parchment maker Berthélemi Mine, spicer The same Berthélemi

London London London London

s.

s. d.

Tuesday,  November  Sunday, ‘darrenier de novembre’,  Sunday,  January  Friday,  January  Thursday,  March 

* The accounts have been transcribed in Louis Claude Douèet d’Arcq, Comptes de l’argenterie des rois de France au xive siècle (Paris: J. Renouard, ), pp. –.

Close Reading of an Account



These accounts confirm that paper was used frequently, and that it could be found easily. This is England in the s, almost a century before the arrival of printing in Westminster. Table . shows a vibrant mid-fourteenth-century paper economy and a specialized market for the purchase of paper. Parchment was bought exclusively from parchment makers in London and Lincoln, and seems to have had a fixed price of  shillings per dozen. Paper was sold in Lincoln and Boston as well as in London mainly in quires, and with significant variation in prices. I will consider these prices later, but it is worth noting in this context that the variation in price may depend on the type and perhaps size of paper that was purchased, as indicated by the explanation attached to the purpose for its purchase. Paper for writing was different from the paper for wrapping and this is reflected in how much merchants charged for the item, which further nuances our discussion of paper’s price and indeed its role in book production. The main protagonists of this flourishing paper trade were merchants who also sold drugs and spices. King John’s accounts often identify these merchants as spicers, and some of them belonged to the Grocers’ Company. Girart (Gerard/Gerrard) and Mine (Myne) were Italian merchants. They were well integrated into the London mercantile community: Girart is referred to as a Lombard, and married Cecily de Bosenham to whom Thomas Blundle left lands and tenements in Lombard Street. Bartholomew Mine was a trusted supplier of the king during his imprisonment in the Tower of London. He was a Florentine and a citizen of London, a member of the Grocers’ Company, and served as apothecary to Edward II and Edward III. Pierre de Belle-Assise was a merchant in Lincoln, but little is known of Kelleshulle of Boston. London, and in particular Lombard Street, was a prominent business and trading hub with a very active community of Italian merchants, importing spices and paper. This was also the district in which Chaucer grew up: Vintry Yard was situated close by Lombard Street. By the s, Chaucer had left his childhood home, and had begun his career serving in aristocratic households, but his proximity to this London district would have created  

 

Matthews, ‘King John’, p. ; Helen Lesley Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants in London’ (PhD thesis, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, ), p. . Mine appears in disputes recorded in the Grocers’ Company, Archives of the Grocers’ Company (London: ), p. . See also Matthews, ‘King John’, p.  and Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants’, pp. ,  and . Matthews, ‘King John’, pp. –. Marion Turner, Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, ), p. .



The Economics of Paper

multiple opportunities to see and experience paper, and provide inspiration for the pioneering of paper in his literary imagination. The involvement of spicers in the paper trade happened in more than one country and reflects broader mercantile practices documented in fourteenth-century manuals. In the Pratica della Mercatura, a manual for merchants, Francesco Baldicci Pegolotti notes that paper was amongst those products dealt by people who sold spices. Pergolotti worked for the Bardi, Italian merchants in London, and travelled extensively. Because of his relationship with the Bardi, he spent the years from  to  in England, but wrote his book in the late years of the s when stationed in Cyprus. His manual is one of the first of this kind and contains descriptions of goods and prices with an emphasis on where to find the best merchandise. In this discussion under the trade of the spicer, Pergolotti listed several types of paper for retailing and circulation: ‘Carte marchigiane’ (paper from the Marche region in Italy), ‘Carte reali’ (royal paper), ‘Carte di Dommasco’ (paper from Damascus in Syria), ‘Carte da stracciare’ (paper for shredding). By designating paper with a specific place, country or region, he provided geographical indications of quality which will assist merchants in seeking out the best paper. Paper from the ‘Marche’ region and from Syria, Pergolotti wrote, is of superior quality. This commercial knowledge confirms that the diffusion of Italian paper in Europe and in England is directly linked to its variability in quality, and my reading of the accounts of King John adds further evidence to the economic meaning of paper as a product in medieval England; that is, the various types of paper which may have been available for retailing as well as their marketing. The way in which this reputation was gained, as well as the background, original evidence and the technical vocabulary which was used to produce and commercialize Italian paper needs further consideration, because it explains the comprehensive nature of King John’s accounts and what is to be expected when reading medieval accounts. Although paper from France and the Low Countries also started to be imported in England from the second decades of the fifteenth century, in what follows, I will focus mainly on Italian paper-production practices and

 

See Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, La pratica della mercatura, ed. by Allan Evans (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, ), p. . This sense of quality of paper from the East is very well explained in Amar, ‘The History of the Paper Industry in Al-Sham in the Middle Ages’.

The Particulars of Paper



trading routes. The significance of the volume of the commercialization of Italian paper warrants such study.

The Particulars of Paper The study of the quality, size and finishing of medieval paper relies on what survives, but the interpretation of this evidence comes with a number of pitfalls, which I shall discuss before delving into the nature of the accounts’ evidence. There are two main ways to discover information about the variety of medieval paper: the analysis of the paper which was used in books and documents, and the perusal of account books, merchants’ inventories and correspondence. The first will offer direct information about size and quality of paper, and the latter will offer additional knowledge on types of paper which may not have survived, as well as a social and cultural history of the commercialization of this product. Matching up this evidence is difficult, because the alignment of data deriving from an analysis of surviving paper books with the information retrieved from medieval accounts and records is challenging. Scholars can never be sure that paper purchased in accounts can be that identified in extant books, and it is equally perplexing to map this information upon specific localities outside the more obvious papermaking centres in central Italy, and Fabriano in particular. The problem in this case is not to give the impression that the majority of the paper stocks, widely used in medieval Europe, may be of one exclusive provenance, when we know that paper was produced across the medieval period in a number of places. Italian paper, however, had a wide international reach, and Italian papermakers used their expertise to set up paper mills across Europe, from Nuremberg, Germany, to Stevenage, England. Many of the people who were involved in the diaspora of paper across Europe either came from the Marche region or learned the craft in paper mills of the area. But one 

   

See the preliminary observations in Heawood, ‘Sources’. On the wider circulation of French paper, in, for instance, the Low Countries, see I. Van Wegens, ‘Paper Consumption and the Foundation of the First Paper Mills in the Low Countries, th–th Century’, in Papier im mittelalterlichen Europa: Herstellung und Gebrauch ed. by Meyer, Schultz and Schneidmu¨ller, (Berlin: De Gruyter, ) pp. –. On the discussion of paper evidence in medieval paper books, see Chapter . For a discussion on these problems, see Ornato et al., vol. , pp. –.  See Chapter , pp. –. Hills, Papermaking in Britain, pp. –. See Giancarlo Castagnari, Contributi italiani alla diffusione della carta in occidente tra XIV e XV secolo: convegno di studio,  luglio  (Fabriano: Pia Università dei Cartai, ), in particular the contributions by Derenzini and Liparoni; Cavaciocchi, Produzione e commercio della carta e del libro secc. XIII–XVIII. Castagnari discusses the case of a certain Vitaruccio Cartaio, who, by a notarial act,



The Economics of Paper

must use caution in making the argument about an exclusive expertise pertaining to people from a particular geographical area. For instance, there are documents recording the involvement of a certain Gualterius Anglesius making paper in Genoa in , which suggests that paper was made in Genoa, and that English people made it. It is certainly possible that the training and movement of specialized workers influenced a standardization and uniformity of the process, as well making similar the finishing of medieval paper, akin to how other arts and crafts worked in a master and apprentice relationship. Scholars have argued that the area around Fabriano might have functioned as an initial influence on the diffusion of the papermaking industry in other European areas. I turn to a discussion of papermaking practices from this area to foreground and explain what is known about this practice, which will supplement the information I provided in Chapter . Through this, I explain how to trace the surviving evidence of papermaking and commercialization in accounts, before moving to the evidence of books themselves. A Paper Merchant’s Register In order to learn a little bit more about how contemporary sources referred to paper, it is useful to look at an entry from a surviving register of a paper merchant. The register of the company of Lodovico di Ambrogio, paper merchant in Fabriano, has recently become available for further analysis in an edition by Graziosi. It is a fascinating insight into the business of a paper merchant and his company at the turn of the fifteenth century. Lodovico di Ambrogio descended from a family of papermakers, and the transactions in his book include goods received and sent over a period of sixteen years between  August  and  April . Even though it may not be possible to evaluate the extent to which Lodovico di Ambrogio’s paper business was representative of a wider paper trade across Europe, it is still an important case which will help to elucidate the subsequent commercialization of paper in England.



 

was made to practise his craft only in Fabriano and in no other district. See Castagnari, ‘Le origini’, p. ; Castagnari, ‘La diaspora’, pp. –. R. Lopez, ‘The English and the Manufacture of Writing Materials in Genoa’, Economic History Review,  (–), –. On this see also Hills, Papermaking in Britain, p.  and Kedar, ‘The Use of Paper in the Frankish Levant’, p. . See Elisabetta Graziosi, ‘Il registro contabile di Lodovico di Ambrogio, mercante di carta: un’edizione’ (degree thesis, Universita Ca’ Foscari, Venice, ), pp. –. See ibid.

The Particulars of Paper



Lodovico di Ambrogio’s company did not exclusively deal with paper; the register contains items relating to the general trade in merchandizing as well as more specifically to paper. The accounts record the purchase of some of the key products which were indispensable for the production of paper. The primary ingredient, rags, were bought in great quantity. Felts, the essential tool for drying the sheets of paper after they came out of the mould, were often received in exchange for paper, but also silk, leather and iron were traded together with paper. The acquisition of dried pulp (pisto or paratura) to be liquified at subsequent times is also mentioned. Paper, naturally, is one of the items which occurs more frequently, and it may be useful to look closely at the first item in the register. Mandammo a dì XIIIIor d’aghusto a Pisa a Nicholò de Jacopo Riçiardi da Sena per Vegnoçço de Cenni vetturale da Firença, in tre muli, balle VI de charte, cioè: balle IIIIo reali de grifone riseme  per balla e balle II picole fine de meço cervio riseme  per balla, per fiorini  la soma. Posta in Pisa. Intorno bracia  trelici e risema  megloramento per balla. Mandamoli, le vendesse per noi, la lettera dicìa a Lorenço Çannelli a Petrasanta. On the day of  August, we sent six bales of paper, that is:  bales of royal with the sign of the griffon in  reams per bale and  bales of small fine paper with the sign of the half deer in  reams per bale, for the sum of  florins to Pisa Nicholo de Jacopo Riciardi from Siena in Pisa via Vegnocco de Cenni, carrier from Florence. Post in Pisa. Around  arms of ‘trelici’ and  ream of wrapping paper per bale. We are sending it so that you can sell it on our behalf to Lorenzo Cannelli in Petrasanta, as per letter.

The register gives the format of the paper stock (royal and small), its watermark (griffon and half deer), but also qualifies the small format of paper as fine. The description adds that each bale is wrapped with one ream of paper of lesser quality paper and trelici, possibly hemp ropes. The careful packaging shows the care merchants put into commercializing paper. The register also notes how many reams of paper are included in each bale. It is usually thought that those sheets ready for the market were folded into quires, quinterni; that is, groups of  sheets each. Then  quinterni would be tied into a ream and then each bale would contain  reams, which makes about , sheets per bale. The note in the account, however, shows that in the case of larger formats like royal only  reams were included in a bale – half the reams of the smaller format per  

 For an overview of the manuscript, see ibid., pp. –. Ibid., p. . F. Pirani, I maestri cartari, ed. by G. Pinto (Florence: Libreria Chiari, ), p. .



The Economics of Paper

bale. Elsewhere in the account  reams per bale are also found in other types of paper; for example, fioretto (sometimes ) and vergate. (This terminology, for which I have not found an adequate translation, has been clearly discussed and explained by Albro, and I will return to this later in the chapter.) The family of Lodovico di Ambrogio ran the paper business from the beginning of the thirteenth century, and the register from  to  is one of seven surviving account books from the family’s activities. Lodovico di Ambrogio not only traded in paper, but also directly rented and managed two paper mills, for which additional registers survive. Both Lodovico di Ambrogio’s registers and those of his paper mills provide a set of useful terms with which we can start thinking about sizes and quality of paper and their commercialization. Merchants’ and papermakers’ account books record a number of interesting practices. They detail the acquisition of damaged paper and paper trimming for recycling. They also log types of paper in relation to dimension, quality and watermark. They note sizes: royal, small, recciute (chancery) and large, and quality: fine, piana, fioretto, fiorettone and miglioramento, in relation to its watermark. Over the sixteen years that this register covers, Lodovico traded paper with a bell, half-deer, griffon, head of a deer, half-moon and half-star, head of a stork, head of a dog, double headed dog, two ‘o’s, ‘p’, half-griffon, pomegranate, dragon, flower, ship, dog (Italian ‘bracco’), bears, libra, crown, mount with a circle, goose and lily. The combination of these characteristics made the traded paper stock identifiable and thus traceable in commercial terms. Beyond the information about watermarks, these registers also provide tangible evidence of quality. Paper is considered not as a singular or homogeneous product, but comes with diversity in quality, size and finishing.

 



 

Albro, Fabriano, pp. –. See also Labarre, Dictionary. Not all the registers have been transcribed, but they cover the period from  to  and are held at the Archivio Storico di Fabriano. The registers are described by Lipparoni and partially transcribed in Nora Lipparoni, ‘Il ruolo dei mercanti fabrianesi nella commercializzazione della carta e nella organizzazione della attività produttiva tra xiv e xv secolo’, in Castagnari, Contributi italiani alla diffusione della carta in occidente, pp. – (pp. –). These two mills produced paper-stocks with the following watermarks respectively: deer’s head, bell, half-moon and star, half-moon and half-star, from  to , and griffon, bell, half-moon and star, and half-moon and half-star across a number of formats and quality in ; see Lipparoni, ‘Il ruolo’. For an overview on recycling and trimming, see Ornato et al., La carta occidentale, vol. , pp. –. Graziosi, ‘Il registro’, p. .

The Particulars of Paper



The Quality of Paper These differences were consequences of the production line as well as the raw material employed in making the product. The selection of rags is at the core of papermaking. The quality and the colour of paper is determined by the types of rags which have been employed in the process of making this material. Table . shows the correlation between the initial quality of rags and the finished product. The awareness of these highly distinctive products is also evident in merchants’ registers. For instance, Lodovico di Ambrogio records paper of fiorettone, which may be of a quality between fioretto and miglioramento, but also notes better-quality paper as fine. These records indicate, as does Table ., that colour was a major concern for papermakers, so much so that it is believed that paper made during the winter months might have a better quality and be whiter. The outside temperature seems to have had an effect on colour: cold temperatures would make whiter paper. Table . Type of rags in relation to quality of paper* Type of rags

Type of paper

Cenci boni, the best quality rag, white Cenci vergati, lesser quality, striped Cenci grossi, inferior quality, dark

Fina or bona, fine white paper, good quality Fioretto, lesser quality white paper Miglioramento, lowest quality paper, often brown or coloured, used for wrapping and packaging

* Table . has been compiled using Ulisse Mannucci, La gualchiera medievale (Fabriano: Museo delle Carta e della Filigrana, ), p.  and Albro, Fabriano, p. . Albro adds another pile of Cenci neri, dark colour.

The seasonality of paper production may also be picked out from contemporary correspondence, which confirms the availability of paper at different times of the year and the keen interest of merchants in requesting a good quality product of specific provenance. Iacobo Soldanieri in Perugia wrote to the company of Lodovico Adimari di Guido and Andrea del maestro Ambrogio in Pisa about various local factors affecting his market, and then notes: 

Albro, Fabriano, p. .



The Economics of Paper Le carte fini dovremo chominciare a ricievere dopo le feste: e, chome l’avremo, ve le veremo mandando; e ’n alter non ci ’npacieremo, se no’ ’l ci dite. Piacieci che que’ da Gienova vengha vendendo quella di Pioraco con pro’; e anche ci piacie gli abiate ricordato, se ne vuole più, si faccia un pocho inanzi, però che lle sono molto richieste; e, volendone, si convien bene spesso aspettare un pezo. We should start to receive the fine papers after the holidays; and as soon as we receive them we will send them. We will not seek out other types, unless you tell us. We are happy to read that in Genoa the paper from Pioraco has a good market, but we would like you to remind them that if they want more they need to give us advance notice, because these [papers] are in demand and, if one wants them, one may need to wait a long time.

The letter is dated  December , and the holidays that Iacobo mentioned must be the traditional Christmas holidays, after which finerquality paper, carte fini, may become available. Whether this assertion is connected to the cycle of the papermaking industry or the holiday season may be open to debate. It is evident that in Lodovico’s registers, his papermaker, Piero de Meo del Vanno, did not send paper in July, and often in June and August only recorded paper of a lesser quality. Perhaps this is an indication of how the production of paper might have been seasonally dependent, and, as a consequence, how it was ordered. The letter shows a lively commercial exchange on how merchants sought out good-quality paper, and how then it was commercialized using main trading routes from Perugia out to other main centres of distribution – in this case Pisa, to then send on to Genoa and elsewhere in Europe. Sizes of Paper Correspondence of this type also emphasizes the importance of the size of paper which (as we have seen) matters at the point of fabrication as well as marketing and commercialization. In another letter, dated  September , the company of Francesco Datini, an affluent merchant from Prato,







Prato, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Datini, busta , inserto , codice , available at The Datini’s Archive, www.istitutodatini.it/schede/archivio/eng/arc-dat.htm (accessed  December ), quotation on the third sheet, which is missing in Federigo Melis, Documenti per la storia economica dei secoli XIII–XVI (Florence: L. S. Olschki, ), pp. –. For a transcription of these registers, see Giovanna Derenzini, ‘La produzione della carta a Fabriano agli inizi del’ ’, in Castagnari, Contributi italiani alla diffusione della carta in occidente, pp. –. Melis, Documenti, p. .

The Particulars of Paper



who for many years ran his business from Avignon, writes to a partner in Pisa regarding the purchasing of paper and the local market. After discussing the number of bales and quality of paper sold, the merchant orders ‘charte tonde di pioragho fini riciute’ (‘trimmed chancery paper from Pioraco’), and concludes the order by explaining: niuna carta grande realle ci mandate però no ciano ispaccio però che mercatanti funno pocho e notai funno asai e volgliono picoli folgli però si pagliano miglio. But do not send us any large royal paper, because it has no distribution, as merchants use little paper, and the notaries who make substantial use prefer smaller sheets, which also pays better.

In this communication, the clerk of the company explains some of the demand for the different sizes. He specifically requests paper of a smaller size because the larger format would not sell. The merchant’s apprehension is tangible and reflects a clear knowledge of his clientele and his market. His customers are merchants and notaries. They use large quantities of paper, but prefer smaller sizes. There is a note here of the savvy entrepreneur when he concludes by explaining that these smaller sheets also provide a larger margin of profit. This comment then implies that the larger format was more difficult to commercialize, because of customers’ preferences, but also perhaps because of its cost. In the King of France’s register, this large-size paper is more expensive than other paper, and it is singled out only once in the records, which might indicate a similar preference for smaller formats in the king’s household. If this is difficult to demonstrate, what is certain is that in medieval Europe and England not only was there a widely acknowledged inclination to distinguish between quality of paper, but people also had developed a liking for specific sizes. Scholars have tried to make sense of the size of paper for a long time; they offer confusing nomenclatures, which proliferate according to the

 

Iris Origo, The Merchant of Prato: Francesco di Marco Datini (Harmondsworth: Penguin, ). Prato, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Datini, busta , inserto , codice , available at The Datini’s Archive, www.istitutodatini.it/schede/archivio/eng/arc-dat.htm (accessed  December ), quotation at the bottom of the second sheet. See also Emanuela Di Stefano, ‘European and Mediterranean Perspectives on the Paper Produced in Camerino-Pioraco and Fabriano at the Apogee of its Medieval Development (th–th Century)’, in Meyer, Schultz and Schneidmu¨ller, Papier im mittelalterlichen Europa: Herstellung und Gebrauch, p.  and also Emanuela Di Stefano, ‘Proiezione europea e mediterranea della carta di camerino-pioraco e di Fabriano all’apogeo dello sviluppo medievale (secoli XIV–XV)’, in Castagnari, Di Stefano and Faggioni, Alle origini della carta occidentale, pp. –.



The Economics of Paper

varying measurement they find in books, especially printed ones. It is certainly true that there was a large variation in the sizes of paper, especially because it seems that the shape of the paper might have reacted to high and low temperatures at the point of manufacture, either by shrinking in hot weather or expanding in cold temperatures. Furthermore, paper merchants’ registers and correspondence regularly note that paper was trimmed before commercialization, which makes it difficult to capture sizes of paper with precision. However, it is now acknowledged that in the fourteenth century a certain degree of standardization took place. The Bologna statues regulated the production of paper in all its aspects: from the type of paper to the thickness and therefore weight per ream to the prices. The sizes were described on a stone of c., which is now held in Bologna at the Museo Civico Medievale. The stone, against which the size of paper could be checked by the buyer, was known to Briquet, and used by him to discuss the importance of sizes in relation to watermarks. The sizes are: imperiale ( mm   mm); realle ( mm   mm), meçane ( mm   mm) and reçute ( mm   mm). Harris captures this discussion succinctly by arguing: The terms ‘Imperial’ and ‘Royal’ applied to large sizes of paper, albeit with some variations, remain in constant use for the whole of the hand-made paper period and beyond; ‘Medium’, albeit with a greater oscillation, also survived for a long time. The fourth term reçute defines a sheet more generally known in Italian as ‘comune’ and in English as ‘chancery’ (itself a derivation from the Italian ‘cancelleresco’, i.e. the Papal administration): this is the essential dimension that, albeit with minor variations, will dominate the papermaking market for centuries to come, especially after  and the advent of printing.



 

 

For a very thorough overview, see Neil Harris, ‘The Shape of Paper’, in Paper and Watermarks as Bibliographical Evidence (Lyons: Institut d’histoire du livre, ), http://ihl.enssib.fr/en/paperand-watermarks-as-bibliographical-evidence/the-shape-of-paper (accessed  December ). For a useful bibliography, see ‘Bibliographical Annotations and Orientations’, nn. ,  and , http://ihl .enssib.fr/en/paper-and-watermarks-as-bibliographical-evidence/bibliographical-annotations-andorientations (accessed  December ). A recent project, inspired by the work of Paul Needham, aims to assist scholars with the sizes of paper. It offers a very wide variety of paper formats. See William Noel, ‘The Needham Calculator’, https://schoenberginstitute.org////theneedham-calculator-–-and-the-flavors-of-fifteenth-century-paper/ (accessed  December ). On the reaction of paper to weather conditions, see Albro, Fabriano, pp. –. The statues are published in Martin Steinmann, Handschriften im Mittelalter: Eine Quellensammlung (Basle: Schwabe Verlag, ), pp. – with a German translation, and further references. Briquet, vol. , pp. –. Briquet also publishes a facsimile of the Bologna’s stone. Harris, ‘The Shape’.

The Particulars of Paper



These sizes were not randomly derived; they built on earlier book practices that applied a mathematical proportion to the cutting of folios from parchment. The shapes of a sheet of paper are proportional and relatable in size to each other with a ratio of :√ (about /, or .). This standard was reached by a formula which permitted the subdivision of the surface of a rectangular D object from the shorter edge to the other shorter edge; and this resulted in the same length of the shorter side of the sheet of the next size down but one. In this way, for example, the short side of a chancery sheet is the same width as half the royal size of paper folded from the shortened edge to the other. Paper thus was made in variable sizes, providing users with a rich variety of choices which could serve different needs. There is, however, one more important aspect in the final determination of the size of paper that needs to be considered; paper could circulate with particular finishing which would operate ‘on-demand’, thus changing the overall shape of the paper being retailed. The Finishing of Paper Trimming is the last stage in the preparation of the sheet of paper for retailing, and seems quite a common practice in the commercialization of medieval paper. We have seen how chancery paper was regarded by the Datini Company as the best-selling product in Avignon. In the same letter, there is also an order for ‘charte tonde’ (trimmed paper). The ‘tonditura’ of the paper would remove the outer edges of the sheet, possibly to eliminate the edges of the frame (deckle) that were left on the sheet at the time of its making. If we were to examine a sheet of handmade paper which has not been trimmed, it would be possible to see the imprint of the free deckles from the papermaking process and the outer edges would look irregular. The practice of trimming paper created a better-finished product for the market, and made the sheet of paper ready for writing. This technique is well-documented in records of the end of the fourteenth century. In the  register of the company of Lodovico di Ambrogio on  October, Lipparoni notes that Lodovico bought sixteen reams of royal paper marked with a hat. He then appointed Niccolò Grassello for the ‘tonditura’ (trimming the sheets) and sold the same paper as ‘carta tonda’   

For the relationship between sizes of paper and parchment, see Marilena Maniaci, ‘Ricette e canoni di impaginazione del libro medievale: nuove osservazioni e verifiche’, Scrineum,  (), p. . See, for a thorough discussion, Needham, ‘Res “Papirea”’, and for a recent discussion, Harris, ‘The Shape’. On the making of paper, see Chapter  (p. ).



The Economics of Paper

(trimmed paper) on  October. The bits of paper removed from the larger sheet would then be sold to make new paper, because nothing would be wasted. The commercialization of trimmed paper is also an important factor to bear in mind when discussing sizes in medieval books. It is not clear why merchants required trimmed paper; presumably this particular type of finishing was important to some of their customers. One can imagine that carefully trimmed paper might be employed for letter-writing purposes, but whatever the reason it is significant to note that medieval merchants and thus society wanted paper with a good finishing. It is common to find medieval books with trimmed edges, but it is not always possible to note whether the trimming took place at the point of binding or earlier. This journey into the particulars of paper – its quality, sizes and finishing – has demonstrated the rich and varied properties of paper. It also invites scholars to think that paper is not one product, but many different types of products which need to be identified and discussed from the outset. This is particularly important in debates on paper in book production, because these properties were known and put to good use by book makers. For example, the variability in sizes was engineered by papermakers to make each shape work with each other, and it is this interoperability which was then exploited when those who made books combined royal and chancery paper in book production practices, and I will return to this idea in Chapter . The picture emerging from the evidence of papermakers’ and paper merchants’ records shows a wellconnected market in which papermakers made the best use of their primary material, rags, to transform it into a desirable commodity, which could be easily procured and commercialized.

Paper Routes to England Numerous studies by economic historians who have reviewed the mercantile communications and trading routes north, south, east and west demonstrate how connectivity from centres of paper production to centres of distribution and consumption across medieval Europe was speedy, efficient and mostly reliable. The medieval world is connected by well-defined   

Lipparoni, ‘Il ruolo’, pp. – n. . See also Ornato et al., vol. , pp. –. On trimmed paper and the recycling of the trimming, see also Ornato et al., vol. , pp. –. Federigo Melis spent much of his career studying the correspondence of the Datini’s Archive and the network of influence and the commercial routes of the Datini’s companies. The bibliography is large, but see, for example, Federigo Melis, ‘Werner Sombart e la navigazione nel medio evo’,

Paper Routes to England



routes and periodic naval expeditions. Paper merchants made use of this intricate web of networked people to place their product on the main European exchange markets, from where it would go to intermediaries and then to retail sales. This operation relied on the transnational reputation of the product itself. Paper was in demand because people knew that it was available in good quality, especially from Italy and the Marche region. This paper with all its characteristics and typologies reached medieval England, and I now turn to the particulars of its journey, investigating its trading routes and the people who may be involved in such trade to further refine our understating of the importation of paper to England. I have already noted in the previous chapter how the wool market and the collection of papal fees intensified Anglo-Italian relationships in the late medieval period. From the thirteenth century, a succession of Italian merchants arrived to profit from this business and ended up serving the English court in exchange for favours and advantages in the wool trade. These Italian merchants often appear in financial and wool transactions, and were put in charge of the customs and the mint, and show up in disputes documented with local traders. From the thirteenth century onwards, they were continuously involved in English affairs. Paper was used by them to record the dynamic relationships that their business generated. They kept accounts and registers of business transactions as early as the end of the thirteenth century, and elected paper as their main tool of communication. The paper they used could have reached England in more than one way. It could have been brought to England by the merchants themselves or sent to them by other European correspondents, trading partners or business branches. Records of these internal





Economia e storia,  (), –; Melis, Documenti; Federigo Melis and Luciana Frangioni, I trasporti e le comunicazioni nel medioevo (Florence: Le Monnier, ); and Federigo Melis and Luciana Frangioni, I mercanti italiani dell’Europa medievale e rinascimentale (Florence: Le Monnier, ). On the worries of trading goods and insurance policies, see also Frangioni, ‘Carteggio’, pp. –. See Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants in London’; Michele Campopiano and Helen Fulton, eds, AngloItalian Cultural Relations in the Later Middle Ages (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ). For a transcription of the accounts of Italian merchants and the extent of their tax collection and business with the English crown, see Chris Brooks and Tony K. Moore, eds, Accounts of the English Crown with Italian Merchant Societies, – (Kew: List and Index Society, ). The foundation of the Italian Borromei bank in the s is proof of this continuous interest, despite the claim that Italians had a difficult time in London at the beginning of the fifteenth century. See J. L. Bolton, ‘London Merchants and the Borromei Bank in the s: The Role of Local Credit Networks’, in Parliament, Personalities and Power: Papers Presented to Linda S. Clark, ed. by H. Kleineke (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, ), pp. –.



The Economics of Paper

transactions are not easy to come by, but such transactions do exist at least for some fifteenth-century Italian businessmen. The London branch of Filippo Borromei’s bank, which was active from , received one ream of paper sent from their branch in Bruges. The item is recorded on  November  in one of the Borromei’s ledgers keeping the accounts of their London branch. Besides such imports, paper is at times included in evidence of the re-export trade. As Lipson notes, ‘foreign goods were imported and then re-exported abroad’, occasionally. In , the bishop of Waterford obtained permission to take several items for his household, including one ‘reme’ of paper, to Ireland from the port of Bristol. Paper in use in England, however, arrived by sea with ships and galleys. From , galleys were sent to the north of Europe from Genoa; from Venice after ; and more regularly from both after . Between  and , it has been estimated that  Venetian galleys reached London and Bruges. This state service not only took spices north, along with silk, paper and other goods, they also exported wool and metals from England and linen and hemp from Flanders. Thus the bulk of paper in use in England arrived via established commercial routes, imported together with spices, linen and other fine cloths in return for the export of wool and cloth in large quantities. 

 

   

I should like to thank James Bolton for providing me with the entries about the paper transactions in the Borromei’s ledgers, which were translated and transcribed for the Borromei Bank Research Project, www.queenmaryhistoricalresearch.org/roundhouse/default.html (accessed  December ). On this project and the business of the Borromei in London and Europe, see Francesco Guidi Bruscoli and James L Bolton, ‘The Borromei Bank Research Project’, in Money, Markets and Trade in Late Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of John H. A. Munro, ed. by Martin Elbl, Ivana Elbl and Lawrin D. Armstrong (Leiden: Brill, ), pp. –. Ephraim Lipson, The Economic History of England, vol. , The Middle Ages, th edn (London: Black, ), p. . ‘Close Rolls, Henry IV: April ’, in A. E. Stamp, Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry IV, vol. , – (London: HMSO, ), p. . British History Online, www.british-history.ac.uk/ cal-close-rolls/hen/vol/p (accessed  December ). Bernard Doumerc, ‘Il dominio del mare’, in Alberto Tenenti et al., eds, Storia di Venezia: dalle origini alla caduta della serenissima (Rome: Istituto della enciclopedia italiana, ), pp. –. Ibid., p. . For a study of the involvement on Bruges in the commercialization of paper, see Van Wegens, ‘Paper Consumption’. See also Melis, ‘Werner Sombart’, pp. –; E. B. Fryde, Studies in Medieval Trade and Finance (London: Hambledon, ) and Melis and Frangioni, I trasporti, pp. –. Several references to paper are included in Pamela Nightingale, A Medieval Mercantile Community: The Grocers’ Company and the Politics and Trade of London, – (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, ); Sutton, The Mercery of London and Pamela Nightingale, Trade, Money, and Power in Medieval England (Aldershot: Ashgate, ). For a wider discussion on how paper, for example, traded with cotton, see Jong-Kuk Nam, Le commerce du coton en Méditerranée à la fin du moyen âge (Leiden: Brill, ), p.  and passim.

Paper Routes to England



The Importation of Paper to England Despite the reform of the English customs system in , which initiated itemized record practices and required that payments had to be made for imports and exports by aliens and denizens, it is difficult to assess precisely the quantities and types of paper imported into England, the ships that imported it, the owners of those ships and the merchants who imported the goods. Records become clearer from the end of the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries. In this period, the English customs system was divided into sixteen districts, including Bridgwater, Exeter, Southampton, Sandwich, London, Ipswich, Lynn, Hull and Berwick. As Jenks explains in his introduction to The London Custom Accounts, the Custom Officers drew up an account which listed ) the ships which had entered or left harbour in the entire customs district with dutiable goods on board, ) the merchants who owned the goods in question, ) the value (or amount) of customable goods and ) the customs or subsidy charge they had incurred. At the same time, the controller drew up a controlment roll, which included all information in the customs’ accounts with the exception of the charges on the merchandise in question.

This documentation would then be presented to the Exchequer for checking, and it is now an invaluable source of information for the arrival of medieval goods from abroad. Precise data on the importation of paper across these custom districts is not easy to come by because only patchy records have survived, although extant records increase substantially from the end of the fourteenth into the fifteenth centuries. The records of the port of London show that paper was shipped into the country by an international and national pool of ships’ captains for a wide range of clientele, and in fairly large quantities. Table . collects some    



See, for example, the discussion in Gras, The Early English Customs System. Stuart Jenks, ed., The London Customs Accounts:  Henry VI (/) (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, ), p. xviii. Ibid., p. . The information is held amongst approximately , records of TNA E  (Particulars of customs accounts), some of which have been transcribed in full. See, for example, Wendy R. Childs, ed., The Customs Accounts of Hull – (Leeds: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, ) and David B. Quinn and Alwyn A. Ruddock, eds, The Port Books: Or Local Customs Accounts of Southampton for the Reign of Edward IV,  vols (Southampton: Cox & Sharland, ). TNA E . See H. S. Cobb, ed., The Overseas Trade of London Exchequer Customs Accounts – (London: London Record Society, ). See also Angelo Nicolini, ‘Apodixie di scribi genovesi in Inghilterra nel “”’, Studi in memoria di Giorgio Costamagna  (), –. The London Customs Account project directed by Stuart Jenks has now transcribed the London port accounts



The Economics of Paper

Table . Importation of paper in The National Archives, refs E//, E//, E//* Year

Quantity of Paper

Type in reams unless specified



 reams



,. reams

–

,. reams

 spendabilis (expendable)  papiri reali  scribabilis  reali et scribabilis  not specified  spendabilis  papiri rialli  papiri scrivabilis  balis papiri madefacti et spendabilis  quaterniis papiri depicti  reme papiri depicti ,. not specified  quaternis papiri depicti  papiri depicti  papiri spendabilis  dossenis papiri depicti ,. not specified

* For a transcription, see Stuart Jenks, ed., The London Customs Accounts, Part I: The Plantagenet dynasty (/–), Number :  Richard II (/)– Richard II (/ ) (Lu¨beck: Hanseatic History Association, ); Stuart Jenks, ed., The London Customs Accounts, Part I: The Plantagenet Dynasty (/–), Number : / Richard II () (Lu¨beck: Hanseatic History Association, ); and Stuart Jenks, ed., The London Customs Accounts, Part I: The Plantagenet Dynasty (/–), Number :  Richard II (/)– Richard II (/) (Lu¨beck: Hanseatic History Association, ).

of this evidence of importation. It shows that during the reign of Richard II, at the end of the fourteenth century, at least , reams of paper were imported through the port of London. The number increases exponentially through the years.

from Richard II to Henry VIII and can be found on the project website at www .hansischergeschichtsverein.de/london-customs-accounts?seite= (accessed  December ). For an overview on how to approach the evidence emerging from the Custom Rolls of the second half of the fifteenth century in book history, see Paul Needham, ‘The Customs Rolls as Documents for the Printed-Book Trade in England’, in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. , –, ed. by J. B. Trapp and Lotte Hellinga (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –; and on trading, see Nightingale, A Medieval Mercantile Community and Sutton, The Mercery of London. This area of investigation still offers much potential for further research on how paper reached England.

Paper Routes to England



It is striking that the typology of paper which was declared at the point of entering the country directly matches the one listed in the accounts of King John II of France. There is a distinction between paper for writing and paper for other uses, which is termed spendabilis. It is not altogether clear what spendabilis paper may be used for, but it seems to refer to paper which can be disposed of. This is possibly the paper for wrapping and shredding which appears in Table .. Such paper quality is, however, in demand, or so it seems. On  July , Galfrido Brook imported ‘ balis papiri continentibus  remes spendabilis’ (‘ bales of paper which include  reams of expendable paper’) via the ship of Frend Johnson. Clearly, there was a great demand for disposable paper in late fourteenthcentury England. Yet these accounts do not give many details about quality, although they refer to paper for writing and to the large size ‘royal’, which intimates the importance of the size of paper, as mentioned. It is equally notable, though, that the majority of the imported paper is not identified by specific quality or size. The unit of measurement is reams, but records also mention bale and quaternis. The accounts also list items which are described as papiri depicti. It is not clear what this refers to – whether painted paper or a form of paper decoration. Painted paper seems to have been in fashion since the end of the fourteenth century and in demand throughout the fifteenth century; for what use, however, is less clear. Sutton notes that mercers imported ‘painted paper’ from Cologne and Burgundy in the first half of the fifteenth century. Table . shows a growth in the importation of this item, and the accounts confirm that papiri depicti is brought into the country with, for example, pannis depictis from the Flanders. The port of London was used by Flemish, Dutch, English and Italian captains. Some London merchants traded in paper from Bruges, alongside cotton and linen. For instance, Lawrence Chesse carried  reams of paper for Richard Odcham and ten reams of spendabilis papers for Robert Reynald in . Richard Couper transported ten reams of paper for 

 

Cennini amply discusses the preparation of coloured paper, including green, maroon and indigo, and paper for drawing. See Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro Dell’arte: A New English Translation and Commentary with Italian Transcription, ed. by Lara Broecke (London: Archetype Publications, ), pp. –. For further examples of the commercialization of this paper, see pp. –, below.  Sutton, The Mercery of London, p.  n. . See ibid., pp. , –. Lawrence Chesse is a sea captain who traded with Gascony; see ‘Close Rolls, Richard II: December , in A. E. Stamp, ed., Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II, vol. , – (London: HMSO,



The Economics of Paper Table . London imports, –*

Genoese merchants

Hanseatic merchants

Other aliens (mainly Flemish or Dutch)

 bales valued at £ s. d.  bales,  ream valued at £ s. d.  bales ‘royal’ valued at £ s. d.  bales scriable valued at £ s. d.  bales valued at £ s. d.  reams spendable—no separate valuation. The paper probably came from the Low Countries  bale  reams spendable—no separate valuations

* TNA E//, Particulars of the Petty Custom Account, Michaelmas  to Michaelmas . See J. L. Bolton, ‘Alien Merchants in England in the Reign of Henry VI, –’ (B.Litt. thesis, University of Oxford, ), Table , pp. –.

John Hanefeld; Lamb van North and Peter Jacobson also imported paper. Italian captains, such as Antonio Bembo, transported paper for other Italians such as Antonio Ponte (Poynte) and Leonardo Belen. One of the largest quantities of paper I have come across in late fourteenth-century England came from a galley belonging to Bembo on  July . A certain Michaele de Force brought ‘ balis papiri continentibus  remes’ (‘ bales of paper, which include , reams’) to England for the value of £ s. These figures grow considerably as we move into the fifteenth century. Large quantities of paper reached England via the ports of Southampton and London in the early decades of the fifteenth century, brought by Genoese, Venetian and Hanseatic merchants, as shown in Tables . and .. These records confirm the involvement of Italian galleys in the shipping of a considerable amount of paper to England. In the Southampton accounts, Bartholome Corsee anchored his galley from Savona on  April  and Gregory Catan imported four bales of paper negre. Other large quantities of paper were recorded even though the type is not always specified. It is possible to infer that the negre paper is disposable paper, possibly derived from the carta di miglioramento or carta straccia used for

 

), pp. –. British History Online, www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-close-rolls/ric/vol/ pp– (accessed  December ).  TNA, E //. TNA, E //. See also ‘The London Customs Account Project’. Quinn and Ruddock, eds, The Port Books, pp. , .

Paper Routes to England



Table . Southampton, –* Florentine merchants Genoese merchants Catalan merchants

 bales valued at £ s. d.  bales valued at £ s. d.  bales spendable valued at £ s. d.  bale,  ream valued at £ s. d.

* TNA E//, Particulars of Account of the Customs and Subsidies. I am grateful to Professor Bolton for providing me with these details.

wrapping and tearing, and this appeared in other ports outside the London–Southampton axis, too. For example, in the custom and subsidy of Lynn, on  January , a ship belonging to Alani Dompson imports for a local merchant four reams of paper spendabilis to the value of  shillings, together with other items such as onions and herrings. This type of paper was in great demand and it is striking how frequently the port accounts record the importation of this paper compared with paper for writing. It is not always possible to draw a complete picture of who was involved in trading paper in the late medieval period. Undoubtedly it would be useful to study some of the networks in which paper was entangled. I have explained how paper from Fabriano and the neighbouring areas was internationally renowned, and sought out by customers. In , Datini entered into correspondence with Paoluccio di Maestro Paolo di Camerino, a paper merchant and also a mill owner from the Marche who was based in Venice. Paoluccio had a paper warehouse in Venice and shipped paper across Europe. Hundreds of letters have survived from this partnership. Di Stefano discusses how paper reached Bruges and London via Venice and Mallorca. She describes the type of paper that was directed to London and estimates that between  and  about , reams of paper were sent to Bruges and London. In , paper was sold with the watermarks of the mount, horn, bell, dragon with flag, and without. In , the shipment includes paper stocks with a bull’s head with cross and circle. The types of paper which were sent to Bruges and London match those that Lodovico sent across from Italy. Via Venice,

  

Gras, The Early English Customs, p. . Federigo Melis, Aspetti della vita economica medievale: studi nell’archivio Datini di Prato (Florence: L. S. Olschki, ). Di Stefano, ‘Proiezione Europea’; Di Stefano, ‘European and Mediterranean Perspectives’.



The Economics of Paper

paper of the size royal and ricciute (chancery) with the finishing fini, piane and tonde was also shipped to London. One could build on this work to understand further the complex system of connections that the importation of paper generated in these years. For example, in a letter sent from Venice to Florence on  April , Paoluccio communicates the good news that he had received confirmation that the Genoese Galley of Francesco Doria had finally arrived in London. It was this vessel upon which the partners of Datini had shipped Paoluccio’s paper. This information had reached Paoluccio in a letter from Bruges dated  March, which noted that the news was brought to Bruges by a messenger from London. The Genoese galley of Francesco Doria recurs often in Datini’s correspondence as a ship transporting English wool, cloth and tin from Southampton back to Genoa after having visited Bruges. Paoluccio also tells us that he exported felt from England, which was useful for his papermaking business. The Mannini based both in London and Bruges are amongst his contacts, and these merchants also engaged in detailed correspondence with Datini and his various companies about the export of English wool, cloth, rags, and so on to Italy. But if this close network of people is representative of a specific period from  to , other records may help us to look beyond this period and context. For example, aristocratic households were able to obtain paper directly without intermediaries. Paper in the galley of Laurence More was shipped to England in the name of Tittlemouse, clerk to the Duke of Gloucester, in a consignment of luxury goods for Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester and Roger Chaumberlyn. Women were also involved in the trading of paper; for example, the shipwreck near Dunster (Somerset) in , which Heawood identified as early evidence of paper importation from Genoa,

  

 

 

I am grateful to Emanuela Di Stefano for providing this information in private correspondence, dated  April . Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants’. Prato, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Datini, busta , inserto , codice , available at The Datini’s Archive, www.istitutodatini.it/schede/archivio/eng/arc-dat.htm (accessed  December ), quotation from the top of the second sheet. See also Di Stefano, ‘European and Mediterranean Perspectives’, p. . Melis, ‘Werner Sombart’, p.  n. . Prato, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Datini, busta , inserto , codice , available at The Datini’s Archive, www.istitutodatini.it/schede/archivio/eng/arc-dat.htm (accessed  December ). See also Di Stefano, ‘European and Mediterranean Perspectives’, p. . For an overview of the content of this correspondence, see Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants’, pp. –. Bradley, ‘The Italian Merchants’, p. .

Paper Routes to England



was carrying two bales of writing paper and other luxury goods for Jean Moun, lady of Dunster. This discussion significantly refines the current understanding of how paper came to England via Genoese and Venetian ships. It is, however, also important to acknowledge that the ships of the Hanseatic league, the commercial confederation of northern states, offered freight services to merchants and anyone else who needed to use a maritime transportation system for the consignment of their goods, as shown in Table .. Although these port records do not offer much detail on the finishing of paper, there are features worth reflecting upon which will lead to a discussion about the inland paper trade. The people who entered the accounts seem to be aware of at least two types of quality of paper: disposable or spendabilis paper and that which was not. The size royal was also noted. There is no evidence of the finishing of the paper in the trading consignments. These records confirm that small format and a lesser quality of paper circulate in ten reams per bale, though no information is provided for the circulation of larger formats. Inland Trade The inland commercialization to a greater extent reflects this knowledge. The mechanisms surrounding how goods were unloaded from ships that docked at Southampton and then reached the inland trade have been described in a recent edited volume by Hicks. The overland trade database that accompanies this volume shows how carts leaving Southampton would reach their destinations, giving details of goods, number of carts, drivers and receivers of the commodity. Between the years  and , paper as a general household item was recorded leaving 





Heawood mentioned that  bales of paper were included in the cargo of a shipwreck near Dunster (Somerset), coming from Genoa in . See Heawood, ‘Sources’, p. , and the record in ‘Close Rolls, Richard II: February ’, in H. C. Maxwell Lyte, Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II, vol. , – (London: HMSO, ), pp. –. British History Online, www.british-history.ac .uk/cal-close-rolls/ric/vol/pp– (accessed  December ). For another example of female entrepreneurs in Bristol, who also imported paper, see Alwyn A. Ruddock, Italian Merchants and Shipping in Southampton – (Southampton: Southampton University College, ), p. . For an overview on the involvement of Hanseatic shipowners, based on the activities of the Borromei with Bruges, see Bolton, ‘London Merchants and the Borromei Bank’. On a more detailed discussion of the Hanseatic trade, see Sutton, Mercery of London. On early records of customs in English ports, see Gras, The Early English Customs System. M. A. Hicks, ed., English Inland Trade –: Southampton and Its Region (Oxford: Oxbow Books, ).



The Economics of Paper

Southampton in carts for Salisbury, Winchester and London. A Gregorio Catan was amongst the receivers of carts transporting paper to London in  and . Although it is not always easy to match names to places and importation records, this ‘Catan’ might be the same person who imported paper in  and a member of the Genoese family of the Cattaneo, who settled in London in that period. The database also shows that paper was declared as a generic item when it was moved overland, although in the database it is also possible to gauge a distinction between generic paper, wrapping paper and packing paper. The type of paper which has been identified as disposable reached a number of English inland towns and, of course, London. The amount and distribution of this type of paper is striking, which suggests that it was in great demand. The use of paper as a wrapping material was perceived as an excellent way to protect travelling goods from damage. Once paper reached inland destinations, it was easily retailed. Paper appears in the accounts and inventories of the Grocers and the Mercers from the fourteenth century onwards, but was also sold by haberdashers and chapmen. The description of how paper was sold varies from account to account in relation to need. The accounts of King John note that paper was sold in quires by grocers and spicers. Burrow observes that Hoccleve bought paper from Walter Lucy, a haberdasher in London. Elsewhere, however, paper was also bought by the ream, and it is not unusual to find 

   

 

The Overland Research Project shows no specific receipts for Winchester, but paper leaving for Salisbury was directed to customers, including Thomas Ede, Thomas, John Glasyer, John, William Lyghtfote, Thomas Packer, William Warwick and John Whyte. In London: Richard Busshebery, Agnolo Catan, Edoardo Catan, Gregorio Catane, Agnolo Cattaneo, Paolo Morelli, Andrea Spenell and Benedetto Spenell. See The Overland Trade Project, www.winchester.ac.uk/research/exploringthe-past-and-the-world-around-us/research-projects-exploring-the-past-and-the-world-around-us/ overland-trade-project/ (accessed  December ). For an earlier overview on Italian merchants and Southampton, see also Ruddock, Italian Merchants. Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants’. Bristol; Farnham; Hungerford; London; Newbury; Romsey; Salisbury; Shaftesbury; Wantage; Winchester; Woodmill. For example, between  and , wrapping paper was sent to Salisbury to Robert Ede, Thomas Ede, William Eston and Nicholas Longe. Although relics seem to have been wrapped in parchment, the use of parchment for wrapping food or other goods might have been less desirable. On parchment and relics, see Julia M. H. Smith, ‘Care of Relics in Early Medieval Rome’, in Rome and Religion in the Medieval World: Studies in Honor of Thomas F. X. Noble, ed. by Valerie L. Garver and Owen M. Phelan (London: Routledge, ), pp. –. Nightingale, A Medieval Mercantile Community, pp. , , –, . J. A. Burrow, Thomas Hoccleve (Aldershot: Variorum, ). Lucy also served the household of Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence in . See Ian W. Archer, The History of the Haberdashers’ Company (Chichester: Phillimore, ), p. .

Paper Routes to England



the description of the paper bought as ‘royal’. This specification is frequently found in the account of Henry Bolingbrook during his expeditions to Prussia and the Holy Land. This often specifies ‘j quaterno papyri ryal’ (‘one quire of royal paper’), or ‘xxi foliis papyri realis’ (‘twenty-one folios of royal paper’) and in reams ‘j rem’ papyri’ (‘one ream of paper). The need to buy paper was easily fulfilled on both sides of the English Channel. In these accounts, there is a preference for royal paper, perhaps a size and quality which was deemed suitable for writing. This size was also bought by clerks of the Exchequer during the reign of Edward III. In a collection of scrunched-up receipts loosely written on paper, datable from  January  to  January , several clerks bought bottles of ink, wax, parchment in bundles of twelve, and paper in quires, often of the royal type. The circulation of paper of different kinds is not always explicit in medieval records. The accounts of the Borromei bank in London records that Andrea Corner, a prominent Venetian merchant, sold three reams of paper in May  and then another six in December of the same year. They do not specify what type of paper was sold, but in the record of the branch in Bruges, Giovanni da Marliano noted the transaction of one bale of paper containing twelve reams. We have seen how smaller sizes of paper travelled in larger bales; probably the Borromei branch in London also made use of smaller sizes of paper for their writing needs. In , Robert Durham brought a bill of complaint against Thomas Adam of the parish of London, St Lawrence Jewry, for detaining goods, including ‘ quaiers of paper real and other paper, s. d.’ It is not clear what ‘other paper’ is, but it seems clear that a distinction needed to be drawn. Other records equally do not offer specific qualification, but sometimes they specify the space in which paper was used; for example, Philip Vale, merchant of Bristol, leaves ‘one quire of paper, d’ in his counting house.

    



Toulmin Smith and Kyngeston, Expeditions to Prussia, pp. , , .  For example, ibid., pp.  and . TNA, E //. On Corner, see Bradley, ‘Italian Merchants’, and on the Borromei, see n. , below. See n. , above. A. H. Thomas, Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls Preserved among the Archives of the City of London, vol. , – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), ‘Roll A : –’, pp. –. British History Online, www.british-history.ac.uk/plea-memoranda-rolls/vol/ pp– (accessed  December ). Thomas, Calendar of Plea, vol. , pp. –. British History Online, www.british-history.ac.uk/ plea-memoranda-rolls/vol/pp– (accessed  December ).



The Economics of Paper Table . Inventory, Thomas Gryssop, York,  October *

Type and cost of paper  reme white pauper, spendable, d.  reme spendable pauper, blak d.  libro de paupiro d.  libris de papiro d.  papiris depicti s. * Table . was compiled using James Raine, Jr and John William Clay, eds, Testamenta eboracensia; or, Wills Registered at York, Illustrative of the History, Manners, Language, Statistics, &C., of the Province of York, from the Year MCCC Downwards (London: Surtees Society, ). See also P. M. Stell, Probate Inventories of the York Diocese, – (York: York Archaeological Trust, ), pp. –.

A particularly good example of the commercialization of paper outside London can be found in the inventories of the York Probate. In the middle of the fourteenth century, Thomas Gryssop, a chapman in York, had white paper, expendable paper, books made of paper and painted paper in his house (see Table .). In this inventory, disposable paper is in evidence again, but with more details as to the type of this paper: one white and one black. This in itself is not surprising, but it is interesting to note that whilst importation and transit records seem to remove some of the details about the product which came into the country, descriptive terms are reintroduced when inventories are drawn up. Table . confirms that the paper market was very well established across England, and that customers had a considerable range of paper products from which to choose. They could select quality and types of paper both in loose sheets and in what may be understood as a bound volume. This choice also included twelve painted papers, which as we have seen earlier was readily imported and also sold elsewhere in England. The same Philip Vale, merchant of Bristol, in his storehouse, held ‘ papir depict’. It is interesting to note that the books in Gryssop’s shop have different prices, and whilst it is not possible to know 



Stell publishes several examples of documents written on paper, as well as containing the purchase of paper. See Stell, Probate Inventories of the York Diocese, –. On the York book market, see S. Gee, ‘The Printers, Stationers and Bookbinders of York before ’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society,  (), – and S. Gee, ‘The Coming of Print to York, c.–’, in The Mighty Engine: The Printing Press and Its Impact, ed. by P. Isaac and B. McKay (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, ), pp. –. Thomas, Calendar of Plea, vol. , pp. –. British History Online, www.british-history.ac.uk/ plea-memoranda-rolls/vol/pp– (accessed  December ).

The Cost and Value of Paper



whether the books are blank or have texts in them, it is notable that such differentiation reflects the variety of books readily available. More evidence will be discussed Chapter . These accounts and inventories also show variability in the value and prices of paper.

The Cost and Value of Paper Tracking the journey of paper to England has confirmed that paper circulated in medieval Europe fairly regularly and easily. The commercial relationships between England and other European countries enabled a steady supply of paper, which was much in demand. In the light of that, the economic advantage of paper over parchment ought to be briefly addressed. Briquet had already noted that in Bologna in  paper was less expensive than parchment. He reported that a little parchment was worth as much as twelve sheets of paper, and through an equation between price and writing surface declared: ‘a surface égale, le papier coûtait  fois moins cher que le parchemin, et l’on comprend que son emploi ait dû se généraliser très rapidement’ (on the same surface area, paper was six times cheaper than parchment). Briquet also noted that the use of paper spread quickly. Such observations established the very influential view that choice of material is dependent on price. More recent studies have confirmed the cheaper cost of paper in relation to parchment. Bozzolo and Ornato, in their foundational study on medieval French book production, argue that the cost of paper fluctuated if compared with a more stable cost of an average per parchment skin of s. d. They note the steady decrease in the cost of paper in the region of Orléans and add that in the fourteenth century paper was already four times cheaper than parchment; by the second half of the fifteenth century, its value was  to  in favour of paper. The increase in paper production across Europe as well as a continuous investment in improving European trade networks certainly facilitated this drop in prices. I would like to contextualize these important considerations further. The commercialization of paper in medieval Europe was not uniform. Merchants traded and imported at least two sizes of paper as well as several qualities of material for different purposes, and the costs for these types of  



Briquet, vol. , p. . Bozzolo and Ornato, Pour une histoire, vol. , pp. –. See also Christiane Piérard, ‘Le papier dans les documents comptables de la ville de Mons aux XIVe et XVe siècles’, in Hommage au Professeur Paul Bonenfant, – (Brussels: Universa, ), pp. –.  Bozzolo and Ornato, Pour une histoire, vol. , pp. –. Ibid., pp. –.



The Economics of Paper

paper vary substantially across accounts. Bozzolo and Ornato comment on the circulation of larger ( mm   mm) and smaller ( mm   mm) formats, but what is not entirely clear is how the format may have impacted on cost. The tenor of this chapter thus far has been to invite a more nuanced understanding of types of paper in relation to quality and size by also considering travel and importation costs. When Italian paper was sold in England it would have had to bear a whole series of transaction costs. Paper mills required capital investment in buildings and machinery, and some labour was probably highly skilled. Then (as this chapter has shown) paper was sold directly either to a wholesaler to be sold on to a retailer and then to a customer or to a customer for direct importation, all adding to the cost. When it was exported to northern Europe, additional costs needed to be added, such as transport on galleys and carracks, possibly maritime insurance and the costs of customs duties (which were ad valorem threepence in the pound for the petty custom and at least  shilling in the pound for poundage). Warehousing and carriage costs were reflected in the wholesale and retail prices. With this in mind, I return to Table . and to the prices there, from the accounts of King John, about the cost of parchment and paper. It shows the fluctuation in the prices of paper. Those accounts do not always give an indication of the size or quality of paper; however, it can be observed that in the s a quire of paper of large format could be purchased for about d., and a quire of a lesser quality for wrapping or shredding for d./d. As noted, this fluctuation in price may be location sensitive, although it is not possible to say why buying paper in a busy metropolis like London is more expensive than buying it from Boston, but it is still remarkable that so much paper was purchased for the needs of the household. The cost of parchment is stable; a dozen parchment rolls in Lincoln cost  shillings, whilst in London the cost was either s. d. or  shillings, and it was probably of good quality. The accounts of Beaulieu Abbey, a Cistercian abbey in Hampshire, in the second half of the thirteenth century offer an insight into what might have been the commercial value of different types of skin – calf and sheep – and different grades of the parchment deriving from these animals (see Table .). Table . confirms that parchment was sold in batches of twelve and had varying prices depending on the animal hide and the grade of the parchment. It confirms what Clanchy has strongly argued: that not all  

Ibid., p. . I thank James Bolton for providing me with these comments in private correspondence.

The Cost and Value of Paper



Table . Cost of parchment at Beaulieu Abbey* xlij TABULA PERCAMENARII Percamenum vitulinum primia—duodena valet .ij.s.vj.d. secundi—duodena valet .ij.s. tercii—duodena valet .xx.d. quarti—duodena valet .xvj.d. Percamenum multolinum primi—duodena valet .xij.d. secundi—duodena valet .ix.d. tercii—duodena valet .vj.d. quarti—duodena valet iij.d. * See the ‘Parchment-Maker’ section of the Beaulieu Abbey Account: Stanley Frederick Hockey, ed., The Account-Book of Beaulieu Abbey (London: Royal Historical Society, ), pp. –. Building on this work, and considering published and unpublished evidence from accounts, new lines of enquiry could pursue the extent to which making parchment is a specialized craft, rather than a by-product of medieval economies, and as such what it is known about the quality of this material, its availability, the reason for these variations and the related cost. See M. Gullick, ed., Extracts from the Precentor’s Accounts of Ely Cathedral Priory (Hitchin: Red Gull Press, ); Robert Fuchs, Christiane Meinert and Johannes Schrempf, eds, Pergament: Geschichte—Material— Konservierung—Restaurierung (Munich: Siegl, ); and Peter Ru¨ck, Pergament: Geschichte, Struktur, Restaurierung, Herstellung (Historische Hilfswissenschaften) (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, ).

types of membrane on the medieval market had the same cost and that any cost depended on quality. Naturally, it is difficult to compare like-for-like, especially when prices are not contemporary, but the accounts of King John show that the king probably bought some good-quality parchment. The accounts of Beaulieu show that the most economical type of parchment was the one derived from sheep and that the lowest quality only cost d. per dozen. Was the cost of parchment across the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries quality dependent too? There is a need for a comprehensive collection and analysis of these costs across medieval England, which is absent from current appraisals of the economic history of medieval books. The examples in this chapter should make us ponder the 

See also discussion in Clanchy, From Memory, pp. –. For an initial perusal of accounts which give cost of parchment, see Gullick, Precentor’s Accounts; James E. Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, from the Year after the Oxford Parliament, , to the Commencement of the Continental War, ; Compiled Entirely from Original and Contemporaneous Records,  vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, –), vol. ; and C. M. Woolgar, Household Accounts from Medieval England (Oxford University Press, ).



The Economics of Paper

extent to which it is valid to argue that the cost of paper exclusively influenced the choice of materials in book production or more general paper use, especially in the early years of this technology’s arrival in England. It is important to recognize that this narrative should be further nuanced, because paper and parchment were not competitors, as is quite clear from accounts showing that both materials were purchased and used simultaneously. The same bundle of expenses from the Exchequer (noted above) illustrates this difficulty, especially in relation to the fluctuation of prices within the same period. These receipts, contemporary to the King of France’s accounts in England, record a slightly cheaper cost for twelve rolls of parchment and a quire of royal paper. The first cost  shillings and the latter sixpence. Even if a quire of paper provided more writing surface than twelve rolls of parchment, it is still difficult to establish the value of writing material in relation to its use. Similar observations could be drawn from the evidence of other accounts across medieval England. In , in Ely, six quires of paper were bought for  shillings and two dozen of parchment for  shillings, but in London in , a large paper register (presumably for royal paper) was bought for s. d., which possibly included its making. This difference in the cost of paper may have been dependent on type. People may have seen an economic gain in purchasing paper, but they regularly bought it together with parchment, and it was not the cheaper option, especially where ‘royal’ paper was acquired. Contemporary accounts containing the cost of labour suggest that it is equally difficult to argue that paper was a cheap commodity. In , Merton College hired a master mason at  shillings a week in summer, and  pence (s. d.) a week in winter, although the arrangement possibly included food and drink. This evidence suggests that the cost of one quire of writing paper is worth about a day’s wage for a master stonemason, if it is a quire of a large format. This is, of course, not ‘cheap’ by most people’s standards. Comparing the cost of paper with the standard of living gives the clear impression that any writing tool, whether parchment or paper, is expensive. 

   

This is evidence in all the accounts cited across the book, and above. See, for example, Woolgar, Household Accounts pp. , , , , , in particular for purchase of paper and parchment. TNA, E //. Lisa Jefferson, Wardens’ Accounts and Court Minute Books of the Goldsmiths’ Mistery of London, – (Woodbridge: Boydell, ), p. xiv. The register measures  mm   mm. Rogers, A History of Agriculture, vol. , p. . For coinage, see www.history.ac.uk/richardII/coinage.html (accessed  December ).

The Cost and Value of Paper



The early accounts of paper use in England do not, then, speak of a cheap material: they speak of a complex relation between two writing materials which do not compete with each other but rather fulfil a variety of uses. With time, however, a change in the value and perception of paper as a writing material is witnessed when the arrival of the printing press suddenly creates an unstable commercial market. For example, on  November , the University of Cambridge ruled in its statutes that no paper or printed book could be used as collateral against a loan of money: de caetero nullus custos alicujus eistae in praedicta universitate fundatae vel deinceps fundandae, libros aliquos, in papiro scriptos vel impressos. In future, no custodian of the chest, either funded or to be funded in the future, should accept books written or printed on paper as a guarantee.

Should the custodian of the chest break this rule, he would be fined one mark (‘poena unius marcae universitati applicandae’). The Cambridge University chests were instituted as charitable foundations to help poor students to borrow money, interest free. By the end of the fifteenth century, Clark notes, these chests were much depleted, with people running several debts across more than one chest. The statute of  was an attempt to regulate a difficult financial situation in a technologically transient period. People could read from, and write on, books made of paper or parchment – which had still not been superseded – and the printing press both in Europe and in England offered an alternative to hand-copied books. But the preoccupation of those who introduced this article in the statute is solely with the recovery of the debt incurred against the pawned item, and the value of the object which was left in deposit. This is strictly a monetary operation in which the value of the book matters because selling the object would enable the recovery of the loan. The financial considerations of the university seem to refer indirectly to a wider economic issue in late fifteenth-century England: they show an understanding of a book market regulated by supply and demand, and a  



Documents Relating to the University and Colleges of Cambridge (London: G. E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode, for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, ), vol. , p. . The first donation is dated to  by Walter Neel, citizen of London. For an overview of the history of the Cambridge chest, see J. W. Clark, ‘On the Charitable Foundations in the University Called Chests; with a Transcript and Translation of the Deed of Foundation and Statues of the Earliest of These, the Neel Chest, ’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society,  (), –. Ibid., p. .



The Economics of Paper

sense that paper was unreliable as an index commodity, not that it was a cheap commodity.

On Nuance The economics of paper goes beyond cost or, indeed, the cost of paper in relation to the cost of parchment. In this chapter, I have suggested that we think more carefully about different types, quality and finishing of the product ‘paper’. I have shown that this variation in the quality and size influenced not only the price of the product, but also what paper could be used for. I have argued against the assumption of economic binaries in considering the relationship between parchment and paper, and reflected on the economic mechanism of what ‘cheap or expensive’ means, since these terms are relative. They need to be read in relation both to the contemporary cost of living and the wealth of the people purchasing the material. A king who bought hundreds of pounds’ worth of spices, silk and jewellery would probably not care much about the cost of material. The economic benefit of the technology of papermaking is undeniable, but scholars should think about quality and cost of parchment and paper in more nuanced ways. As Wakelin notes in a recent investigation into book design, modernity is more preoccupied with numbers than people living in the past. While some of the letters I have discussed in this chapter illustrate merchants’ preoccupation with their margins of profit, these same letters show that their greatest concern was with the sizes and quality of paper they could buy and sell. These very characteristics were at the core of the commercialization of paper and can be traced all the way from Italy to Europe and to England. The journey of paper was facilitated by the opening of new commercial routes and the establishment of close networks of people, especially Italians, who could easily orchestrate the movement of different types of paper from key European towns into England to fulfil a variety of needs in medieval households, counting houses and governmental offices. The choice of paper in these environments is dictated both by 



De Roover describes the case of two German printers, Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, who introduced the printing press at Subiaco in Rome in . She notes: ‘After eight years of hard, steady work, Sweynheym and Pannartz were caught in the first depression of the book trade with no cash and with all their funds tied up in a large stock of unbound copies’; the quick availability of printed books caused a ‘glut on the market’. All over Italy, printers had to battle with a crisis in the book trade, caused by printers with too many books to place. Florence Edler de Roover, ‘New Facets on the Financing and Marketing of Early Printed Books’, Bulletin of the Business Historical Society,  (), – (pp. –). Daniel Wakelin, Designing English (Oxford: Bodleian Library, ), p. .

On Nuance



the type of paper available on the market and the use to which such paper was put. Wrapping paper was of lesser quality, but was imported and used in large quantities. Writing paper was of better quality and circulated in two formats: large (royal) and the one that was not. Paper was a sought after product from merchants and notaries to fulfil their ever-expanding writing needs, and such writing had additional implications on the choice of paper in book production, as discussed in the following chapter.

 

Writing on Paper Tradition and Innovation

decernimus instrumenta publica et quaslibet cautiones per litteraturam communem et legibilem per statutos a nobis notarios scribi debere, scribendi modo, qui in civitate Neapolis, ducatu Amalfie et Surrenti ac per eorum pertinentias hactenus servabatur, omnino sublato. Volumus etiam et sancimus, ut predicta instrumenta publica et alie similes cautiones nonnisi in pergamenis in posterum conscribantur. Cum enim eorum fides multis futuris temporibus duratura speratur, iustum esse decrevimus, ut ex vetustate forsitan destructionis peiculo non succumbant. Ex instrumentis in cartis papiri vel modo alio, quam ut predictum est, scriptis, nisi sint apoce vel antapoce, in iudiciis vel extra iudicia nulla omnino probatio assumatur, scripturis tamen preteritis in suo robore duraturis, que in predictis cartis bombicinis sunt redacte. Scripture tamen in predictis locis Neapolis, Amalfie et Surrenti infra biennium a die edite sanctionis istius ad communem litteraturam et legibilem redigantur. we abolish completely the style of writing which was preserved until present in the city of Naples, the Duchy of Amalfi, and Sorrento, and the areas belonging to them. Therefore, we decree that public documents and bonds of any kind ought to be written in common and legible letters by the notaries appointed by us. We also desire and decree that the aforementioned public documents should be written in the future only on parchment. For, since it should be hoped that their trustworthiness will last for many years in the future, we consider that it is right that they should not succumb to the danger of destruction from old age. No proof at all should be taken in court or outside of court from documents written on papyrus paper or in some other manner, as has been said, unless they are receipts for debts or the payment of debts. But those written in the past will continue in force. Moreover, those which are drawn up on the aforementioned cotton paper and written in the aforesaid places, Naples, Amalfi, and 

Wolfgang Stu¨rner, ed., Die Konstitutionen Friedrichs II, fu¨r da Königreich Sizilien, in Constitutiones et acta publica imperatorum et regnum (Hanover: Monumenta Germaniae Historica, ), vol. , supplement, p. . Available at www.mgh.de/dmgh/resolving/MGH_Const.__Suppl._S._ (accessed  December ).



Writing on Paper



Sorrento should be drawn up again in common and legible writing within two years from the day of the promulgation of this law.

Title Eighty, De instrumentis conficiendis, of the first book of the  iteration of Frederick II’s promulgation of the Liber Augustalis, also known as the Constitutions of Melfi, gives directives on how to redact official documents. In this title, the Emperor regulates the making of documents, and touches on the types of writing material suitable for official and probatory evidence in court. Deliberating on the form of such evidence, Frederick II’s directives require unequivocally that by law parchment, rather than paper, must be used in public documents. Parchment, the titulus declares, is sturdy and long-lasting, whilst paper is unsuited for records with enduring ambition. As noted in Chapter , these early thirteenth-century regulations are reissues of twelfth-century ordinances of the kingdom of Sicily. They represent an imperial attempt to regulate previous customs and promulgate new laws for the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, which, by then, extended from Sicily to the southern part of mainland Italy bordering with the Papal States. Title Eighty is often partially quoted in scholarly debates on the choice of writing support for official acts, and, by extension, on the appropriateness of such materials in book production. Paper becomes the mistrusted surface, and parchment the durable antipode. Considering the titulus more carefully and in full, however, reveals that the anxiety about the materiality of the documents masks a broader worry focused on localized thirteenth-century scribal practices, and, more interestingly, explains a deeper relationship between paper and a written culture which flourishes with cursive scripts. What follows is a discussion of the significance of this relationship because it will inform later considerations of the English tradition. The close relationship between paper and cursive scribal practices in this titulus confirms what scholars have noted in analysing writing environments in the later medieval periods – that it is unusual to find set scripts on paper. The question, however, of writing on paper in England is further complicated by categorizations of scribal practices such as ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’, which obfuscate the study of book production and more broadly of late medieval English handwritten culture. Analysing this titulus will enable us to tell an alternative narrative of the relationship between paper and cursive scripts in English

 

James M. Powell, ed., The Liber Augustalis: Or, Constitutions of Melfi, Promulgated by the Emperor Frederick II for the Kingdom of Sicily in  (New York: Syracuse University Press, ), p. . Ibid., p. xii.



Writing on Paper

manuscript production and its main actors: those people who wrote on paper. My reading of this titulus will focus on a broader understanding of its context of issue, and thus assist us to evaluate localized considerations of English customs.

Title Eighty, De instrumentis conficiendis The promulgation of Title Eighty certainly gives the impression of a substantial preoccupation by the Emperor and his chancery with the documentary material form of the imperial archives. As noted previously, early thirteenth-century paper had its limitations: the sizing of the surface was done with a vegetable-based substance attracting bugs, which in turn destroyed the documents, and the pulp was not yet even and fine. Paper technologies started to change substantially only from the end of the thirteenth century. This section of the Constitutions, however, addresses a much wider issue which goes beyond the materiality of the archives. It expounds on the clash of tradition and innovation, or perhaps of two different traditions, in the construction of a written empire. The article legislates on the role and relationship between imperial and local notarial powers with the view of asserting the emperor’s authority; the process is conducted with clear directives on who should be writing the documents, the type of scripts to be used and the writing tools to be employed. Reading the titulus closely suggests that the main concern of the extract is not the survival of Frederick’s archives, but the attempt to regain control over a community of individuals – the curiali or court writers – who, for many years, were in charge of writing and enrolling official documents in the ‘city of Naples, the Duchy of Amalfi, and Sorrento’, the southern regions of the Empire. Not only does the titulus prohibit the use of paper, it also abolishes the style of writing, the ‘scribendi modo’, which is customary in these regions. Furthermore, these documents must be written ‘communem et legibilem per statutos a nobis notarios scribi debere’. The handwriting needs to be legible in common letters penned by notaries who are appointed by the emperor himself. This was a clear injunction against a category of notaries, who for a long time enrolled public documents, but more importantly were not controlled by the emperor and had their own independent way of coordinating themselves as a professional category. So, the prohibition was not primarily about paper. The curiali organized themselves in a caste-like structure which monopolized specific writing practices and they used a particular type of

Title Eighty, De instrumentis conficiendis



handwriting. The feud between the Emperor’s own notaries and locally appointed curiali represents a striving for power that preoccupied Fredrick II for a number of years. In , Frederick II had already elicited curiali and notaries in Naples, Sorrento and Amalfi to write legibly and prohibited the use of paper in public and official documents in an earlier version of his Consuetudinem, under the titulus on De instrumentis conficiendis. As suggested by Massimo Oldoni, this community of scribes, as well as notaries, held substantial legal and political power. The curiali drew up documents to authenticate meetings, decisions, events or facts, but the emperor could not accept these documents as instruments, that is ‘public instruments’ with a recognized universal authenticity, unless written by a notary invested by imperial authority. This is significant because the subsequent development of the figure of the notary public very much depended on the idea that what notaries certified could be transnationally recognized if the notary was acting on imperial authority. The imperial notary together with the notary by apostolic authority, that is, appointed by the pope or on his behalf, established the ‘theory of the universal authenticity of public instruments’ as an idea translatable and acceptable ‘throughout the western world, at least in so far as apostolic notaries were concerned’. Frederick II explicitly forbade the redaction of instruments in his kingdom by notaries without imperial authority, and styled the role of the imperial notary as the only figure, along with the papal notaries, with the power to authenticate medieval instruments. The Emperor’s attempt at imposing restricted regulations on the type of script and writing material used by the curiali asserted imperial authority on the recording of legal matters and the application of the law. This was a conflict which would only be resolved in  by Robert of Anjou, who emended the edict and allowed this group of scribes to use both paper and their traditional script in their work. Amongst perhaps legitimate material worries, paper in this titulus is used as a pawn in an early thirteenth-century legislative dispute about imperial 

  



For a discussion on the curiali, their origin and regional development, see Paolo Cherubini and Alessandro Pratesi, Paleografia latina: l’avventura grafica del mondo occidentale (Vatican City: Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica, ), pp. –. Massimo Oldoni, ‘Il mare di carta: la tradizione di Amalfi’, in Castagnari, Contributi italiani alla diffusione della carta in occidente, pp. –. Ibid. For an explanation on these roles and a focus on English practices, see Pierre Chaplais, ‘Master John de Branketre and the Office of Notary in Chancery, –’, Journal of the Society of Archivists,  (), – (p. ). Oldoni, ‘Il mare di carta’, pp. –.



Writing on Paper

authority. Imperial power, however, could not displace well-established practices in which paper was chosen as the preferred writing support. The curiali had traditionally accepted paper as their writing material, but imperial notaries used parchment. In my reading of Title Eighty, paper represents the tradition and parchment denotes the imposition of the imperial chancery on local practices. Paper is associated with a notarial system to be discarded, parchment with the imperial power to be embraced. This tension, however, between the local notarial system in southern Italy and the imperial chancery shows that established scribal practices are difficult to change, or even to affect. The curiali had used paper for a long time, having developed this custom possibly from neighbouring writing practices in Islamic countries. Reading Title Eighty of the Constitutions in its entirety suggests how better to approach the choice of a writing material. It shows that the interplay between technological material preferences intersects with wider cultural considerations and local customs; it also removes the oftenconflicting narratives about the introduction of paper to the West. The headlines of this narrative have been constructed in oppositional terms: either paper was a mistrusted material or it brought about a revolution. But the novelty of paper equally resists grandiose storylines. As Patricia Clare Ingham observes, the ‘new’ in the medieval world often ‘finds meaning within a larger narrative arc. It is in narrative that the unusual, the anomalous, or capricious takes on innovation’s dazzle and shine’. This new meaning, however, diverges from the conceptualization of the new within a medieval context, because ‘writers at that time did not regularly cast innovation as utterly distinct from the old’. For Ingham, innovation results from the repetition of traditional practices and thoughts which take on further form. The storyline of paper in medieval written culture is, indeed, more subtle. The example of the relationship between the curiali and paper tells of a tradition which was treasured: a tradition which hinged on a customary relationship between paper and writing, and the accommodation of paper in cursive writing practices. The close link between paper and cursivity that the southern Italian notaries exemplified never really ceased after paper started to be used in Western written traditions 

 

For an interesting discussion on the resilience of this type of handwriting in Italy and in particular in the Southern regions, see Cherubini and Pratesi, Paleografia latina, pp. –. See also the discussion in Chapter  about the spread of paper to the West (pp. –). Patricia Clare Ingham, The Medieval New: Ethical Ambivalence in an Age of Innovation (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ), p. .  Ibid., p.  Ibid., and passim.

Normalizing Change



from the eleventh century, and evidence of this connection proliferates. Some early letters which were sent to Edward I from bishops’ chanceries in France were probably written by notaries or clerks. The clerk in the Datini’s company in Avignon (encountered in Chapter ) reminds us that at the end of the fourteenth century paper was used by merchants, but was in greater demand by notaries. In these bureaucratic contexts, in England as elsewhere in Europe, paper turns out to be related to the development and adoption of cursive scripts in book production.

Normalizing Change Change happens when new ideas are accepted and normalized. Fredrick II thought change would be achieved by imperial decree, only to realize that working practices on the ground resisted this imposition. The introduction of a new technology in cultural practices can only be successful through an organic and repeated exposure, acceptance and use. There was no enforced imposition of the use of paper in documentary practices in England; rather paper had to contend with an established tradition which employed membrane in documentary and book production practices. For example, Richard Fitz Nigel in his twelfth-century Dialogus de Scaccario famously explained that clerks of the Exchequer should use sheep membrane to draft and write documents, because this material would show any inappropriate ways of correcting documents, such as erasure, and thus expose possible forgeries or misrepresentations. Correcting in plain sight was one of the requirements of the office of a clerk, but also more broadly a sign of notarial training. In twelfthcentury England, the question was not about whether to use paper or parchment, but the choice was about what type of hide should be chosen to draft documents. Indeed, the Exchequer and Chancery rolls as well as other types of official documents including manorial accounts, for example, are written on parchment. A complete analysis of the material form of the medieval documents and records in The National Archives, and in   



 Chapter , pp. . Chapter , pp. –. See Richard Fitz Nigel, Dialogus de Scaccario, The Course of the Exchequer, trans. by C. Johnson, ed. by F. E. L. Carter and D. E. Greenway, nd edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. –. Chaplais, ‘Master John de Branketre’, p.  explains the significance of these correcting practices in the Royal Wardrobe, discussing the habits of John de Cadomo, at the service of Edward I, and pointing out that he struck through and plainly corrected his documents. It is significant to notice that paper is also a difficult material to erase, but I will return to this later; see below, pp. –.



Writing on Paper

British local archives more broadly, is still a desideratum, but, as explained in preceding chapters, paper and parchment documents are mixed in Early Chancery Proceedings, which date from the late fourteenth century, whilst the Common Pleas and King’s Bench records are kept on parchment rolls. Although some rolls in other categories are written on paper, it seems that the material preference in some departments of the government was for parchment, but others happily used paper from the fourteenth century. The question of the material choice in the production of books is slightly more complicated and needs to be studied in connection with the making of documents. This is a complication which is dictated by the scale and the definition of what book production entails. It is now becoming possible to finesse details about texts and manuscripts: the ‘Mapping Paper Project’ has now recorded more than , manuscripts and documents of British origin, with an initial focus on Middle English texts, and a subsequent expansion into Latin and French traditions. From a detailed sample set of , manuscripts, , are written on parchment and  are written on paper only, whilst  are completed using mixed media (parchment and paper), datable from the fourteenth century to the end of the fifteenth. These are impressive figures, from which we can extrapolate a couple of key points: a sixth of manuscripts are written using paper; and approximately  per cent are written on mixed media, which demonstrates that paper did not simply replace membrane. The data collected so far confirm that paper is used in educational, devotional, spiritual and sermon books; in medical, scientific and practical volumes; in legal and notarial manuscripts, such as formularies, statues and year books; but also in merchants’ and guilds’ registers. It is not always clear



 

TNA, C includes the series of records created, acquired and inherited by Chancery, and also of the Wardrobe, Royal Household, Exchequer and various commissions; TNA, CP contains the plea rolls of the Court of Common Pleas from the beginning of the reign of Edward I onwards; TNA, KB contains the record of pleas on rolls both the Crown and Plea Sides of the Court of King’s Bench from the reign of Edward I to that of William III; and TNA, E, has rolls recording memoranda made in the Exchequer. For an explanation of these series, see The National Archives, Discovery, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/. See Chapter , Tables . and . and Chapter , p. , For the earlier period, see also Clanchy, From Memory, pp. –. The systematic collection of the data relating to these manuscripts is still underway, and will be completed by a team of scholars in the next few years. Many manuscripts in the database are awaiting a designation of their material because published catalogues do not always offer this information and only direct consultation provides an answer. On the Project, see also Introduction, p. .

Normalizing Change



why paper is chosen over parchment or vice versa and, indeed, many of these books are composites, made up from different parts and different materials. It is difficult to say whether the choice results from scribal preference, authorial insistence, readers’ partiality, or just available resources and convenience in the resourcing of the material. It is, however, evident that the type of texts written on paper is wide-ranging, and paper crosses the linguistic divide between English, Latin and French. To understand further which medieval texts were copied on paper, the preliminary findings from the large database were tested against an examination of all the medieval paper manuscripts with an English provenance held in Cambridge University Library’s manuscript collections. We have to acknowledge that the numbers of manuscripts lost will never be known and that analysis can only be made on surviving corpora. The database currently lists a total of  relevant manuscripts in the Library, and the results are not only comparable with the larger dataset, but they also offer further insights about the production of medieval books on paper and parchment. Thirty-nine manuscripts of these manuscripts are on mixed media and  manuscripts are written on paper alone, as I will explore further in the next chapter. I have detailed these paper and mixed-media manuscripts in the Appendix, which explains my overall methodology; and the process of selection for the final list is presented there. My data show that paper was used to copy historical, philosophical and devotional texts read in educational settings, such as schools, universities and other religious institutions. In literary traditions, the corpus includes Chaucer, Langland, Lydgate and Hoccleve as well as anonymous verses and religious texts. Amongst the papers of Henry Bradshaw, the long lost bifolium of the Bradshaw Carols has also emerged. These manuscripts contain alchemical texts and medical and moral treaties. The corpus also includes administrative documents, such as account books and registers and

  





See Appendix. For example, CUL, MSS Add  and Dd.., Dd.., Dd.., Ee.., Gg., Gg.., Kk.., Ll.. and Ll.. See, for example, CUL, MSS Add. , Add. , Add. , Dd.., Dd.., Dd.., Dd.., Dd.., Dd.., Dd.., Ee.., Ee.., Ee.., Ee.. part , Ff.., Ff.., Ff.., Gg.., Gg.., Gg.., Gg.., Hh.., Hh.., Hh.., Hh.., Ii.., Ii.., Kk.. parts –, Kk.., Ll.. and Nn... See CUL, MS Add. (). On the content of the bifolium, but without the manuscript shelfmark, see P. J. Croft, ‘The “Friar of Order Gray” and the Nun’, Review of English Studies,  (), –. For example, CUL, MSS Dd.., Ff.., Ii.., Ii.. and Kk...



Writing on Paper

correspondence on single leaves. Finally, the corpus includes several legal books, copy of statutes and year books and formularies. As noted in Chapter , the earliest text on paper in this corpus, and in the list of manuscripts on paper I have collected to date, is a Middle English romance, a fragment of a copy of Havelok the Dane, the origin of which is unknown. Cambridge University Library, MS  D () is a fragment of four leaves, which has been recovered from binding materials and contains a very partial copy of the romance. We have little firm knowledge about this unlocalized fragment, and not much may be inferred from its writing, apart from the fact that it is written in a mid-fourteenthcentury anglicana hand. This is possibly the earliest literary text on paper in England, and perhaps the earliest text of a non-administrative nature in my entire corpus thus far. Illustration . shows that this fragment is only a tiny piece in a wider history of the adoption of paper in English book production. It reminds us, however, that searching for absolute beginnings in book histories is always a challenge: from what kind of environment did these textual artefacts originate? In the broader sense, for instance, did paper use in English book production start in university milieu? Some evidence may point to this conclusion, but not always. Amongst the fourteenth-century paper manuscripts in Cambridge University Library, MS Add.  contains a copy of Robert Grosseteste’s translation of Testamenta duodecim patriarcharum. The essay is written on fourteenth-century paper by a contemporary hand. Another example includes a version of a French proclamation from a play in English and Latin. Amongst these early books, only one manuscript contains mostly pedagogical works and has a university connection. MS Hh.. belonged to William Foster, a grammar master in Oxford who died in .

 

  

 

See, for example, CUL, MS Add. , EDC/F//, EDC/F//, EDC/F//, EDC/F// , EDC/F//, University Archives, Grace Book Alpha, and Mm... See, for example, CUL, MSS Add. , Add. , Add. , Add. , Add. , Add. , Dd.., Dd.., Ee.., Ee.., Ee.., Ff.., Hh.., Hh.., Hh.., Hh.., Kk.., Ll.. and Ll... See, for example, CUL, MSS Add. , Dd.. and Ii... Robinson, ‘The Format of Books’, p. ; and, more recently, Kwakkel and Thomson, ‘Codicology’, p. . A section of CUL, MS Add.  contains an essay on physiognomy in French. It is usually known as a Scrivener’s notebook, with a localization to Bury St Edmunds, ascribable from the later accounts, memoranda, wills and contracts in the manuscript. See Chapter , pp. –. CUL, MS Mm... On CUL, MS Hh.., see DMCL, vol. , p. . On fourteenth-century paper, also see Chapter , pp. –.

Normalizing Change



Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS  D () Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Notable omissions from this corpus, and more generally from the ‘Mapping Paper Project’, are books such as bibles (Latin and Wycliffite), psalters, books of hours, liturgical books and other Wycliffite texts. Paper is, however, used extensively in religious contexts, such as books containing sermons and homiletic materials. The evidence in the Appendix reinforces the sense of the reluctant use of paper in illuminated manuscripts, bibles and liturgical books (a point to which I shall return),  

See, for example, CUL, MSS Add. , Dd.., Dd.. and Dd... See Lyall, ‘Material’ and the further discussion in Chapter , pp. –.



Writing on Paper

a trend in line with other European practices, although exceptions occasionally emerge. This continued use of animal skin in copying religious texts and its use in other textual practices, such as texts which required decoration and illuminations, could represent an established tradition resistant to change. The endurance of parchment in the English archives, and in book production, is not dissimilar in many respects to the curiali’s defiant stance to Fredrick’s indictment. In medieval England, cursive and set writing traditions had trusted writing to a surface deriving from animal skin for many centuries, and a preference for parchment is in evidence, but that preference is dictated by a sense of continuous habitual knowledge about how certain texts should take their material form. Therefore, the choice of material is in many cases dictated by customary practices rather than an exclusive focus on the prestige of a writing surface. Alternatively, though, the absence of some genres from paper could be associated with a specific type of script used for such texts. Bibles, liturgical books and, often, illuminated manuscripts are written with a highly specialized gothic script, a set type of script in which each minim, stroke and ligature is written with care and patience to create a harmonious appearance. This script is very different from the types of writing which occur in my corpus. The writing on paper is, by contrast, highly cursive and variable. While cursive scripts were also often written on membrane, so that one cannot logically suggest that writers of such scripts preferred only one material, it is, however, remarkable that users of one material, paper, use exclusively cursive script and I will return to this observation below. This association of paper with cursive scripts stems from the original uptake of paper in mercantile and documentary writing practices (as explored in Chapter ), for documents also often employ such scripts. 



Some exceptions include an early eleventh-century breviary on paper, which has been discovered in the Abbey of San Domingo de Silos. See Heullant-Donat and Bresc, ‘Pour une réévaluation’. The majority of the Italian translations of the Bible are written on paper, especially after the fifteenth century. See Lino Leonardi, Caterina Menichetti and Sara Natale, Le traduzioni italiane della bibbia nel medioevo: catalogo dei manoscritti (secoli XIII–XV) (Florence: Edizioni del Galluzzo per la Fondazione Ezio Franceschini, ), p. xxxi. Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS  is the earliest manuscript on paper in this tradition and is datable to the middle of the fourteenth century, according to Leonardi, Menichetti and Natale (ibid., pp. –). For an example of the range of these types of books and their writing in Cambridge University Library, with plates, see Paul Binski, P. N. R. Zutshi and Stella Panayotova, Western Illuminated Manuscripts: A Catalogue of the Collection in Cambridge University Library (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). On gothic script, see Albert Derolez, The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books: From the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ).

Normalizing Change



Royal offices and bishops’ chanceries encountered paper in diplomatic correspondence. Government officers appreciated its use for commercial transactions and business records and, as more and more paper was used by foreign merchants, evidence of purchase emerges in the fourteenth century in governmental offices such as the Exchequer, and more broadly in business transactions, religious institutions, guilds’ registers and townhall records. Paper is used alongside parchment to fulfil the increasing writing requirements of all these communities. Paper did not simply sweep parchment away; the evidence I have amassed across a range of books and documents shows that paper and parchment coexisted to supply an expanding demand for large quantities of material to write upon, and to accommodate new writing needs. It is out of these needs that paper as a writing material flourished, and the use of cursive script in such documents might be connected with the prevalence of cursive scripts in paper books. Those contexts also suggest two additional requirements for writing: the need to write quickly and the need to be trained to do so. The necessity to write things down expeditiously, an understanding of the practical advantages of writing on paper and the prerequisite to be trained in some capacity to do this, brought paper to the fore just as it also fostered cursive scripts. The Need to Write It has been shown that from the end of the thirteenth century the technological development and availability of paper enhanced and enabled mercantile and documentary culture. The impetus behind thirteenth- and fourteenth-century technological innovations seems to serve the need for more writing surface which has a certified, recorded status whether it is deeds of notaries, accounts of merchants or correspondence. Scholars have dubbed the side effect of this phenomenon ‘pragmatic literacy’. Recent work on the complexities of the term ‘literacy’, however, suggests that, useful as categorizing writing practices can be, the boundaries of categories are so permeable in the medieval period that claiming it was pragmatic literacies that championed paper may be reductive. Any writing surface   

See Chapter , pp. –. See, for example, Parkes, ‘The Literacy’; and R. H. Britnell, ed., Pragmatic Literacy, East and West, – (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, ). See the interesting discussion in Richardson, Middle-Class Writing. For a full bibliographical overview of medieval literacies and forms of communication, see M. Mostert, ‘A Bibliography of Works on Medieval Communication’, in New Approaches to Medieval Communication, ed. by Marco Mostert (Turnhout: Brepols, ), pp. –.



Writing on Paper

supports written literacies, whether it is a wax tablet or parchment. The need to write is not subordinate to a type of material; if anything, increased need for writing puts pressure on the resourcing of writing material to fulfil this need. As Petrucci notes, ‘paper was not adopted in literate Europe because of a heightened need to read, but because of a heightened and more articulate need to write’. Therefore, in order to understand how paper came to be accepted in book culture, it is important to understand the process by which it was accommodated for writing. Petrucci captures vividly the needs of the people who took up these skills – what he called the age of those who are free to write. Se è vero che questo, fra metà del Cento e metà del Duocento, è stato il secolo in cui è nata e si è diffusa in Occidente la categoria socioculturale dei ‘liberi di scrivere’, è anche vero che costoro avevano soprattutto bisogno non tanto di libri, quanto di informazioni, di notizie politiche, economic, finanziarie, onde poter programmare sempre più a vasto raggio rapporti, alleanze, investimenti, commerci: dunque di corrispondenza scritta semplice e immediatamente comprensibile. If it is true that the century between the middle of the eleventh and the middle of the twelfth was the century in which the sociocultural category of those who are ‘free to write’ was born and spread; it is also true that these people did not need books, but above all information, political, economic and financial news, so that they could plan relationships, alliances, investments and commercial deals within a wider range of action. Therefore, they needed written correspondence of a simple and immediately comprehensible nature.

The age of those who are free to write is also the time when record-keeping practices were consolidated. Writing matters because it informs on, and accounts for, people’s actions in official as well as unofficial communication. It also covers a range of other activities from the immediacy of relating news to the lasting effect of record-keeping and the copying and circulation of texts for entertainment, edification and learning. The operational process of storing and retrieving information with the view of auditing, remembering, archiving and consulting what has been written was, as illustrated by Clanchy, a process which in England started 

 

The synergy between different types of demands—reading, writing—is interesting. On paper as new material for a new reader and a further discussion on the literary, see Kwakkel, ‘A New Type of Book’. Armando Petrucci, Writers and Readers in Medieval Italy: Studies in the History of Written Culture (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, ), pp. –. Petrucci, Scrivere lettere, p. .

Normalizing Change



during Henry I’s reign and strengthened during Edward I’s. The contemporary will to keep records in writing and document minute administrative transactions is illustrated in borough and household records. Edward I not only strengthened the need to keep accurate accounts and records in his central administration, he also regulated towns’ mercantile communities by requesting the enrolment of debts in the town hall records by the hand of known clerks, and inscribed such rules in his Statute of Merchants in . These regulations further intensified and increased the demand for materials to satisfy these writing requirements across the main towns and guilds in England. The concern for good record-keeping permeated other social spaces, including the households and estates of nobility and bishops, with the consequent and exponential requirement to account for their running. Most of the early accounts are written on membrane, but paper accounts start to appear from the beginning of the fifteenth century; for example, in the households of bishops. The accounts further illustrate the demand for writing through the records of purchases of paper, in reams and quires, as well as parchment. These accounts, Woolgar notes, look less formal in appearance in the fifteenth century, but they nevertheless show the concern of the producers to document transactions, which can be presented for review. Sir John Fastolf explains this worry in a letter dated  June to Thomas Howes, one of his servants and trusted with the stewardship of Caister. In this letter, Fastolf writes:   





  

Clanchy, From Memory, p. . See also the discussion in Adrian Jobson, ed., English Government in the Thirteenth Century (Woodbridge: Boydell, ). See also the discussion in Chapter . On the text of the statutes discussing the manner in which debts and payments had to be recorded by a known hand, ‘de la main del un des clers avauntdiz qi serra conue’, and certified by the same clerk in his own hand, ‘de sa main face le escrit’, see Alexander Luders et al., eds, The Statutes of the Realm: Printed by Command of His Majesty King George the Third, in Pursuance of an Address of the House of Commons of Great Britain. From Original Records and Authentic Manuscripts (London: Dawsons, ), p. . For further discussion on the significance of these statues, see Richardson, Middle-Class Writing, p. . For a very useful overview of accounting practices in the medieval household, from the early accounts in the twelfth century to the fifteenth century, see Woolgar, Household Accounts, pp. –. One example of a paper account can be found for the household of Richard Milford, Bishop of Salisbury, October  to June , and is described and transcribed in Woolgar, Household Accounts, pp. –. On paper accounts, see ibid., p. . For paper used in accounting, see ibid., p. . Ibid., plate  also illustrates the formality of later accounts from the  household expenses of the Eyre family of Derbyshire (from Oxford, Bodl., MS DD Weld c. //, fol. r). On this relationship, see Colin Richmond, The Paston Family in the Fifteenth Century: Fastolf’s Will (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p.  n. .



Writing on Paper I sende you a rolle of the grete parte of costes in money leyd owt and payd here in London owt of myne coferys to lerned men and for councell, to diffend the malyciouse and fals processes pursued ageynst me thys x yere day by myne aduerse comfort and meyntenaunce of Norffolk. And y sende you your rolle of costes also, to corrige it after more serchys made as ys specified before, in bokys of myne accomptantes, prayng you to do serche of the new the said officer bokys by avice of Watkyn Shypdam, and William Cole, yff he be at Castre. And put it in your papyr or apart, that y may cast euery cost of euery processe to othyr.

In this passage, the power of the record is manifest. Records bear witness to truthful ethical conduct against allegations to the contrary. The roll contained Sir Fastolf’s expenses which could be presented for scrutiny and correction if necessary. The search for further written evidence at the core of Sir Fastolf’s challenge to account for his conduct rests on the amount of written evidence that he could produce. Sir Fastolf’s written instructions exemplified the maturity of a process which started a few centuries earlier. Books, letters, registers and documents started to be written on paper or mixed media by a significant number of hands, and these hands are cursive to reduce the time of writing and produce records more rapidly. The Need to Write Quickly Cursivity describes the handwriting of books and documents written with rapid strokes in a variable degree of connectivity and compression, and varying grades of formality. Scripts of documentary European cultures were cursive and such cursivity was also adopted in the writing of books which transmitted and circulated other types of written knowledge. Paper is often linked to this mode of writing because those individuals who wrote quickly did so on paper, although not exclusively. There might be additional reasons for this preference. Karin Schneider suggests that paper might not be a suitable material for set scripts such as textualis, an observation further corroborated by Kwakkel, and Lyall before. Also  

 

Beadle, Paston, letter n. , p. . I have removed the italics, used to denote expansion of abbreviations in the original edition, in all the quotations from the letters. For a historical overview, see Emanuele Casamassima, Tradizione corsiva e tradizione libraria nella scrittura latina del medioevo (Rome: Gela, ); Petrucci, Writers and Readers, p. ; but also more recently Derolez, The Palaeography, p. . Petrucci, Writers and Readers; and on British manuscript culture, M. B. Parkes, English Cursive Book Hands, – (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ); Parkes, Their Hands. Karin Schneider, Paläographie und Handschriftenkunde fu¨r Germanisten: eine Einfu¨hrung (Tu¨bingen: Niemeyer, ), p. ; Kwakkel, ‘A New Type of Book’; and Lyall, ‘Material’.

Normalizing Change



(as noted above), the close link between parchment and textualis may also have broader explanations, which include textual practices and typologies of books. Scholars link this desire to write rapidly with the production of cheaper books, to which paper seems to add substantially. The choice of cursive scripts over other types of set scripts on an economic basis is interesting, although it may require further considerations. The adoption of cursive scripts may be a question of habit, both for the writer and the reader. From a non-systematic perusal of documentary accounts, which record payments for copying such accounts, the price of writing accounts does not vary substantially in relation to either material or type of cursive hands, but this may not be the case across all other types of scripts. However, writing rapidly brings about the same complaint that Petrarch raised on the illegibility of gothic scripts. Writing quickly compromises the ‘Grammar of Legibility’. The graphic conventions are confused into one another impeding access to the information which needs to be shared. In this context it may be useful to reflect on the need for writing quickly in general with a particular eye on the freedom that Petrucci argued came with this type of writing. This need for speed can be supported by the analysis by Luciana Frangioni of the documentation which survives in the Datini Archive. Frangioni emphasizes that Datini’s business relied on writing. She notes that several letters contain the exhortation to write more and more, and to send letters with any available courier, at any time of the year and in any circumstance ‘non vi pesi la pena’ (‘despite the pain’). The importance of writing frequently is, however, also met with the disappointment of receiving news in illegible hands: thus the appeal to write well so that the receiver can better understand what the news is. Writing for news and writing in  



  

 Derolez, The Palaeography, p. . See also Kwakkel, ‘Commercial Organization’. ibid. For instance, paper and parchment are explicitly mentioned in Kirk, Accounts, p. . But see also the cost of writing in Woolgar, Household Accounts, p.  and passim; Toulmin Smith and Kyngeston, Expeditions to Prussia, p.  and passim; Gullick, Precentor’s Accounts, p.  and passim. For a thirteenth-century assessment of the cost of writing, see Clanchy, From Memory, p. . James Harvey Robinson, Petrarch: The First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters (New York and London: Putnam, ), pp. – and my discussion in ‘Textual Copying and Transmission’ in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English, ed. by Elaine Treharne and Greg Walker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –. M. B. Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts (London: Hambledon Press, ), pp. xv–xxii. Luciana Frangioni, ‘Il carteggio commerciale cella fine del xiv secolo: layout e contenuto economico’, Reti medievali rivista,  (), – (p. ). Ibid., p. .



Writing on Paper

haste, as a means to deliver information quickly, is a motif also found in English letters. The Pastons and their relations often write to each other ‘in hast’ or requesting information and directions ‘in gret hast’. It is less common to find reference to how the handwriting is shaped, or a judgement on the type of handwriting used. Yet Parkes notes that ‘In real life speed of communication, and ease of writing . . . the rapid configurations of the traces would have distorted the shapes of the letter forms’. The distortion of the letter shapes and the resulting illegibility of the prose is what we find in the complaints in the Datini letters. Examples of hasty English merchants, writing quickly rather than legibly, can be seen in what appear to be the hands of Sir William Stonor (c.–) and his brother Thomas Stonor (c.–). They write a quick hand which has some of the features of fifteenth-century secretary scripts (single compartment a, round-backed e, several abbreviations) but is informal and ‘dominated by loops of various sizes, and the configurations of different letters [which are] traced with the same loop movement’. An earlier merchant, Gilbert Maghfeld, wrote hastily in a very current anglicana in his register, assisted by other clerks. His hand is rapid and ‘shows confidence in an up-to-date London administrative script’. Parkes offers other examples of this type of speedy writing across the Western cursive tradition, and in England, for example, he observes that a scribe who recorded the minutes of meeting in Merton College, Oxford in  did so by quickly mixing abbreviations, 

 



 

Often these expressions are repeated on several occasions both at the beginning of a letter and at the end; see, for example, a letter ‘From John Jernyngan to Margaret Paston’, in Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , pp. –. See also the same turn of phrase in the Stonor letters, in Kingsford’s Stonor Letters and Papers, –, ed. by Christine Carpenter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). Parkes, Their Hands, p. . One example of these hands is the one of Manno Di Albizo degli Agli, Prato, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Datini, busta , inserto , codice , http://san.beniculturali.it/web/san/dettagliooggetto-digitale%Fpid=san.dl.DATINI:IMG- (accessed  February ). On these merchants’ hands, see also Melis, Aspetti, p. . Parkes, Their Hands, p. . For a sample of these hands, see the frontispiece, with the signatures and details of the hands of William Stonor and Thomas Stonor, in The Stonor Letters and Papers, –; Edited for the Royal Historical Society, from the Original Documents in the Public Record Office, vol. , ed. Charles Lethbridge Kingsford (London: Offices of the Society, ). On the Stonor family, see C. Carpenter, ‘Stonor [Stonore] family (per. c.–c.), gentry’, Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography (). TNA, E //; for example, fol. v. Andrew Galloway, ‘The Account Book and the Treasure: Gilbert Maghfeld’s Textual Economy and the Poetics of Mercantile Accounting in Ricardian Literature’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer,  (), – (p. ). Galloway also publishes examples of Maghfeld’s hand in Figures  and  of this article. On Maghfeld, see E. Veale, ‘Maghfeld, Gilbert (d. ), merchant’, Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography (). On the compilation of the register, see also Edith Rickert, ‘Extracts from a Fourteenth-Century Account Book (Continued)’, Modern Philology,  (), –.

Normalizing Change



tracing minims with a single stroke and losing the firm grip of his letter shapes. What Parkes describes here is that ‘freedom to write’ that Petrucci advocated. This freedom comes with a loss of formality in the appearance of the ductus which almost defies rigid classifications of hand descriptions. Another, better-known example in the category of individuals who are ‘free to write’, and write quickly, can be found in the hand of William Worcester (–/), a servant of Sir John Fastolf, who wrote extensively for business and his own pleasure, collecting and jotting down his reading about history, classicism, medicine, astronomy and warfare. For example, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS  contains William Worcester’s notes of his journeys undertaken at different times between  and  throughout southern and western England from St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall to Yarmouth in Norfolk. These notes, now known as William Worcester’s Itineraria, reflect Worcester’s interests in architecture, local history and geography. But he also jots down expenses for his stay in Bristol on  September. On that occasion, he bought candles, a permit of passage, some paper, wine and refreshments. Worcester’s handwriting in his notebooks is particularly irregular, and consistently so across all the manuscripts currently known as containing his hand, whether they are written on parchment or on paper. The  



   

See Oxford, Merton College, Archives MCR  in Parkes, Their Hands, p.  (plate ). This is also the sentiment, to a certain extent, of what Jenkinson labels ‘free hands’ in relation to ‘set hands’. Hilary Jenkinson, ‘The Teaching and Practice of Handwriting in England’, History, new series,  (), – (p. ). Some of Worcester’s writing is gathered in seven manuscripts, but his hand can also be found on private correspondence. The manuscripts are: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS : topography; London, BL, MS Add. : estate records; London, BL, MS Cotton Julius F. vii: classicism and history; London, BL, MS Royal .C.i: classicism and history; London, BL, MS Sloane : medicine; London, College of Arms, MS Arundel : history and warfare; Oxford, Bodl., MS Laud Misc. : astronomy. For an excellent overview, see Daniel Wakelin, ‘William Worcester Writes a History of his Reading’, New Medieval Literatures,  (), –. For the correspondence, see Norman Davis, ‘The Epistolary Usages of William Worcester’, in Medieval Literature and Civilization: Studies in Memory of G. N. Garmonsway, ed. by D. A. Pearsall and Norman Davis (London: Athlone Press, ), pp. –. On Worcester, see John Harvey, ed., Itineraries [of] William Worcestre (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. ix–xi; and K. B. McFarle, ‘William Worcester, a Preliminary Survey’, in Studies Presented to Sir Hilary Jenkinson, ed. by J. Conway Davies (London: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –. The manuscript has been fully digitized and is available at the ‘Parker Library on the Web’, https:// parker.stanford.edu/parker. Harvey, ed., Itineraries, pp. ix–x. Ibid., p. . See also Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS , p. . Image available at ‘Parker Library on the Web. The manuscripts on paper are: London, BL, MS Add. ; London, BL, MS Cotton Julius F. vii; London, BL, MS Sloane . See also Wakelin, ‘William Worcester’, p. .



Writing on Paper

aspect of Worcester’s hand is uneven. The hurried letter formation and the high degree of abbreviations and suspensions together with the uneven layout does not make for an aesthetically and calligraphically pleasing hand. Yet Worcester’s hand did not impede his professional and private ambitions and interests: after a degree from Oxford, he had a distinguished career in the service of Sir John Fastolf and his household. Worcester, however, does not always write in this irregular manner. He writes in a confident hybrid hand, based on a secretary script, in several of the Paston letters. His control of the aspect of his hand is uneven, possibly because he writes quickly, but he is capable of a neat secretary hand in a copy of a letter that he forwarded to John Paston I possibly on  May . The letter is a copy of a memorandum addressed to King Henry VI from the Duke of York and the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury. Worcester’s hand is an excellent example of how the execution of cursive scripts in late medieval England, in this case a highly current mixture of elements of the secretary script with a base anglicana script, had both a significant degree of variation and a certain degree of toleration in the execution of letter forms, ligatures and the overall appearance of the script itself. In his neater realization, Worcester removes the double compartment a and focuses on secretary features such as single compartment a, regular alternation between thick and thin strokes in the minims and the long, tapering descenders of f, p and long s. Worcester’s adoption of different scripts as well as their realization, depending on the occasion, is perhaps not surprising and it was part of his training. In Oxford, Worcester trained to become a clerk, he was taught how to draft letters, communicate in writing and manage an estate. He learned to write confidently, but chose not to perfect the formation of his letters. Legibility in Worcester’s hand depends on the purpose of the writing; his books were notes he collected, but not intended to be read by others. The letters he sends, especially the extract from the memorandum to the king, required a higher grade of script, which he knows how to deliver. He responds to the

   

See also Wakelin, ‘William Worcester’, p. . Several of the letters that Worcester wrote have been digitized. See, for example, London, BL, Add. MS , fols  and . London, BL, Add. MS , fol. , and published in Beadle, Paston, letter n. , pp. –. For a good overview on the Ars dictaminis in Oxford and the proliferation of formularies in Oxford and elsewhere, see John Taylor, ‘Letters and Letter Collections in England, –’, Nottingham Medieval Studies,  (), –.

Normalizing Change



exigencies of writing’s function, and producing uniformity in the aspect of his hand seems less of a consideration. Looking at Worcester’s hand, it is clear that people who intended to take up a career in estate administration needed to be free to write quickly and, more importantly, to authenticate their work, in their own hand. The emphasis on being able to write in one’s own hand is a fundamental factor in the development of late medieval handwriting. It was an expectation of the clerks enrolling debts in town halls that they wrote in their own hand as a sign of personal legal accountability. The intensification of these practices required the acquisition of writing at more levels of society. Richardson explains how this need became part of the apprentice’s training and Guild ordinances include this obligation for an apprentice. The ability to write one’s own letters in the keeping of accounts and records is considered a sign of trustworthiness within certain writing communities, such as government offices and mercantile networks in both England and other European countries, but also in private affairs. Chaucer’s oath to keep the record of the petty custom in his own hand is a well-known example of this practice. It is the tenor also of advice given by Benedetto Cotrugni Raguso, who in the fifteenth century wrote a manual for merchants. He tells us to mistrust those who ‘fanno scrivere de mano d’altri’, ‘ask others to write’. The author of a French fourteenth-century treatise on moral and domestic economy, which was written as a household manual by a man for his wife, recommended that she write her letters to her husband in her own hand. Intimacy and fidelity between husband and wife, as well as trustworthiness, are the motives for such advice: a trope which Chaucer explores in Troilus and Criseyde. However, in a letter that Agnes Paston sends to her husband William Paston, she says

   

 

 See p. , above. Richardson, Middle-Class Writing, p. . For an overview, see R. Beadle, ‘Private Letters’, in A Companion to Middle English Prose, ed. by A. S. G. Edwards (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, ), pp. –. Martin Michael Crow, Clair Colby Olson and John Matthews Manly, eds, Chaucer Life-Records (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. –. ‘Et così quelli li quali quando reciebeno robe o danari da te, e’ non te respondeno haverli ricievuti et, si pure ti respondeno, fanno scrivere di mano d’altri, questi sono iniquissimi, vafri, falsi, ingannatori’ (‘So that those who receive merchandise or money from you and do not acknowledge receipt and even though they answer they ask other people to write on their behalf. These people are iniquitous, useless, fraudulent, deceivers’). Benedetto Cotrugli, Libro e l’arte de la mercatura, ed. by Vera Ribaudo (Venice: Edizioni Ca’Foscari, ), p. . E. Power, ed., The Goodman of Paris: A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by a Citizen of Paris (c.) (London: Routledge, ), p. .  Ibid. See Chapter , pp. –.



Writing on Paper

that she wrote it quickly ‘for defaute of a good secretarye’. The medieval household put a lot of demand on those who administered the estate; writing letters was one of these important tasks, and to fulfil these tasks it was necessary to have training to write, even if only cursively. Merchants and clerks who were trained by a long period of apprenticeship, in which writing was taught, probably never wanted to perfect their writing style, but they did write extensively. Most importantly, in the examples I have discussed above of Maghfeld, Worcester and the Pastons, among others, they did so on paper. They did so in different capacities and in different professions, and possibly with a dissimilar training. Training is therefore an important aspect of the evaluation of how medieval people wrote, and not a tangential topic in assessing those individuals who wrote on paper. I will demonstrate this point by first thinking about how writing on paper influences practices, and second by reflecting upon how palaeographical investigation could enable a better appreciation of the skill of writing in the medieval period. Writing on Paper and the Matter of Scribal Training The possible influence of the material on palaeographical analysis is not always taken into consideration, as Marc Smith notes. But it is difficult to imagine that writing on wax tablets, slates, paper or parchment is the same. Paper was a new technology to medieval England: its characteristics changed over time, but it is rougher than parchment, its porous qualities absorb ink differently from parchment, and the type of ink which lacks fixative (gum) will cause the ink to lose colour and become very light. Equally, correcting text written on paper by erasure is difficult. The intrinsic quality of the material, its porousness rather than its fragility, does 

   

Letter from Agnes Paston to her husband, William Paston, Norfolk,  April , London, BL, Add. MS , fol. r, available at the British Library, Digitised Manuscripts Home, www.bl.uk/ manuscripts/ (accessed  December ) and transcribed in Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , p. . And further discussed as probably written in Agnes’s hand in Diane Watt, ed., The Paston Women: Selected Letters (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, ), p. . I have already touched on this issue in Da Rold, ‘Materials’. Marc H. Smith, ‘De la cire au papyrus, de la cire au papier: deux mutations de l’écriture?’, Gazette du livre médiéval,  (), –. Da Rold, ‘Materials’. For a case study on CUL, MS Dd. ., see Orietta Da Rold, ‘The Significance of Scribal Corrections in Cambridge University Library, MS Dd. .’, Chaucer Review,  (), –. Daniel Wakelin, Scribal Correction and Literary Craft: English Manuscripts – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p.  also notes: ‘It is possible to erase from paper but it is difficult’.

Normalizing Change



Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Add. , fol. r (detail) Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

not easily accommodate erasure as a technique for correcting. In fact, because of these characteristics, paper is the ideal material for the type of corrections that notaries and merchants enforced in their recording practices and that are often found in registers. Corrections by struck-through text is the norm in paper manuscripts; erasures are very infrequent, and non-existent in accounts or registers. This could have benefits as paper could thereby show any fraudulent interference with accounting, notarial and legal practices. Perhaps the accommodation of paper in these writing spaces is also a consequence of the material characteristic of porousness. Copyists of books, however, seem to have come up with ingenious ways of correcting on paper. In a paper copy of Lydgate’s The Siege of Thebe, for example, the scribe seems to apply a thin transparent substance to the word/s he has erased before re-writing the correction over it (see Illustration .). As a writing support, therefore, paper demanded new skills – and even strange innovations – from scribes. If the porosity of the material encouraged its use in mercantile and clerical practices because it prevented fraudulent recording, scholars have wondered whether the adoption of paper in other bookish environments was associated with drafting material. Petrarch uses it for drafts of his Canzoniere. De Riquer suggested that the introduction of paper in the West during the twelfth century may have offered the opportunity to the anonymous thirteenth-century author of the vulgar cycle of the Lancelot Queste, Mort Artu, to compose their work on paper rather than wax 



This practice is present on a number of folios of CUL, MS Add. ; for example, at fols  and . I would like to thank Francesca Mitchell, an MPhil student reading English Medieval and Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge for drawing my attention to this feature in this manuscript. Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat.lat.. For a description of manuscript, followed by an edition, see Francesco Petrarca, Il codice degli abbozzi: edizione e storia del manoscritto Vaticano latino , ed. by Laura Paolino (Milan: Ricciardi, ), pp. – and Silvia Rizzo, Il lessico filologico degli umanisti (Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, ), p. .



Writing on Paper

tablets. Petrarch seems to be fully aware of the advantages of composing on an intermediate surface for corrections, additions and expansions, before transcribing his poetry neatly on parchment. It is known that paper was used for drafting in English documentary writing practices, alongside parchment still, of course. Evidence, however, of drafting literary texts on paper is not easy to come by. What the manuscripts show is a variable formality of their realization and modelling of scripts which are always cursive. The example of Sir Firumbras, in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS , in which a draft on parchment is used to wrap a paper copy of the romance, is a reminder of a complex approach to the relationship between paper and parchment in copying literary texts in England. Yet, innovation and freedom are two alternative ways of framing the relationship between paper and writing. It is difficult to know the extent to which writing on paper may be a different experience for a scribe, because contemporary sources do not address the question of materials. However, a seventeenth-century Italian treaty Il negoziante (‘The Merchant’) by Giovanni Domenico Peri offers a little glimpse of what this may entail. Peri’s book is a handbook on how to be a successful merchant. It is under ‘writing’ that we find some of the most interesting tips on how to write on paper, starting with more familiar advice. He recommends to write carefully, not too quickly as it may deform the letter, and that care should be taken not to trace the letter too small. He praises the ability to write regularly; that is, to maintain the same size in the minims, shafts and approach strokes of the graphs. He offers advice on how to cut the pen, observing that those writers who are inclined to form their letters smaller may decide to use a wider nib which can write a little more thickly. However, those who write too large must use a smaller pen with a thinner nib so that the ink can run more slowly. The pens must be slim, neither too hard nor too soft. Then he observes:

      

Martin De Riquer, ‘Fondamenti di Critica Testuale’, in Strumenti. Linguistica e critica letteraria, ed. by Alfredo Stussi (Bologna: Il Mulino, ), pp. –. Petrarca, Il codice degli abbozzi, pp. –. Parkes, ‘The Literacy’, p. . Kingsford discusses a draft paper deed in his Stonor Letters and Papers, p. . On drafts of documents on parchment, see also Illustration .. For further discussion, see Chapter , pp. –. This is also the sentiment, to a certain extent, of what Jenkinson labels ‘free hands’ in relation to ‘set hands’. See Jenkinson, ‘The Teaching’, p. . Some manuals survive elsewhere in Europe from the fourteenth century; see Cherubini and Pratesi, Paleografia Latina, pp. –. Peri, Il negoziante.

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

s’há perciò anco da procurare, che la carta sia ragioneuolmente ben battuta, acciò che intoppando la penna, non dia occasione d’andar calcando la mano, come intrauiene quando la penna è dura, o la carta è ruuida con danno notabile dello Scrittore, il quale da questo vá assuefacendosi á calcar sempre la mano, il che gli cagiona affanno nello scriuere, & è d’impedimento alla velocità. It is also important that the paper is reasonably well pressed, so that when the pen gets stuck, it does not give occasion to callous the hand, as happens when the pen is too hard or the paper too rough with great damage to the writer, who from these matters will callous his hand even more and this will cause great difficulty in the writing and will impede velocity.

Peri emphatically associates a well-prepared material with the ability to write well and quickly. He is adamant about these tips, because they are all well known to Writing Masters, who, however, never explicitly discuss them in their writing manuals. These instructions belong to the tacit knowledge of the art of writing often communicated orally rather than by written instructions, and thus easily forgotten. Peri gives us a glimpse into seventeenth-century writing practices, which confirm the well-known idea that practice is the only way to reach proficiency of script, and more broadly raises the question of training in relation to cursive hands. This emphasis on training implies the existence of a model which can be followed. But the situation in the late medieval period is rather more complex. Jenkinson claims that the greater variation in the cursive hands of the fifteenth century is generated by the fact that many learners never really learned a good technique. He observes that initial instructions could then be honed either by further training within a big office or might ‘decay in a less important position in which the handwriting was less controlled’. The freedom to write influenced experimentation, or ‘deregulation and improvisation’, in the execution of scripts which began as early as the eleventh century. Scribes experimented with graphic forms and ligatures, which raises the question of what  

 

Ibid. Some instructions on how to cut and hold the pen do, however, appear in early modern manuals: what is absent is an explanation of the relationship between the pen and the writing surface. See, for example, Martin Billingsley, The Pen’s Excellencie (London: ); and on writing masters’ practices, Ambrose Heal, The English Writing-Masters and Their Copy-Books, – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). Jenkinson, The Later Court Hands in England from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. J. Crick, ‘English Vernacular Script’, in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. , c.–, ed. by Richard Gameson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –.



Writing on Paper

script people might have learnt to write in medieval England and where they learnt it, and upon which material they generally deployed their acquired skills. Medieval grammar schools would offer not only training in how to speak, read and write in Latin, but, as Nicholas Orme has observed, also in ‘dictamen (the art of writing letters), the methods of drafting deeds and charters, the composition of court rolls and other legal records, and the keeping of financial accounts’. Servants in medieval households, apprentices and lawyers would all require this type of training, and the acquisition of these skills was not confined to young learners. In the later medieval period, learning to write could be part of the apprentice’s training or it could be paid for by the guilds. Lawyers, by the fifteenth century, would receive further instructions in the ‘inns of court’, and notaries would also further specialize in ecclesiastical or royal households. The hands of all these clerks are highly cursive, with a great variation in their aspect, and yet they show uniformity in the type of script selected. Some writers adopt the cursive anglicana, others secretary, but often they write in a hybrid or mixed type of script which borrows elements from one or the other type of script, as noted below. In the late medieval period, then, several writing environments existed, which adopted cursive scripts, and paper was a specific tool to these writers. In order to describe the work of these many writers we see in paper books and documents, we need to consider how, palaeographically, we talk about individual hands. The execution of the script is, however, varied, and it is important to recognize this point because palaeographers have inverted the significance of practice and the labelling of the finished product: that is we evaluate the ability of a writer to reproduce an abstract 

 



Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. –. On lay scribes and apprentices, see C. Paul Christianson, ‘A Community of Book Artisans in Chaucer’s London’, Viator,  (), –; C. Paul Christianson, ‘Evidence for the Study of London’s Late Medieval Manuscript-Book Trade’, in Book Production and Publishing in Britain –, ed. by Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. And for a wide-ranging discussion, including clergy, scholars and professional and commercial scribes, see Parkes, Their Hands, pp. –. An Oxford Master, Thomas Sampson, provided instruction to a varied clientele. See Orme, Medieval Schools, p. . Parkes, ‘The Literacy’, pp. – and Parkes, Their Hands, pp. –. See also the very useful introduction in John H. Baker and J. S. Ringrose, A Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, ), pp. xxix–xliv. Notaries were required to write extensively for both the government and bishops’ administrations. For an overview, see Christopher Robert Cheney, Notaries Public in England in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ).

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

model rather than focusing on the merits of the hand itself. Learning to write is part of one’s job, but we need to understand how the instruction worked in practice, and how the process of choosing one script over another may have worked. Parkes has explained the relationship between a script which may have served as a model and its hand in which it actually materialized. He has also explained that the appearance of a hand (ductus) is formed by two processes: ‘The basic ductus establishes the order and number of the strokes, and the directions of the traces required to produce the configurations that form the shapes of letters in the alphabet of a particular script. A personal ductus determines the way in which an individual scribe executed these traces, and is a characteristic of his or her handwriting’. In his observations, Parkes helpfully gives us a tool to think about how to talk about scribal hands, but also raises the question of how a person absorbed the model script or scripts and then adapted them for his or her personal manifestation (their ‘hand’). This process must accommodate stages of learning in which the familiarization with the cutting of the nib, the angle at which the pen is held, and the selected graphic system influence the module of writing and its appearance, which then in turn enabled a learner to reach different levels of proficiency. Petrucci anticipates some of this thinking in his discussion on the difference between elementary scripts and more advanced and proficient scripts to provide a model for the discussion of medieval Italian handwriting. The understanding of scaffolding learning is not just a modern concern, this is an important consideration also for medieval writing practices, because it stresses the implicit impression that often basic or elementary scripts can only be improved by practice, and that such practice will only lead to proficiency if that proficiency is so desired. Teresa Webber in a recent paper posed a similar question for a set of scribes in the ‘Models of Authority Project’. Webber discussed an example of a scribe who in  seemed to have been more comfortable in writing a version of a 

  

An excellent overview is published in Pamela R. Robinson, ed., Teaching Writing, Learning to Write: Proceedings of the XV Colloquium of the Comité International de Paléographie Latine: Held at the Institute of English Studies, University of London – September  (London: King’s College London Centre for Late Antique & Medieval Studies, ). For an overview, see Parkes, English Cursive, p. xiv and passim; for a clear definition, see ‘scripts’ in the glossary to Parkes, Their Hands, p. .   Parkes, Their Hands, p. . Ibid., p. . Petrucci, Writers and Readers, –. Models of Authority, www.modelsofauthority.ac.uk/. See also T. Webber, ‘The Handwriting of Scottish Charters – in the National Library of Scotland’, available at www .modelsofauthority.ac.uk/blog/handwriting/.



Writing on Paper

cursive script than the more set handwriting that he was attempting to write. In that paper, she also suggested that it may well be the case that the elementary script that this scribe first learnt was cursive, and possibly an early form of anglicana. These questions lead to wider issues on the teaching and use of the cursive ductus in specialist scripts, but also make us ponder how we can recognize stages in training and discuss the confidence of the hand. Grade is the term used to describe formality and even the quality of penmanship, but it is a direct comment on the incremental stages of training, and it implies both a number of steps and a focus on letter formation; that is, the ability to know exactly what the adopted model is and then to discern what makes the high- and low-grade versions of that model. In an age of freedom and cursivity, such discussions, unless rigorously methodologically framed, do not bring convincing results. Writing is a mechanical skill which needs practice, and it progresses in stages. Some writers may achieve a high level of proficiency, either for their own satisfaction or for their vocation or profession; others, either because of inclination or chance, never go beyond the initial rudimentary stages of learning the backbone of letter tracing. De Robertis, however, also reminds us that even skilled scribes when adopting a new script may look unskilled, by showing the early attempts of Poggio Bracciolini (–) with the antiqua. Worcester, for example, had in his repertoire letter forms derived from the cursive anglicana, but then he preferred a secretary script. Was he taught both scripts and, if so, at what level; or was he taught a mixed hand, and then encouraged to write in a secretary hand? His clerical training may suggest that secretary script might have been the tool of his trade. Chaplais observes that the privy seal office during the last years of Edward III’s reign started to accommodate a ‘secretary’ hand which looked ‘angular and upright’ with specific letter shapes and was influenced by French cursive practices. To achieve the effect that this type of script produced, however, required a good knowledge of the basic script, and demanded 



 

T. Webber, ‘Elementary Cursive Handwriting’, paper delivered at conference, ‘The Unskilled Scribe: Elementary Hands and Their Place in the History of Handwriting’, University of Oxford,  September . An excellent illustration of this discussion, with particular reference to humanistic scripts, is published in T. De Robertis, ‘Scritture umanistiche elementari (e altro)’, Scrineum,  (), –. Ibid., pp. –. P. Chaplais, English Royal Documents, King John–Henry VI, – (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), p. . See also Parkes, English Cursive Book Hands, pp. xix–xxi.

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

its precise execution, with a specific emphasis on the repetition, control and accuracy of tracing minims and upright strokes, and confidence in the vigorous hairlines of the litterae notabiliores. In a draft letter from the Privy Seal of Richard II (Illustration .), a scribe unceasingly repeats minims and the long s in an attempt to imitate the hand of the main text, possibly the same scribe. This emphasis on minims highlights the importance of this exercise in tracing each individual stroke with precision, but it also shows how the scribe was interested in perfecting the overall aspect of his word formation. The Repetition of ‘Aure Aime clerk William Waltham’ demonstrates how from single-letter formation scribes moved to joining up letters and words. This is a clear, albeit rare, example of how further training might have worked within a specific writing environment. Worcester, working in a household context several years later, does not achieve such proficiency, although his hand is assured and practised. Repetition is how writing is learned and perfected. Even though evidence of how people learned to write in the late medieval period, or in other periods, is difficult to come by, examples emerge. A classic example is Francesco di Marco Datini’s fourteenth-century exercise book. In this exercise book, Datini repeats over and over again the letter forms associated with this script and the sentence ‘E prima o poi ribattere le chinvenne I due serpenti etc.’ Datini is learning a specific type of script: the mercantesca, a cursive script different from the cancelleresca, the chancery script reserved for notaries. In England, similar examples to the Datini exercise book are rare. Two bifolia of what might have been an exercise book survive amongst the fragments which have emerged from the binding of a school book.  



For an unpublished example of how an Elizabethan hand practised both individual letter forms and complete sentences, see CUL, MS Add. . See Prato, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Datini, busta , codice , available at The Datini’s Archive, www.istitutodatini.it/schede/archivio/eng/arc-dat.htm (accessed  December ). For details of other examples, see the discussion in Paolo Cherubini, ‘Frammenti di quaderni di scuola d’area umbra alla fine del secolo XV’, Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken,  (), – and Irene Ceccherini, Teaching, Function and Social Diffusion of Writing in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Florence, in Robinson, Teaching Writing, pp. –. Oxford, Lincoln College, MS Lat. , fragments  and . The manuscript is made up of seventeen fragments, which include English and Latin texts, including several hand trials, and was found in Oxford, Lincoln College, MS Lat. . The fragments are described and transcribed in Cynthia R. Bland, ed., The Teaching of Grammar in Late Medieval England: An Edition, with Commentary, of Oxford, Lincoln College MS Lat.  (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, ), pp. –. Bland further suggests that these fragments that associate MS Lat.  with MS Lat.  as possibly belonging to Thomas Schort, a teacher at Newgate School, Bristol. See her discussion at pp. –.

Illustration .

The National Archives, ref. E //

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

In this example, the learner forms a number of letters, experimenting, for example, with a double compartment a, thick and tapered descenders and looped ascenders, but also sentences, practising them on paper. At the top of the page, the learner writes, ‘Equore cum gelido Zephereus feret exhennia kymbus’ repeated four times, although not always completely (see Illustration .). This sentence was widely used in methods of teaching how to write, because it contains all twenty-three letters of the (Latin) alphabet. Other examples of similar repetitions of sentences and trialling of hands appears on empty space on folios in books used in educational contexts. For example, in a composite manuscript, which contains astronomical and astrological texts as well as a treatise on arithmetic and two versions of a compotus, a scribe practises extensively a fine secretary hand, focusing on the repetition of sentences such as ‘Lasse que dure oe lardure’ or ‘Par vertu dun arrest de chastre’ (see Illustration .). In the repetition of these examples, there is an emphasis on the effect of the hairlines, as well as on the tracing of the minims of the kind we have seen in Richard II Privy seal documents. While it is notable that the polishing of the handwriting and the proficiency of letter shapes was achieved by repetition, it is also important to observe that in all these examples the script which was modelled was cursive, reinforcing the notion that cursivity might be taught at elementary level and then perfected by further practice. It is also notable that the examples which survive from educational environments outside governmental office survive on paper. The use of paper in other books associated with grammar schools corroborates the adoption of paper in these learning environments; for example, Cambridge University Library, MS Add.  includes grammatical treatises of John Drury of Beccles, Suffolk, datable to about  and written in a secretary script both on parchment and paper, and Oxford, Lincoln College, MS lat. , at the back of which the first training example 

 



See the discussion about the use of this and other sentences in this context, in B. Bischoff, ‘Elementarunterricht und Probationes Pennae in der ersten Hälfte des Mittelalters’, in Mittelalterliche studien,  vols. (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, –), vol. , p. . Oxford, MS Bodl. . For a description, see the Bodleian Library electronic catalogue, https:// medieval.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/catalog/manuscript_. Another example can be found in Cambridge, St John’s College, MS F. , fols v and v, but generally across the manuscript. For a description of the manuscript and related bibliography, see www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/manuscripts/medieval_manuscripts/medman/F_ .htm. See Appendix, but also Nicholas Orme, English School Exercises, – (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, ). The manuscript is described in Ringrose, Summary Catalogue, pp. –.



Writing on Paper

Illustration . Oxford, Lincoln College, MS Lat. , n., fol. v Reproduced by permission of the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College, Oxford.

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Illustration . Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodl. , fol. v Reproduced by kind permission of the Bodleian Libraries, the University of Oxford.





Writing on Paper

was found, including grammatical texts and moral poems, was copied by Thomas Schort, a teacher at Newgate School, Bristol, . The argument then that the adoption of paper in these training environments might also have facilitated the spreading of paper’s purchase and use in English clerical culture is not far-fetched. Indeed notaries, lawyers, household accountants and administrators developed a habit of writing on paper, a custom which could then be easily translatable to other types of writing, such as literary and non-literary book production, as it is known.

Mapping Hands on Paper The need to write more, the need for speed in writing and the way in which writers wrote on paper, as well as their training, help to explain some of the complexities which are inherent in English medieval handwritten culture. These contexts have important implications for how we categorize scribes and their work in book production. The conversation in recent scholarship about what constitutes a professional scribe has focused on the ability of scribes to write proficiently. Scribes who wrote on paper are often called non-professional or amateur copyists who wrote books for their own use, were occasionally connected with university writing environments and thrived in the written pragmatic culture of the late medieval period. Yet if the connection between clerical culture and writing on paper is undeniable, it is difficult to apply these definitions to hands which wrote on paper or indeed on any material. These distinctions and ways of thinking about the work of scribes may certainly be useful if one is trying to identify scribes working in some 





Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. –. The manuscript is described in N. R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries: Lampeter–Oxford,  vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), vol. , pp. –. On Schort, see Nicholas Orme, ‘A Grammatical Miscellany of – from Bristol and Wiltshire’, Traditio,  (), –. For further examples, see David Thomson, A Descriptive Catalogue of Middle English Grammatical Texts (New York: Garland, ). ‘[T]he quality of the individual workmanship within the stints is very high . . . each hand is that of a proficient scribe who maintains a uniform quality throughout his stints, and exhibits the personal stamp of the practised craftsman’. See A. I. Doyle and M. B. Parkes, ‘The Production of Copies of the “Canterbury Tales” and the “Confessio Amantis” in the Early Fifteenth Century’, in Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker, ed. by M. B. Parkes and A. G. Watson (London: Scolar Press, ), pp. –, and further elaborated by L. R. Mooney, ‘Professional Scribe? Identifying English Scribes Who Had a Hand in More than One Manuscript’, in New Directions in Later Medieval Manuscript Studies: Essays from the  Harvard Conference, ed. by D. Pearsall (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ), pp. – (pp. –). See, for example, Bu¨hler, The Fifteenth-Century Book, pp. –; Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, pp. –.

Mapping Hands on Paper



professional capacity. The problem, however, arises when these differences are blurred, as happens so often when we cannot ascertain what a person’s writing environment and intentionality were. What is particularly problematic from a methodological point of view is the practice of grouping scribal productions under specific terms, such as ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’, because it shifts the reader’s attention from the analysis of the hand to the broader implications of what these hands represent and then this extends to the evaluation of the artefact in itself. The confusion arises in what exactly is being described: is it the working environment of the copyists, their handwriting, or the type of work that copyists are producing? I would suggest that a consideration of the type of script adopted to write on paper must come before advancing an interpretative hypothesis of the individuals who choose one material or another upon which to write. I will illustrate this point by returning to the corpus of paper manuscripts in Cambridge University Library. As I have discussed, the content of these manuscripts is various, with a wide representation of the medieval textual tradition in more than one language. Equally varied are the types of handwriting across the corpus. I have attempted to group these hands in Figure . to test first what type of script may be predominantly in use, and, secondly, whether any patterns may emerge for further consideration. Figure . confirms the predominant use of cursive types of handwriting across the corpus. Anglicana, anglicana formata, bastard anglicana, secretary and hybrid hands are in evidence. These people write in a variety of cursive scripts, the level of currency (writing currente calamo – without lifting the pen from the writing material) of which varies. In these hands, the speed, formality and connectivity of the strokes of the letter on which the writing is modelled, and their modes of execution, can incorporate more careful finishing or more informal realizations. Writers sometimes seem to try to strike a balance between speed and legibility, and their hands also mix cursive scripts in several ways. These hands either adopt a secretary model, to which they add letter forms borrowed from the anglicana script (see the discussion on MS Ff.., below), or they use the cursive anglicana script to which they add simplified letter forms, such as single compartment ‘a’. 

 

See the extension of this work in L. R. Mooney and Estelle Stubbs, Scribes and the City: London Guildhall Clerks and the Dissemination of Middle English Literature, – (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ). On the terms, see Appendix. See, for example, CUL, MSS Ee.., Gg.., Gg.., Hh.., Hh.., Ii...

29

27

24

Total 11

10 6 2

3

ANGLICANA ANGLICANA ANGLICANA ANGLICANA ANGLICANA FORMATA FORMATA; FORMATA; FORMATA; HYBRID SECRETARY SECRETARY; HYBRID

1

1

1

BASTARD ANGLICANA; BASTARD ANGLICANA ANGLICANA ANGLICANA; FORMATA; SECRETARY TEXTUALIS;

1

1

BLANK

HUMANIST

1 HYBRID

HYBRID; HYBRID; BASTARD SECRETARY ANGLICANA

SECRETARY

Figure . Distribution of scripts in Cambridge University Library medieval paper manuscripts listed in Appendix

Mapping Hands on Paper



There are a number of additional interesting instances of manuscript productions, such as one humanistic hand in Cambridge University Library, MS Add. , which was copied in the second half of the fifteenth century, and a blank medieval paper book with no writing in it. There is also an attempt to model textualis and to use it in position of prominence. These are intriguing examples upon which I would like to pause for further discussion, because in some of these instances the scholarly reception of the manuscript does not do justice to the complexities of its writing. Some manuscripts in the sample do reveal the relationship between paper, cursive scripts and the kinds of training and professional activity adumbrated above. Ecclesiastical formularies and the hands of notaries are accomplished in their use of cursive scripts on paper; for example, one of the several hands who copied Cambridge University Library, Add.  (Illustration .), which includes proceedings of ecclesiastical matters from York, including letters and documents concerning the dioceses, is a skilful secretary hand modelling a late fifteenth-century script. This hand in an episcopal chancery probably shows notarial training. The manuscript belonged to another notary, ‘Petro Effard Clerico Notaro publico’ (fol. ), who, Ringrose suggests, was a certain Peter Effard, Chapter Clerk at Lincoln from. Copies of yearbooks, or other legal texts, are perhaps less carefully redacted, but still written in experienced legal hands in the sample of paper books from Cambridge University Library.

 



See discussion in Chapter , pp. –. Ringrose, Summary Catalogue, p. . On other examples of notarial hands on paper, see the formulary of John Prophet in London, BL, MS Harley , a distinguished notary public, who wrote in an anglicana formata. Gilbert Stone’s letter-book—Oxford, Bodl., MS Bodley , fols –—is written in a hybrid form of anglicana formata, which accommodates the thick strokes of a secretary script and an infrequent single compartment a along with its double-compartment form. Both these manuscripts are datable between the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries. Stone was a papal notary, registrar and chancellor in Bath and Wells and Worcester. He was well known for his grandiose style of composition and notarial practice. See Cheney, Notaries Public, p. . See also the hands of John de Branketre and John Fordham, who wrote for the royal and the Black Prince households; Parkes, Their Hands, p.  n. . Facsimiles of John de Branketre appeared in Chaplais, ‘Master John de Branketre’, pp. – and of John Fordham in Henry James, ed., Facsimiles of National Manuscripts from William the Conqueror to Queen Anne,  vols. (Southampton: Ordnance Survey, –), vol. , plate xxix. See, for example, CUL, MS Add. , part of the Year Book of  Hen. IV, copied probably by Clement Heigham (Quod C. Heigham, fol. v), who ‘acted as feoffee for Henry Strange of Lincoln’s Inn temp. Edw. IV’. See Baker and Ringrose, Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts, p. .



Writing on Paper

Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Add. , fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Mapping Hands on Paper



While it may seem that many manuscripts in the sample are less easy to connect with clear ‘professional’ contexts, scholars must exercise care in the way they describe the expertise of the writer. The first part of Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.. (fols  to ) is written on paper and contains a copy of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De proprietatibus rerum, translated by John Trevisa. The second part (fols  to ) includes Jordan’s Ars metrica demonstrativa and is written on parchment. MS Ii.. is the only extant copy of Trevisa’s text on paper. Seymour notes that it is ‘the only example of a “cheap” copy, in every way an exceptional though still handsome manuscript . . . possibly made by a university teacher for his own use’. Paper for Seymour equals a cheap book, but MS Ii.. is rather remarkable. Hand  writes fol.  in textualis: a compressed aspect with very little variation between minims; and ascenders and descenders never exiting the line of writing (see Illustration .). This script is abandoned almost immediately for a more cursive one (see Illustration .). The table of contents and the other folios of the book by this hand are written in a compact anglicana, with double compartment a, small sigma s at the end of words, minims traced continuously and ascenders and descenders kept as much as possible at minim height (Illustration .). The manuscript is also written by other cursive hands, executing a careful form of anglicana, occasionally anglicana formata (fols r–r; see Illustration .). The construction of the book shows signs of the difficulty in pulling together a text which was not yet in a stable order, or that the scribe received piecemeal, or in which some leaves had to be copied around already available parts. The complexities of this manuscript’s facture make one wonder why it should be considered a book made by a university teacher for his own use and of provincial origin. Hand  may show some of the characteristics which can be noted in university books, but the other contemporary scribes use a clerical hand. The anglicana and hybrid scripts





H. R. Luard et al., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge, nd edn,  vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), vol. , p. . See On the Properties of Things: John Trevisa’s Translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum. A Critical Text, ed. by M. C. Seymour,  vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), vol. , p. . It is not known when the two parts came together, although Seymour suggests that it might have been through Thomas More. The book in the library of Bishop Moore is described with both parts by Edward Bernard. See Edward Bernard and Humphrey Wanley, Catalogi librorum manuscriptorum Angliæ et Hiberniæ in unum collecti, cum indice alphabetico (Oxford: E theatro Sheldoniano, ), part , p. , item . Seymour, On the Properties of Things, vol. , pp. –.



Writing on Paper

Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Mapping Hands on Paper



Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.



Writing on Paper

Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Mapping Hands on Paper



that they are trying to model, often written with a thin nib and a profusion of hairlines, may have been the work of professionals employed also in business or administration. The change in the appearance of the script at the beginning of MS Ii.. suggests the scribe was not proficient in executing textualis, but it is remarkable that after abandoning the more formal script the main scribe wrote the majority of the manuscript confidently. This hand must have been adept at writing in some capacity, and the confidence the scribe shows in writing the cursive script demonstrates that he might have been taught how to write in a cursive anglicana. Textualis is a script he knew but was not confident in. Whether one can assume that this manuscript was a copy produced for his own use is more difficult to infer. Seymour notes that at least three copies of Trevisa’s translation were made in London or Westminster, and the other two were provincial productions. The reason why MS Ii.. ought to be one of these provincial copies is not altogether clear. The paper stocks on which the manuscript is written probably circulated in London during the first decades of the fifteenth century, and it is difficult, therefore, to argue that labels like ‘professional’ or ‘amateur’ are useful to evaluate the writing in this book. Amongst the manuscripts in Table ., it is not unusual to find such variation of styles in the execution of a script. A certain Gilbert Pilkington copied a selection of poems and texts of religious instructions, including, for instance, ‘Instructions for Parish Priests’, ‘The ABC of Aristotle’, ‘Prognostications’, ‘Dialogue between a Nightingale and a Clerk’, ‘The Tournament of Tottenham’, ‘A Lament of the Blessed Virgin’, ‘Robin Hood and the Monk’ and prose prognostications. Pilkington seems to know how to write in a rather careful secretary script, with a few anglicana features, such as the form of closed g. He can write a competent secretary and rubricate in a textualis script almost modelled on bastard anglicana, with its elaborated Litterae Notabiliores (see Illustration .). Although the variation in the appearance of the script across the manuscript may give the impression that the manuscript contains more than one hand, the basic

 

 Ibid. See discussion Chapter , pp. –. In CUL, MS Ff... Much debate has surrounded the authorship of these texts, and Pilkington has also been proposed as a possible contender. See J. Y. Downing, ed., A Critical Edition of Cambridge University MS Ff.. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, ), p. xxxi. Recent work has suggested that Pilkington might be the scribe. See Thomas H. Ohlgren, Robin Hood: The Early Poems, –: Texts, Contexts, and Ideology (Newark: University of Delaware Press, ).



Writing on Paper

Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Ff.., fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Mapping Hands on Paper



execution of the script belongs to one scribe. In a recent study, Pilkington has been associated with a certain Gilbertus Pilkington, ‘who was ordained as a subdeacon, deacon and secular priest over a two-year period from  and ’ in the Dioceses of Coventry and Lichfield, under the bishopric of John Hales (–). Nothing more is known about this priest who was interested in a variety of texts and could write with ease. The use of paper in religious institutions, albeit connected with laymen, is also evinced in a copy of Eleonor Hull’s translation of the seven Psalms and other meditative material including Lydgate’s Meditation to Our Lord. Cambridge University Library, MS Kk.. was compiled before  by Richard Fox, who also copied the Meditation to Our Lord and other texts (Illustration .). His name appears on fols r, r and v (see Illustration .). This manuscript is copied on mixed-media quires: paper with inner and outer parchment bifolia. Hull’s translation is copied in an accomplished secretary script with Latin in textualis. Fox’s hand is modelled on an anglicana formata script, but his letter forms are spaced out evenly – more so than in other contemporary renditions of this script – and his explicits are formed following a bastard anglicana model. The aspect of his hand is almost fractious, and he seems to prefer sharp nibs. In this manuscript, he works both as a supervisor and as a scribe. Richard Fox has been described in contemporary records as a ‘literatus procurator’ (‘officer for Literature and the procurement of books’). Fox was a lay brother, a senior servant possibly to the Abbot or other dignitaries; he collected books and texts for his own library and bequeathed ‘a booke that is in quayers xxv, for the more parte wryte’. Regarding the hands which copied other literary texts, the scribe who copied the Canterbury Tales on mixed media in Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.. wrote in a developed and confident clerical style of



  





Ohlgren, Robin Hood, pp. –, at p. . See also Carol M. Meale, ‘Romance and its Anti-Type’, in Middle English Poetry: Texts and Traditions. Essays in Honour of Derek Pearsall, ed. by Alistair Minnis (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ), pp. – n. . For a description on the manuscript, see The Seven Psalms: A Commentary on the Penitential Psalms, EETS,  o.s., ed. by Alexandra Barratt (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. xiv–xxi. See for Fox’s hand as a copyist, fols  ff. On Fox’s hand, see also Daniel Wakelin, ‘Writing the Words’, in The Production of Books in England –, ed. by Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. – (p. ). Barratt, The Seven Psalms, p. xxii. See also G. R. Owst, ‘Some Books and Book-Owners of Fifteenth-Century St. Albans’, Transactions of the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society ( for ), – and DMCL, vol. , p. . Owst, ‘Some Books’, p. .



Writing on Paper

Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Kk.., fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Mapping Hands on Paper



Illustration . Cambridge University Library, MS Kk.., fol. r Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

anglicana formata and cannot be considered an amateur. This case can be exemplified from other manuscripts in my corpus. A number of known scribes wrote extensively across parchment, paper and mixed media, with uniform and regular hands. There are exceptions, of course, as scholars have noted. For example, the scribe of San Marino, Huntington Library, MS HM , wrote on parchment in the inner and outer folios of MS HM  and London, Lambeth Palace, MS , but on parchment in London, British Library, MS Harley . These books are compilations of literary texts. MS Harley  (Chaucer’s Troilus) is written in a careful anglicana formata, but Lambeth MS  (Brut, The Siege of Jerusalem etc.) and MS HM  (Piers Plowman, Mandeville’s Travels, Chaucer’s Troilus etc.) is written in a more informal way. Recent debates on who this scribe might have been are inconclusive. What has become clearer, however, is that he assisted with clerical duties in the administration of the guilds and the city in London. His hand is modelled on an experienced cursive anglicana that is widely used in the London clerical environment. Indeed, the uniformity of hands in London in this period is remarkable. Several hands across the city and government offices write uniformly, though occasionally with slightly different ductus. This situation makes 

 

For images and discussion, see A Digital Facsimile of Cambridge University Library Ms Dd.. of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, ed. by Orietta Da Rold (Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, ), www .chaucermss.org/?manuscript=Dd&tale=GP&version=single&page=home (accessed  December ). For a recent discussion, see Wakelin, Scribal Correction, pp. –. The scribe was identified as Richard Osbarn, a senior officer of the London Guildhall from  to , by Mooney and Stubbs, Scribes and the City, pp. –, an argument recently refuted by Warner; see Lawrence Warner, Chaucer’s Scribes: London Textual Production, – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –.



Writing on Paper

the hands working in this environment difficult to identify; perhaps more work on the ways in which this community of scribes learned to write will enable scholars to nuance differences, and advance further hypotheses on the identity of those people who wrote literary manuscripts. More distinctive are the hands of other scribes, who, for example, worked as secretaries to royal households. John Duxworth worked for Jean d’Orléans, comte d’Angoulême, as his secretary during his captivity in England (–). Like the captive French King John’s household earlier, Jean also used paper in his household, and had several books made out of this material. Duxworth actively collaborated with his master, either by copying complete books for him or co-writing them with the count. Duxworth’s hand appears in a number of books, and, in his secretarial capacity, Duxworth must have been used to writing on paper, although he did not exclusively use this material. Duxworth is possibly most famous for copying Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS angl. , a paper copy of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but he also wrote Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. , which contains Latin texts, including Anselm’s Dialogues, on paper. However, he worked on parchment when he wrote Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. , a copy of Gerardus Leodiensis, Liber de doctrina cordis, and Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. , which contains several French texts. Duxworth, it has been noted, writes in a ‘clear but not elegant bookhand from fifteenth-century secretary’. Duxworth does not indulge in 



   

For a reconstruction on the library of Jean d’Orléan and his brother, see Gilbert Ouy, La Librairie des frères captifs: les manuscrits de Charles d’Orléans et Jean d’Angoulême (Turnhout: Brepols, ). On the manuscripts which were written by Duxworth, see, in particular, pp. , , , . For a description, see Daniel W. Mosser, A Digital Catalogue of the Pre- Manuscripts and Incunables of the Canterbury Tales (Birmingham: Scholarly Digital Edition, ), available at www.mossercatalogue.net/record.php?recID=Ps (accessed  November ). On Duxworth’s scribal practices, see M. M. Crow, ‘Corrections in the Paris Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Study in Scribal Collaboration’, Studies in English,  (), –; M. M. Crow, ‘Unique Variants in the Paris Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales’, Studies in English,  (), –; M. M. Crow, ‘John of Angouleme and His Chaucer Manuscript’, Speculum,  (), –. For a description and images, see Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ ark://btvbr/f.image.r=Duxworth (accessed  December ). For a description and images, see Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ ark://btvbd/f.image.r=Duxworth (accessed  December ). A description and images are available at Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica, https://gallica .bnf.fr/ark://btvbw/ (accessed  December ). Susan Crane, ‘Duxworth Redux: The Paris Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales’, in Manuscript, Narrative, Lexicon: Essays on Literary and Cultural Transmission in Honor of Whitney F. Bolton, ed. by Robert Boenig and Kathleen Davis (London: Associated University Presses, ), pp. –.

Cursivity and Paper



hairline strokes, or in exaggerated calligraphic sophistication; his hand is a regular secretary hand. For Duxworth, the speed of execution of the internal letters of the words does not compromise legibility. Even though minims are traced continuously and the appearance of the hand forms sharp angles in the execution of the letter forms, connecting strokes are clearly executed. Duxworth writes consistently across the type of materials at his disposal, and does not relax his handwriting when he writes on paper. Similarly, his hand does not change in relation to the languages he copies. This is the work of a scribe with a high degree of proficiency in the execution of a script – an accomplished hand who writes a well-formed secretary script in a professional manner across parchment and paper books. His clerical training included not only an ability to write, but the proficiency necessary to write consistently and in an experienced way. His education to this effect differs from Worcester’s, and from many other hands in my corpus. Not all of them are carefully executed, and, in particular, when the speed of writing intensifies, the loss of legibility is evident. This survey has shown that those individuals who wrote on paper cannot be described with catch-all typologies. Paper writing culture is complex and demands a better and more nuanced understanding as well as a more precise descriptive methodology. This methodology should be based on a clearer understanding of palaeographical terminology rather than impressions on the appearance of writers’ hand. The evidence of paper in my corpus shows that it was widely used by a number of professions, though there is less evidence regarding the perception of the material amongst these categories of scribes. The palaeographical details contained in these examples thus reveals variation in letter forms and scribal training, but a concomitant story of writers’ outstanding care in producing work quickly and proficiently on paper across a diverse range of genres.

Cursivity and Paper There is scope to think more carefully about how we describe and discuss the myriad hands that write on paper. The place in which learners learned to write and the subsequent further training mattered to develop a high level of proficiency. This training might not have been the same for every writer in medieval England. It is likely that in the later medieval period in 

This is particularly evident in the writing of medical and alchemical texts, but also in heavily abbreviated manuscripts which contains legal texts, such as CUL, MSS, Hh.. and Hh...



Writing on Paper

England writers learned a cursive script, possibly a form of anglicana, as a base script before learning other scripts. This scaffolding learning technique in reaching a better or more proficient way of writing, however, worked in some instances, but in others produced a mixed script in which different models of cursive writing are combined. The speed of writing confuses letter shapes across scripts, so that they blur into each other. To this effect, I have proposed that it is equally important to think more carefully about the questions of structure (ductus and ligatures), execution (angle, weight and size) and style. For instance, the main hand of MS Ii.. could certainly form a clear textualis, but after the first few folios lost the formality of the hand and moved into a faster script. The structure is more compressed and the manner of execution more current. This enabled the copyist to write his script with fewer strokes, cutting down the time of the execution and connecting the letters in different ways by compressing the shapes of the letters. Other copyists maintained regularity and even alternated scripts for effect. For example, Worcester is not concerned with legibility, but with writing. His writing is basic, even elementary, but experienced in his own notebooks, and more confident in correspondence. Confidence is shown in his set of abbreviations and the ability to trace the connective strokes with ease, but he is not interested in an enhanced degree of formality, which might be expected by a modern reader. I started this chapter by inviting a broader approach to the way in which we conceptualize and then define paper book culture. The pressure on the demand for writing surfaces in the later medieval period as well as the acceptance of paper in training environments, its adoption by notaries, merchants and clerks, and its porous qualities created the favourable conditions for paper to be used in book production, and for readers to accept it in their books. I have, then, suggested that a more careful terminological framework may assist us in avoiding taxonomies of scribes which are not always helpful to capture the complexities of written medieval culture on paper, and perhaps on parchment too. There is a difference between paper and parchment manuscripts, but that difference is not between ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’ scribes.

 

The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

xi quarternis papiri emptis ibidem per eundem pro interludiis tempore Natalis Domini inde faciendi ii s. ix. d. ob. Eleven paper quires have been bought from the same place through the same person for interludes at Christmas time and for their making ii s. ix. d. ob. [i.e., s. ½d.]

Richard Mitford, Bishop of Salisbury, purchased eleven quires of paper for the Christmas entertainment of his household in the winter of . The cost of these eleven quires included the cost not only of the raw material but of the putting together of the sheets into ready-made quires. The items were obtained from a certain Thomas Croxby of London, from whom the bishop’s household also obtained candles, cotton, gold, silver and medicine as well as parchment. Mitford bought several other quires of paper and two bound paper books (‘i magno papiro et i parvo papiro’) of different sizes, not exclusively from Croxby. Bishop Mitford’s accounts offer precious information about the cost of paper in the early fifteenth century, and they also show that paper was purchased in quires, and that it was also possible to have such quires made for ready consumption. They imply that Bishop Mitford’s household relied on paper to deliver short plays to entertain the Bishop and his visitors during the Christmas festive season, and that probably the Bishop did not mind very much using paper on these occasions. What these accounts do not specifically note is what  

 

Woolgar, Household Accounts, p. . The accounts are now held in London, BL, MS Harley , and they include the expenses of Richard Mitford, Bishop of Salisbury, between October  and June . Transcribed in Woolgar, Household Accounts, pp. –, with an excellent introduction on the Bishop Mitford’s expenses at pp. –. Nicholaum Caperon of London is also a frequent supplier of food, medicine and paper; Woolgar, Household Accounts, pp. –. This is not surprising, as drama manuscripts are often on paper; for example, London, BL, MS Add.  and the Macro Manuscripts. See R. Beadle and P. Meredith, eds, The York Play:





The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

quality of paper was purchased and what size, details to which household accounts sometimes referred. Paper (as shown in previous chapters) is a technology characterized by a number of features; it is made, shipped and retailed in varying sizes, colour and overall quality. These characteristics are inherent to paper as a man-made product. Paper historians, codicologists and bibliographers have taught us that such characteristics became recognizable and traceable like an indelible fingerprint, which may change slightly as the mould deteriorates with use, but which cannot be completely erased. These features, however, are more than the consequences of their making. They give a certain character to the paper, and to the artefacts which derive from it. This perception of the character of paper is integral to the argument about the affordance of paper, and to how scholars have, in turn, set the tone on the reception of paper in medieval book production. This tone is centred on the status of paper and its reception in medieval sources. It is thus important to reconsider this status through its character in order to examine paper in book practices. This chapter is thus divided in two main parts: part one reads closely how paper was received in the writings of the medieval period, showing an alternative interpretation of some of these sources, and part two studies how paper was used, demonstrating how resourcefully paper was employed in making books and documents. These two foci bring together the idea that medieval people were very inventive in importing and adapting a new material to their needs, and that their perception about the character of paper is not always in line with our own.

Sources and the Character of Paper The discussion in the earlier chapters has shown that medieval people learned what they could do with paper through a process of trial and error, refusal and acceptance, making it work with other materials in concurrent writing practices, but also discovering new ways of employing it. People also realized that the colour, shape and quality of the paper they employed mattered, and used it in different ways and for different purposes. Many lessons have been learned about how to use features such as watermarks to date and analyse the material structure of a book, but there is more to be

 

A Facsimile of British Library MS Additional  (Leeds: University of Leeds School of English, ) and Richard Beadle, ‘Macro MS : A Historical Reconstruction’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society,  (), –. For an overview, see Da Rold, ‘Fingerprinting Paper’; Ornato et al., vol. , pp. – See discussion in Chapter .

Sources and the Character of Paper



said about the characteristics of this technology, its distinctive qualities and its interaction with its users. The affordance of paper precedes what modern scholars can derive from paper; it starts with medieval society and their perception of what the idea of paper meant for them. What did medieval people think of the character of paper, either in relation to other writing surfaces or in its own right? How might it be possible to formulate new ways to talk about the character of paper, beyond vague ideas about status, and to evaluate and debate its use in book production? Scholars have framed the narrative of the relationship between paper and parchment as a competition. They have also pondered the status and ephemerality of paper. However, the narrative which emerges both in the pages of this book so far and in this chapter suggests that accommodation and invention might better explain the character of medieval paper and what medieval people thought about it. I shall offer a new reading of familiar sources and explore how new strategies were adopted to accommodate a new technology into old practices, within a range of writing environments, to show that it is the character of paper which inspired confidence in its adoption and literary invention. Technological Knowledge Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny from  to , is credited as the first scholar in Western Europe to mention paper in his writings. In chapter  of the polemical treaty Adversus Iudeorum inveteratam duritiem, which was possibly written between  and /, Peter notes: Legit, inquis, Deus in caelis librum Thalmuth. Sed cuiusmodi librum? Si talem quales alios cotidie in usu legendi habemus, utique ex pellibus arietum, hircorum uel uitulorum, siue ex biblis uel iuncis orientalium paludum, aut ex rasuris ueterum pannorum, seu ex alia qualibet forte uiliori materia compactos, et pennis auium uel calamis palustrium locorum qualibet et tinctura infectis descriptos? God reads, you say, the book of the Talmud in heaven. If it is the same kind of book as the others we typically read every day, is it at any rate compiled from the skins of rams, goats or calves, or from papyrus or the rushes of oriental swamps, or from old strips of rags, or from some perhaps even more

  

See Introduction, p.  passim. Yvonne Friedman, ed., Petri Venerabilis, Adversus Iudeorum inveteratam duritiem (Turnhout: Brepols, ), pp. –. Friedman, Petri Venerabilis, ll. –.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books common material, and copied both with birds’ feathers or the reeds from marshy places somewhere and tinged with dye [or ink]?

The critical reception of this passage interprets Peter’s words as evidence of the difficult reception that paper had at the early stages of its diffusion to the West. Scholars often comment on Peter’s diffidence towards this material evinced, in particular, by the last juxtaposition between ‘pannorum’ and ‘alia qualibet forte uiliore materia’. The hermeneutic of the passage might imply a hierarchy of descent from ‘caelis’ to ‘tincture’ and thus this passage might give the impression that the Abbott listed the materials in a specific order of importance in book production. The grammar of the passage and its syntax, however, may suggest a different interpretation. Peter forms the paratactical construction of the rhetorical question with parallel rather than subordinate clauses. The initial preposition ex develops an itemized list of materials which he might have experienced in bookmaking practices. ‘Sive seu’, then, brings two points in apposition with each other even if there is a progression implied. All the forms, and the materials they represent, are aligned, because they make the book that is in quotidian use. The reticence is not necessarily towards paper, but towards any material. The chapter attacks the Talmud as an authority and as a source for revealing Truth, but also as a book readily available for God’s consultation. Iogna-Prat argues lucidly that Peter cannot reconcile the belief that God needs to read and instruct himself. He suggests that, to Peter, ‘all these are absurd questions and hypotheses, since God created all minds and contains all wisdom’. The key disputation is based on the fact that the Talmud is a material book which can be made of parchment, or paper, or papyrus or other more common (in the sense of less prestigious) materials. Peter might be comparing these materials and might be offering an appraisal of their importance, but this comparison is clear only after ‘seu ex alia qualibet forte uiliore materia’. It seems to me that Peter’s rhetorical stance shows an interesting knowledge of how writing materials were made, rather than an assessment of their importance. Peter never names these materials, parchment, papyrus and paper, but describes them by the process of their making. He writes about how membranes from three types of animals   

Rust, ‘Love Stories’, pp. – and Kwakkel and Thomson, ‘Codicology’, p. . Dominique Iogna-Prat, Order & Exclusion: Cluny and Christendom Face Heresy, Judaism, and Islam, – (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, ), pp. –. Ibid., p. .

Sources and the Character of Paper



can be employed. He calls plant-derived surfaces ‘ex biblis uel iuncis orientalium paludum’, showing that he knows that these plants can only grow in the marshes. He designates paper from the very process of its making: ‘ex rasuris ueterum pannorum’. Not only does Peter know about what was needed to create each writing surface, he also implies that all these materials are commonly employed in book production. He is a witness of a diverse production milieu rather than of material strife. I read the wording in this passage not as a statement of preference towards materials but as a testimony of a deep understanding of the processes by which writing technologies were made and used across multicultural writing environments. Peter may have had a preference for which material ought to be used in book production, but he does not expand on that preference; rather, he remarks with precision and insight on the complex materiality which is emerging from a cognate book culture that he appears to understand well. The lesson deriving from this reading is rather simple: in the twelfth century, parchment, paper and papyrus were each in use, in Islamic, Jewish and Christian documentary practices. Papyrus was still employed in the Papal chancellery up to the end of the thirteenth century, as paper started to make its way into record keeping and textual culture. In the age of scholastic disputatio, Peter the Venerable is giving us a sense of what is known in the Christian world about these technologies, and that is remarkable because by doing so he demonstrates his interest in a permeable environment of cultural contact. Even though I might be running the risk of lionizing paper, Peter may not consider paper as an inferior material, nor ought he to be considered an authority of dissent against the adoption of paper in the West. Rather, it seems to me that such a reception may be found in later book practices within specific writing environments, such as humanistic circles, in which paper had already been accepted as a material of choice for specific function. In these environments, the status of materials mattered: paper was a transient object, but it was indispensable.





See Rizzo, Il lessico, p. . It has been argued that the pope used papyrus up to the eleventh century, when paper started to be developed. Pliny the elder and Isidor of Seville noted that papyrus also came in different grades and colours. See N. Lewis, ‘Papyrus and Ancient Writing: The First Hundred Years of Papyrology’, Archaeology, ,  (), –; David Diringer, The Book before Printing: Ancient, Medieval, and Oriental (New York: Dover Publications, ), p. . For an overview on Peter the Venerable’s Christian orthodoxy in relation to other religions, see Iogna-Prat, Order & Exclusion.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books Paper with a Purpose

In the abundant correspondence of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian humanists, the materiality of the book is often remarked upon. These scholars set out a number of expectations of the way in which they perceived the character of paper, especially in relation to parchment. They used paper extensively for rough copies of books transcribed in haste to fulfil the urgency of gathering texts sometimes found abroad. Their letters are keen records of the importance of copying exemplars in quick cursive hand in the first instance, with a full acknowledgment that they will be written out again in a better hand when a suitable copyist can be found: ‘exemplaria in papiro cursim transcripta parata sunt, si scriptores adessent’ (‘If there is a scribe present, exemplars are copied quickly on paper’). In these letters, paper is recurrently referred to as a material employed for non-permanent and provisional copying. Writing on parchment, however, is an equally highly trained skill. Rizzo has carefully studied the letters from Lombardo della Seta, Salutati and others in their close network of Italian humanists who worry about finding a suitable qualified scribe who can write well on parchment. Guarino Veronese writes to Ugo Mazzolato on  December , sending a copy of Bruni’s De militia and Cicero’s Brutus. Having accepted that an inexperienced scribe might copy the book on paper, Guarino adds: ‘Quanquam, si idoneus esset librarius, membranis transcribe posset’: only an appropriately trained scribe can write on parchment. Rizzo notes that often the lack of this type of labour prevented humanists from procuring copies of books on parchment, and they accepted paper as a compromise in order to obtain a specific copy of a text. For these Italian humanists, paper is a utilitarian material, but an essential one, without which they would not have been able to obtain quickly copies of those texts they so much desired, due to the alleged scarcity of scribes able to write on parchment. Paper amongst these circles has a sense of purpose, and functionality is what defines paper in this writing environment. It is, however, also evident that Poggio and his colleagues have a distinctive preference not just for any parchment, but for the best quality   



 Rizzo, Il lessico, pp. –. Ibid., p. . See also discussion in Chapter , pp. –. Remigio Sabbadini, ed., Epistolario di Guarino Veronese,  vols (Venice: A Spese Della Societa, ), vol. , letter n. , pp. –. See also the commentary in vol. , pp. – and Rizzo, Il lessico, p. . Rizzo, Il lessico, p. .

Sources and the Character of Paper



material they can find. Scholars have often commented on how Poggio wrote to his friend Niccoli, in Florence, asking for parchment of high quality which he could not find in Rome. He also gives instructions on his requirements for the sizes of parchment and paper, and complains about the quality of paper he receives as too dirty and expensive: ‘I could have better parchment than this [paper] here for less money’. Poggio confirms how attentive medieval book makers were to material considerations, and if he might be an extreme example of this attentiveness, still it is remarkable that such discussions took place. For this community of literate men, material mattered in more than one way: humanists appreciated books as objects of learning, but also for their aesthetic qualities. To this extent, Antonio Beccadelli, called il Panormita, could not overlook the yellow parchment of a book he described in a letter to one of his friends. Il Panormita associated yellow parchment with poor quality, sharing some of Poggio’s taste for white, best-quality parchment. Animal-derived writing materials have properties which were well known to their users. Some of these properties derive from the process of workmanship itself. Parchment, for instance, becomes yellow with time if all the fat of the skin under tension is not removed by scraping it thoroughly. Sheep skin is particularly fatty, and an accelerated production process may, over time, cause a yellowish tone to surface on the page. These letters open up how the character of paper is perceived by these men. They remind us about the unequivocally important role that paper had in obtaining and circulating classical texts, and also of the transient nature of this material in their eyes. For them, paper was the tool which enabled them to accumulate texts. In this literary milieu, the Italian humanists had created their own tacit understanding of material hierarchies which served the ideology of what their books had to look like. Paper in their eyes had a lower status than parchment, and yet it was indispensable. They were aware of different qualities of paper; Poggio’s note about 

  

This sentiment is expressed in several letters; for example, letter n. XLI. But compare the previous letter in which he said the hurry to get parchment made him accept a lesser quality: ‘see that I get it even if it is bad, provided that it is soon’. Two Renaissance Book Hunters: The Letters of Poggius Bracciolini to Nicolaus De Niccolis, ed. and trans. by Phyllis Walter Goodhart Gordan (New York: Columbia University Press, ), p. . See also the discussion in Juraj Kittler, ‘From Rags to Riches’, Media History,  (), p. .  Gordan, Book Hunters, letter n. xxxiv, p. . Ibid., letter n. lxv, p. . The letter is addressed to Guarino Veronese; Sabbadini, Epistolario di Guarino Veronese, vol. , letter n. , p. . See also Rizzo, Il lessico, pp. , . I thank Paul Wright, General Manager at William Cowley Parchment Makers for taking me through some of these processes and explaining the tacit knowledge which is involved in obtaining the best quality parchment.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

the paper he received implies that any type of paper would not do. Their views, however, ought not to be simply accepted as a cultural framework to define and differentiate medieval book practices and more generally paper use. The medieval cultural interaction between paper and people is more varied and complex than that. In medieval England, the character of paper and its relationship with parchment is considered differently from the ways in which it is described by humanists. A perusal of the fifteenth-century correspondence in the Paston family’s network of acquaintances shows that paper had made the transition from being a technological novelty to becoming a familiar tool, an essential instrument in everyday life. Paper by then was an established commodity in epistolary culture and in other modes of interactions. On some occasions, paper, or the lack thereof, is the excuse for brevity in conveying news. It is equally striking how in the Paston letters paper becomes a rhetorical conceit. On  July , Margaret writes to her husband John Paston I a short letter, signing it off ‘Paper is deynty’. The term ‘dainty’ means precious and it is variously attested in medieval texts with this meaning. Margaret uses it in her writing for rhetorical effect to justify the brevity of her letter, for she means that paper is a luxury, and implies that it is rare or scarce. Margaret seems to express a genuine concern about not having more paper at hand. It is therefore possible that the scarcity of paper had started to establish itself in the toolkit of the rhetorician as a metaphor to excuse succinct correspondence. It is also interesting that the term associated with this turn of phrase denotes a luxury to behold, a fine product to keep in regard. That fine product and its availability is the essential tool which keeps Margaret in contact with her beloved husband and is thus precious. The lack of material, in this case paper, as a cause for brevity, is, however, a well-attested trope. Poggio, in a letter from London to Niccoli, also quickly concludes by remarking: ‘Goodbye, for I have run out of paper’ (only to add a substantial postscript). Further examples are found in other letters of the Paston family, in which the need to write with more news is curtailed by the availability of paper. John Paston III to Margaret Paston remarks: ‘All the cyrcumstancys of the mater, whyche I trust to tell yow at your comyng to Norwych, cowd not be wretyn in iij levys of paper, and ye know my lewd hed well j-nough I may not wryght longe; wherfor

 

See OED, ‘dainty’ (adj, ) and MED, ‘deinte’ (n.,  b).  Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , p. . Gordan, Book Hunters, letter n. xvi, p. .

Sources and the Character of Paper



I fery ouer all thyngys tyll I may awayte on yow my-selff’. It is known that John Paston bought paper in batches, which implies that when one batch was finished more had to be procured. The procurement of paper does not seem to be a problem in medieval England, but it required obtaining it from retailers in an organized manner, planned in advance. If the practical worries of not having enough paper may indeed explain how writers built rhetorical poignancy with writing material, it is also notable that this trope echoes biblical sources such as the Second Epistle of John: ‘Plura habens vobis scribere, nolui per cartam et atramentum: spero enim me futurum apud vos, et os ad os loqui : ut gaudium vestrum plenum sit’ (‘Having more things to write unto you, I would not by paper and ink: for I hope that I shall be with you, and speak face to face: that your joy may be full’). The Latin ‘charta’ can mean paper, but in this context it most probably meant a sheet of writing material. Interestingly, the Wycliffite translations use the word ‘parchment’: ‘I hauynge mo thinges for to wrijte to ȝou, wolde not bi parchemyn and ynke; sotheli I hope me to comynge to ȝou, and speke mouth to mouth, that ȝoure ioye be ful’. This translation reinforces the idea, discussed in the previous chapter, that parchment still had an important place in the writing of biblical books, a space in which paper could not be accommodated. More often, however, paper is readily accepted as a commodity working seamlessly with parchment as a communication device. Paper is referred to as the material on which deeds and documents are written or may provide an indication of its format, such as ‘littyll scrowe of papyr’. John Paston I writes to Margaret Paston remarking on writings and scrolls ‘on paper and parchemyn’, but other observations also extend to other characteristics; for example, the colour of paper is brought up in a letter from John Paston III to his mother Margaret. John talks about deeds sealed on     





Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , p. . Richard Beadle and Colin F. Richmond, ‘The Expenses of John Paston I, –’, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History (Ipswich),  (), –.  John . The Latin Vulgate text is available at http://vulsearch.sourceforge.net/html/. The DouaiRheims English translation is available at www.drbo.org. DMLBS, ‘charta (carta)’ (c).  John  (EV), John Wycliffe, The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, with the Apocryphal books, ed. by Josiah Forshall and Frederic Madden,  vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), vol. , p. . Davis, Paston, vol. , document n. , p. : ‘John Paston have a littyll scrowe of papyr in his honde of hys owne wrytyng yn Englyssh; that part of the said scrowe was late wrete and moyste of ynke’. The emphasis here is less on the format of the document and more about the fact that John Paston authenticates the document writing in English and in his own hand. Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , p. .



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

‘whyght paper’ which can be found in a square box in a coffer at the foot of his bed. I have already discussed how central the colour of paper is in the papermaking process, and because the colour of the paper matters in relation to quality, one cannot but suggest that this remark would give a more solemn character to the document John was referring to. This is not the dirty paper Poggio complained about. However, a reader of the Pastons’ correspondence searching for similarities with the letters of the Italian humanists is defeated by the nature of the letters themselves. The business-like scope of the Pastons’ exchange of news is not bookish, nor are they concerned with seeking out specific authors or books. Instead, they describe a customary practice of using paper in everyday activities with only occasional references to the procurements of books. A fourteenth-century English source describes the relationship between paper and book very much in these terms. The translator of the Middle English version of Le Roman de la Rose, a thirteenth-century French bestseller on the art of love, explicitly and unequivocally acknowledged and accepted the coexistence of parchment and paper in fourteenthcentury book production: Sek the book of seynt Austyn Be it in papir or perchemyn

These lines command one searches for the book of Saint Augustine irrespective of the material it is written upon. They appear in a passage on monastic life, but they are the translator’s own addition to the story,

 







Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , p. . It is still not clear whether Chaucer might have translated this passage. The Middle English text survives in three versions: A, B and C. Benson printed Fragments A, B and C in the Riverside Chaucer, whilst accepting that the attribution of this translation is still debatable (Riverside, pp. –). For an overview of Chaucer’s translation, see Sánchez Jordi Martí, ‘Chaucer’s “Making” of the Romaunt of the Rose’, English Studies,  (–), –. On a recent discussion of the Middle English versions, see Olivia Robinson, ‘Re-Contextualising the Romaunt of the Rose: Glasgow, University Library MS Hunter  and the Roman de la Rose’, English: Journal of the English Association,  (), –. See also Geoffrey Chaucer, The Romaunt of the Rose, ed. by Charles Dahlberg (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, ). The work, initiated by Guillalme de Loris around , and then completed by Jean de Meun possibly in , was widely read, copied and translated throughout the medieval period. The Roman of the Rose Project lists  manuscripts. See http://romandelarose.org/#rose (accessed  December ). On these manuscripts, see Armand Strubel, ed., Le Roman de la Rose (Paris: Livre de Poche, ). For a discussion on the date of the composition of the poem, see Dahlberg, Romaunt of the Rose, pp. –. The only surviving manuscript is Glasgow, University Library, MS Hunter , dated variably from the beginning to the middle of the fifteenth century. Chaucer, The Romaunt of the Rose, ll. –, in Riverside.

Sources and the Character of Paper



as the exemplar of the Middle English version probably did not have the reference to the materiality of the book. David notes that lines – translate this textual interpolation in the French version of Le Roman de la Rose. This translation, however, differs on a number of significant points from the addition. The Middle English version is a loose rendition of a more complex passage which Ernest Langlois published in the textual notes of his  edition of the poem: Les diz saint Augustin cerchiez, Entre ses escriz reverchiez Le livre Des Uevres des moines: La verrez que nules essoines Ne doit querre li ons parfaiz Ne par parole ne par faiz Search the sayings of St Augustine/ Dig through his writings/ The Book of Monks’ Works: / There you will see that nothing is excused / Need not search for the perfect ones / Neither by words nor by deeds

According to Langlois, this passage appears in only two of the witnesses of the large textual tradition that he identified. It is not possible to know, at this stage, whether the Middle English author of version C had available either of these two witnesses, or a copytext affiliated to them, at the time of translating this passage. It is, however, significant that he slightly updated the translation to include the reference to the possible materials which can be found in books, that is parchment or paper. The translator glossed over what works of St Augustine should be consulted, possibly disregarding the exemplar which might have referred to De opere monachorum, and instructed the audience to search for any of Saint Augustine’s books regardless of their materiality. This departure from the source, if indeed the French lines were the source, is puzzling. The constraint of the verse may have inspired the author to seek memorable rhymes. On the one hand, the translator of the Romaunt might have found it convenient to    

Alfred David, ‘The Romaunt of the Rose’, n. to ll. –, in Riverside, p. . On the nature of these lines, see a fuller discussion in Dahlberg, Romaunt of the Rose, p. . Le Roman de la Rose par Guillaume de Lorris et Jean de Meun, ed. Ernest Langlois,  vols (Paris: Société des anciens textes français, ), vol. , ll. –. Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, MS L.iii. (Be) and Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr.  (Bâ). See ibid. Dahlberg, Romaunt of the Rose.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

rhyme ‘Austyn’ with ‘perchemyn’, but on the other he could imagine books written in either material, including ‘papir’. The point that these lines are making, very much like the writing of the other authors discussed in this part of the chapter, reinforces the idea that the knowledge of paper and its perception was understood in a mutual context with parchment. The emphasis on books being written both on parchment and paper is not only a literary conceit to strengthen the rhyme scheme, but almost a statement that books were circulating on paper and parchment. This statement is, in fact, corroborated by the evidence that I will discuss in the next part of the chapter. This interest in the materiality of medieval culture is pervasive in all the examples that the discussion has brought to the fore. The character of paper is received by medieval writers as an inventive instrument for their own creations. It matters to them that paper is a man-made product; it worries them that it should be clean, and they accept it to serve specific functions in an established literary milieu. In England, paper is received as a material which can afford practical interactions and poetic conceits, but more importantly the readings of the Paston Letters and the author of the Middle English version of Le Roman de la Rose show the cultural acceptance of paper and its interaction with parchment. The perception of paper in medieval sources offers further evidence on why paper was then adopted in book production. In order for paper to be used in this way, it had to be accepted as a tool to do so. As such, this discussion further corroborates the argument advanced in the previous chapters, that the medieval perception of paper and its affordance does not speak of a low or high status in the use of paper in the making of medieval books, but of a material which is known to be used in this way and that can be easily accommodated in this practice.

Books and the Character of Paper Medieval people were not condescending about paper; the spread of its use in book production confirms their acceptance of the technology. The introduction of paper to medieval written culture not only enabled people to write more, but offered an opportunity to continue written traditions already in existence. The ingenuity with which paper is employed continued established practices in book production, but also required the adoption of new strategies in shaping the book, and thus reinventing, or perhaps rethinking, the way in which books were made. It is not unusual to find paper in roll as well as book form. Paper is often

Books and the Character of Paper



used on its own and in combination with parchment, but paper is not always of the same size and it is folded in various formats. This section of the chapter investigates such combinations and differences, but it also considers the interactions of paper and parchment when they are brought together in crafting the book. It analyses the shape of books and studies whether size and quality of paper matter in book production. This section is an experiment in mapping paper to the character of the medieval book, which extends the discussion above on the perception of paper and the one in the previous chapter on the paper manuscripts in Cambridge University Library. It substantially adds to our understanding of how paper was used in bookmaking practices in the late medieval handwritten culture. Reading and analysing manuscripts in this way suggests patterns and trends which will enable us to further examine already identified practices, but also delve into other less-known techniques and choices. Paper Chronology: Some Observations Mapping this corpus of manuscripts chronologically, it is noticeable that the number of books written on paper increases from the middle of the fourteenth to the end of the fifteenth centuries. I have gathered, for ease, in Figure ., the broad chronological divides to show the concentration of paper books across the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries. This figure shows that there is higher concentration of paper books in the second half of the fifteenth century ( per cent), but it also demonstrates that paper is used incrementally from the middle of the fourteenth century up to the middle of the fifteenth century, with  per cent of manuscripts which can be ascribed to the earlier period and  per cent to the later. These results confirm the observation that when a new technology enters a new market, its uptake will be incremental. This evidence, together with the documentary data I collected in Chapter , portrays a picture of the slow and continuous use of paper in writing practices and confirms a progress of acceptance in accommodating paper in such practices. Furthermore, if we look more closely within these broad chronological categories, a number of interesting observations emerge, especially regarding the conventional narrative about the establishment of chronological termini for paper



See, for example, the discussion on the take-up of paper in thirteenth-century Italian and Occitan manuscripts in Kedar, ‘The Use of Paper’, p. .



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

c. 1350–c.1400 4%

c. 1400–c. 1450 36% c. 1450–c. 1500 60%

c. 1350–c.1400 c. 1400–c. 1450 c. 1450–c. 1500

Figure . Percentage of manuscripts in each broad chronological divide

manuscripts. Catalogues have the tendency to designate paper manuscripts a general fifteenth-century date, which can be misleading, as paper evidence can easily assign the manuscript to at least the first or second half of the fifteenth century, and often provides a more precise date range. In order to assign the manuscript to at least a rough chronology, I have examined all the paper stocks in these manuscripts and given an approximate date where a more specific one was not possible. There are some important lessons that can be derived from this exercise. Probably the first lesson is that paper offers important evidence in establishing a chronology of paper manuscripts, despite the fact that the tools in the researcher’s kit need to be further refined. A clear example is Cambridge University library, MS Add. . This is a copy of Johannes





I have gathered the dating of the manuscripts which I have offered in the Appendix for each manuscript in broad chronological categories to enable a clearer visualization, as follows: s. xivmed, s. xiv and s. xivex to c.–c.; s. xiv/xv, s. xvin, s. xv and s. xvmed to c.–c.; s. xv, s. xvex to c.–c. . I have been working towards building this chronology, hoping to publish it in the not too distant future, to add to what Ker famously noted: ‘I have not described watermarks in paper, through inability to do so usefully. In the near future, probably, all medieval manuscripts on paper will be examined by experts, using exact techniques for localization and dating’; Ker, Medieval Manuscripts, vol. , p. viii.

Books and the Character of Paper



de Janduo, Questiones de anima and Aristoteles, De anima, translated by Georgius Trapezuntius and written on paper quires with inner and outer parchment bifolia. A colophon at the end of Janduo’s text tells us that Thomas Clare, a monk of Bury St Edmunds, wrote the book in Oxford in . This note identifies with precision the time and place of the making of the book. However, there is a problem with the chronological certainty that the colophon provides, and the claim that this manuscript is ‘the earliest dated English manuscript in humanistic script’ has been revisited on palaeographical grounds. Rundle suggests, after careful palaeographical analysis, that ‘the colophon is in error; it is either a mistake ( for ?) or copied from a prototype’. An analysis of the paper stock which was used to copy the book lends further evidence to this suggestion. The large folio paper is marked by an Arms of France with pendant, which is similar to Briquet ‘armoiries’ . The manuscript measures  mm in height and  mm in width. These measurements indicate that the size of paper used was most probably royal ( mm   mm). If Briquet  is the possible match for the watermark of this paper stock, this sign is associated with paper of French origin which circulated between  and  and measures  cm   mm. Watermarks of this type can be found in England in the third quarter of the fifteenth century. It is thus unlikely that the colophon is a correct reflection of the date of copying, and in this case palaeography and a close analysis of the writing material offer a better understanding of when the manuscript was written. There is one thing that can be said about the process of establishing a manuscript chronology: a manuscript cannot be copied on paper which was not yet made. The process of dating manuscripts is always

 

  

See description in Ringrose, Summary Catalogue, p. . For the earlier dating, see Albinia Catherine de la Mare, ‘Humanistic Hands in England’, in Manuscripts at Oxford: An Exhibition in Memory of Richard William Hunt (–), ed. by Albinia Catherine De la Mare and B. C. Barker-Benfield (Oxford: Bodleian Library, ), p. . For a more recent discussion, see David Rundle, The Renaissance Reform of the Book and Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. – and the previous comments in Antonia Gransden, ‘Some Manuscripts in Cambridge from Bury St Edmunds Abbey’, in Bury St Edmunds: Medieval Art, Architecture, Archaeology and Economy, ed. by Antonia Gransden (Leeds: British Archaeological Association, ), pp. –. Rundle, The Renaissance Reform, p. . See the Needham Calculator for a quick reference at www.needhamcalculator.net/. For example, Glasgow, University of Glasgow, Hunterian Library, MS , fols – and the description of the paper stock in Mosser, A Digital Catalogue. London, BL, Add. MS  is written on chancery paper, with Arms of France with and without pendant and dated to –.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

about thinking through the sum of all the constituent elements and the fingerprint of the mould; chainlines, laid lines, size and watermark offer excellent evidence to bear on the understanding of this chronology. If working with the fingerprint of the mould to question the chronology of books should perhaps be used more widely in medieval scholarship, a more granular analysis of how paper stocks are often combined in books can be equally illuminating in the study of such chronology. I have already noted that an important clue in identifying fourteenthfrom fifteenth-century paper is its wider laid lines. I have also observed that the newer technique of making thinner wire moulds can equally be found towards the last decades of the fourteenth century in papermaking centres with an advanced technological awareness, such as Fabriano. In the corpus of manuscripts of Cambridge University Library, one fragment, two books and two documents are written entirely on fourteenth-century paper. The layout of all three manuscripts is in double columns. Some of the records held by the library are also on early paper. It is also not unusual to find fourteenth-century paper quires in fifteenth-century books. Structural codicologists have over the past years discussed in detail the different stages of composition, aggregation or adjudication of textual units or parts. Stratigraphy, that is the analysis of the layers by which a book is formed, is perhaps the best way to describe this medieval practice which does not exclude the book intended as a whole in origin. The use of paper in medieval manuscripts reminds us of such processes, and the practice of crafting the book from individual components. Several paper manuscripts are composite, and of paper made at different times: some have fourteenth-century paper quires mixed with later paper. Cambridge University Library, MS Add.  is a scrivener’s notebook, possibly of a certain William Broun of Bury St Edmunds. The manuscript includes accounts, memoranda, contracts and wills relating to Bury as well as an essay on physiognomy in French. The physiognomy and   





For a discussion, see Chapter , p. . CUL, MSS Add.  D (), Add.  and Hh... See also Chapter , pp. –. Ely Diocesan Records, D/// is a roll of two sheets of paper stitched together in Chancery style. It contains the expenses of the Bishop of Ely, John Fordham, at Ely Palace in Holborn between  and . An overview can be found in La syntaxe du codex: essai de codicologie structurale, ed. by P. Andrist, P. Canart and M. Maniaci (Turnhout: Brepols, ), which also extensively debates the ‘booklet theory’. The term was discussed in J. P. Gumbert, ‘Codicological Units: Towards a Terminology for the Stratigraphy of the Non-Homogeneous Codex’, Segno e testo,  (), –.

Books and the Character of Paper



some of the contracts are written on fourteenth-century paper with a rope knot watermark (not in Briquet), whilst other texts are copied on other unidentified fifteenth-century paper, including watermarks of a bull’s head and a bull. The range in hands and type of paper may indicate a date range for the manuscript compilation between s. xivex and xvmed. The making of MS Add.  may be the result of accretion, that is, later paper quires were added to an initial quire of early paper with the French text, a technique which is slightly dissimilar from that which can be found in other manuscripts. For example, Cambridge University Library, MS Mm.. is a composite manuscript, made up by the thematic similarity of the texts rather than with the purpose of unity from the offset. It contains various pedagogical and philosophical texts, and parchment, paper or mixed media are used to make up the quires of these units, which are, nevertheless, distributed in relation to the text they contain. The fourteenth-century paper, with a watermark of three fruits (close to Briquet , dated ), appears on fols –, which contain a copy of Fulgentius’ Mythologiae with the commentary by Joannis Rodewas. Another book, which still remains a puzzle, is MS Ii.. part , a copy of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De proprietatibus rerum, which we have already encountered in the previous chapter. I have noted how the manuscript is written by one hand, with one quire added by other hands, but also codicologically it is a mystery. This is a large book of  folios, which has required six paper stocks and one additional bifolium (see ‘Observations’ in Table . for quires –) for its completion. Table . shows that apart from the paper stock in one quire, all the other five can be dated between the end of the fourteenth and the first decade of the fifteenth centuries, suggesting that the scribe used contemporary paper as well as two quires of earlier paper, with a slightly wider time lag between the making of the paper and its usage, which therefore calls into question the current date for the manuscript as the middle of the fifteenth century. Seymour suggests on palaeographical grounds that the manuscript can be dated to before , but a possible date range to s. xvin might be more

 



See also Ringrose, Summary Catalogue, p. . They include: a copy of the commentaries on Martianus Cappella’s Nuptials of Philology and Mercury; a Latin copy of the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle; the Fulgentii mythologiae libri xvi cum commentario Joannis Rodewas; and Roger Bacon’s Tractatus de quinta essentia with comments of magister Johanni de Rupecissa. My identification slightly differs from Seymour’s in On the Properties of Things, vol. , p. .



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

Table . Distribution of paper stocks in Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.., part  Quires

Watermarks

Observations

Quires –

Dog (not in Briquet)

Quires , , , –

Balance (not in Briquet)

Quires , , , ,  Quires – Quires –,  Quires –

Flower paper stock, perhaps close to Fleur Briquet  Horn (not in Briquet) Bow and arrow, possibly Fleche Briquet  A double crescent impaled on two crosses at both ends, possibly close to Briquet 

Fols –: half sheet a royal paper stock with a dog watermark. This dog is close to Briquet , Palermo, – and also Zonghi ; dated .a Included amongst the marks collected by Ottley with a date range –.b Date range – Date range – The earliest paper stock, possibly datable to – and with wide laid lines about  mm apart.

a

The half royal sheet is the same paper stock found in Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.., fols – and Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.., fols –. On the description of this paper stock, see A Digital Facsimile of Cambridge University Library Ms Dd.. of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, ed. by Orietta Da Rold (Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, ). b Cambridge University Library, MS Add. .

accurate. In my corpus these types of examples are rare. It is unusual to find paper stocks with such chronological temporal termini in a unified manuscript. This combination is more frequent when later paper stocks are added to the manuscript to accommodate more text, as we have seen in MS Add. . The way in which scribes used paper is thus relevant for method of dating, and the knowledge that scholars have acquired in understanding the character of paper can then be used to propose more precise dating of manuscripts. These examples make us reflect not only on how scribes used paper from different times, accruing and adapting previously written material to other more recent writings, but also make us further understand how quires and books were put together and materials



See ibid., p. .



Books and the Character of Paper

combined, which is another important aspect of studying the character of paper in book production. Combining Technologies Not all manuscripts in my corpus are written on paper and the use of mixed material in book production seems to have a story of its own. Mapping the material onto the chronology in my corpus reveals interesting results. The manuscripts in Figure . include mixed-media as well as paper-only quires. If we further refine that chronological proposition and filter to show the number of manuscripts in each chronological divide arranged according to type of material, it is possible to see that mixed and paper-only manuscripts coexisted (see Figure .). Of the  manuscripts, seventy-nine ( per cent) are written on paper only, and thirty-nine ( per cent) are mixed-media books. Mixed, in this figure, is a convenient label to describe a wide range of paper and parchment combinations. It includes books with quires formed with inner and outer parchment bifolia, and with inner and/or outer parchment Total

51

25 17

2

20

3

MIXED PAPER C. 1350–C.1400

MIXED PAPER C. 1400–C. 1450

MIXED PAPER C. 1450–C. 1500

Figure . Number of manuscripts in each chronological divide arranged according to types of material



They include CUL, MSS Add. , Add. , Add. , Dd.., Dd.., Ee.., Gg.., Hh.., Hh.., Hh.., Kk.., Kk...



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

33% mixed paper 67%

Figure . Percentage of paper and mixed manuscripts in Appendix

guards. It also comprises quires made with interspersed paper and parchment. Some of these manuscripts have a complex make-up and stratigraphy. Although it is not unusual to find paper and parchment working together in making manuscripts, it is still not clear when this practice began, why it was adopted in book production, and whether or not it may be linked to specific texts or writing environments. In the following discussion, some hypotheses might be advanced, deriving from preliminary observations. It is generally accepted that parchment was added to a quire either as bifolia or as guards to reinforce the stitching of the quire, to prevent the paper tearing in the gutter where the sewing took place. This technique, however, requires two slightly different quiring practices. While guards, both internal and/or external, can be added after the quire is copied, the 

 

For example, inner and outer guards are visible in CUL, MSS Add.  and Dd... Inner strips of parchment appear, for example, in MSS Add. , Dd.., Hh... Outer guards are present in two quires of MS Ii... For example, CUL, MSS Ee.. and Dd... Not many studies have appeared on this type of quiring formulation, but for a quantitative analysis of Latin, Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in European libraries, see F. Bianchi, P. Canart, M. D’Agostino et al., ‘Une recherche sur les manuscrits à cahiers mixtes’, Scriptorium,  (), –.

Books and the Character of Paper



inclusion of outer and/or inner bifolia needs to be planned from the outset at the point of making of the quire, because both surfaces will receive writing. Other mixed-media combinations in the quiring structure require a similar advanced preparation, as it is unlikely that afterthoughts can be accommodated unless textual sequences or large copying mistakes need to be corrected. These two practices are distinctive on a number of levels, not only because of the need for forethought, but also because they seem to have been introduced in book production at slightly different points in time and for different texts. The need to stitch together parchment with paper goes hand in hand with the introduction of this material for account-keeping to record expenditure in quire, rather than roll, form. The earliest example that I have come across so far of small guards used internally and externally to stitch together a quire of eight paper bifolia is the account book of Henry, Bishop of Lincoln, on an expedition on behalf of the king with other officers to the Low Country in the eleventh to twelfth years of Edward III ( January  –  January ). The four stubs, each measuring a couple of centimetres, are made up of recycled parchment with writing in Latin. Securing the stability of the quire with parchment was an important aspect of guaranteeing the longevity of the document, to be carried during the journey and then to be presented for scrutiny to the clerks of the Exchequers. Thus, clerks in the habit of using parchment for their day-today writing tasks had to learn to adapt to the arrival of a new material with resulting curious mixed-media practices. Amongst the ‘ricorda file of the King’s bench’ of Richard II, large bundles of writs on paper are reinforced with parchment. Each single paper document, which represents a communication on behalf of the king from his clerks to the administrative centre, has been attached to a thin parchment leaf using longstitch with a green or white thread. The numerous single documents, after having been reinforced in this way, were gathered together by a thicker thread, which was sewn through each reinforced document (see Illustration .). The documents fixed together in this way are then rolled up with an external thick sheet of parchment to envelop the gathered bunch of documents ready for storage (Illustration .). 



See, for example, CUL, MS Dd.., and for a discussion of the rearrangement of paper leaves, see Orietta Da Rold, ‘The Quiring System in Cambridge University Library MS Dd.. of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales’, The Library,  (), –.  TNA, E //. TNA, KB ///. This bundle dates to –.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

Illustration . The National Archives, ref. KB ///; open document with visible longstitches

The King’s Bench was an itinerant court. It seems to have adopted paper as it had established itself as a travelling material, used to record several itineraries and travel expenses. Later authors praised paper for being lightweight, and perhaps such a quality was well understood by the clerks of the King’s Bench. However, at some stage in the archiving of the document, someone still wanted to support the paper document by backing it with parchment, a material readily available in the central administration. Just as the clerk who stitched the stubs of the account book of Henry, Bishop of Lincoln, was concerned with not ripping the paper, so some clerks might have thought that the loose way in which the documents were stored needed some additional reinforcement. These communities of clerks had used parchment in their written activities for a long time; accepting paper in their writing practices implied a compromise that made tradition and innovation work together. In this compromise, however, there must have been little regard for cost. Adopting paper  

Henry, Earl of Derby bought substantial quantities of paper for his travel and occasional parchment too. See Toulmin Smith and Kyngeston, Expeditions to Prussia. Peri, Il negotiante.

Books and the Character of Paper

Illustration .



The National Archives, ref. KB ///; wrapper

first and adding parchment later was not a way to economize on writing material, but rather a practical solution to the use of a material which might have been perceived as a less sturdy option for storing the documents. However, paper was certainly good enough to carry the will of the King’s court. Habit and novelty influenced the custom of mixing media in clerical writing environments, although the practice of using parchment guards to reinforce the quire can be found in books containing legal, literary and gnostic texts. The medieval practical mind might have considered this technique a good way to make loose quires or gatherings of material readily available for jottings or notes. The making of quires with inner and/or outer parchment bifolia differs, however, both in planning and scope, and begs the question: who made the quires? 

A curious example can be found in CUL, MS Ii... Outer guards with French administrative texts were added to quire , fols –, a distinct quire written by clerks, as discussed in Chapter , pp. –. See the use of inner and outer parchment stubs in CUL, MS Add. , a copy of Lydgate, The Siege of Thebes, s. xvmed, and CUL, MS Dd.., a collection of Latin recipes with some English, s. xv. Of the same period, but with only inner guards, CUL, MS Add.  is a copy of the Year Book of the th year of Henry VI; and some later examples, CUL, MS Dd.., a copy of various military treaties, including a translation of Tractatus de armis, s. xvex and CUL, MS Hh.., a version of John Page, Siege of Rouen, s. xvex.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

The combination of parchment and paper may indeed be taken as an indication of the acquisitions of writing material folded and gathered in quires, and, perhaps, occasionally purchased as a mixed bound book. It may also be possible to advance the hypothesis that the reason for books containing paper quires with inner and outer bifolia is because the quires were bought ready-made. Of the forty mixed-media manuscripts in the Cambridge University corpus of manuscripts, about eleven are made up exclusively of quires with inner and outer parchment bifolia. Another dozen have a mixed structural codicological make-up, and inner and outer parchment quires appear in the volumes either as add-ons or as part of more complex bookmaking practices, possibly not all medieval in their making. For example, Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.. contains various texts and is datable to the beginning of the fourteenth century. An interesting manuscript (further discussed below), it is made up by inner and outer parchment bifolia but also with different sizes of paper folded in ingenious ways. Another example, Cambridge University Library, MS Hh.., which contains Latin texts, is also datable to the same period. It is a composite manuscript made up by one quire parchment, and then quires with inner and outer parchment bifolia with paper folded in quarto. The last six quires are paper in folio, but the first part is quarto. Gumbert eloquently discussed the possibility of how parchment quires may have been formed, whether from single bifolia or singletons (one folio attached to another to make a bifolium) or from folding a larger parchment sheet, but the problem of who made the quires still remains.  



Manuscripts exclusively written on inner and outer parchment bifolia are CUL, MSS Add. , Add. ; Dd..; Dd..; Ee..; Gg..; Hh..; Hh..; Hh..; Kk.. and Kk... Other examples include: MS Dd.., Year Book,  Edward III; memorandum of receipt, s. xv, parchment, first  folios. Second quire inner parchment and end leaves. MS Dd.., sermons and recipes, s. xvex, inner and outer parchment bifolia from fol. , earlier quires – on parchment; first quire, parchment and paper; MS Dd.., Latin sermons, verse, s. xv, inner and outer parchment, up to fol. ; rest on paper; MS Ee.., Robert of Gloucester’s Metrical Chronicle, s. xv, inner and outer parchment bifolia, but also interspersed paper and parchment leaves; MS Gg.., Epistolary; Medical tracts, s. xv, first part up to fol.  parchment, from fol.  to  inner and outer parchment bifolia; MS Gg.., Candet nundatum pectus, s. xv, inner and outer parchment bifolia from fol.  to fol. . First section and last section on paper. First four folios on parchment and last one on parchment too; MS Hh.., mostly pedagogical works, –, inner and outer parchment bifolia; but there is also one quire of parchment at the beginning of the book and one at the end (two bifolia each); MS Ii.., Medica etc., s. xvex, inner and outer parchment bifolia up to fol. , fols – parchment; MS Mm.., version of a French proclamation from a play, s. xiv/xv, paper appears: fols –, inner and outer parchment bifolia with fourteenth-century paper, then in the last part of the volume, fols –. Outer parchment bifolium in the last quire of six, fols –. J. P. Gumbert, ‘Skins, Sheets and Quires’, in New Directions in Later Medieval Manuscript Studies: Essays from the  Harvard Conference, ed. by D. Pearsall (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, ), pp. –.

Books and the Character of Paper



On the Question of Pre-made Quires Scribes might have made their own quires, but the evidence brought forward in Chapter  also shows that quires and books may have been retailed blank on request. Graham Pollard notes that in Bologna, local stationers prepared quires to sell to customers from the end of the fourteenth century, although the practice might have started a century earlier. He also suggests that the ‘manufacture of ready-made quires or volumes was vastly accelerated by the introduction of paper’. It follows that procurement of folded, gathered parchment in Italy was relatively easy when paper was in circulation. In the letters between Bracciolini and Niccoli, it is evident that not only did Niccoli provide Bracciolini with the best parchment, but also with bifolia already folded, pricked and ruled in dry point to make quires of eight or ten. I have also noted that besides loose sheets, expendable paper and painted paper, people in medieval England also sold paper readily made up in books. The practice of seeking out books that were already made is well known in mercantile communities, particularly in Italy. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the Peruzzi of Florence ordered large quantities of paper and numerous books, described as two black, two red, one yellow, one orange and one green. A clerk working for one of the companies of Datini orders ten books from a ‘cartolaio’ in Florence, providing specifications on the type of paper and the number of quires per book. He requested royal paper with an average of two to three quires, but also requires two sets of ‘libro stretto’, a thin book and one book made with small sheets. While record-keeping in Italy, including the introduction of double account-keeping, demanded this quantity of paper, in England similar examples are not easy to come by. Not much evidence of empty paper books has come down to us, although the register book which contains the accounts of King John must have been bound before it was compiled. There are regular intervals between entries, which suggests that spaces were left to enter additional items. However, as well as     

Graham Pollard, ‘Notes on the Size of the Sheet’, The Library, th series,  (–), – (pp. –).  Rizzo, Il lessico, p. . Chapter , pp. –. Simone Luigi Peruzzi, Storia del commercio e dei banchieri di Firenze in tutto il mondo conosciuto dal  al  (Florence: M. Cellini, ), pp. –. Melis, Aspetti, p. . Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS français , available at https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/ /btvb (accessed  November ). I am aware of one other example, CUL, MS Add , which survives blank, datable to the second half of the fifteenth century. I thank Prof. Richard Beadle for alerting me to this book.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

inventories, other accounts may confirm the practice of selling bound books. The Borromei accounts do include a transaction for the purchase of a book on  March  in Bruges and  September  probably in London. Analysing the bound paper records in the archives of Old London Bridge from  to , Christianson observed that in the Bridge accounts, purchases of paper appear not only by the ream, but also by the quire and by the book. Evidence of books made to order is also found in English accounts from the beginning of the fourteenth century. Tout notes that in the sixth year of Edward II (), William de Southflete, a London stationer, was paid  shillings for making and binding four new parchment books. The parchment was sold separately from the making of the book. Ivy, who mentioned this example, argues that the practice of writing on unbound volumes must be considered the normal medieval practice of writing books. He discusses the use of off-sets to correct textual error, the use of catchwords to keep quires in order and the occurrence of blank leaves at the beginning and end of the books as evidence against the bound book. Although his observations make good sense, there is no reason why it should not be possible to accept that ready-made quires might be purchased in sufficient quantities to make books, and that blank books, most commonly procured to record administrative matters, might have also been used for other types of texts. It is also possible that in ever-expanding writing environments, people’s needs for ready-made quires were met by those who sold them, which facilitated the circulation of writing. The example of Bishop Mitford may indeed be used to corroborate this point, which adds to what I have already noted on the purchasing of paper from other accounts, that is that paper was sold in reams and quires. In a letter from John Davy to John Paston, the former asks to have written for him: ‘a cronekyl of Jerewsalem, and the jornes that my mayster dede whyl he was in Fraunce . . . and he seyth that 

 



Woolgar, Household Accounts often refers to the purchase of paper books. For example, ‘i magno papiro et i parvo papiro pro compotis hospicii domini ibidem scribendis’ was purchased for v s. vi d. by the household of the Bishop of Salisbury, Richard Mitford, at p. ; but see also pp. , , .  See Chapter , p. . Christianson, Memorials of the Book Trade, p. . TNA E /, fol. . For information about a separate charge for parchment in Oxford, Bodl., Tanner MS , fol. v, see T. F. Tout, Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England, vol. , The Wardrobe, the Chamber, and the Small Seals (Manchester: Manchester University Press, ), p.  n. . Remarked upon in Pollard, ‘Notes on the Size’, p.  and Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, p. .  Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, pp. –. Chapter .

Books and the Character of Paper



this drow more than xx. whazerys [quires] off paper, and the wrytyng delyveryd on to William Wursseter, and non other, ne knowyth not off non other be is feyth’. This letter notes the practice, which might have been quite common, to write on loose quires, which then will be compiled in volumes. The evidence for the purchase of mixed-media quires and entire books is more obscure. Christianson, in his analysis of the purchase of material in the Bridge accounts, notes that books were also bought in  from William Sewale, haberdasher, with a shop in the churchyard of St Paul’s, and also in  and . These large paper books, one of which was explicitly mentioned as ‘magno paupiro ligato’, a large bound book, were procured for account-keeping. Christianson assumes that these books were made of paper, because the term ‘paupiro’, as we have seen in previous chapters, can also refer to a paper book, but might not all have been bound. A clear indication of bound paper books purchased starts in the later decades of the fifteenth century. There is of course another issue which further complicates the relationship between parchment and paper, that is those books, for instance, with quires made up by intermixed parchment. Were those books assembled from quires or purchased as books? One may think that loose quires are essential for copying material to prevent mistakes and enable reshuffling if necessary. Cambridge University Library, MS Ee.. is a copy of Robert of Gloucester’s Metrical Chronicle, written during the first half of the fifteenth century on quires, with inner and outer parchment bifolia, but also interspersed paper and parchment leaves. A later manuscript, Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.., a copy of Caxton’s Histories of Jason, s. xvex, is also made up in the same way, and some quires in other manuscripts have a similar composition. This practice in not unusual and already remarked upon by Pollard in Shrewsbury School MS , a mixed-media manuscript of the early fifteenth century. He remarks: ‘The fact that the vellum and paper leaves are alternate shows that the leaves must have been cut to their present size before quiring’. It may perhaps also be reasonable to suggest that it is the work of a stationer, although the reason for mixing media in this way, apart from suggesting the strengthening of the quires, is not known.     

Davis, Paston, vol. , letter n. , p. ; see also Richmond, Fastolf’s Will, pp. – n. . See also Richard Fox in St Alban’s; Chapter , p. .  Christianson, Memorials of the Book Trade, pp. –. Ibid., p. . For example, CUL, MSS Dd.., Dd.. and Kk... Pollard, ‘Notes on the Size’, p. .



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

Jefferson reached a similar conclusion in her description of the Renter Wardens’ Account Book for the years  to , whose compilation started in , and alternates parchment and vellum without a clear pattern. The book was purchased for s. d., and then extra paper was added to it in . Jefferson notes the ‘unusual make-up’ of the book, but perhaps the manuscript has got something special about it. In the inventory of the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity and SS. Fabian and Sebastian (Parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate) on  July , it is recorded that William Kenyngthorp, late master of the fraternity, made a boke conteynyng a cxxx levys, that is to say xl of papir and xc of parchemyn . . . for a speciall registre of thentent that all maner chartres, evidences, accomptes, munymentes and other writynges touchyng the bretherhede shall be enrolled in the seide registre boke, in case so fall that if eny of the premisses hereafter be lost or withdrawen, that than it may appere evidentely in writyng in the seide boke by mater of record for the more surete.

If the claim to strengthening the quire might be a cause for this combination of material, this quotation gives the impression that the need of combining paper and parchment is to prepare a special register in which to lodge various administrative and legal acts, so that a copy can be kept readily available to witness facts and event. The character of these mixedmedia books can in fact be quite complex, and their purpose can vary considerably as receivers of literary texts or administrative and legal matters. It is also certain that these books are not so rare an example in fourteenth- and particularly fifteenth-century England. The Shape of Paper The shape of paper was engineered according to four regular sizes, named imperial, royal, median and chancery, although other sizes appear in the fifteenth century. As we saw in Chapter , merchants also referred to ‘royal’ paper, ‘spendable’ paper and black paper (possibly brown rather  

 

Lisa Jefferson, The Medieval Account Books of the Mercers of London: An Edition and Translation,  vols (Aldershot: Ashgate, ), vol. , p. . ‘The Register: Cartulary (–)’, in Patricia Basing, ed., Parish Fraternity Register: Fraternity of the Holy Trinity and SS. Fabian and Sebastian (Parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate) (London: London Record Society, ), pp. –. See also Chapter , p. . Needham notes: ‘Half-Median (perhaps made only for a few years in the mid- to late s at the request of one or more Venetian printers), Super-Chancery, Super-Median, and Super-Royal’ (‘Book Production’, p. ).



Books and the Character of Paper 93

Total

8 1

CHANCERY

FRAGMENT

Figure .

MEDIAN

8

8

ROYAL

ROYAL; CHANCERY

Count of sizes of paper in Appendix

than black), and thus people knew and appreciated that sizes mattered as well as colour as a reflection of the quality of the product they were purchasing. Royal paper is more expensive than other types of paper, bought by clerks in several writing environments, including the Royal household, with evidence from about s. In the  paper manuscripts of English provenance in Cambridge University Library, the majority of books are written on chancery paper, which is the most common size of paper being imported into medieval England. Figure . shows the distribution of the sizes of paper. It also highlights the preponderance of chancery paper across the corpus, with ninety-five manuscripts made with this type of paper across the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries, although the actual size of a chancery sheet may vary. 



The sizes of the sheets of paper used in book production can now be checked fairly quickly, thanks to the Will Noel’s ‘Needham Calculator’. See Dennis Mullen, ‘The Needham Calculator (.) and the Flavors of Fifteenth-Century Paper’, https://schoenberginstitute.org////the-needhamcalculator---and-the-flavors-of-fifteenth-century-paper/. I would like to thank Will Noel for a most lively debate during the summer of  on this topic, and for generously sharing his finding on the paper stocks of the Cambridge University Library manuscripts, which may be published in due course. Recently, Needham suggests: ‘it seems that Chancery papers from the region Champagne—Bar— Lorraine, as used in many printing shops of the Lower Rhine, Low Countries, Paris and England, were slightly smaller in dimension than the Bologna standard required. Uncut, they may have had short dimensions of only  centimetres, or even less’ (‘Book Production’, p. ).



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

For instance, Cambridge University Library, MS Hh.., a copy of the Year Books of Edward III and Henry VI in French, is written on chancery paper stocks measuring  mm   mm and  mm   mm, and dates to s. xv. Equally, Cambridge University Library, MS Hh.. dates to a slightly later period, s. xvex, and contains readings of statutes in French. It is copied on chancery paper stocks measuring roughly the same ( mm   mm and  mm   mm). Variation in the size of the chancery type of paper can be seen in MS Ii... The manuscript measures  mm   mm, but the earlier fourteenth-century paper stock, which I have described above, is about  cm shorter. The paper in these three manuscripts is folded in two (folio). Royal paper stocks are rare in these books, and the reason why one size was chosen over another is not always possible to tell, even if the choice of the shape of paper in book production must be significant, because the perceived character and status of the book may change. Accounts tell us that royal paper is more expensive than other types of paper. Letters of merchants observe that it does not have much market value; because of its size and cost, there is a distinct preference for smaller formats. This type of paper is, therefore, retailed as an upmarket material in virtue of its price, size and quality, and is used in eight manuscripts which contain legal, philosophical or literary texts. It is also found in combination with chancery paper stocks in other manuscripts with similar content, but it also includes one medical text. As a way of comparing the data, it is perhaps significant that of the thirty-two paper manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, royal paper was used for six manuscripts, and is found in another six in conjunction with the chancery type. The remaining paper manuscripts are written on chancery paper.    





See Chapter , p. . These manuscripts are: CUL, MSS Add. , Dd.., Dd.., Ff.., Gg.., Hh.., Kk.. and Gg... For further details on the manuscripts, see Appendix. The list includes, for example: CUL, MSS Dd.., Ee.., Hh.., Hh.., Ii.., Kk.. parts , , , Ii.. and Kk... For further details on the manuscripts, see Appendix. Manchester, Chethams Library, MS Mun. A..; Cambridge, CUL, MS Dd..; Glasgow, University of Glasgow, Hunterian Library, MS ; London, BL, Harley MS ; London, Royal College of Physicians, MS  and London, BL, Sloane MS ; see Mosser, A Digital Catalogue. San Marino, Huntington Library, MS HM ; Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS XIII.B.; San Marino, Huntington Library, MS HM ; Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys ; Oxford, Bodl., MS Rawl. C. ; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.. and Oxford, Bodl., Trinity College MS D ; see Mosser, A Digital Catalogue. London, BL, MS Arundel , Cambridge, CUL, MS Ee..; Geneva (Coligny), Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, MS Cod. Bodmer ; London, BL, MS Add. ; London, BL, Egerton MS ; London, BL, MS Harley ; London, BL, MS Harley ; London, BL, MS Harley ;

Books and the Character of Paper



Only one manuscript in the Cambridge University Library corpus of paper manuscripts is copied on median paper: MS Ii.., datable to the middle of the fifteenth century. The manuscript contains several texts, including a copy of The Northern Passion, Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne and Richard Rolle’s The Abbey of the Holy Ghost. Needham’s observation that ‘Two of these sizes, Imperial and Median, are . . . rare in paper manuscripts (at least, north of the Alps)’ is once again confirmed. Other significant observations for the character of the book may be advanced when the shape of paper is further contextualized with the folding of the sheet. Folding Paper The standardization of the production of the sheets of paper enabled paper users to rely on a product of roughly known measurements which was practical to fold. Folding paper is an activity which has received a great deal of discussion, in particular by scholars of the printed book. It is known that paper is folded in folio (folded in half from shorter edge to shorter edge), quarto (folded twice: in folio and then again across the width), octavo (folded three times: in quarto and then again across the width) and so on to produce different sizes of books. Figure . shows the distribution of these formats. The paper in most books is folded in folio and quarto, but it is also possible to observe a number of additional format and folding combinations. Rolls of paper are used in account-keeping, but another format is also in evidence: the tall and thin book, which I have labelled ‘vertical’ quarto, because the sheet of paper is folded in half and then in half again from the wider side to the other. It is also particularly striking to note the many instances in which folio and quarto formats, and quarto and octavo appear in books of the

   

London, BL, Royal MS .d.xv; London, BL, Sloane MS ; Manchester, John Rylands Library, English MS ; Oxford, MS Bodl. ; Oxford, Bodl., MS Douce d.; Oxford, Bodl., Trinity College MS ; Oxford, Christ Church, MS ; Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Fonds anglais MS ; Princeton, Princeton University, Firestone Library, MS ; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R..; University of Texas, Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, MS ; see Mosser, A Digital Catalogue. Needham, ‘Res “Papirea”’, p. . This proportion is the one also adopted in the modern sizing of paper, ISO : standard; see www.iso.org/standard/.html (accessed  November ). See, for instance, Fredson Bowers, Principles of Bibliographical Description (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, ). See Chapter  and Appendix.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

60 50

Total

51 43

40 30 20 10 0

5 Folio

6

6 2

1

Folio and fragment Octavo Octavo and Quarto quarto quarto

Figure .

2 Roll

1

1

strip Vertical folio Vertical and quarto quarto

Count of types of format

same sizes. Considering their distribution across paper and mixed-media quire composition, there does not seem to be a preference for either one or the other (see Figure .). There is perhaps a slight preference for mixed manuscripts with a preponderance of quarto format. These folding practices invite further reflections and a wider contextualization. As discussed in the previous section, the flexibility in the sizes of paper facilitated the interchange of types of paper in books, but it is unusual to find mixed shapes of paper in the same quire. Only in one case, MS Ii.., one half folio of royal can be found amidst chancery paper. It is more common to find quires or parts of the books written either on chancery or royal. The interchange between formats is an interesting practice, which seems to be another evidence of pre-assembled quires, or occasionally parts pulled together separately. This is not an unusual practice, as it can be found across the fifteenth century in other manuscripts.   

This practice becomes more common in printed books; see Needham, ‘Res “Papirea”’. Octavo and quarto: CUL, MSS Ee.. and Kk..; folio and quarto: Hh.., Hh.., Ii.., Kk.. parts , , . For example, amongst the manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, see San Marino, Huntington Library, MS HM ; Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, MS XIII.B.; San Marino, Huntington Library, MS HM ; Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys ; Oxford, Bodl., MS Rawl. C. ; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.. and Oxford, Trinity College, MS D ; see Mosser, A Digital Catalogue.



Books and the Character of Paper 50 45

43

40

Folio Folio and quarto fragment Octavo Octavo and quarto Quarto Roll strip Vertical folio and quarto

35 30 24

25 19

20 15 10 5 0

8 2

3

5 1

1 mixed

Figure .

3

1

3

1

1 2

Vertical quarto 1

paper

Distribution of types of material in relation to types of format

The vertical quarto is, however, the most interesting folding format in my corpus. Manuscript scholars usually refer to the shape of this type of books as ‘holster books’, and printed book historians as ‘agenda format’. Some scholars have argued that this type of books was made to be carried in a saddlebag or holster, and others argued for accounting practices. In my terminology, I have opted to describe the way in which the folding of the paper took place rather than describing possible portability or use. The danger of generalization in book history is often remarked upon, and in this specific example, given the current state of knowledge, too many possibilities are still at play. Foxton suggested that this format may be related to the way in which people needed to handle the book itself: ‘Turning the pages of a quarto with one hand while endeavouring to hold it with the other is only too likely to end in catastrophe; with a long quarto each hand supports one of the covers and the fingers can reach round the spine while the thumbs control the pages’. Ivy commented that ‘we sometimes find account-books of this shape, but “literary” holster-books are rare’, but Robinson notes this format in computistical texts, Apocalypses, Latin verse, Books of Hours and cantatoria, remarking on the ease   

See Robinson, ‘The Format of Books’, p. ; D. F. Foxton, ‘Some Notes on Agenda Format’, Library, . (), –. Robinson, ‘The Format of Books’, p. ; Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, p.  n. .  Foxton, ‘Some Notes’, p. . Ivy, ‘Bibliography’, p.  n. .



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

of holding the book with one hand and performing another task with the other. I find this explanation persuasive. It is striking that many examples of paper documents and registers, but also paper books, have this format. The folding of paper in this way is very common, for example, amongst the records I discussed in Chapter , which include early port records and documents presented for reimbursement of expenses in the Exchequer. Wakelin has also remarked about the preference, for instance, of William Worcester for this type of shape in his notebooks. It is, however, possible that some of the paper was folded in a long shape, but then folded again into two along the shorter side before it was bound as a book. In fact, it seems to me that what has been often considered an unusual format is more common than generally assumed; but were all these books made in this way for portability or usability? Worcester’s quires may certainly have been so before they were bound: some of the quires have a fold across the page which may indicate the leaves were folded into two after having been shaped in a vertical quarto. There are, however, exceptions. Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.. is one such example, but its size is remarkable: it measures  mm in height and  mm in width, and it is made up of  folios. It contains Middle English verse and the Memoriale credencium, and the manuscript is datable to the first quarter of the fifteenth century. It is made up by a first quire of parchment (fols –, but many missing leaves), then mixed quires of , then two folios of parchment (fols –) and a last parchment quire of  (fols –). Not only is the manuscript made up of mixed media, it is also made up of mixed sizes of paper. Up to fol. , quires are made up by royal paper folded twice along the wider side (the chainlines are vertical in relation to the outer edge), but from fol.  the   



Robinson, ‘The Format of Books’, p. . This conclusion was also reached by Kwakkel, ‘Decoding’, p. . Chapter , p. . This is a shape of book that Worcester uses in four of his manuscripts: London, BL, MS Add. ; London, BL, MS Cotton Julius F. vii; London, BL, MS Sloane . This packaging would create the folio shape of paper which could be readily employed for writing on single sheets or in quires, depending on the purpose for which the paper was purchased. Then the folio is folded one more time from the longer side to the longer side. The chainlines would still go vertically and form a sort of vertical quarto. If users of The Parker on the Web zoom into an image of MS — for example, p. —they can see the laid lines, rather than chainlines, going across the sheet of paper, which means that the paper is folded lengthways twice. See also Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Parker Library, MS , https://parker.stanford.edu/parker/catalog/mpzm (accessed  November ). For a different view, see Wakelin, ‘William Worcester’, p. . See, for instance, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Parker Library, MS .

Diverse Characters



directions of the chainlines change to be like a quarto, with chainlines horizontal to the bottom edge. I suspect that the paper used in this part of the manuscript is chancery paper folded in half along the width of the sheet. The sheer size of this book and the complexity of its make-up questions the assertion that the shape of the book was created for portability, as well as the possibility that the scribe himself might have put together the quires of the book. This is hardly an easy manuscript to manoeuvre; rather it might have either been written on pre-assembled quires, or commissioned as a blank book. Its provenance still remains uncertain, but certainly its character is impressive.

Diverse Characters The variety of shapes, materials, pre-made quires and formats of paper in book production has shown how complex the accommodation of paper was in medieval book production and, indeed, has also helped me to think through some of the ways in which medieval people used paper and parchment. Paper was not a uniform material; it came in different sizes which then could be combined to produce a variation of format. The medieval book maker, well before the advent of print, had imagined and experimented with variable sizes of paper to maximize paper usability to resource a writing market in constant demand. There is, however, one limitation in the use of paper by scribes: its more restricted range of uses for decoration and illumination. A recurrent theme in this book has been the porosity of paper. While in many instances such porosity was used by writers as an advantage, for instance, against fraud, it also had its disadvantages, and indeed decorations are not easily found in paper books; whether this is a question of fashion, taste or practices, it is not possible to say. For instance, it may well be the case that illumination was associated with parchment rather than paper because of the way in which the surface had to be prepared, its absorption of colours and porosity. In Chapter , I noted the circulation in England of papiri depicti. It is not quite clear what that paper is, but Cennini discusses how to colour paper and probably there was a need for such paper for artistic purposes. However, the question of illuminations and decoration in book production is not altogether the same. My corpus of  manuscripts shows that elaborate ink pen decorations are quite common, and occasionally decorated borders (Cambridge University 

Chapter , pp. –.



The Character of Paper and Its Use in Medieval Books

Library, MS Hh..), illustration of characters (Cambridge University Library, MS Dd..) and beautiful illuminated initials with gold leaf (Cambridge University Library, MS Kk..) can be found. This sample of manuscripts confirms a wider trend of using paper in a variety of types of books which do not require extensive decorations, but of course the census is not complete by any means. Medieval book makers also deployed inventive solutions to decorate paper books for more demanding fifteenthcentury book users. For instance, in a collection of texts which includes Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, James I of Scotland’s The Kingis Quair and poems by Hoccleve and Lydgate, a decorated parchment leaf was added to the paper book, possibly as a way to further embellish the finished product, but fully illuminated books on paper are rare in medieval England. If paper is not the material of choice for illuminated manuscripts, the discussion in this chapter has emphasized how resourceful medieval people were in adapting and accepting new material. They accepted paper readily: its spread across the later medieval period bears witness to how this translated in practice by mixing paper with parchment, not because they hated fragile paper but because it was practical. Indeed, people also bought ready-made mixed quires, and ready-made paper-only quires. In this way, paper had become an everyday commodity, which blended old methods of folding parchment with the new material. If much has been written about paper as a fragile, less-durable material, this chapter has demonstrated how the character of paper is multifaceted. It has also mitigated against a catchall understanding that paper books are cheap and scruffy. Rereading the evidence of how medieval people referred to paper has redefined the 



Oxford, Bodl., MS Arch. Selden. B. . For a discussion, see Julia Boffey, A. S. G. Edwards and B. C. Barker-Benfield, eds, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and the Kingis Quair: A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Arch. Selden. B.  (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, ). Some exceptions do exist. For example, a copy in French of the Commentarii de Bello Gallico, copied by Hellin de Burchgrave, is written on royal paper folded in folio in . The book was copied for the Duke of Burgundy, one of two mixed-media manuscripts in the library of the Duke. Yale, Beinecke Library, Beinecke MS . A folio measures  mm   mm, the same paper stock as CUL, MS Add. . For the description of the manuscript, see Barbara A. Shailor, The Medieval Book: Illustrated from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ). On the library of the Duke of Bourgogne, see Georges Doutrepont, La littérature française à la cour des ducs de Bourgogne: Philippe le Hardi, Jean sans Peur, Philippe le Bon, et Charles le Téméraire (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, ), p. ; Thomas Phillipps, Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum in Bibliotheca D. Thomæ Phillipps (Newbury: Middle Hill, ); and The Phillipps Manuscripts: Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum in bibliotheca D. Thomæ Phillipps, –, ed. by A. N. L. Munby (London: Holland Press, ). Some of the decorations are also found on the paper as well as the parchment leaves. For images, see https://brbl-dl.library.yale .edu/vufind/Record/ (accessed  November ).

Diverse Characters



parameters of how it is possible to talk about the status of paper, but more importantly it has helped to think through the affordance of paper: how paper was perceived and also how it worked with other writing materials. The fact that by the beginning of the twelfth century Peter the Venerable was discussing three types of material for writing bears witness to a diverse writing culture. The humanists had developed a system by which they admired beautiful parchment, but they equally despised dirty paper. In England, paper was appreciated for its quality as a writing material. Thus, the association of ephemerality and permanency with paper and parchment respectively is perhaps one felt more by modern commentators of paper book production than one intrinsic to the material itself or felt by the original scribes and users of paper books. The evidence shows that paper had qualities that medieval people appreciated. These qualities then translated into medieval bookmaking practices. Extending these modes of book production also brought innovation in the moment in which book makers combined paper and parchment in making quires. Diverse sizes of paper might also have been perceived as offering a different end-product. Royal paper seems to have been perceived as imposing and perhaps grander than chancery, but equally useful. Perception and a know-how attitude to book production informed these choices, and scribes adapted to this new material not in revolutionary but resourceful and responsive ways. Paper offered a number of options from which it was possible to choose; paper was not one material, but many objects, and, as I explain in the next chapter, offered several affordances which were fully exploited by medieval authors.

 

Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

Né l’un né l’altro già parea quell ch’era, come procede innanzi dall’ardore per lo papiro suso, un color bruno che non è nero ancora e ’l bianco more.

Dante, Divine Comedy, Inferno, , –

Neither the one nor the other appeared now as it was before; as burning paper when a dark colour that is not yet black spreads over it before the flame, and the white dies off.

In the description of hell in his Divine Comedy, Dante places the fraudulent – those who deceived, cheated, acted dishonestly and aimed to break the bond of trust between people – in the seventh bolgia or pit of the malebolge in the eighth circle of hell. The malebolge are ten concentrically arranged pits which are separated by a rocky landscape difficult to ascend and descend. The punishment of the damned in these pits is harrowing, and Dante’s description of what he sees in the seventh bolgia is particularly distressing. Monstrous snakes of all species, from every corner of earth (Libya, Ethiopia and the desert), torment naked people who desperately run around looking for shelter. Some serpents secure the creatures’ arms behind their backs, pricking their head and tail through these people’s loins. Others whizz randomly in the air seeking a human target. God’s punishment is unforgiving, vindictive and full of wonder: the biting and piercing of the snakes bring the damned to a fast mutation into a reptilelike figure, which combusts and dissolves into ashes. From the ashes, like the Phoenix, the damned resurrect to be newly chased by other snakes. The horror of the double metamorphosis represents the eternal chastising of the thieves, which Dante minutely explains in Canto . Here the 

Dante, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. I. Inferno. Italian Text with Translation and Comment, ed. by John D. Sinclair (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) (all quotations are from this edition; I have occasionally slightly modified Sinclair’s translations).



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination



account of the first mutation concludes with a simile predicated on burning paper. To my knowledge, Dante is the first poet to use paper in a literary conceit, and, beyond the question of primacy, his use deserves some further contextualization. If the focus of the previous chapter was on the character of paper, I here return to the poets’ uses of the affordances of paper in their writing to further discuss the significance of paper in the medieval literary imagination. Agnolo Brunelleschi, a Florentine thief, is the protagonist of this first transformation that Dante vividly portrays. An evil snake with six feet suddenly attacks Agnolo. The reptile seizes his arms and bites his cheeks with its terrible fangs. The monster’s tail stretches and fastens itself to Agnolo’s loins like intertwined ivy to a tree. The snake and Agnolo glue to each other like hot wax, mix their individual shape and colour to the point that ‘Né l’un né l’altro già parea quell ch’era’ (‘neither the one nor the other appeared now as it was before’). The transformation concludes with an emphatic tercet which likens the mutation of the two creatures to the photochromatic modifications of paper when it is reduced to ashes. Burning paper, Dante writes, changes its colour in stages; it goes from white to brown to black and thus destruction. The simile enables Dante to combine the variation in colour during the metamorphosis of Agnolo into a reptile with the speed at which such transformation takes place, and renders the scene more vivid. White paper burns quickly, but not so fast that the human eye cannot follow the stages at which it transmutes into ashes. Dante analyses the changes of colour in slow motion, qualifying and inviting the reader to comprehend the significance of the marvel. The use of paper to explain this metamorphosis anticipates the dismay of two other damned spirits at the realization that their companion’s human appearance at the point of mutation is gone: ‘Li altri due ’l riguardavano, e ciascuno / gridava: “Ohmè, Agnel, come ti muti! / Vedi che già non sè nè due nè uno”’ (‘The other two were looking on and each cried: “O me, Agnello, how thou changest! Lo, thou art now neither two nor one”’). With this dramatic speech, the spirits realize that what has just happened in front of their eyes is as true as burning paper, and that equally true and inescapable is the wrath of God. The phases of mutation from human to reptile require a close description of each individual element of the mutation itself: the bonding of the creatures, the dissolving of their form and the change of colour. All these elements are described through physical objects: the ivy, the wax and 

Inferno, , l. .



Inferno, , ll. –.



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

paper. The author’s literary imagination needs the material object to persuade his reader of the horror of an otherwise incredible, fantastic vision. These objects, and paper in particular, not only help to mediate disbelief; they also emphasize the inevitability of these creatures’ punishment and God’s supernatural magnificence. The metamorphosis of paper into brittle black pieces is as inevitable as the damnation of the sinners. Like burning paper, human creatures lose their recognizable tint and shape, and the colour of the original form is as important as that of the becoming and that of the mutation. As gradation changes, however, creatures come closer and closer to the loss of their own individual form as well as their colour. When the white dies off, the ‘bianco more’, the human form dies with it. Scholars have often commented on the significance of the ‘contrappasso’ or ‘divine justice’ in the seventh bolgia. God’s vengeance in this pit is about the continuous mutation, fusion and transmutation of two damned creatures. Those who cheat will be cheated of their human shape, and punished by sharing the body and the appearance of a snake for eternity. Dante explores the Aristotelian relationship between matter and form and the fact that the latter cannot exist without the former, although its nature and shape can change. In this way, the principle according to which ‘something comes to be out of something’ applies to the type of punishment the thieves deserve. The snake, the greatest of the deceivers, a talented force for evil and mischievous behaviour, is the most appropriate companion to the eternal damnation of the thieves. While Dante’s use of this simile has clear biblical foundations, the use of paper in particular is a new idea which he introduces into a canto heavily   



  

See also Attilio Momigliano, ‘Canto XXV dell’Inferno’, in Letture dantesche, ed. by Giovanni Getto (Florence: Sansoni, ), pp. –. Bodo Guthmu¨ller, ‘Canto XXV’, in Inferno. Lectura Dantis turicensis, ed. by Georges Gu¨ntert and Michelangelo Picone (Florence: F. Cesati, ), pp. –. See, for example, Lawrence Baldassaro, ‘Metamorphosis as Punishment and Redemption in Inferno XXIV’, Dante Studies,  (), –; Kenneth Gross, ‘Infernal Metamorphoses: An Interpretation of Dante’s “Counterpass”’, Modern Language Notes,  (), –. Ettore Paratore, Tradizione e Struttura in Dante (Florence: Sansoni, ), pp. –; Joan M. Ferrante, ‘Good Thieves and Bad Thieves: A Reading of Inferno XXIV’, Dante Studies,  (), –. W. Charlton, ed., Aristotle’s Physics Books I and II, Translated with Introduction and Notes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), I., pp. –. Ibid., p.  Piero Floriani, ‘Mutare e trasmutare: alcune osservazioni sul canto XXV dell’Inferno’, Giornale storico della letteratura italiana,  (), –; Attilio Momigliano, ‘Il significato e le fonti del canto xxv dell’Inferno’, in Letture dantesche, ed. by Giovanni Getto (Florence: Sansoni, ), pp. –; Guthmu¨ller, ‘Canto XXV’.

Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination



influenced by Ovid and Lucan. Dante skilfully reworks the classics, echoing the poetic diction that Ovid deploys in the transformations of Salmacides into a tree and Cadmus into a reptile, but augments the effect of this mutation in a number of ways. He introduces the double metamorphosis in a race of intellectual literary prowess with his sources, and proudly tells Ovid: ‘chè due nature mai a fronte a fronte / non transmutò sì ch’amendue le forme / a cambiar lor matera fosser pronte’ (‘for two natures face to face he never so transmuted that both kinds were ready to exchange their substance’). The double metamorphosis surpasses Ovid’s own single poetic transformation, which changes matter from one form to another. Dante’s predecessors had described transformations, but Dante describes transformation that is also obliteration, and resources to paper to enact such final verdict. Paper, when it burns, not only transforms in shape and colour but is then completely obliterated, and only from its ashes will a new form emerge. Dante’s idea of coalescing wax as forging and moulding the initial stages of the metamorphoses, only to conclude it with paper, combines intertextual references to the Ovidian concept of creating form with wax with Dante’s perception of annihilating such form to initiate another one. Dante’s condemnation of the thieves to eternal hybridity surpasses his classic sources and presents a chaotic scenario in which snakes seek humans, humans become snakes and then dissolve into ashes. Dante condemns the thieves to a terrifying shapeshifting destiny, seals their fate with the most terrible divine revenge befitting the crime, and expresses its importance through paper. Paper enables the poet to write an extraordinary and emotional scene. While writing paper in some Italian regions had been in use from the twelfth century, the thought of using it for a new understanding of the  



See P. Ovidi Nasonis, Metamorphoses, ed. by R. J. Tarrant (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), IV, ll. , –. Inferno, , ll. –. The literature on Dante and Ovid is vast, but in particular on Canto XXV of the Inferno. See Gross, ‘Infernal Metamorphoses’; G. A. Camerino, ‘“Se fior la penna abborra”. Inferno XXV e le invenzioni del mutare e trasmutare’, Tenzone,  (), –; Caron Ann Cioffi, ‘The Anxieties of Ovidian Influence: Theft in Inferno XXIV and XXV’, Dante Studies,  (), –; Richard Terdiman, ‘Problematical Virtuosity: Dante’s Depiction of the Thieves (Inf. XXIV–XXV)’, Dante Studies,  (), –; Luca Marcozzi, ‘Ovidio “Regulatus Poeta”: Dante e lo stile delle “Metamorfosi”’, in I classici di Dante, ed. by Paola Allegretti and Marcello Ciccuto (Florence: Le lettere, ), pp. –. See the likening of the initial transformation of the Pygmalion’s statue to soft wax in Metamorphoses, X. –. In Pythagoras’ speech, Ovid uses wax to explain the constancy of the soul despite its mutability. Metamorphoses, XV. –. For further discussion on wax and form, see Raphael Lyne, ‘Lyrical Wax in Ovid, Marlowe, and Donne’, in Ovid and the Renaissance Body, ed. by Goran V. Stanivukovic (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ), pp. –.



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

classical trope of metamorphosis appeared novel to Dante’s contemporary commentators, and was of interest to contemporary readers. Iacopo della Lana in his commentaries (–) glosses these lines explaining the visual effect and the significance of the burning of white paper, and explains Poich’ha detto la trasformazione dà esemplo del colore, a dice che sicome lo papiro, o carta bambasina è bianca, e ardendo, di cenerogna diventa nera, così questi due animali di diversi colori uniti, uno terzo colore generonno. Dante has explained that the transformation is exemplified by colour, and says that paper is white and becomes ashy when it burns in the same way as these two animals show these two colours fused together and thus generating a third one.

Andrea Lancia in his ‘L’Ottimo Commento’ offers a slightly different reading. He argues that Dante’s comparison is inspired by the wick of a candle, which in late medieval Italy must have been made with paper, another use of paper amongst the many we have seen in previous chapters. Probably his interpretation is dictated by the use of wax in the initial metamorphosis of Canto XXV. He writes: Qui fa una similitudine dicendo, che così non parea costui perfettamente uomo, nè distintamente due; come il papiro d’una candela, quello ch’è dinanzi alla fiamma, che la fiamma, consumando l’umido della candela, mette uno fummo nero che viene oscurando il bambagio bianco, che nè bianco pare, nè nero pare, nè adiviso l’uno da l’altro. Here [Dante] uses a simile to explain that this creature looked like one man rather than distinctly two. When a candle’s wick burns under the flame, reacting to the moisture of the melting wax, it emanates a black smoke. This smoke blackens the white wick, which seems neither white nor black and cannot be separated one from the other.

In both these examples, medieval commentators remark on the visual effect in Dante’s description of the metamorphosis, which combined originality and sophistication with the affordance of paper. In Dante’s poetics, the affordance of paper is deployed for literary invention in such a way that the colour of paper expresses variability, explains mutation and elucidates truth.  

See Jacopo della Lana (–), ‘Inferno , ll. –’, in The Dartmouth Dante Project, https:// dante.dartmouth.edu (accessed  December ). See Andrea Lancia, ‘L’Ottimo Commento ()’, Inferno , ll. – in The Dartmouth Dante Project. Critics are now inclined to read ‘papiro’ as paper; see, for example, Alighieri Dante, The Divine Comedy, ed. and trans. Robin Kilpatrick (London: Penguin, ), pp. –.

Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination



The concept of affordance is (as discussed in the Introduction) about use, but it can be broadened to include how an object is perceived and then used to inspire similes and imagery. Medieval authors draw on and exploit imaginatively the characteristic of the object, its properties, with their own understanding of the object itself and how they perceive it worked in specific social contexts. An author may choose to adopt and use for their literary invention one affordance of paper over another, and since affordances of paper are manifold, paper is perceived by medieval authors in a variety of ways, and enables these authors to express and investigate themes and ideas. For instance, as we saw for Chaucer at the outset of this book, paper is not a utilitarian product but a luxurious item which provides inspiration for his description of Dido. Chaucer relies on the colour of paper to express complex visual effects. Likewise, Dante is fascinated by the changing shades of burning paper to investigate medieval crime and punishment. Both authors rely on one of the several characteristics of paper, which is in plain sight, colour, to reinterpret their sources and innovate their writings. Critics of medieval literature have for a long time maintained that close reading of material things can offer new insights to medieval poetics. The articulation of these effects extends thing theory, and our current understanding of what medieval authors did with paper. But (as this book has shown) paper is not just as one thing, it is an object with intersecting connotations and multiple affordances. Derrida asks: When we say ‘paper’, for example, are we naming the empirical body that bears this conventional name? Are we already resorting to a rhetorical figure? Or are we by the same token designating this ‘quasi-transcendental paper’, whose function could be guaranteed by any other ‘body’ or ‘surface’, provided that it shares some characteristics with ‘paper’ in the strict sense of the word . . .?’

Derrida problematizes the language by which we came to accept what paper is. Recent conceptual interpretation of the materiality of paper as a 





For a useful reflection and overview on the state of the field, see Kellie Robertson, ‘Medieval Things: Materiality, Historicism, and the Premodern Object’, Literature Compass,  (), – and Kellie Robertson, ‘Medieval Materialism: A Manifesto’, Exemplaria,  (), –. See also the wider framework I discussed in the Introduction, pp. – and –. For the seminal work on ‘thing theory’, see Brown, ‘Thing Theory’; Brown, Other Things. On paper and medieval literature, see, for example, Robert W. Ackerman, ‘“Pared out of Paper”: “Gawain”  and “Purity” ’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology,  (), – and Rust, ‘Love Stories’. Jacques Derrida, Papier machine: le ruban de machine à écrire et autres réponses (Paris: Galilee, ); Paper Machine, trans. by Rachel Bowlby (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, ), p. .



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

writing support offers a wider scope of interpretation. Paper’s surface is one important element in authors’ thinking about paper; its colour is important to Chaucer and to other authors to express ideas; but these are only two of the affordances of paper. The multiple ways in which paper can capture an author’s imagination is what I am debating in these pages. In what follows, I return to, and expand upon, how paper affords the ingenuity of medieval authors a variety of meanings through which they can think more carefully about its cultural significance beyond book production. I chart these layers of meaning through a series of Middle English literary texts, and I analyse the different affordance of paper in each. Together these literary works reveal poets’ broad understanding of the way that this particular technological and cultural innovation, paper, had been integrated into medieval society. Paper is deployed for literary invention in rich and varied ways. Authors investigate its character with an impressive knowledge of how far the technology of paper can afford the human imagination. I will explore these affordances, thinking specifically of the chromaticity of paper, its plasticity, porosity and tensility in turn.

Chromaticity Dante’s perception of the colour of paper in his poetic diction is as precise as Chaucer’s ‘paper-whit’ when he describes Dido’s horse, and shows the visual recognition of the colour that paper had in the fourteenth century. Chromaticity was an important source of inspiration for poets’ use of it as an image, just as it was a valued part of the properties of paper at the point of its production. Colour was (as noted in former chapters) of vital consideration for papermakers because it had implications for the quality of the product itself, its marketing and commercialization. The initial separation of the rags was the starting point of this journey through colour. Production practices were influenced by the colour of the primary material, because white and dark rags had to be kept separate so as not to contaminate the finished product, which had a specific market share. The best-quality paper was made with white rags, and the lesser-quality with dark. Chromaticity mattered also for the consumers, who purchased different colour and sizes of paper for different uses. The ‘black’ paper, which was imported and recorded in some accounts (in Chapter ) was purchased to wrap material,  

Ingold, Being Alive, pp. –. See also Thomas White, ‘Potential Lives: The Matter of Late Medieval Manuscripts’ (PhD thesis, University of London, ). Chapter , pp. –.

Chromaticity



but also to protect items such as coffins of books for transportation. White paper, however, had different connotations. Fine white paper was an item which could indicate prestige, as in the Pastons’ use of ‘white paper’. In other sources, however, it could designate cleanliness and relate to other delicate functions. Some of the recipes (in Chapter ) advised storing sweets in fair, white paper, possibly a hygienic consideration, or possibly to make pretty little sweets look nicely wrapped. But how white was white paper? Chaucer seems to suggest that the whiteness of paper is to be associated with an almost brilliant, reflective surface which enhances the beauty of Dido enveloped in light in a space, the page of the book, which may have been of paper. Dido and her horse materialize in a moment of metamateriality that is constructed on the whiteness of the page. The brilliance of paper is further corroborated by Caxton later in the fifteenth century – yet for him the same property of the material has a different value and effect, because ‘affordance’ is not just a property of a material but a property as activated by a user. In his epilogue to his translation of Lefèvre’s The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, he famously laments his ‘eyen dimmed with ouermoche lokyng on the whit paper’ after copying his translation by hand. Caxton has lost the ‘corage’ of his younger age and feels the pain of a wary hand, ageing body and fatigued eyes from too much looking at white paper. As Hawkins explains, the trope of lamenting sore body parts, especially eyes, during the act of writing and translating is a well-rehearsed topic amongst medieval authors. It is less common to find a clear indication that the writing surface, and in this case paper, is the cause of such exhaustion. Hawkins cautiously suggests that the ‘belief that reading or writing on white paper damaged the eyes apparently dates back to Galen’. This is not quite correct, because paper was not in circulation in the West at the time of Galen, a Greek physician from Pergamon (–c. ), who became very influential in the study of medical practices at medieval universities.   





Chapter , pp. –. Raoul Lefèvre, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, trans. by William Caxton (Bruges: W. Caxton, ), p. , ed. by H. Oskar Sommer,  vols (London: David Nutt, ). See Joy Hawkins, ‘Sights for Sore Eyes’, in On Light, ed. by Kenneth Patrick Clarke and Sarah Baccianti (Oxford: Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literatures, ), pp. – (pp. –). Ibid., p.  n. ; R. E. Siegel, Galen on Sense Perception: His Doctrines, Observations and Experiments on Vision, Hearing, Smell, Touch and Pain, and Their Historical Sources (Basle: S. Karger, ), p. . Susan P. Mattern, The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ). On Galen’s works, see Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia, ed. Karl Gottlob Ku¨hn,  vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ).



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

The tenth book of his medical treaty on the parts of the human body is dedicated to the description of the eye and the doctrine of vision. Galen does discuss the effect of reflective light on human eyes, and observes the damage that such light can have on the sight, effectively causing blindness, rather than fatigue. He reports how a soldier became blind after a long march on the white snow; he also notes the use of white, bright rooms for torture purposes; and he observes that grapheos, writers or copyists, who write on white diphthera (parchment or skin), have often to turn to colour to rest their eyes. What Galen said of parchment surely applied a fortiori to the even paler material that was much, but by no means all, paper. Modernity has fully acknowledged the problems which may be associated with reading or writing on bright paper or screens, and, as White has discussed, whiteness is important both for paper and parchment. Galen’s view, medieval theory of optical knowledge and modern science, of course, explain Caxton’s claim that the whiteness of paper could be harmful for those who look at it, and sharply contrasts with the implicit understanding that paper can also be a very fine item. In Caxton’s words, there is also, perhaps, an implicit claim to his patron and purchasers that he is using the finest paper, the most beautiful paper. Because of its whiteness, the chromaticity of paper affords comparisons at more than one level across a range of literary traditions. Chaucer uses it for its delicacy to emphasize the beauty of Dido, and other fourteenth-century authors, some of them before him, employ this same idea to bring out the beauty of people or things. In the medieval Welsh literary tradition, paper appears in poetic expressions which seek to encapsulate delicacy and beauty. Such images occur early in the work of Dafydd ap Gwilym (?–? ) in his poem ‘Y Bardd a’r Brawd Llwyd’ (‘The Poet and the Grey Friar’). The poet, as he confesses his love for a beautiful girl, is strongly advised by the Friar, his confessor, to forsake the beloved, described as ‘aeilwin ewyn, / Lliw papir’ (‘The foam-hued one, / colour of paper’).    



See ‘Galeni de vsv partivm corporis hvmani liber X’, in Ku¨hn, Claudii Galeni, vol. , pp. –; Siegel, Galen on Sense Perception, pp. –. Ku¨hn, ‘Galeni de vsv partivm’, Claudii Galeni, vol. , pp. –. See also Siegel, Galen on Sense Perception, p. . White, ‘Potential Lives’, esp. pp. –. For a discussion on the origin of this knowledge, see Roger Bacon and the Origins of Perspectiva in the Middle Ages: A Critical Edition and English Translation of Bacon’s Perspectiva, with Introduction and Notes, ed. by David C. Lindberg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. xxv–xxxii, and the discussion in the Introduction, p.  n. . Dafydd Ap Gwilym, ‘The Poems of Dafydd Ap Gwilym’, www.dafyddapgwilym.net/eng/win.htm n.  (accessed  December ).

Chromaticity



As Breeze notes, Dafydd compares in a traditional way the beauty of a woman to the froth of the wave, but then innovates his imagery and expression with a paper metaphor. Yet it is worth considering the use of the paper metaphor by the character who is speaking, the friar. In this poem, the friar is trying to convince the speaker to leave behind secular love for sacred love, so is this comparison predicated on beauty or vanity? Davies thinks both. He argues that ‘there is no reason why the image “lliw papir” should not connote both beauty, magnificence, and pomp on the one hand and transitoriness, vanity, and decay on the other. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that this is its point’. Scholars have demonstrated how Dafydd is interested in combining traditional Welsh tropes with continental Old French or Latin sources. Bromwich has shown how Dafydd’s poetic novelty and metrical innovation also derive from combining known words in surprising contexts. Dafydd borrowed words from French or Middle English and, according to Bromwich, they mainly consist of ‘nouns denoting concrete things’. He was interested in new materials, forging new vocabulary, especially for buildings, furnishings, weapons and even currency. Dafydd is also interested in law and official administration. Paper may have appeared to him as an unexpected object, which could be used for innovative literary conceits. Dafydd with this metaphor anticipates Chaucer’s reference to Dido’s white horse by a few decades, and his comparison to paper poses the same questions that I asked of Chaucer’s. One may question whether Dafydd was expecting his audience to have encountered paper or simply wanted to impress them. A poet’s ingenuity and use of surprising and daring similes show innovation, in particular, and also confirm on the one hand exposure to paper and on the other the wider diffusion of this material throughout the British Isles. Chapters  and  discussed how paper arrived in England, and how its use started to spread within administrative and mercantile circles from the thirteenth century onwards. Italian merchants used paper in England for their accounts and inventories as they sought out wool   

 

Andrew Breeze, Medieval Welsh Literature (Dublin: Four Courts Press, ), pp. –; Andrew Breeze, ‘lliw papir’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies,  (–), p. . Morgan Thomas Davies, ‘Dafydd ap Gwilym and the Friars: The Poetics of Antimendicancy’, Studia Celtica,  (), – (p. ). On the question of poets referring to exotic materials, see R. Bromwich, Tradition and Innovation in the Poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ) and Dafydd Johnston, Language Contact and Linguistic Innovation in the Poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym, Quiggin Lecture (Cambridge: Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, ). Bromwich, Tradition and Innovation, p. . Ibid. See also Breeze, Medieval Welsh Literature, pp. –.



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

contracts. The penetration of these merchants into Wales to look for more business opportunities in the wool trade may have created the occasion for Welsh nobility and poets to encounter as well as experience writing on paper. If paper and administration go hand in hand, Dafydd’s interest in administrative matters may also have offered chances to see and perhaps use paper. Dafydd in his poetical experimentation offers the beginning of the story of the affordance of paper in British medieval literature, but the adoption of papur in Welsh literature is not an accident in the history of this trope. Another prolific later fourteenth-century poet, Gruffudd ap Maredudd (fl. –), a contemporary of Chaucer, in his elegy ‘Marwnad Gwenhwyfar o Bentraeth’ (‘An Elegy for Gwenhwyfar of Pentraeth’) uses the hue of paper to describe the white walls of an imposing fortress, which is shining, and glowing like paper ‘gwengaer bapir’, the ‘white shining fortress of the colour of white paper’. Welsh poets engage with, and anticipate Chaucer’s fascination with paper, by adopting the term specifically to refer to its apparently vivid white colour. They mediate for their audience a luxurious, exotic and extraordinary material. The effect of Gruffudd ap Maredudd’s lines recurs in the work of his Middle English counterparts, which suggest a certain similarity with the way in which paper is understood as a cultural reference point, even though the linguistic, geographical and social context differs. There is here a common ground: the colour of the paper that Dafydd ap Gwilym, Gruffudd ap Maredudd, Chaucer and Caxton experience is imagined in their writing as white and bright. Of course, the affordance of paper is also a poetic affordance, of a useful metaphor for clearness – almost irrespective of the real material – but it comes from a technological affordance of a clear writing surface. A modern reader may at times experience medieval paper as yellow, but some of the most pristine paper manuscripts do still show beautiful white paper. In an age with candle light, paper shines.

  



Further work in local Welsh archives might give some additional information on the early use of paper in Wales. Ann Parry Owen, ed., Gwaith Gruffudd ap Maredudd, vol. , Canu Amrywiol (Aberystwyth: Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, ), p. , l. . GPC, ‘papur, papir’. I am grateful to David Callander for his assistance with the paraphrases and translations of the Welsh poems. I would like to thank John K. Bollard for alerting me to this fascinating topic. The discussion was initiated on the Mapping Paper Project blog, www.english .cam.ac.uk/manuscriptslab/mapping-medieval-paper-in-england/ (accessed  December ) and then further explored in private correspondence. See, for example, London, BL, MS Add.  and CUL, MS Add. .

Plasticity



Plasticity The properties of paper are further extended by the Gawain poet when he refers to the plasticity of paper. Like Gruffudd ap Maredudd, the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight also uses paper to describe a castle; he uses it, however, by drawing on a quite different affordance of paper. His description shows how the plasticity of paper influences the literary mind. Despite the scholarly attention that these lines have attracted, it is important to contextualize this example further with broader historical evidence of the uses of paper. Gawain is on his perilous journey to the Green Chapel to respond to the challenge of the Green Knight on behalf of King Arthur, when at the end of a forest he sees a marvellous castle. The poet outlines this edifice with architectural precision and draws attention to the colour of the chimneys, in an ambiguous simile with paper: Chalk-whyt chymnées þer ches he innoȝe Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte. So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere Among þe castel carnelez, clambred so þik, Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.

Gawain, from far away, discerns a multitude of chalk-white chimneys that blink brightly (‘blenked ful quyte’) from the turret roofs. The white colour of these stacks contrasts with the painted pinnacles which are peppered everywhere amongst the profusion of crenellations. The sight is such that it seems to have been cut out of paper. But, again, why paper? Gruffudd ap Maredudd, a contemporary of the Gawain poet, chose paper as a means to convey the impression of the imposing white walls of a fortress, of an almost inexpungable stronghold. Instead, for the Gawain poet the colour of the castle is evoked with a comparison with chalk, but the comparison with paper captures the magnitude of the castle’s shape. Much attention has been given to the castle’s fairy-like appearance, its detailed, exquisite and precise architectural features, in which features it evokes castles in traditional French Arthurian literature. Scholars have 



‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, in The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ed. by Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, ), ll. – (all quotations come from this edition). See, for instance, among the many publications, Ad Putter, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and French Arthurian Romance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ); Sarah Stanbury, ‘Space and Visual Hermeneutics in the “Gawain”-Poet’, Chaucer Review,  (), –; John M. Ganim, ‘Disorientation, Style, and Consciousness in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, PMLA,  (),



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

proposed intertextual and cultural referents for these lines, and they tend to stress the dichotomy between the strong, fortified walls and the frail, ‘insubstantial’ nature of a castle cut out of paper. Sodowski comments of the castle that, ‘for all its architectonic splendor, [it] looked like paperwork . . . enhancing the effect of visionary and dreamy ethereality’. Barron summarizes the many intriguing possibilities that might have motivated the Gawain poet, asking whether it was simply as ‘insubstantial in silhouette as the paper castles decorating the dishes at the feast’, also inspired by the ‘chalk-white chateaux of France which decorate the Duc de Berry’s Très Riches Heures’. Barron takes us from the inspiration found in painted castles to the geography of the West of England to possible analogies with the use of paper for culinary decorations. Such table decorations may certainly have inspired the Gawain poet in his paper comparison; in particular, the widely attested use of paper in food decoration might have stimulated the poet to assimilate paper to the medieval practice of decorating food. Paper lances and paper helmets, for instance, were made for elaborate food display. I, however, think that the motives in Gawain may be read differently, but it is important first to understand how paper in food decoration works in the literary tradition before moving to my own interpretation. Other literary texts make use of paper in decorations on food during banquets and feasts. In Cleanness, at Belshazzar’s lavish banquet, the narrator focuses on the type of food which is served and how it is embellished:

   



–; Sidney Wade, ‘An Analysis of the Similes and Their Function in the Characterization of the Green Knight’, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen,  (), –. Pamela M. King, Medieval Literature – (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ), p. . Piotr Sadowski, The Knight on His Quest: Symbolic Patterns of Transition in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Newark: University of Delaware Press, ), pp. –. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. by W. R. J. Barron (Manchester: Manchester University Press, ), p. . The Très Riches Heures, Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS  is often noted to depict such truthful representations, which, however, were painted by the Limbourgh Brothers after their arrival at the court of the Duke de Bery in , but abruptly interrupted in . For an overview of the manuscript, see Patricia Stirnemann, ‘The “Très Riches Heures” and Two Artists Associated with the Bedford Workshop’, Burlington Magazine,  (), –; Patricia Stirnemann, ‘The King of Illuminated Manuscripts: The Très Riches Heures’, in The Limbourg Brothers: Nijmegen Masters at the French Court (–), ed. by Rob Du¨ckers and Pieter Roelofs (Ludion: Nijmegen, ), pp. –. On the suggestion that the Gawain poet was inspired by paper decorations, see Ackerman, ‘Pared out of Paper’. Melitta Weiss Adamson, Food in Medieval Times (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, ), pp. , .

Plasticity



Burnes berande þe bredes vpon brode skeles Þat were of sylueren syʒt, and served þerwyth, Lyfte logges þerouer and on lofte coruen, Pared out of paper and poynted of golde, Broþe baboynes abof, besttes anvnder Foles in foler flakerande bitwene.

Servants, bearing broiled meat, serve from shining silver plates. Carved decorations in the form of fortifications rise over this food, cut and constructed out of paper, and appointed in gold. The excess of the feast, as Spearing has observed, represents the enactment of ‘a kind of social ritual’, and is expressed in very fine details through the ‘visual and plastic language’ that the Gawain poet has deployed: ‘Food-decorations like castles, castles like food-decorations’. In this rich performance, paper is a luxury plastic object at the service of an exotic ruler, an idolater of false gods; paper is used to boast power and riches. These are sentiments also reprimanded by Chaucer’s Parson in the Canterbury Tales. The humble Parson in his sermon uses the idea of paper at the dinner table to admonish; he considers paper embellishments as superfluous additions to banquets and entertainments: Also in excesse of diverse metes and drynkes, and namely swich manere bakemetes and dissh-metes, brennynge of wilde fir and peynted and castelled with papir, and semblable wast, so that it is abusioun for to thynke.

Chaucer’s Parson condemns the use of paper in lavish adornments on food in rich men’s feasts. On these occasions, paper decorations represent pride, one of the seven capital sins, and, as Robert W. Ackerman has noted, evoke courtly life. Thus paper decorations are indeed considered by Chaucer and the Gawain poet as extravagant and redundant luxuries in their pious texts. But the affordances of paper in their other works are more complex than that. In Gawain, does the poet wish to suggest to his audience that the paper castle is a symbol of pride? The arrogance of Morgan and her strong  

  

‘Cleanness’, in Andrew and Waldron, The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ll. –. MED, ‘paren’ (v. , .). It is customary to understand ‘paren’ with the meaning of ‘cutting’, but it might be possible to extend its meaning to ‘preparing’. MED cites ‘paren’ (v. , .a) with the meaning of ‘prepare’ in The Wars of Alexander, which is written in a dialect very closely related to that of Gawain poet. The close linguistic links between the two poets might be useful supporting evidence that ‘paren’ might be used with more than one meaning in Gawain. A. C. Spearing, The Gawain-Poet: A Critical Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. Chaucer, ‘The Parson’s Tale’, ll. –, in Riverside. Ackerman, ‘Pared out of Paper’, p. .



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

feelings against Guinevere and Arthur’s court might have inspired the Gawain poet to juxtapose paper, food decoration and pride, creating an explicit intertextual link with his other work and possibly wider cultural references. This is one of the possible interpretations of the possible rhetorical effect of the paper simile in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. But if the critic now knows about the magical nature of the castle by hindsight, then she might interpret the comparison to paper as a symbol of the castle’s worldliness and insubstantiality. However, the way in which Gawain, and the first reader, encounter it does not quite support a preemptive reading that anticipates the danger to come. It would give too much away to the character and its audience to make the castle obviously insubstantial, therefore the allusion to paper in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is more intriguing. The castle appears at a point of the narrative when Gawain is exhausted. Having travelled a long way from Arthur’s court and having fought many battles and crossed many impervious places, he prays to God and Mary for a shelter. It is Christmas Eve, and Gawain is eager to hear Mass on Christmas Day: Of sum herber þer heȝly I myȝt here masse Ande þy matynez tomorne, mekely I ask, And þerto prestly I pray my Pater and Aue and Crede.

The castle is the answer to Gawain’s prayers, and that answer manifests itself with a sequence of architectural features which start with the sight of a moat at the end of the forest, shifting the reader’s perception of the story from the narrator’s to Gawain’s own vision. The reader sees what Gawain sees; there is no worry, hesitation or fear as Gawain approaches the castle, but a relief that his prayers have been answered. If anything there is a sense of desperation in the hope that the castle may offer shelter: ‘“Now bone hostel,” coþe þe burne, “I beseche yow ȝette!”’ and, later, ‘If he myȝt keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne, / To herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested’. Gawain hopes that the castle will offer refuge as the holiday lasts. The reader shares his feeling and hopes for a positive resolution. As Putter notes, the change from omniscient narration to individual perspective is a technique which was introduced by Chrétien de Troyes in Perceval, so that ‘what we register is made dependent on the relative position of the protagonists whose movements we follow’. Both Gawain  

‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, ll. –. Putter, Sir Gawain, p. .



Ibid., ll. , –.

Plasticity



and Perceval see a castle from far away. The definition of the characteristics of the building sharpens as the knight gets closer. Perceval first sees a turret, then we learn that there is no more beautiful tower from here to Beirut, and then Chrétien gives us the full description of the castle: ‘Carree fu, de roche bise, / S’avoit .II. torneles entor’ (‘it was squared, in grey stone, flanked by two towers’). The castle that Perceval sees has got a defined form, is made of stone and is fortified. It is real despite, or in spite of, what will happen inside. The Gawain poet in a very similar fashion, but in more detail, after making Gawain aware of the moat, slowly switches the perspective of the story. We follow the viewpoint of Gawain as he reaches the castle and at that point it is Gawain, not the narrator, who guides us through the exquisite architectural qualities of the building itself. Because of this emphasis on the construction of the castle and its architectural features, the comparison to chalk and paper evokes the tools of architects and artists rather than the festivities of the table. It has been remarked that the Gawain poet is interested in form and shapes. That interest extends to the representation of the castle, because chalk and paper do not seem a casual juxtaposition; artists and architects painted with chalk and shaped forms with paper. Such a reading builds on Tolkien and Gordon’s note that ‘pared out of papure’ evidently points to ‘the elaboration of the castle workmanship that the simile is meant to emphasize’. In this image, then, the Gawain poet draws on the idea of the plasticity of paper to model architectural precision. Binski notes that fantasy architecture or the architecture in literary texts can be influenced by ‘a social reality, of the temporary, ludic, wooden and paper devices used in court ceremonial that may themselves have been important vehicles for inventive innovation’. He explains that mimesis in arts is as important as playful decoration, almost influencing each other in a circular movement. The Gawain poet in his description of Bertilak’s castle distils a complex system of aesthetic representations of medieval castles, which came to signify gothic architecture. This style was the ‘fashionable contemporary

    

Chrétien de Troyes, Chrétien de Troyes, Le conte du Graal, ou, Le roman de Perceval, ed. by Charles Méla (Paris: Livre de Poche, ), ll. –. Arthur Bahr, ‘Compulsory Figures’, ELH,  (), – and ‘Finding the Forms of “Cleanness”’, Studies in Philology,  (), –. Broecke, Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro Dell’arte, p. . J. R. R. Tolkien, E. V. Gordon and Norman Davis, eds, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, nd edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), p. , note to l. . Paul Binski, Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style – (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, ), pp. , .



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

architecture’ of fourteenth-century Europe. It was much disliked by sixteenth-century architects, and among those critics, one, Vasari, compares gothic buildings to unreal works made of paper: ‘ed hanno più il modo da parer fatte di carta che di pietre o di marmi’ (‘indeed they have more the appearance of being made of paper than of stone or marble’). The Gawain poet, however, seems to be influenced by earlier architectural principles. Vitruvius’ De Architectura makes the crucial point that artists should represent real things in their drawing and not fantastic scene. For Vitruvius, frescos must depict reality, not imagined scenarios of no natural consequence. Likewise, the Gawain poet grasps the pliable quality of paper to represent real buildings. Rather than seeking to express the unreal scenarios of his narrative, the Gawain poet is interested in tangibly modelling an idea to reality, and, as Dante before, he draws from the Aristotelian idea that form comes from matter and matter must come from something. Paper is that matter. Paper enables the Gawain poet to express the creativity of the architecture of the castle. As much as bricks, stones and mortar build real castles, paper brings them to life in art. The practice of architecture was imbedded in a number of other practices, and knowledge, of the Gawain poet. Licences to crenelate and fortify medieval properties were medieval ‘planning permissions’, which gave specific instructions on how to repair, raise, ‘crenelate’ and ‘turrelate’ (turret) the walls of buildings. Some of these authorizations specified the material which could be used, and that included stones and lime. Such a process of visualizing reality to scale and modelling form through a plastic object is what the Gawain poet is sharing with his audience. Paper silhouettes and paper cuttings became fashionable in the West in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This technique, however, was practised in China for many centuries before then. Marco Polo in Le livre des merveilles du monde talks about paper cuttings used in burial ceremonies and weddings. In the narrative of this journey, Marco Polo precisely   



 

Derek Pearsall, Gothic Europe, – (Harlow: Longman, ), p. . Giorgio Vasari, Opere (Milan: Nicolo Bettoni, ), p. . See also Pearsall, Gothic Europe, p. . ‘We now have fresco paintings of monstrosities, rather than truthful representations of definite things’. Pollio Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, trans. by Morris Hicky Morgan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), p. . Gerald Morgan, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Idea of Righteousness (Blackrock: Irish Academic Press, ), p. ; Cecilia A. Hatt, God and the Gawain-Poet: Theology and Genre in Pearl, Cleanness, Patience and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, ). Lise Hull, Britain’s Medieval Castles (London: Praeger, ), pp. –. A burial tradition in the province of Tangut, for example, burns bodies of dead people with their paper silhouettes, and cuttings of horses and camels. See Marco Polo, Le Devisement du monde, ed. by Philippe Ménard (Geneva: Droz, ), vol , p. , ll. –.

Plasticity



describes paper cuttings as scaling reality, and thereby paper materializes ideas and concepts into forms. In the fourteenth century, the perfecting of the technology of paper and its diffusion facilitated its adoption in a number of practices, including sketching and architectural drawings. Cennini in his Il Libro dell’Arte explains how paper and parchment can be used in sophisticated drawings and painting. The emphasis on paper is, however, evident. He advises the apprentice to keep the drawings in a portfolio large enough to fit a royal folio folded in half. Iannuccelli argues that paper offered to artists a number of benefits: it was light and came in different colours, shapes and surfaces. It allowed the artist a great deal of experimentation with drawing techniques, colours and finishing. Jottings of models to scale, which have also survived on parchment, can also be executed on paper. In an account book of Urban V from the second half of the fourteenth century, the artist Tommaso Di Stefano, called Giottino, purchased in  a quire of royal paper ‘pro figuratione evangelistarum pro cappella majoris’ (‘for the representation of the gospellers for the great chapel’). Possibly, this ‘figuratione’ refers to a drawing of one of the representations of the evangelists for the chapels of the Vatican palace, which are now lost. The wide use of paper in artistic practices and for decoration at the end of the fourteenth century shows that paper inhabited a space with which the Gawain poet might have been familiar, and that it was used to enact forms. The Gawain poet evokes this varied practice of architecture and drawing by alluding to their material instantiation, on the tangible material of paper. Paper affords experiment in representations and transmits the thought of the mind into a visible shape, form and structure. Paper makes ideas palpable. The tension then between materiality and immateriality is mediated by the Gawain poet through paper, building on the playful acceptance of what paper can achieve as a plastic material. Moreover, just as Dante used paper to put into shape one of his visions of the divine order, so the Gawain poet uses this material to substantiate God’s providence. The materialization of the castle truly answers Gawain’s  

  

 Broecke, Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro dell’arte, pp. –. Ibid., p. , p.  n. . Simonetta Iannuccelli, ‘L’Europa di carta’, in Gli itinerari della carta: dall’oriente all’occidente: produzione e conservazione, ed. by Carla Casetti Brach and M. Bicchieri (Rome: Gangemi, ), p. . Cennini amply discusses these techniques in his The Craftsman’s Handbook. Eugène Mu¨ntz, Le Giottino à Rome: d’après des documents inédits (Paris: Libraire de L’art, ), I, p. . Christopher Kleinhenz, Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia,  vols (New York: Garland Press, ), p. . See the discussion in Ganim, ‘Disorientation’, pp. –.



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

prayers. Paper is the object which conveys forms and reality, rather than an agent of magic or deception. At that point of the story Gawain needs reassurance, a comfort which is readily provided in the shape of a castle. In doing so, the Gawain poet updates Chrétien’s Perceval with fourteenthcentury materiality. If the chromaticity of paper affords and inspires descriptive scenes, which invoke beauty, light, pain and change in form, the plasticity of paper inspires the manipulation of shapes and forms both by human hands and by divine, as well as beauty and, at times, excess. Medieval authors are fascinated by the way in which paper can be moulded, cut or adapted into manifold shapes to scale and decorate other objects. This experience and knowledge are explored further in the other poets’ imaginings of the material’s porosity and tensility.

Porosity and Tensility The porosity of paper (discussed in previous chapters) explained the relationship between writing, ink and paper, and the fact that paper is not inherently fragile, but tensile. Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde is a vital example of how medieval authors imagined this relationship to writing. The pain of love and its communication by Troilus to Criseyde takes central stage in the narrative. The writing of letters is paramount to the effective relay of feelings and emotions, but also to the arrangements of meetings between the two lovers. After meeting Criseyde at the temple, Troilus, consumed with pain, lies in bed and is eager to receive news from Pandarus about when he will be able to meet her again. Pandarus, then comes up with the advice that if he were Troilus, he would write in his own hand, a letter in which he expressed his suffering and then begged her to have mercy. The importance of an autograph letter is in evidence here again, but this letter, Pandarus instructs, should be written with care, and it must not be difficult, with complex rhetoric, or too pretentious or boisterous. Indeed, Pandarus’ advice is precise: Towchyng thi lettre, thou art wys ynough. I woot thow nylt it dygneliche endite, As make it with thise argumentes tough; Ne scryvenyssh or craftyly thow it write; Biblotte it with thi teris ek a lite; And if thow write a goodly word al softe, Though it be good, reherce it not to ofte. 

‘Troilus and Criseyde’, Book , ll. –, in Riverside.



Ibid., ll. –.

Porosity and Tensility



Whilst Pandarus acknowledges the fact that Troilus might know this advice, he stresses the significance of a simple prose and the values of not repeating too often any tender words. The more interesting direction, however, is almost squeezed in between these other instructions. Pandarus notes: blot the letter with tears a little. It has often been recognized that Pandarus’ speeches are rhetorically significant in mode and meaning, particularly because Chaucer’s invention at this point of the story does not have a close link with his source. Hamilton discerns the echo of Geoffrey de Vinsauf’s Poetria nova in the advice of not rehearsing words too often. Windeatt observes that Ovid’s counsel to lovers in his Ars amatoria includes the instruction to be considerate when addressing a woman. And Cipriani draws an intriguing intertextual, and plausible, link between ‘Biblotte it with thi teris ek a lite’ and ‘Lermes les cuers de tiex gens’ (‘tears show the heart of kind people’) in the Roman de la Rose. In both instances, Cipriani explains: ‘tears that will help win the lover’s cause immediately precedes the advice to the lover to write’. In Chaucer, ‘biblotte’ is more than coercive advice; it encapsulates a new idea: of tears impregnating a porous surface, which signifies more than the signifier itself. Words can only go so far; tears will convey and express the deep suffering of a lover beyond words. The word ‘biblotte’ is a neologism of Chaucerian creation – it does not occur in other fourteenth-century texts. Later, the verb ‘blotten’ is often used by Lydgate, who presumably picked up this inspiration from Chaucer. Other authors, such as Osbern Bokenham, use this term in conjunction with paper, and of course the spilling of ink, from the fifteenth century onwards. Chaucer, however, seems to be the first to use this image of tear-stained letters in English. Pandarus does not explicitly discuss the choice of material with Troilus, but it seems obvious that Chaucer’s construction of suffering through the words of Pandarus would only work if those letters were written on paper. Tears will smudge parchment because it is not absorbent, and so water runs across the letters and possibly makes the letter illegible; but paper will    



For a parallel edition with Boccaccio’s Filostrato, seeTroilus and Criseyde: A New Edition of Chaucer’s the Book of Troilus, ed. A. Windeatt (New York: Longman, ). Marie Padgett Hamilton, ‘Notes on Chaucer and the Rhetoricians’, PMLA,  (), –. Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde, l. . Lisi Cipriani, ‘Studies in the Influence of the Romance of the Rose Upon Chaucer’, PMLA,  (), , who used the edition of Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Le Roman De La Rose, ed. by Francisque Michel,  vols (Paris: Firmin Didot, ).  Cipriani, ‘Studies’, p. . MED, ‘blotten’ (v.).



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

absorb each and every drop of tears. The very fact that paper is absorbent affords a specific character to the letter that Troilus may send. Chaucer favours paper precisely for the effect that it will convey in the lover’s letter and the intertextual echoes that it might bring to mind. This image of tear-stained paper also transports the reader back to the very beginning of the poem, to those woeful verses that cry as the poet writes: The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen, That was the kyng Priamus sone of Troye, In lovynge, how his aventures fellen Fro wo to wele, and after out of joie, My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye. Thesiphone, thow help me for t’endite Thise woful vers, that wepen as I write!

The beginning of Troilus so emphatically introduces the mood of the entire poem, anticipating the sorrow of the mind and the body, and the tragedy which befalls the main character. But tears and paper are also a cunning reminder to the reader of Thesiphone, the fury of memory, whom the author is calling to help to compose this unhappy verse. Paper has a space in memory; it enables posterity to remember stories which are written down. The interlocking narrative that Chaucer initiated by translating Boccaccio’s ‘E voi, amanti, priego ch’ascoltiate / ciò che dira ’l mio verso lagrimoso’ (‘And you lovers, I pray you to listen to what my tearful verse will say’) is particularly suggestive. Chaucer translates the singular Italian ‘verso’ into ‘Thise . . . vers’, which could be interpreted as plural, countable separate things, like the many tears from a weeping eye, as though he is referring to the lines on the blotted paper pages, and perhaps extending the letter-writing technique onto the writing of the whole poem. The trope of the tearful verse is not an unusual feature in Boccaccio’s work, and it converges naturally with its antecedent examples in classical literature, precursors that Chaucer echoes. Tears are the very visible and tangible sign of suffering in rituals of confessions and devotions. They also flow from Ovid’s Heroides. Tears as anthropomorphic objects with a voice, a message to bridge distance and express the lovers’ suffering, must    

‘Troilus and Criseyde’, Book , ll. –, in Riverside. Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio: Filostrato, Teseida delle nozze di Emilia, Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine, ed. by Vittore Branca,  vols (Milan: Mondadori, ), vol. , p. . Ibid., p. . Lynn A. Blanchfield, ‘Considerations of the Weeping and Sincerity in the Middle Ages’, in Crying in the Middle Ages: Tears of History, ed. by Elina Gertsman (London: Routledge, ), p. .

Porosity and Tensility



have been familiar to Chaucer and his audience. The opening lines of Ovid’s letter of Briseide to Achilles are striking: Quam legis, a rapta Briseide littera venit, vix bene barbarica Graeca notata manu. quascumque adspicies, lacrimae fecere lituras; sed tamen et lacrimae pondera vocis habent. The letter that you read comes from captured Briseis, the Greek scarcely written well by a barbarian hand. Whatever blots you see, her tears have made, but tears too have nonetheless the weight of voice.

Chaucer repurposed the Ovidian idea because he fully understood how tears would voice sadness, sorrow and distress. Tears have the power of Briseis’ voice (‘pondera vocis habent’). However, tears are not sufficient evidence of suffering unless such proof is communicated in a noticeable form, that is with words smudged with tears through an absorbent writing surface. Ovid and Chaucer seem to share the knowledge that certain materials afford more than others the effect that they wish to express. Perhaps Chaucer imagined that Ovid and his heroines wrote on a surface similar to the one he and his characters might have been using. While it is unlikely that Chaucer knew about papyrus, he might have imagined a similar material to paper. Ovid’s idea of lovers blotting their letters for effect would only make sense to Chaucer if he imagined the heroines of the Heroides writing on something as porous as the paper whose properties he himself knew. Chaucer, however, cunningly reverses the role in this letter-writing exercise; Troilus becomes the lover with a message to convey and Criseyde to receive. The male and female roles have reverted to accommodate the medieval rules of love. Rules notwithstanding, the qualities of the tools which enabled the exchange remain the same. Clarke explains how this ‘complex physicality’ is narratologically essential in the development of Troilus, because Pandarus implies that Criseyde can not only read, but she can also ‘recognize the rhetoric being deployed in the text of the epistle [and] she is also able to recognize graphic competence and tearful blots’. These letters, however, do not only talk about the literacy of the main characters, a literacy which those women who wrote the letters in Ovid   

Ovid, Heroides and Amores, ed. by Jeffrey Henderson, nd edn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), ll. –. I should like to thank Professor Barry Windeatt for discussing these lines with me. Kenneth Patrick Clarke, Chaucer and Italian Textuality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), p. .

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Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

embodied, they also talk about how Chaucer and his audience understood the materiality of such written communication. The complex relationship between material and text works at several levels. First, Criseyde is described in the shape of a letter: ‘Among thise othere folk was Criseyda, / In widewes habit blak; but natheles, / Right as oure firste lettre is now an A, / In beaute first so stood she, makeles’. Then the implicit message that the letters carry is based on the intrinsic qualities of the material upon which the letters are written. Clarke postulates that it is parchment, but Chaucer declares it is paper: Your lettres ful, the papir al ypleynted, Conceyved hath myn hertes pietee. I have ek seyn with teris al depeynted Your lettre, and how that ye requeren me To come ayeyn, which yet ne may nat be.

Chaucer carries the metaphor of plenitude across his narrative. The phrase ‘Your lettres ful, the papir al ypleynted’ refers clearly both to the writing and also to the tears that Criseyde read in the letter. Windeatt glosses ‘ypleynted’ as ‘filled with complaint’ or laments. These complaints and laments are signs of contrition which go beyond the words themselves. The letter is full of words but also of water ‘tears’; ‘letter’ can indeed refer to both ‘the letters of a word’ or the letter as the mean of communication. It is this all-encompassing ambiguity, and the complexity of the layers of the message through sign and words that moved Criseyde’s heart to concede to Troilus’ visitations. The most effective rhetoric, as Pandarus pointed out earlier, is the rhetoric of emotions. Rust’s recent reading of the use of paper in Troilus’ letters has proposed that Chaucer associated paper with ‘libidinous acts’, thus Chaucer decided to use paper in the written interaction between the lovers because paper was a mistrusted material of ‘ambiguity and heterogeneous composition’. However, Chaucer’s obsession with Troilus’ letters on paper speaks to  

  

Jennifer Summit, Lost Property: The Woman Writer and English Literary History, – (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ). ‘Troilus and Criseyde’, Book , ll. –, in Riverside. Windeatt further notes this could be a sign of respect for Queen Anne (Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde, p. , note to ll. –). However, the interpretation of these lines remains unsatisfactory: what shape of letter did Chaucer have in mind when writing these lines? The graph of the letter A in the Latin alphabet does not synchronize with the description of Criseyde as erect. Might Chaucer have found inspiration in the shape of the Islamic alphabet, and in its first letter ‘Alif’, graphically designed with a single descending stroke? Clarke, Chaucer and Italian Textuality, p. . ‘Troilus and Criseyde’, Book , ll. –, in Riverside.  Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde, p. , n. to l. . Rust, ‘Love Stories’, p. .

Porosity and Tensility



wider letter-writing practices in fourteenth-century England. Chaucer’s literary invention plays with both fiction and reality in imagining and reelaborating his sources. There is very little doubt that these letters by the end of the fourteenth century could have been written on paper. The history of the technology of paper (traced in the preceding chapters) shows that letters written on paper contributed immensely to the diffusion of this material in the West, and that paper also enabled the intensification of diplomatic, business and personal communication among European nobility and merchants. The use of paper in private communication in England can be traced to the fourteenth century through documentary evidence in the royal household. On  March , Richard de Beaulieu was granted a bailiwick in Cumbria in the forest of Inglewood ‘de secreto sigillo in papiro’ (‘By letter of secret seal in paper’). The secret seal, Tout explains, does not have a straightforward adoption in the history of English administration. Secret is to be understood as personal rather than clandestine. It was often used interchangeably with the privy seal and it belongs to a smaller category of seals under which the king granted patents, grants and such like. It was used in foreign diplomatic exchanges, but not exclusively. Edward III reinstated its use in private communications from his chamber. By the second part of Edward III’s reign, paper was introduced to this practice. Tout posits that the use of paper in other European diplomatic exchanges under the secret seal might have influenced the taking up of this practice by Edward III. Paper became part of a wider network of diplomatic exchanges, which were interlocked with the development of the type of document itself – the move from simple bills to diplomatic letters. In these changing practices, letters written on paper seem to belong to an intimate space in the royal chamber as well as the counting house of the merchant. The Black Prince is particularly fond of letters written on paper when abroad in Gascony, and he uses paper frequently for communications under his secret seal both abroad and in England when residing at Ely Palace in Holborn. Richard II often sent letters on paper, especially when away from London. Paper was very much part of the social fibre of 

  

TNA C /, membrane . See also H. C. Maxwell Lyte, Calendar of the Patent Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, vol. , Edward III: – (London: HMSO, ), p. . Tout explains that secret seal documents in the later part of Edward III’s reign began to be written on paper and, ‘later on paper almost replaced parchment for signet letters’. Tout, Administrative History, p. .  Tout, Administrative History, pp. – Ibid., p. . Tout explains that paper was widely used by the Aragonese Chancery for letters under the secret seal from the thirteenth century. Ibid., pp. –.   Ibid., p.  Ibid., p.  n. . Da Rold, ‘Materials’, p. .

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Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

fourteenth-century connectivity in England, before its diffusion in fifteenth-century epistolary practices. The Paston letters are often hailed as English examples of such personal and business interchanges, but Richardson has shown that other letters may have existed, although not so many have yet been found in English. Moreover, amongst the documents and tallies relating to the affairs of Elizabeth, lady Zouch, several letters are written on paper in English and French, dating from the end of the fourteenth to the beginning of the fifteenth centuries. Writing letters on paper is not just a sign of deeply personal or amatory practices. Chaucer’s epistolary writing in Troilus is rooted in communication practices widely recognized in the late medieval period, and the use of paper for this type of writing is widely accepted in royal and aristocratic households, and as such it would befit the rank of a Trojan prince. Chaucer’s imagining of letters written on paper, though, tells a story of a deep knowledge of the properties of the material on which letters were written and, consequently, of how those characteristics may enhance what needed to be trusted to paper. Paper in Chaucer is not seen as a fragile or mistrusted material but a porous canvas for literary effect. Elsewhere in the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer entices us to interrogate what material he may have in mind when he tells stories of betrayal and violence, and I would like to turn to these final two episodes to suggest the greater interpretative possibilities that come from questioning references to materials more precisely. ‘The Merchant’s Tale’ is a story about an old husband, January, a young wife, May, and a young lover, Damian. It tells of marriage in old age, the pestilence of having servants who desire a lord’s wife, and the expectation that the young wife will betray her old husband with the young servant. In that story of adultery and betrayal, there are two key episodes where Damian communicates his passion to May, thus enabling the story to move to the expected conclusion. Chaucer, returning to the trope of the distraught lover, confines the wailing Damian to his bedchamber. May and her entourage visit him on behalf of January to wish him well:

 

Richardson, Middle-Class Writing, p.  and passim. TNA E // contains  letters in Latin, English and French that were written on paper and parchment between  June  and  March : nn. , , , ,  and  on paper, all of which are in English; n.  in French. The English letters have been transcribed and published in Edith Rickert, ‘Some English Personal Letters of ’, Review of English Studies,  (), –.

Porosity and Tensility



This Damyan, whan that his tyme he say, In secree wise his purs and eek his bille, In which that he ywriten hadde his wille, Hath put into hire hand, withouten moore, Save that he siketh wonder depe and soore, And softely to hire right thus seyde he: ‘Mercy! And that ye nat discovere me, For I am deed if that this thyng be kyd.’ This purs hath she inwith hir bosom hyd And wente hire wey; ye gete namoore of me.

Damian upon May’s visit seizes the opportunity and with a quick gesture passes her a ‘bille’, a personal message in which he trusts his plans to her with the request of not giving him away. Damian’s decision to communicate his will through a note is premeditated, but it also feels like an everyday gesture, a natural way of conducting business as well as passing on a private letter. In Middle English, ‘bille’ can also be found in descriptions of written agreements or contracts, a legal term found in wills and ordinances. There seems to be a distinction here between the type of written communication between Damian and May and the love letters from Troilus to Criseyde. Beyond the necessity of the rhyme scheme, Chaucer does not use ‘bille’ and ‘letter’ in the same way. A ‘bille’ is the word that Chaucer adopts to discuss business transactions elsewhere in the Canterbury Tales. In ‘The Merchant’s Tale’, Chaucer adopts this terminology to set up the final intimate moment between two characters in a bawdy tale. A ‘bille’ is void of any emotional connotations. Chaucer with this choice of term tells us that this is not a love letter, but a means to an end. Could also this ‘bille’ be written on paper? Several documents of this type circulated in England and were often written on paper, and it is not unlikely that Chaucer was imagining that also the bill in this story was made out of paper. Chaucer does not explicitly discuss the material of the missive, but, as he did in Troilus, seems to be aware of some of the properties of the material he has chosen to fictionalize. It is a material easily breakable, as evinced by the way in which May reads and disposes of the corroborating evidence.   



Chaucer, ‘The Merchant’s Tale’, ll. –, in Riverside. See for an overview of usage, MED, ‘bille’ (n., . a), and compare to the usage in ‘bille’ (n., . a). Chaucer uses ‘bille’ elsewhere in the Canterbury Tales to indicate formal written petitions, summons or written contracts—for example, in the ‘Physician’s Tale’ and the ‘Friar’s Tale’. See ‘Chaucer’s Concordances’, www.columbia.edu/~hfl/cconcord.html (accessed  December ). Woolgar, Household Accounts, pp. , , .

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Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

May returns to the chamber she shares with January and excuses herself to go to ‘Ther as ye woot that every wight moot need’, and after she has read the ‘bille’, she shreds it into smithereens and chucks it down the privy: And whan she of this bille hath taken heede, She rente it al to cloutes atte laste, And in the pryvee softely it caste.

The ease by which May rips (‘rente’) the letter apart completely (‘al’) implies a material easily breakable. It is reminiscent of another famous episode, in Piers Plowman, in which Piers breaks into two pieces a pardon: ‘for pure tene pulled it atweyne’. For this episode, it has been postulated that Langland imagined the pardon to be written on parchment. Indeed, it does not seem impossible to break a piece of parchment into pieces, especially if the sheet contains imperfections, but the language that Langland uses to describe this action is very different from the language that Chaucer adopts: Langland explicitly describes the scene as a powerful tearing of the pardon in half, into only two pieces (‘atweyne’), or apart (‘asunder’) in some manuscripts. Chaucer imagines May tearing the entire note (‘al’) into many, small pieces. The verb ‘renten’ in Middle English texts is used with the sense of tearing body parts in both fictionalized and legal literature, but also to describe the tearing of textile or clothing. Compounded with this interpretation, Chaucer’s collocation of ‘rente’ with ‘cloutes’, meaning small pieces but also ‘cloths’, emphasizes the disintegration of the ‘bille’. The combination of ‘cloths’ with ‘rente’ evokes the tearing and pulping of fibres from which paper was fabricated. Chaucer is clearly exploiting the affordances of paper to advance his story,   

  

 Chaucer, ‘The Merchant’s Tale’, l. , in Riverside. Ibid., ll. –. William Langland, The Vision of Piers Plowman: A Critical Edition of the B-Text Based on Trinity College Cambridge Ms. B.., ed. by A. V. C. Schmidt (London: Everyman, ), VII, l. . These lines have been discussed extensively by scholars of Langland. For the suggestion that Langland imagined the pardon written on parchment, see Robert Worth Frank, ‘The Pardon Scene in Piers Plowman’, Speculum,  (), –. For further interpretations about the act of tearing the Pardon, and for a pre- bibliography, see Nicolette Zeeman, Piers Plowman and the Medieval Discourse of Desire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. – and p.  n. . On the revision of the C version in which Langland removes the line, see Ralph Hanna, ‘The “Absent” Pardon Tearing of Piers Plowman C’, Review of English Studies,  (), –. Emily Steiner, Documentary Culture and the Making of Medieval English Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. . MED, ‘renten’ (v. ) and MED, ‘renten’ (v. ., . c). See MED, ‘clout’ (n. ). This usage is recorded on several occasions—in medieval romances and by Chaucer, for instance, in the ‘Pardoner’s Tale’, l.  (Riverside)—with the clear meaning of ‘rags’. Chaucer and the Gawain poet, in Cleanness, are the only late fourteenth-century authors who use this expression to refer to ‘pieces’; see MED, ‘clout’ (n. , ).

Porosity and Tensility



creating a play with words which is based on one of the properties of paper, its tensility. Ironically, the liability of paper to tear more easily than parchment is turned into a plot device; May wants to destroy a document and to remove all the evidence of a clandestine, pre-arranged encounter. Like Dante earlier, Chaucer plays on the destructibility of paper. Chaucer exploits the property of material which can tear for narrative effect elsewhere in his works. When Melibee sees the devastation in his house and the suffering of his wife and daughter after the brutal attack of his enemies, he ‘lyk a mad man rentynge his clothes, gan to wepe and crie’, and intriguingly a similar sentiment is expressed in the ‘Wife of Bath’s Prologue’ when the Wife tells us that she ripped a page out of her husband’s book of wicked wives, ‘rente out of his book a leef’. The Wife of Bath, Alyson, does not elaborate on the materiality of the book she tears, nor does Chaucer. In the detailed description of the scene, she tells us that ‘Al sodeynly thre leves have I plyght / Out of his book, right as he radde’. The use of ‘plicchen’, to snatch or to pluck, does not offer any more clues as to the material of the book; however, it shows a moment of rage and rebellion which happens quickly and almost instinctively. The significance of this episode has been interpreted both as the Wife’s rejection of the imposition of a patriarchy or as her mutation into an exemplum taken from the book of those wicked wives that she seeks to destroy. In either way, ripping three pages from a book may more simply signify that Alison had had enough, and was externalizing this frustration against the book, which then in turn will be used to punish her and make her deaf. It seems, however, notable that the possibility of ripping pages from a book is contingent on its materiality. The book must have been written on a material which can be ripped with some ease to enable the immediacy of the action that Chaucer describes. The recurrence of the term ‘rente’ elsewhere in Chaucer’s writing, and the comments by other medieval authors, such as Iolo Goch, that paper books of saints’ lives circulated in the fourteenth century, may indeed

    



Chaucer, ‘The Tale of Melibee’, l. , in Riverside.  Chaucer, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Prologue’, ll. , , in Riverside. Ibid., ll. –. MED, ‘Plicchen’ (v. ). Paula Neuss, ‘Images of Writing and the Book in Chaucer’s Poetry’, Review of English Studies,  (), pp. –. On the literary trope of hitting opponents on their ears, which is often found in romances, but substituting the fist with a book, see G. V. Smithers, ‘A Note on Havelok the Dane, l. ’, Review of English Studies,  (), –. Chaucer, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Prologue’, ll. –, in Riverside.



Paper in the Medieval Literary Imagination

suggest that that page was written on paper. What is significant, however, is that Chaucer associates the verb ‘rente’ with shredding letters, rending clothing and ripping pages. The linguistic thread in ‘The Merchant’s Tale’, ‘The Tale of Melibee’ and the ‘Wife of Bath’s Prologue’ is evocative of a material which can be torn into pieces. Melibee explicitly tears his clothes apart and May rips the letter into ‘cloutes’. The word ‘cloutes’, as I noted above, is used by Chaucer figuratively as pieces, but pieces derived from shredding of clothing. Chaucer is vague, but my reading of ‘rente’ would suggest that that this is a book made of paper. In Troilus and Criseyde, paper’s affordance of absorbance is used to enhance pathos. In ‘The Merchant’s Tale’, paper’s tensility affords a humorous vignette; and in ‘The Wife of Bath’s Prologue’, it represents marital liberation and contestation. Chaucer’s phrasing is suggestive of a material made of cloth – almost a play on words in which Chaucer shares his knowledge of how paper was made. It is this technological knowledge that presents Chaucer with additional inspiration for key moments in the narration of his stories. In his poetic diction, Chaucer further interprets what modern scholars take as problematic properties of paper – its absorbance of water and its tendency to tear – and makes them into intriguing affordances for narrative.

Literary Affordances The technology of paper and its affordances, like other new technologies of the period, such as the clock, enabled authors to innovate, inspire and create new poetry, by providing tools for narrative, as those technologies had provided tools for life. Paper in the literary imagination invigorates textual traditions with a diverse and evocative language. Like Froissart’s Li Orloge amoureus, which over several hundred lines runs the conventions of fin’ amour through the newish technology of clockwork, paper becomes a literary conceit to discuss human thoughts and relationships. Literary texts, then, become complex loci, environments, in which authors express views through paper. Literary texts are not simply another place to find evidence about the imagination of paper, they become precious sources to investigate cultural tropes, explore ideas about paper in society at large.   

‘Saint David’, in Iolo Goch, Poems, ed. by Dafydd Johnston (Llandysul: Gomer, ), n. xxix, ll. –. Nancy Mason Bradbury and Carolyn P. Collette, ‘Changing Times: The Mechanical Clock in Late Medieval Literature’, Chaucer Review,  (), –. Jean Froissart, Li Orloge amoureus, ed. by M. A. Scheler (Brussels: Classiques Garnier, ).

Literary Affordances



These poetic encounters may come across as heterogeneous and fragmentary, because the affordance of paper is not singular but is diverse, imagined diversely in diverse texts. That is the reason why it is impossible to define paper as one object or to read a unifying theory of paper in medieval literary texts. Medieval authors use the affordances of this material – its chromaticity, pliability, porosity and tensility – to form complex metaphors and scenes. This literary evidence extends our knowledge of paper’s acceptance: it reflects a wider understanding of the affordances of paper. Medieval authors perceived paper as an object and material to be imagined for its colour, texture and form in ways more diverse than some simple accounts of the value of paper in manuscript studies have suggested.

 

Epilogue The Age of Paper

When you dispute, be sure you gett the Arguments perfectly by heart & take heede of that dull, cold, idle way of reading Syllogismes out of a paper, for so one can never dispute with life and courage.

James Duport, Rules

Why paper? Because of its affordances, not its affordability. Before printing, paper succeeded across a wide range of appropriations because it was perceived as a ductile material with properties extending beyond the initial purpose of its creation: that is, writing. It was light and porous rather than fragile and flimsy, and was thus accepted and accommodated in writing and non-writing practices. Paper quickly became an easy-to-find material which could fulfil both mundane and luxurious needs. Paper was brought to England by the international economic relationships that the country enjoyed with other European centres of power and people at the end of the thirteenth century. The way in which paper could be used after the investments in perfecting the technology started to transform a local craft into a transnational commodity with international demands and an ever-expanding market. The technology of paper was developed as a writing material, and a useful tool to exchange communications, record economic growth, witness mercantile transactions and document local acts. It soon became the chosen means for communicating and transmitting knowledge of all kinds. In the agile medieval market, paper consumption cared little about localities, as trading routes enabled the delivery of paper promptly and regularly. In this economic system, England was not a periphery, but an important client of the paper trade network. England traded wool – and of the best kind, according to Datini – and paper was at the core of this trade. 



James Duport (–), Rules, published in C. D. Preston and P. H. Osward, ‘James Duport’s Rules for his Tutorial Pupils: A Comparison of Two Surviving Manuscripts’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, . (), p. , rule n. . Melis, Aspetti, pp. –.



Epilogue



In the late medieval period, paper was a material to which society needed to adjust. Its stable growth shows English society’s keen interest to engage with paper in more than one way. By a process of slow and continuous interaction, paper started to be used in administrative and epistolary culture, then in book production, and then in medical recipes to dress wounds and whiten teeth. Within the book market and in making books, people used paper creatively in different formats, combining it freely with parchment. We often assume that technologies compete against each other for a place of primacy in society, but it is more accurate to acknowledge that their use in society is complex and constantly evolving, and that primacy is more a modern scholarly concern than a medieval preoccupation. The adoption of paper did not come with a fanfare, but relied on a continuous and slow process which supported the substantial expansion of writing. The commercial, administrative and more general pressure on resourcing writing materials created a business need. People showed a persistent and renewed interest in imagining and creating the written word on paper. For them, paper was not associated, as so often stated, with a cheap and cheerful writing medium inferior to parchment, but with a technological advance, renowned for its desirable properties. These characteristics were then fully exploited in administration, communication, literature and other practical uses. This book rewrites the English reception of paper, and shows that the current understanding of paper in the pre-modern, pre-printing period obscures a complex and important story of paper and culture in medieval England. More importantly, this book explores change, and the processes by which changes occur. Methodologically this investigation has had to match the diverse uses and significances of the web of paper by examining it with an equally diverse range of disciplines and approaches. The historical method has debated the European context in which paper thrived. The story of paper told from the archive has offered some milestones towards the introduction, knowledge and adoption of paper in England. A close consideration of the economic framework in which papermakers operated and the routes of paper’s dissemination enabled me to explain paper as a commercial product, and to argue that talking about one paper is not quite correct. Paper comes with a plurality of qualities, shapes and, thus, uses. Papermakers demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for adapting and diversifying the manufacture of paper, and medieval people were alert to these variations. So should we be. Thinking about the use of paper in writing environments, and a palaeographical analysis of the cursive scripts and the many hands on paper, have shown that paper was not the tool of



Epilogue

the amateur, but of those who needed to write quickly and expertly, if not always in the most proficient manner. Further training in practising handwriting on paper may have also influenced the writing of books on this material, as well as a custom of using paper in one’s profession. The need to write more and more influenced how people wrote, the way in which they traced their strokes and the aspects of their hands. The increasing requirement for people in some professions to write in their own hand is a crucial aspect of the expansion of writing. Writing is what I propose we should focus on when we evaluate the use of paper in book production. The codicological approach, foregrounded by a consideration of contemporary sources, has reconsidered how paper was used practically in book production. It asks scholars to pay more attention to the particularities of paper in medieval books before launching into discussions about status. Finally, the close reading of medieval literary texts considered the place of paper in writers’ imaginations and how authors perceived paper as a technology, used it as a material and understood it as an object. The varying and variable ways in which medieval authors interpreted and presented to their audience the affordances of paper show a deep understanding of how paper could be legible by their audience at more than one level. As time passed, legibility and paper became more closely related. Duport’s Rules is a seventeenth-century set of written directions on what students at Cambridge were expected to study, but this work also offers observations on methods of study and on university regulations with which students must have complied. Paper in seventeenth-century educational treatises is a recommended tool to students to gather and sum up their notes. The widespread use of paper in educational practices on the one hand supported students’ learning, but on the other it hindered their ability to deliver orations. Paper, which was used as a method of recording knowledge, became a method of knowledge delivery. The overreliance on the writing material represents a danger to students’ ability to commit 







Duport wrote a set of rules for his tutorial students when he was a tutor at Trinity College, Cambridge. The text survives in Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.A. and CUL, MS Add. . See Preston and Osward, ‘James Duport’s Rules’, pp. –. For a rich and engaging overview of this context and further references to other contemporary educational treatises, see Milton, Prolusiones, ed. and trans. Sarah Knight (forthcoming) – in particular, the introduction. I am grateful to Professor Knight for showing me an advance prepublication version of her introduction. For example, Richard Holdsworth, Directions for a Student in the Universite, published in Harris Francis Fletcher, The Intellectual Development of John Milton,  vols (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, ), vol. , pp. –. Knight, Milton.

Epilogue



speeches to memory, and deliver them effortlessly. Syllogisms, according to Duport, can be reasoned out on paper, but must be learnt and delivered orally, most probably for the best effect. For Duport’s students, paper is a tool which enables memory; not just a tool to register and record memories, but an intrinsic part of the performance of oration. The practice of relying on the written word, which we have seen filtering through the chapters from record-keeping to Christmas interludes, is crystallized in this quotation, and confirms the significance of paper as a tool for modernity. Searching for the significance of paper before the advent of printing technology, however, is the key to the understanding of this modernity. Paper reached maturity in the medieval period, when its use is noticeable, but not ubiquitously present. Paper, then, is at the cusp of becoming invisible. Modernity in paper culture does not start in the post-medieval period, but previously. If periodization has unfortunately taught us to compartmentalize our knowledge, paper enables us to define its own materiality through use and affordance across periods. Paper does not revolutionize writing practices in the post-medieval period, nor earlier; it simply extended those practices and modes of writing to more environments and to printing. Its availability in the early modern and subsequent periods further increases the reliability of a society in employing paper in writing and recording oral matters. Medieval craftsmen and women built the success story of paper over hundreds of years through a slow process of ongoing technological innovation, rather than a sudden revolution, encountering also counter-revolution in the differing quality of paper across the centuries. The nature of the technological advancement resists quick progression. Tsien observes that ‘the invention of paper making was, of course, a continuing process rather than a single event’. Papermaking requires investments of resources, time and energy. It is often forgotten that this success was not quick to ignite. At a technological level, a number of steps had to be taken to perfect the product. At a social level, people had to have needs which paper could fulfil, and the economic conditions had to be right to enable its diffusion. The need to write, which dramatically increased from the twelfth century, never ceased to put pressure on the resourcing of writing materials. In macro-economic terms, the aggregate changes in business practices, increase in population and the development of transnational  



For a discussion, see ibid. For an overview, see Boris Jardine, ‘State of the Field: Paper Tools’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science,  (), – and C. Hoffman, ‘Processes on Paper: Writing Procedures as NonMaterial Research Devices’, Science in Context,  (), –.  Bruno, The Tradition of Technology, p. . Tsien, Paper and Printing, p. .



Epilogue

commerce brought about a steady economic growth and with it a need to write, despite the dramatic social disruption caused by the Black Death. In micro-economic terms, paper works within this system, a supply-anddemand chain and the procurement of spices and other products. Paper circulates in, and is commercialized by, a network of people with a good knowledge of the market, the product, and the people who may be interested in using it. Thus, the debate about parchment and paper as battling the medieval writing market is untenable; from my investigation it emerges that they were both used, sometimes interchangeably and, at other times, purposely, to release this pressure. More work on the quality of parchment used across fourteenth- and fifteenth-century books and documents is necessary to further nuance this narrative. Through the pages of this book, I have invited readers to think beyond the word ‘paper’ as a general term, and to think through the prism of technology to consider what paper is, and how we talk about it when we find it in book production and in all its other cultural manifestations. I have discussed the great variety of historical evidence of paper in documents as well as book production, I have shown the way in which medieval people encountered paper and discussed how these people understood the character of paper and applied such understanding to books. I have also advocated a better knowledge of technological innovation and economic connections when scholars consider the significance of medieval paper. In my exploration of the intertwined cultural bonds between paper and culture and culture and paper, I have promoted the importance of reflecting on this relationship across a range of sources and contexts, which are grounded in a new analysis of how medieval people perceived and used paper. The affordance of paper is the key lens through which I read the intersected links of the paper web in the medieval period. Sei Shōnagon, in her Pillow Book, in response to the Empress’s ‘wrapped gift of twenty bundles of magnificent paper’ sent back this poem: Most inexpressible my gratitude to one on high whose god-like paper gift has granted me new lease of life— the crane’s renowned longevity

 

A project directed by Matthew Collins will offer new insight on this relationship. See ‘Beast of Craft Project’, https://sites.google.com/palaeome.org/ercbc/home (accessed  December ). Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book, ed. by Meredith McKinney (London: Penguin, ), p. .

Epilogue



Sei had previously complained about the fact that she could not find fine enough paper to write out her work. Paper, the gift of an Empress, a luxurious gift, has given the author new life, because writing grants longevity. Beautiful paper can be common and decorated, in all its forms and colours; it brings life, joy and pleasure to the people who use it, and so it does to the modern readers who wish to delve into its many complexities.



Paper Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library of English Provenance, datable up to s. xvex

Cambridge University Library holds  paper manuscripts of English provenance and datable up to the end of the fifteenth century. These manuscripts contain literary, religious, gnostic, legal and administrative texts and are written in a combination of Latin, English and French. From this list, I have excluded, for example, MS Gg.. and MS Kk.., which are likely to be of Scottish provenance. Composite manuscripts, that is, manuscripts made up by different parts and compiled at different stages, are identified with *. In compiling this corpus I have also consulted: H. R. Luard, J. E. B. Mayor and H. Bradshaw, eds, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge, nd edn,  vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , ); Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels and Michael Benskin, A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, ); DMCL; John H. Baker and J. S. Ringrose, A Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, ); Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards, A New Index of Middle English Verse (London: British Library, ); J. S. Ringrose, Summary Catalogue of 

I assign types of hand in relation to scripts in each manuscript, excluding rubrics. I offer it as a preliminary exercise in an attempt better to understand cursive scripts. For a definition of the key terms, see Ker: ‘I have given it a name, employing the terms “cursiva” and “hybrida” for continental manuscripts (L. , ), following Professor G. I. Lieftinck’s usage in Manuscripts dates, and the terms “anglicana” and “secretary” for English manuscripts’. N. R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries: London,  vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), vol. , pp. xi–xii. See also the fielddefining work of M. B. Parkes in English Cursive Book Hands, – (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ); Hilary Jenkinson in English Court Hand, A.D.  to , Illustrated Chiefly from the Public Records (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ); and Jenkinson, ‘The Teaching and Practice of Handwriting in England’, History, new series,  (), p. . I extend the term ‘hybrid’ to describe mixed cursive features in cursive hands—that is, hands which follow a ‘secretary’ script model, but write, for example, with closed ‘g’ and/or looped closed ‘d’ as well as double compartment ‘a’: for instance, MSS Add. , Add.  and Dd... Hybrid hands are also those which adopt an ‘anglicana’ model, but write a single-compartment ‘a’; for example, MSS Ee.. and Gg.. and several of the legal hands.



Appendix



the Additional Medieval Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library Acquired before  (Woodbridge: Boydell, ); and Margaret Connolly, Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge (Dd–Oo), The Index of Middle English Prose (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, ). I owe special thanks to Richard Beadle, Sian Collins, James Freeman and Suzanne Paul for suggestions and sharing their knowledge of the Library collections with me. I am grateful to Hollie Morgan for further checks.

Shelfmark

Contents

Language

Date

Material Format

Paper shape

Hands

Add. 

Year Books,  Henry VI

French

s. xvex

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid



Add. 

Prose Brut

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Add. 

Exempla, including religious tales and saints’ lives

English and Latin

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana

Add. 

Writings of John Drury of Beccles

Latin and English

s. xvmed

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

Add. 

Ecclesiastical formulary

Latin

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid; Secretary

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery





Add. 

Blank, but ruled in double columns in ink

Add.  D ()

Havelok the Dane

English

s. xivmed

Paper

Quarto

Fragment

Anglicana

Add. 

Sunday sermons

English

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

s. xv



Add. 

Robert Grosseteste’s translation Latin of Testamenta duodecim patriarcharum

s. xiv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana

*Add. 

Preaching miscellany; songbook

English, French and Latin

s. xvin/xvmed Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Add. 

Johannes de Janduno; Aristotelian texts

Latin

s. xv

Mixed

Folio

Royal

Humanist

*Add. 

Meditations

Latin with some English

s. xvmed/xv

Mixed

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid; Anglicana formata

Add. 

Lydgate’s The Siege of Thebes

English

s. xvmed

Mixed

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Add. 

Thetford Priory Accounts

Latin and English

s. xv

ex

*Add. 

s. xiv/xv

Paper

Vertical quarto

Chancery

Anglicana

Add.  ()

Scrivener’s notebook: accounts, English, French and Latin essay on physiognomy, memoranda, wills and contracts Amorous carol English

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

Add. 

Year Book,  Edward III

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana

Mixed

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid; Secretary

Mixed

Vertical Folio Royal; and Quarto Chancery

Anglicana formata

Add.  Add. 

Year Book,  Henry IV Year Book,  Henry IV

French French French

s. xv s. xv

  

Add. 

Year Book,  Henry VI

French

s. xv

Add. 

Year Book,  Henry VI

French

s. xv

Add. 

Precedents of Conveyancing

Latin

s. xv







*Dd..

Verse; Memoriale credencium

English

s. xv

Dd..

Year Book,  Edward III; Memorandum of receipt

English

s. xv

Mixed

Folio

Royal

Hybrid

Dd..

Entries from Court of Common Pleas (fols r– r)

Latin

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Dd..

Caxton’s Histories of Jason

English

s. xvex

Mixed

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

ex

Mixed

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Mixed

Quarto

Royal

Anglicana formata

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Hybrid

Dd..

Sermons and recipes

English and Latin

s. xv

Dd..

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

English

s. xvin

Dd..

On preparing the philosopher’s stone and other alchemical texts

Latin and English

s. xv



(cont.) Shelfmark

Contents

Language

Date 

Material Format

Paper shape

Hands

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid



*Dd..

Latin sermons; verse

Latin with some s. xv English

Dd..

Speculum Christiani

Latin and English

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

Dd..

Religious texts, including Hampole

Latin and English

s. xvex

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

Dd..

William Kyngesmyll, De forma et compositione cartarum

Latin

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Bastard Anglicana

Dd..

Recipes

Latin with some s. xv English

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

*Dd..

Recipes

English and Latin

s. xvmed

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Secretary; Hybrid

*Dd..

Abridgements of the Year Books  and  Henry VI; Memorandum of expenditure

French with some English

s. xv

Paper

Octavo

Chancery

Anglicana

Dd..

The Dicts and Sayings of Philosophers

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Dd..

Sermons

English

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

Dd..

Various military treatises, including a translation of Tractatus de armis

English and Latin

s. xvex

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid



Dd..

Medical recipes and the draft of English a letter

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

Ee..

Inscription, but also legal texts; English, French Littleton’s Tenures; Natura and Latin brevium

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

*Ee..

De urinis; treatises on vines and English trees; alchemica

s. xv

Paper

Octavo and Quarto

Super Royal or Imperial and Chancery

Hybrid

*Ee..

Verse; herbal; medical recipes; culinary recipes

English and Latin

s. xvmed

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

Ee..

Fragments, including Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate and Mirk

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Bastard Anglicana and Secretary

Ee..

Statutes of Richard III, but also English and Latin other monarchs, including Henry VI

s. xvex

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Ee..

Chronicle of English events; Computatio Suscripto de Feodis Militum

English and Latin

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid; Secretary

Ee..

Law terms; prose

English and French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata

*Ee..

Miscellany, including Robert of English Gloucester’s Metrical Chronicle

s. xv

Mixed

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Ee.. part 

Verse

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Ee..

Paraphrase of a statute of Richard III and medical recipe; statutes starting with Magna Carta

English English, French and Latin

s. xv

ex

(cont.) Shelfmark

Contents

Language

Date

Material Format

Paper shape

Hands

Ee..

Aquinas, Treatise on the Old Statute

French

s. xv

Mixed

Octavo

Chancery

Secretary

Ff..

English Chaucer, Hoccleve etc., including Parlement of Foules and The Legend of Good Women

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Secretary; Hybrid

Ff..

Speculum Christiani; Gilte Legende

English

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Ff..

Liber Uricrisarium

English

s. xvex

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary





Ff..

Eglamour of Artois; Apostles’ Creed; sermons

*Ff..

Speculum Vitae and other English meditative and religious texts

s. xv/xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid; Secretary

Ff..

Copy of a certificate of the tenor of a statute

English and French

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Royal

Anglicana

Ff..

Master of Game

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Secretary

Ff..

Fortescue, De laudibus legum Angliæ

Latin

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

Ff..

Selection of poem and texts for English religious instruction

s. xvmed

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

Gg..

Speculum devotorum

s. xv

Paper

Octavo

Royal

Anglicana formata

English

English

s. xv

Gg.. Gg..

Speculum Vitae Liber Uricrisarium

English English

s. xv s. xv

 

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

Paper

Quarto

Royal

Secretary

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary



Gg..

List of lands; several Latin texts, Latin from chronicles to prophecies; Secretis Secretorum

s. xv

Gg..

Year Books of Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid; Secretary

Gg..

Epistolary; Egidius de urinis; medical tract

Latin

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

Gg..

Sermons; recipes

English

s. xvmed

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Hybrid

Gg..

Hoccleve, De regimine principum

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Gg..

Tabula ad Constitutiones Provinciales Anglicanæ

Latin

s. xvmed

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

*Gg..

Candet nundatum pectus

English and Latin

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

*Hh..

Mostly pedagogical works

Latin

s. xivex

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana

*Hh..

Theological tracts

English

s. xv

 

Hh..

Statute; punctuation poem

English and French

s. xv

Hh..

Year Books of Edward III

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio and Quarto

Royal; Chancery

Anglicana formata; Hybrid

Hh..

Readings on Statues; Year Books

French

s. xvmed

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

(cont.) Shelfmark

Contents

Language

Date

Material Format

Paper shape

Hands

Hh..

Year Books of Edward III and Henry VI

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Hh..

Year Books of various reigns

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Hybrid

Hh..

Year Book of  Edward IV

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Hh..

Year Books of various reigns

French

s. xv

 ex



Hh..

Readings on statutes

French

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

*Hh..

Latin texts on the order of priesthood

Latin with some s. xv English

Mixed

Folio and Quarto

Royal; Chancery

Hybrid; Bastard Anglicana

Hh..

Hoccleve, Regiment of Princes

English

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

Hh..

Anthology, including Chaucer, Lydgate etc.

English

s. xv

Mixed

Octavo

Royal

Secretary; Hybrid

Hh..

Various Latin treaties

Latin

s. xv

Hh..

John Page, Siege of Rouen

English

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

s. xv

ex

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary

in

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Hybrid

*Ii..

Miscellany of various tracts and English and sermons Latin

s. xv

Ii..

The Northern Passion, Robert English Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne, The Abbey of the Holy Ghost, Richard Rolle

s. xvmed

Paper

Quarto

Median

Anglicana formata

*Ii..

Chancery Formulary; rules for the suing out of livery

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

English, French and Latin

*Ii..

Trevisa’s translation of Bartholomeus, De Proprietatibus Rerum; Jordanus Nemorarius

English and Latin

s. xvin

Mixed

Folio and Quarto

Royal; Chancery

Textualis; Anglicana; Anglicana formata

Ii..

Readings of Statutes

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio and Quarto

Royal; Chancery

Secretary

*Ii..

Miscellany, including Medical texts

English, French and Latin

s. xvex

Mixed

Octavo

Chancery

Secretary

*Ii..

Medical texts

English

s. xv

Paper

Octavo

Chancery

Hybrid

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata; Secretary





*Kk.. parts –

Lydgate, including Lyfe of our English Lady; Hoccleve’s Regiment of Princes

s. xv

*Kk.. parts , , 

Poems etc. in English and Scottish dialects

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio and Quarto

Royal; Chancery

Secretary

*Kk.. parts –

Religious miscellany

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Kk..

Miscellany, including Eleanor Hull’s translations of vernacular texts; Lydgate’s religious poems

English

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Royal

Anglicana formata; Hybrid; Secretary

Kk..

Statham’s Abridgement of Cases

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Mixed

Octavo and Quarto

Royal; Chancery

Hybrid



Kk..

Devotional treatises

English

s. xv

*Kk..

Alchemica

English and Latin

s. xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary; Hybrid

*Ll..

Political prophecy

English

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Secretary; Hybrid

(cont.) Shelfmark

Contents

Language

Date

Material Format

Paper shape

Hands

Ll..

Statham’s Abridgement of Cases

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Ll..

Brut

English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid

Ll..

Statham, Abridgement of Cases

French

s. xv

 in



Ll..

Langland’s Piers Plowman; other religious texts

Ll..

English Devotional texts and saints’ lives; Lydgate’s The Life of St Margaret inserted by a later medieval hand

s. xv

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Hybrid

*Mm..

Version of a French proclamation from a play

English and Latin

s. xiv/xv

Mixed

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Mm..

Littleton’s Tenures; Reading Year Books

French

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Anglicana formata

Nn..

Cordial and other prose texts, including Mirk’s sermons

English

s. xvex

Paper

Quarto

Chancery

Anglicana formata

EDC/C/

Latin Small paper book concerned with Suffolk liberties, relating to an expected attack on them (formerly /A/)

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Hybrid; Secretary

EDC/F//

Granators’ accounts and bills

s. xv

EDC/F// EDC/F//

Granators’ accounts and bills Granators’ accounts and bills

English and Latin

Latin Latin Latin

s. xv

Mixed

Roll

Fragment

Anglicana formata

s. xv

med

Mixed

Roll

Fragment

Anglicana formata

s. xv

med

Mixed

Roll

Fragment

Anglicana formata

EDC/F// EDC/F//

Granators’ accounts and bills Granators’ accounts and bills

Latin Latin

s. xvmed s. xv

 in

Mixed

Roll

Fragment

Anglicana formata

Mixed

Roll

Fragment

Anglicana formata

Paper

Strip

Fragment

Anglicana formata



EDC/B//

Tithe case between Prior and Convent of Ely Alpha

Latin

s. xv

EDC/B/

Inquisition, at Soham,  Edward III

Latin

s. xivmed

Paper

Strip

Fragment

Anglicana formata

EDR, D///

The expenses of the bishop of Ely, John Fordam, at Ely Palace in Holborn

Latin

s. xiv

Paper

Roll

Chancery

Anglicana Formata

University Archives, Grace Book Alpha

University records

Latin and English

s. xv

Paper

Folio

Chancery

Secretary; Hybrid

Bibliography

PRIMARY SOURCES Alighieri, Dante, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. I. Inferno. Italian Text with Translation and Commentary, ed. by John D. Sinclair (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) The Divine Comedy, ed. and trans. by Robin Kirkpatrick (London: Penguin, ) al-Jawzī, Ibn, The Life of Ibn Ḥanbal, trans. by M. Cooperson (New York: New York University Press, ) ap Gwilym, Dafydd, ‘The Poems of Dafydd Ap Gwilym’, www.dafyddapgwilym .net/eng/win.htm Aristotle, Aristotle’s Physics Books I and II, ed. by W. Charlton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Balducci Pegolotti, Francesco, La pratica della mercatura, ed. by Allan Evans (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, ) Balzac, Honoré de, Le cabinet des antiques: scène de la vie de province (Paris: Gambina, ) Barratt, Alexandra, ed., The Seven Psalms: A Commentary on the Penitential Psalms, EETS,  o.s. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Basing, Patricia, ed., Parish Fraternity Register: Fraternity of the Holy Trinity and SS. Fabian and Sebastian (Parish of St. Botolph without Aldersgate) (London: London Record Society, ) Bateson, Mary, William Henry Stevenson and J. E. Stocks, eds, Records of the Borough of Leicester, vol.  (London: Clay etc., ) Beadle, Richard and Colin F. Richmond, eds, Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, EETS, s.s.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Benbow-Bird, William Henry and Francis Joseph Baigent, eds, The Black Book of Winchester (British Museum, Additional MS ) (Winchester: Warren & Son Limited, ) Benson, Larry D., ed., The Riverside Chaucer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Billingsley, Martin, The Pen’s Excellencie (London: ) Bland, Cynthia R., ed., The Teaching of Grammar in Late Medieval England: An Edition, with Commentary, of Oxford, Lincoln College MS Lat.  (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, ) 

Bibliography



Branca, Vittore, ed., Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio: Filostrato, Teseida delle nozze di Emilia, Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine,  vols (Milan: Mondadori, ) Carlin, Martha and David Crouch, eds, Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, – (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ) Carpenter, Christine, ed., Kingsford’s Stonor Letters and Papers, – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ) Carpenter, John and Henry T. Riley, Munimenta Gildhallæ Londoniensis: Liber Albus, Liber Custumarum, et Liber Horn (Nendeln: Kraus–Thomson Organization Ltd, ) Castellani, Arrigo Ettore and Ignazio Del Punta, eds, Lettere dei Ricciardi di Lucca ai loro compagni in Inghilterra (–) (Rome: Salerno Editrice, ) Cennini, Cennino D’Andrea, Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro Dell’arte: A New English Translation and Commentary with Italian Transcription, ed. and trans. by Lara Broecke (London: Archetype Publications, ) Chaplais, Pierre, ed., Diplomatic Documents Preserved in the Public Record Office (London: HMSO, ) English Royal Documents, King John–Henry VI, – (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ) Chaucer, Geoffrey, Chaucer’s Dream Poetry, ed. by Helen Phillips, and N. R. Havely, Longman Annotated Texts (London: Longman, ) The Legend of Good Women, ed. by Janet Cowen and George Kane (East Lansing: Colleagues Press,) The Romaunt of the Rose, ed. by Charles Dahlberg (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, ) Troilus and Criseyde: A New Edition of Chaucer’s The Book of Troilus, ed. by B. A. Windeatt (London: Longman, ) The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and the Kingis Quair: A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Arch. Selden B.  ed. by Julia Boffey, A. S. G. Edwards, and B. C. Barker-Benfield (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, ) Childs, Wendy R., ed., The Customs Accounts of Hull – (Leeds: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, ) Chrétien de Troyes, Chrétien de Troyes, Le conte du Graal, ou, Le roman de Perceval, ed. by Charles Méla (Paris: Livre de Poche, ) Churchyard, Thomas, A Sparke of Frendship and Warme Goodwill, That Shewes the Effect of True Affection and Unfoldes the Finenesse of This World Whereunto Is Ioined, the Commoditie of Sundrie Sciences, the Benefit That Paper Bringeth () (London: Wynkyn de Worde Society, repr. ) Clarke, Mark, ed., The Craft of Lymmyng and the Maner of Steynyng: Middle English Recipes for Painters, Stainers, Scribes, and Illuminators, EETS o.s.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Cobb, H. S., ed., The Overseas Trade of London Exchequer Customs Accounts – (London: London Record Society, ) Cotrugli, Benedetto, Libro e l’arte de la mercatura, ed. by Vera Ribaudo (Venice: Edizioni Ca’Foscari, )

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Bibliography

Crow, Martin Michael, Clair Colby Olson and John Matthews Manly, eds, Chaucer Life-Records (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ) Davis, Norman, ed., Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, EETS,  vols, s.s. ,  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ) Da Rold, Orietta, ed., A Digital Facsimile of Cambridge University Library MS Dd.. of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, ), www.chaucermss.org/?manuscript=Dd&tale=GP&version=single& page=home de Lorris, Guillaume and Jean de Meun, Le Roman de la Rose par Guillaume de Lorris et Jean de Meun, ed. by Ernest Langlois,  vols (Paris: Société des anciens textes français, ) Le Roman de la Rose, ed. by Francisque Michel,  vols (Paris: Firmin Didot, ) della Lana, Jacopo, ‘Inferno , ll. –’, in The Dartmouth Dante Project, https://dante.dartmouth.edu Downing, J. Y., ed., A Critical Edition of Cambridge University MS Ff.. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, ) Fitz Nigel, Richard, Dialogus de Scaccario, The Course of the Exchequer, trans. by C. Johnson, ed. by F. E. L. Carter and D. E. Greenway, nd edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ) Friedman, Yvonne, ed., Petri Venerabilis, Adversus Iudeorum inveteratam duritiem (Turnhout: Brepols, ) Froissart, Jean, Li Orloge amoureus, ed. by M. A. Scheler (Brussels: Classiques Garnier, ) Galen, Claudius, Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia, ed. by Karl Gottlob Ku¨hn,  vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ) Goch, Iolo, Poems, ed. by Dafydd Johnston (Llandysul: Gomer, ) Gordan, Phyllis Walter Goodhart, ed. and trans., Two Renaissance Book Hunters: The Letters of Poggius Bracciolini to Nicolaus De Niccolis (New York: Columbia University Press, ) Gullick, M., ed., Extracts from the Precentor’s Accounts of Ely Cathedral Priory (Hitchin: Red Gull Press, ) Gurney Benham, W., ed., The Red Paper Book of Colchester (Colchester: Essex County Standard, ) Hector, L. C., and B. Harvey, eds, The Westminster Chronicle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ) Hockey, Stanley Frederick, ed., The Account-Book of Beaulieu Abbey (London: Royal Historical Society, ) Isaacson, R. F., and H. Ingleby, eds, The Red Register of King’s Lynn (King’s Lynn: Thew, ) Jenks, Stuart, ed., The London Customs Accounts:  Henry VI (/) (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, ) The London Customs Accounts, Part I: The Plantagenet Dynasty (/–), Number :  Richard II (/)– Richard II (/) (Lu¨beck: Hanseatic History Association, )

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Index of Manuscripts

Cambridge, Cambridge University Library Add. ,  Add. ,  Add. , , ,  Add. ,  Add. , ,  Add. , ,  Add.  D (), , ,  Add. , ,  Add. , , ,  Add. , , , , , , ,  Add. , , ,  Add. ,  Add. ,  Add. , , ,  Add. ,  Add.  (),  Add. ,  Add. ,  Add. , ,  Add. , ,  Add. ,  Dd.., , , ,  Dd.., , ,  Dd.., , ,  Dd.., , , ,  Dd.., xiii, , , , , ,  Dd.., , ,  Dd.., , ,  Dd..,  Dd.., ,  Dd..,  Dd..,  Dd..,  Dd.., ,  Dd.., ,  Dd..,  Dd..,  EDC/F//,  EDC/F//,  EDC/F//, 



EDC/F//,  EDC/F//,  Ee..,  Ee..,  Ee.., ,  Ee.., ,  Ee..,  Ee..,  Ee.., , , ,  Ee.. part ,  Ee..,  Ee.., ,  Ely Diocesan Records, D///,  Ff..,  Ff..,  Ff.., ,  Ff..,  Ff..,  Ff.., ,  Gg.., ,  Gg.., , , ,  Gg..,  Gg..,  Gg.., ,  Gg..,  Gg..,  Gg.,  Hh..,  Hh.., , , ,  Hh.., ,  Hh.., , , ,  Hh..,  Hh.., ,  Hh..,  Hh.., ,  Hh.., ,  Hh.., , , ,  Hh.., , , ,  Hh.., , ,  Hh..,  Ii.., 

Index of Manuscripts Ii.., ,  Ii..,  Ii.., , , , , , ,  Ii..,  Ii.., ,  Ii..,  Kk.. parts -,  Kk.., ,  Kk.., , , , ,  Kk..,  Kk.., , , , ,  Kk.., , ,  Ll..,  Ll..,  Ll..,  Ll..,  Ll..,  Mm.., , ,  Mm..,  Nn..,  University Archives, Grace Book Alpha,  Cambridge, Corpus Christi College A, ,  Cambridge, Magdalene College Pepys , ,  Cambridge, St John’s College F. ,  Cambridge, Trinity College O..,  O..,  O.A.,  O..,  R..,  R.., ,  Chantilly, Musée Condé, ,  Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana ,  Geneva (Coligny), Bibliotheca Bodmeriana Bodmer ,  Glasgow, University Library Hunter ,  Hunter ,  Glasgow, University of Glasgow Hunterian Museum , ,  Kew, The National Archives C /, membrane ,  C /,  DL //,  E //,  E //, ,  E //,  E //, , 

E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //, ,  E //, –,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //, ,  E //,  E //, , ,  E //, ,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //,  E //, ,  E //, – E //, – E //, – E //, – E //,  E / m. ,  KB //,  SC //, ,  SC //, ,  SC //,  SC //a, ,  SC //, ,  SC //, ,  SC /,  SC /,  SC /,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //, 





Index of Manuscripts

Kew, The National Archives (cont.) SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //,  SC //, ,  King’s Lynn, Borough Archives KL/C /,  London, British Library Add. ,  Add. , ,  Add. ,  Add. ,  Add. , ,  Add. ,  Arundel ,  Arundel ,  Cotton Julius F. vii, ,  Egerton ,  Harley ,  Harley ,  Harley ,  Harley ,  Harley ,  Harley ,  Harley ,  Royal .C.i,  Royal .d.xv,  Sloane , ,  Sloane ,  Sloane ,  London, College of Arms Arundel ,  London, Guildhall ,  London, Lambeth Palace ,  London, Royal College of Physicians , 

Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. ,  Ashmole , –,  Ashmole ,  Bodl. ,  Bodl. ,  Bodl. , ,  Bodl. , part ,  Douce d.,  e Mus. ,  Eng. poet. c.  (part ),  Laud Misc. , fol. v,  Laud misc. ,  Rawl. C. , ,  Rawl. C. ,  Oxford, Trinity College ,  D , ,  Oxford, Christ Church ,  Oxford, Lincoln College Lat. , ,  Lat. ,  Lat. , fragments  and ,  Oxford, Merton College Cuxham MM, ,  Cuxham MM, , mem.,  MM, ,  Oxford, University College , 

Manchester, Chethams Library Mun. A..,  Manchester, John Rylands Library English MS , 

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France angl. ,  fr. ,  fr. , , –,  fr. ,  lat. ,  lat. ,  Prato Archivio di Stato Datini, busta , inserto , codice ,  Datini, busta , inserto , codice ,  Datini, busta , inserto , codice ,  Datini, busta , inserto , codice ,  Datini, busta , Inserto , codice ,  Datini, busta , codice ,  Princeton University, Firestone Library , 

Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale XIII.B., 

Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Vat.lat., 

Index of Manuscripts San Marino, Huntington Library HM ,  HM , ,  HM , ,  Shrewsbury School , 

Wisbech, Wisbech and Fenland Museum Guild of the Holy Trinity, 

Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria L.iii., 

Yale, Beinecke Library Beinecke , 



University of Texas, Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center , 

General Index

‘The ABC of Aristotle’,  Abbot of St. Emilion,  Ackerman, Robert W.,  actor–network theory, – Adam, Thomas,  Adelaide, Countess, wife of Roger I of Sicily,  aesthetics,  affordance, –, , , , , , –, , , , –, –, , , –, – agency,  Alfonso, infante of Aragon,  Alphonse de Burs,  Amalfi, , – Ancona,  Anglesius, Gualterius,  Anglicus, Bartholomaeus De proprietatibus rerum, trans. John Trevisa, , ,  Anselm Dialogues,  ap Gwilym, Dafydd ‘Y Bardd a’r Brawd Llwyd’, – ap Maredudd, Gruffudd ‘Marwnad Gwenhwyfar o Bentraeth’, – apprentices, , , –, ,  Arab world, –, ,  Aragon,  Archbishop of Bordeaux,  Aristotle De anima, trans. Georgius Trapezuntius,  Posterior Analytics,  art materials,  Avignon, , , , ,  Bacon, Roger Tractatus de quinta essentia with comments of magister Johanni de Rupecissa,  Baghdad,  Bardi, 

Barron, W. R. J.,  Bayonne,  Bearman, Frederick,  Beaulieu Abbey,  Beccadelli, Antonio (il Panormita),  Belen, Leonardo,  Belgium,  Bembo, Antonio,  Berengaria, Queen of Castile, ,  Bernstein Project, xiv Berwick,  The Bible,  Bidwell, John,  Binski, Paul,  Bishop of Aire-sur-l’Adour and Ste. Quitterie,  Black Prince, ,  Blundle, Thomas,  Boccaccio, Giovanni,  Filostrato,  Bokenham, Osbern,  Bolingbroke, Henry, ,  Bologna, ,  Museo Civico Medievale,  Bologna Statutes,  book production, , , , , –, –, –, , , , , , , –, , , –, , –, –, , –,  book trade, , , –,  books of customs,  bookshop,  Bordeaux,  Borromei, ,  Filippo,  Boston, – Bower, Peter,  Bozzolo, Carla, – Bracciolini, Poggio, , –, ,  Bradshaw, Henry Bradshaw Carols,  Breeze, Andrew, 



General Index Bridgwater,  Briquet, C. M., , ,  Les filigranes,  Bristol, , –, ,  Newgate School, ,  Bromwich, R.,  Broun, William,  Brown, Peter,  Bruges, –, , , , ,  Bruni De militia,  Brut,  Burdon, William,  Burgundy,  Burke, Peter,  Burrow, J. A.,  Bury St Edmunds, , – Busshebery, Richard,  Caistor,  Calais, – Cambridge Cambridge University,  loan chests,  registers of King’s Hall,  Camerino, ,  Candet nundatum pectus,  candles, ,  Capella, Martianus Nuptials of Philology and Mercury,  Caperon, Nicholaum,  carrier pigeons,  Castile, – Catalogues de manuscrits datés, ,  Catan (Cattaneo),  Agnolo,  Edoardo,  Gregory, ,  Cave, Terence,  Caxton, William, – Histories of Jason,  The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, See Lefèvre, Raoul Cennini, Cennino, ,  Il Libro dell’Arte,  chainlines, , ,  chanceries, , –, –, ,  Chaplais, P.,  chapmen, ,  charte tonde, See paper: trimmed Chaucer, Geoffrey, , , , , , , , –, , –, – Canterbury Tales, , , , , ,  ‘The Merchant’s Tale’, – ‘The Parson’s Tale’,  ‘The Wife of Bath’s Prologue’, 



The Legend of Good Women, –, , –,  ‘The Tale of Melibee’,  Troilus and Criseyde, , , , , –,  Chaumberlyn, Roger,  Chesse, Lawrence,  China, , ,  Christianson, C. Paul, – chromaticity, See paper: colour The Chronicle of the Monk of Westminster,  Cicero Brutus,  Cipriani, Lisi,  Clanchy, M. T., , , ,  Clare, Thomas,  Clark, J. W.,  Clarke, Kenneth Patrick,  cloth, ,  Cluny,  codicology, xiv, , –, , –, ,  Cologne,  Common Pleas,  cooking, See food preparation Corner, Andrea,  correcting text, , – Corsee, Bartholome,  cost, , –, –, ,  transaction costs,  Cotrugni Raguso, Benedetto,  cotton, ,  Couper, Richard,  Coventry,  Croxby, Thomas,  Cumbria,  curiali, , ,  cursivity, See scripts: cursive Cyprus,  d’Orléans, Jean,  da Marliano, Giovanni,  Dain, A. Les Manuscrits,  Damascus, ,  Dante, Alighieri Divine Comedy, – dating, xiv, , , – Datini, , –, , –, ,  Franceco (di Marco), ,  David, Alfred,  Davies, Morgan Thomas,  Davy, John,  Dax,  de Ardir, John,  de Béarn, Gaston, 



General Index

Beaulieu, Richard,  Belle-Assise, Pierre, – Bello Campo, Thomas,  Bernham, Robert,  Bosenham, Cecily,  Branketre, John,  Burchgrave, Hellin,  Chalon, John,  Collors, Denys,  Force, Michaele,  Goldyngham, John,  Hatton, Ranulph,  Havering, Richard,  Janduo, Johannes Questiones de anima,  de Loris, Guillalme,  de Louayne, Nicholas,  de Meo del Vanno, Piero,  de Meun, Jean,  de Neville, Hugh,  De Riquer, Martin,  De Robertis, Teresa,  de Rocheles, Richard,  de Southflete, William,  de Tany, Luke,  de Troyes, Chrétien Perceval, –,  de Valence, William, lord of Pembroke,  de Vinsauf, Geoffrey Poetria nova,  de Woume, John,  del maestro Ambrogio, Andrea,  della Lana, Iacopo,  della Seta, Lombardo,  Derrida, Jacques,  di Ambrogio, Lodovico, , –,  register, –, ,  di Guido, Lodovico Adimari,  di Maestro Paolo, Paoluccio, – Di Stefano, Emanuela,  di Stefano, Tommaso (Giottino),  ‘Dialogue between a Nightingale and a Clerk’,  diplomatic correspondence, –, –, , – disputatio,  Dompson, Alani,  Doria, Francesco,  Dorset,  drafting, –,  drugs, ,  Drury, John grammatical treatises,  du Got, Arnold, Bishop of Agen,  du Got, Beraud, Archdeacon of Montaut,  de de de de de de de de de de de de de de

Duc de Berry Très Riches Heures,  ductus, , –, ,  Duke of York,  Dunster,  Duport, James,  Rules, ,  Durham, Robert,  Duxworth, John, – Earl of Salisbury,  Earl of Warwick,  Ebert, Friedrich Zur Handschriftenkunde, – economics of paper, , –, – Ede, Robert,  Ede, Thomas,  education, , ,  Edward I, King of England, , , –, ,  Edward II, King of England, ,  Edward III, King of England, , , ,  Edward IV, King of England,  Effard, Peter,  Eisenstein, Elizabeth L.,  Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester,  Elizabeth, Lady Zouch,  Eltham,  Ely,  Ely Palace,  Essex,  Eston, William,  Exchequer, –, –, , , , , ,  Exeter,  Fabriano, , , , –, ,  Fastolf, John, –, – Faukes, Jacke,  Fauveau, Jehan,  Fécamp,  felt, ,  Ferrandus, Fulgentius Mythologiae,  Fez,  Fitznigel, Richard Dialogus de Scaccario,  Flanders, ,  Florence, ,  food preparation, ,  Fordham, John,  Fordham, John, Bishop of Ely,  Foster, William,  Fox, Richard,  Foxton, D. F.,  France, xiv, –, –, , –, , , 

General Index Frangioni, Luciana,  Frederick II, Emperor of Sicily, , , ,  Liber Augustalis (Constitutions of Melfi) De instrumentis conficiendis, – Friscobaldi, –,  Froissart, Jean Li Orloge amoureus,  Galen of Pergamon, – Gascony, ,  Gasparinetti, A. F.,  Gawain poet, – Cleanness, –,  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, – Geese, John, Bishop of Waterford,  Gell, Alfred,  Genoa, , , , ,  Gerald V, Count of Armagnac and Fezensac,  Geraldi, John, Bishop of Agen,  Germany, , ,  Gibson, James J., – Girart (Gerard), Michiel,  Girart, Michiel,  Gitelman, Lisa,  Glasyer, John,  Goch, Iolo,  Goldsmiths,  Goldyngham,  Gordon, E. V.,  grade (penmanship),  grammar schools, , ,  Grassello, Niccolò,  Graziosi, Elisabetta,  Greece,  Grocers’ Company, ,  Grosseteste, Robert Testamenta duodecim patriarcharum, ,  Gryssop, Thomas,  Guiciardi, John,  guilds, , , , , ,  Gumbert, J. P.,  haberdashers, ,  Hales, John,  Hamilton, Marie Padgett,  Hanefeld, John,  Hardman, Phillipa,  Havelok the Dane, ,  Hawkins, Joy,  Heawood, E., ,  Heigham, Clement,  hemp,  Henry I, King of England,  Henry III, King of England, –, , 



Henry VI, King of England,  Henry VII, King of England,  Henry, Bishop of Lincoln account book, – Henry of Cortona, – Henry, Earl of Derby,  Hereford, , , ,  Hereford Cathedral Archives, ,  Hertford,  Hertfordshire,  Hicks, M. A.,  Hills, Richard Leslie, xiii, , –, ,  Hoccleve, Thomas, , ,  Holton, Amanda,  Holy Land,  Howard, Donald Roy,  Howes, Thomas,  Huitasse, Jehan,  Hull,  Hull, Eleonor,  humanists, , , ,  hybrid,  Iannuccelli, Simonetta,  Iberia, , – Ingham, Patricia Clare,  ink, , , , , – inland trade, – ‘Instructions for Parish Priests’,  Inventory of the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity and SS. Fabian and Sebastian,  Iogna-Prat, Dominique,  Ipswich,  Ireland, xiv, ,  Italy, , , –, , , –, , –, , –, , –, , –, , , , ,  Ivy, G. S., ,  Jacobson, Peter,  James I, King of Scotland The Kingis Quair,  Jefferson, Lisa,  Jenkinson, Hilary,  Jenks, Stuart,  Johannes Trithemius De laude scriptorum,  John II, King of France, ,  household accounts, –, , , , –, ,  John of Droxsford,  John, Lord of Audenarde and Rosoit,  Johnson, Frend,  Jordan Ars metrica demonstrativa, 



General Index

Kant, Immanuel,  Kelleshulle, Jehan, – Kenyngthorp, William,  King of Castile,  King of Navarre,  King’s Bench, ,  King’s Remembrance,  Kwakkel, Erik, ,  ‘A Lament of the Blessed Virgin’,  laid lines, , , ,  Lancelot Queste, Mort Artu,  Lancia, Andrea ‘L’Ottimo Commento’,  Lanfranc Science of Cirurgie,  Langland, William,  Piers Plowman, , ,  Langlois, Ernest,  Latin Chronicle,  Latour, Bruno,  lawyers, ,  le Lenie, David, draper of London,  Le Roman de la Rose, –,  learning to write, –,  leather,  leathermaking,  Lefèvre, Raoul The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, trans. William Caxton,  legibility, , , –,  Leicester expenses of the Guildhall of Leicester,  Leodiensis, Gerardus Liber de doctrina cordis,  letter writing, –, , , , –, –, –,  see also diplomatic correspondence Lichfield,  Lincoln, –, ,  linen, ,  Lipparoni, Nora,  Lipson, Ephraim,  literacy, – litterae notabiliores, ,  Loeber, E. G.,  London, , , , –, –, –, , , ,  hands,  imports, – London Annals,  London Bridge,  Bridge House Accounts,  London Custom accounts, 

London Liberties,  Lombard Street,  Old London Bridge,  Port of London, – St Lawrence Jewry,  Tower of London,  Vintry Yard,  Longe, Nicholas,  Low Countries,  Lucca, ,  Lucy, Walter,  Lun, Tshai,  Lyall, R. J., –, ,  Lydgate, John, , ,  Mediation to Our Lord,  The Siege of Thebe,  Lyghtfote, William,  Lynn, ,  McKitterick, David, – Maghfeld, Gilbert, , , ,  magic,  Malines,  Mallorca,  Mandeville’s Travels,  Mannini,  Mannyng, Robert Handlyng Synne,  manuscript decoration, – Mapping Medieval Paper in England project, –, ,  Marche, , , , –, ,  material culture theory,  Matthews, Leslie G.,  Mazzolato, Ugo,  Memoriale credencium,  Mercers, , ,  metals,  gold, ,  iron,  silver,  Mine (Myne), Berthélemi, ,  Mitford, Richard, Bishop of Salisbury, ,  household accounts, – mixed media, –, , , , , –, , , – documents, – parchment guards, See parchment: guards quires, , , , , –,  Models of Authority project,  Morant, Jordan,  More, Laurence,  Morelli, Paolo,  Moun, Jean, lady of Dunster, 

General Index Naples, ,  Navarre,  Needham, Paul, , ,  Neel, Walter,  Niccoli, Nicolaus, –,  Norfolk,  The Northern Passion,  notaries, , , –, , , , , , ,  Nuremberg,  Occitan,  Odcham, Richard,  Oldoni, Massimo,  Orléans,  Orme, Nicholas,  Ornato, Ezio, , – Ovid,  Ars amatoria,  Heroides, – Oxford,  Brasenose College,  Merton College, , ,  Packer, Thomas,  Page, John Siege of Rouen,  palaeography, , , –, , ,  Pannarts, Arnold,  Papal chancellery, ,  Papal States,  paper absorbency of,  arrival into England, –, ,  as a commodity, , –, , , , –, , , , –, –, ,  as a cultural object, ,  as a luxury item, , ,  as essential, , ,  as technology, , –, , –, –, –, , , , , , , –, , , , , –, , –, –, , , , , , – bound books, ,  breakability of. See tearing paper burning, , –,  chronology of. See dating colour, , , , , , – black, , ,  brown,  white, , , ,  whiteness, –, – commercialization of, –, – cost of, See cost



dirty paper, , ,  ephemerality of, , , , , ,  finishing, –,  fini,  piana,  piane,  tonde,  vergate,  folding, – for artistic practices,  for business transactions,  for candle wicks,  for ceremonial decorations,  for decorating food, – for drafting. See drafting for entertainment,  for heraldry, – for medical treatment, –, ,  for oration, – for packing, ,  for shredding, , , , ,  for storing sweets, ,  for writing, , , , , , , , , – format, See paper, sizes malleability of, , ,  materiality of, –, , , , – painted, ,  papiri depicti, ,  plasticity of, – porosity of, , , –, ,  portability of, – production of, , , –, –, –, –, –, –, , , ,  glue,  pulp, , , , , ,  rags, xiii, –, , , , ,  seasonality,  sizing process,  prohibition of, , , ,  quality, , , , , , , ,  fine, – fioretto, – fiorettone, – lesser quality, , ,  miglioramento, –,  paper negre,  spendabilis, , ,  tonde,  ready-made quires, , –, , – reams, –,  reception of, – shape, 



General Index

paper (cont.) sizes, , , , , , , –, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  chancery, , –, , –, , ,  imperial, , ,  large,  meçane, See medium median, ,  medium,  recciute, See chancery regulation of, – royal, , –, –, , –, , , , , , , , , , , –,  small, –, , ,  tensility, See tearing paper transportation of carts,  ships, , – trimmed,  wrapping, , –, –, , , , , , ,  paper mills, , , , , , ,  paper moulds, , , , , , , see also laid lines and chainlines deckle, ,  paper stocks, , , , , –,  paper web, –, ,  papirio,  papyrus, – parchment, , –, , –, , , , –, , , –, –, , , –, , , , , , , , –, –, –, , –, , –, –, , , ,  colour,  guards, –,  high-quality,  ready-made quires,  sizes,  Parkes, M. B., –,  Paston, , , , , –, , ,  Agnes,  John I, , – John III, – Margaret, , – William,  Pegolotti, Francesco Baldicci Pratica della mercatura,  pens, –,  Peri, Giovanni Domenico Il negoziante, –

Perugia,  Peruzzi of Florence,  Peter of Leicester,  Peter the Venerable, , , ,  Adversus iudeorum inveteratam duritiem, – Peter, count of Alençon and Blois,  Peter, infante of Aragon,  Peter, parchment maker,  Petrarch, Francesco, ,  Canzoniere,  Petrucci, Armando, , , , , ,  Philip of Willoughby,  Pilkington, Gilbert, ,  Pioraco, , – Pisa, , – playing cards,  Pollard, Graham, ,  Polo, Marco Le Devisement du monde,  Le livre des merveilles du monde,  Ponte (Poynte), Antonio,  Pope Urban V account book,  Prato,  Prick of Conscience,  printing press, , ,  privy seal office,  Progetto Carta, xiv ‘Prognostications’,  Prophet, John,  Prussia, ,  Putter, Ad,  rags, ,  Raymond, Duke of Narbonne and Count of Toulouse, ,  Raymond, William, Viscount of Béarn,  reception of paper, See paper: reception of record-keeping, –, , , , –, ,  recycling, ,  Red Paper Book of Colchester,  Red Register of King’s Lynn, –, ,  Register of Lyme Regis, –,  religious books,  Renter Wardens’ Account Book,  Reynald, Robert,  Riccardi, , –, – Richard II, King of England, , ,  Richard, Earl of Arundel,  Richardson, M.,  Richardson, Pamela,  Ringrose, J. S.,  Rizzo, Silvia, 

General Index Robert of Anjou,  Robert of Finningham Summa excommunicationum,  Robert of Gloucester Metrical Chronicle, ,  ‘Robin Hood and the Monk’,  Robinson, Pamela,  Rodewas, Joannis,  Commentary on Fulgentii mythologiae libri xvi,  Roger II,  Rogers, Everett, – Rolle, Richard The Abbey of the Holy Ghost,  rolls, –, , , , , , , ,  Rome, ,  Romeyn, Angelo,  royal households, , , , , , , , ,  Rust, Martha,  Salisbury,  Salutati,  Samarkand,  Sancho VI, King of Navarre,  Sandwich,  Savona,  Schneider, Karin,  Schort, Thomas, ,  scribal practices, – scribendi modo,  scribes ‘amateur’, , –, , ,  scripts anglicana, , , , , , , , , , ,  anglicana formata, , , , , ,  antiqua,  bastard anglicana, , ,  cancelleresca,  currente calamo,  cursive, , –, , –, –, –, , –, , ,  gothic,  hybrid, , , ,  mercantesca,  secretary script, , , , ,  textualis, , , , , ,  Scriveners’ Company,  secret seal, – Sewale, William,  Seymour, M. C., , ,  Shepherd, Stephen H. A.,  Shōnagon, Sei Pillow Book, 



Sicily, ,  The Siege of Jerusalem,  silk, , ,  Sir Firumbras,  Skemer, Don C.,  slates,  Smith, Marc,  Sodowski, Piotr,  Soldanieri, Iacobo,  Somerton,  Sorrento, ,  South English Legendary,  Southampton, , ,  port of Southampton, ,  Spain, , –,  Spearing, A. C.,  Spenell, Andrea,  Spenell, Benedetto,  spices, , , , , , –, , ,  Spohnheim,  Spufford, Peter,  St Michael, Cornwall,  Statute of Merchants,  Statutes of Bologna,  Statutes of the University of Cambridge, , – Stevenage,  Stevenson, Allan, xiii Stone, Gilbert,  Stonor Thomas,  William,  stratigraphy,  Subiaco,  sugar,  Sutton, Anne F.,  Sweynheym, Conrad,  The Talmud, – Tangut,  Tate, John, ,  tearing paper, – textiles, ,  Thing Theory, ,  Thompson, Edward Maunde,  tin,  Tittlemouse, clerk to the duke of Gloucester,  Tolkien, J. R. R.,  ‘The Tournament of Tottenham’,  Tout, T. F.,  Tractatus de armis,  trade routes, – Treatise on Virtues and Vices,  trelici,  Trevisa, John, See Anglicus, Bartholomaeus De proprietatibus rerum, 

 Trithemius, Johannes,  Troyes,  Tsien, Tsuen-hsuin,  Vale, Philip, – Valencia, – van North, Lamb,  Vasari, Giorgo,  Vatican palace,  Venice, ,  Veronese, Guarino,  Virgil Aeneid, – Vitruvius, Pollio De Architectura,  Wakelin, Daniel, ,  Wales, xiv, –,  The Wars of Alexander,  Warwick, William,  watermarks, xiv, –, , –, , , –, , , , ,  wax, , , – wax tablets, , ,  Webber, Teresa,  Weles, Jehan,  Westminster, ,  White, Thomas,  Whyte, John, 

General Index Wile, parchment maker,  William of March, Bishop of Bath and Wells, – Winchester,  Windeatt, B. A.,  Windsor, ,  Wisbech Account book of the Guild of the Holy Trinity,  Wittek, Martin,  wool, , –, , , , , –, , ,  Woolgar, C. M.,  Worcester, William, –, –, –,  Itineraria, – writing, – writing paper. See paper, for writing writing speed, – Wycliffe, John Wycliffite Bible,  Xàtiva,  Yarmouth,  Year Books of Edward III and Henry VI,  York,  Probate inventories,  Zonghi, Aurelio, 

    

   Dante’s Inferno: Difficulty and Dead Poetry    Dante and Difference: Writing in the ‘Commedia’    Troubadours and Irony    ‘Piers Plowman’ and the New Anticlericalism   .  The ‘Cantar de mio Cid’: Poetic Creation in its Economic and Social Contexts    The Medieval Greek Romance   - Reformist Apocalypticism and ‘Piers Plowman’    Dante and the Medieval Other World    (ed.) The Theatre of Medieval Europe: New Research in Early Drama    The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture    Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts    The Arthurian Romances of Chrétien de Troyes: Once and Future Fictions    Richard Rolle and the Invention of Authority   .  Dreaming in the Middle Ages    Chaucer and the Tradition of the ‘Roman Antique’    The ‘Romance of the Rose’ and its Medieval Readers: Interpretation, Reception, Manuscript Transmission   .  (ed.) Women and Literature in Britain, –     Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages    The Making of Textual Culture: ‘Grammatica’ and Literary Theory, –    Narrative, Authority, and Power: The Medieval Exemplum and the Chaucerian Tradition    (ed.) Medieval Dutch Literature in its European Context    Dante and the Mystical Tradition: Bernard of Clairvaux in the ‘Commedia’

      (eds) Heresy and Literacy, –    Virgil in Medieval England: Figuring the ‘Aeneid’ from the Twelfth Century to Chaucer    Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry: Alan of Lille’s ‘Anticlaudianus’ and John Gower’s ‘Confessio Amantis’    Public Reading and the Reading Public in Late Medieval England and France    Medieval Reading: Grammar, Rhetoric and the Classical Text    Editing ‘Piers Plowman’: The Evolution of the Text    Vernacular Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: The German Tradition, –, in its European Context    Texts and the Self in the Twelfth Century   .  Lies, Slander and Obscenity in Medieval English Literature: Pastoral Rhetoric and the Deviant Speaker   .  ‘Floire and Blancheflor’ and the European Romance    (ed.) Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies    The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, –   - The Evolution of Arthurian Romance: The Verse Tradition from Chrétien to Froissart  aˆ   Arthurian Narrative in the Latin Tradition    Clerical Discourse and Lay Audience in Late Medieval England    Chaucer’s Legendary Good Women    The Making of Chaucer’s English: A Study of Words   - Christine de Pizan and the Moral Defence of Women: Reading Beyond Gender    The Early History of Greed: The Sin of Avarice in Early Medieval Thought and Literature     (ed.) Old Icelandic Literature and Society    Fictions of Identity in Medieval France    Pedagogy, Intellectuals, and Dissent in the Later Middle Ages: Lollardy and Ideas of Learning    The Wycliffite Heresy: Authority and the Interpretation of Texts

  .  Women, Reading, and Piety in Late Medieval England  . .  The Beginnings of Medieval Romance: Fact and Fiction, –  . .  Gestures and Looks in Medieval Narrative    Poetry and Music in Medieval France: From Jean Renart to Guillaume de Machaut    Documentary Culture and the Making of Medieval English Literature   .  Sodomy, Masculinity, and Law in Medieval Literature: France and England, –    Dante and the Franciscans: Poverty and the Papacy in the ‘Commedia’    Latin Sermon Collections from Later Medieval England: Orthodox Preaching in the Age of Wyclif        (eds.) Postcolonial Approaches to the European Middle Ages: Translating Cultures    Philosophical Chaucer: Love, Sex, and Agency in the ‘Canterbury Tales’   .  Dante and Renaissance Florence    London Literature, –    John Lydgate and the Making of Public Culture    ‘Piers Plowman’ and the Medieval Discourse of Desire    The Jew in the Medieval Book: English Antisemitisms, –   . - Poets and Power from Chaucer to Wyatt    Writing Masculinity in the Later Middle Ages   .  Language and the Declining World in Chaucer, Dante, and Jean de Meun    Parliament and Literature in Late Medieval England  . .  Women Readers in the Middle Ages    The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions    The Creation of Lancastrian Kingship: Literature, Language and Politics in Late Medieval England    Fiction and History in England, –

 . .  The Poetry of Praise    The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (Second Edition)    Literature and Heresy in the Age of Chaucer   .  Jerusalem in Medieval Narrative   .  Lay Piety and Religious Discipline in Middle English Literature  . .  Women and Marriage in German Medieval Romance    Paradoxes of Conscience in the High Middle Ages: Abelard, Heloise, and the Archpoet   .  Ethics and Power in Medieval English Reformist Writing    Writing to the King: Nation, Kingship, and Literature in England, –    (ed.) Rhetoric Beyond Words: Delight and Persuasion in the Arts of the Middle Ages    Imagining an English Reading Public, –   .  Court Poetry in Late Medieval England and Scotland: Allegories of Authority    Image, Text, and Religious Reform in Fifteenth-Century England   .  Artisans and Narrative Craft in Late Medieval England    Vernacular Translation in Dante’s Italy: Illiterate Literature    Living Death in Medieval French and English Literature    Ethics and Enjoyment in Late Medieval Poetry: Love after Aristotle     From England to Bohemia: Heresy and Communication in the Later Middle Ages    Boccaccio and the Invention of Italian Literature: Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, and the Authority of the Vernacular   .  Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England    The Myth of ‘Piers Plowman’: Constructing a Medieval Literary Archive    Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature    Scribal Correction and Literary Craft: English Manuscripts –

   (ed.) Romance and History: Imagining Time from the Medieval to the Early Modern Period    Logical Fictions in Medieval Literature and Philosophy        (eds.) The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches     (ed.) Imagining Medieval English: Language Structures and Theories, –    English Alliterative Verse: Poetic Tradition and Literary History     Shaping the Archive in Late Medieval England: History, Poetry, and Performance    The Evolution of Verse Structure in Old and Middle English Poetry: From the Earliest Alliterative Poems to Iambic Pentameter    Reconstructing Alliterative Verse: The Pursuit of a Medieval Meter    The Linguistic Past in Twelfth-Century Britain       (eds.) The European Book in the Twelfth Century    The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature    Gods and Humans in Medieval Scandinavia: Retying the Bonds   .     (eds.) Chaucer and the Subversion of Form   .  Middle English Mouths: Late Medieval Medical, Religious and Literary Traditions    Chaucer’s Scribes: London Textual Production, –   .    .  (eds.) Medieval Affect, Feeling, and Emotion   . - Literary Value and Social Identity in the Canterbury Tales    Biblical Commentary and Translation in Later Medieval England: Experiments in Interpretation    Dante’s Christian Ethics: Purgatory and its Moral Contexts       The Roman de la Rose and Thirteenth-Century Thought     Paper in Medieval England: From Pulp to Fictions