Corrigenda and Addenda (2004)

In 2004, the original publishers of Ker's volume, Oxford Bibliographical Society, reprinted the work. In doing that, the opportunity was taken to mark up the text of the catalogue with marginal annotations marking both additions provided by David Pearson in his 2000 volume, also published by the Society, and extra information and updates. As was explained in the introduction by the Society's editors, David Rundle and Scott Mandelbrote, these were provided mainly on the basis of Ker's own notes and those of other scholars deposited in the Bodleian. The editors' note is reproduced below.

Introductory Note.[1]

When Pastedowns was first published in 1954, one reviewer commented that Neil Ker had 'broadened the scope of palaeography to an extent that would have astonished the nineteenth century.'[2] It remains an indispensable work, highly deserving of republication. Ker's discussion of Oxford binding has, of course, been developed and revised by David Pearson and this reprint is intended as a companion volume to his work.[3] Pearson himself provided a supplement listing further bindings and their pastedowns; the following corrigenda are intended to complement that supplement by focussing on the pastedowns listed in the text reprinted above. These notes provide additional or corrected information about those fragments, as well as directing readers to some of the recent bibliography concerning them.

David Pearson's supplement was indebted to Neil Ker's own post-publication notes, which are now deposited in the Bodleian, and those notes, reflecting Ker's continuing work on the manuscript pastedowns, are the single most important source for what follows. Pearson succinctly described the nature of Ker's notes, as well as himself giving brief corrigenda.[4] In compiling the corrigenda, the editors have not only made extensive use of Ker's own material but also of that in Richard Hunt's copy of Pastedowns (also deposited in the Bodleian), as well as the shelf copy in the Bodleian, which has annotations in several hands. These have further been supplemented by the editors' own investigations and compilation of recent bibliography - though these investigations have been far from exhaustive. The editors' necessarily limited efforts have unearthed few fresh discoveries; an exception is the revelation that one set of fragments come from a previously unnoticed dated manuscript.[5]

It is important to explain the self-imposed limits of what follow. There are two principal exclusions. First, both Ker's and Hunt's notes record many changes of pressmark; several Oxford colleges have reorganised their rare books since 1954, but it has been judged a labour inappropriate for these brief corrigenda to attempt any listing of these changes - as David Pearson has commented, 'the bibliographical details given by Ker should always be sufficient to allow books to be traced.'[6] The second exclusion is partly a consequence of the first: while some readers may find the multiple indices to Pastedowns both cumbersome and inadequate, there has been no attempt to replace them. In particular, Ker's Index of Present Owners of Bindings remains, without any attempt at a more detailed index by pressmark.

These corrigenda follow and augment Pearson's listing by including information on changes of location for both the printed books and guardbooks of fragments. In particular, two important guardbooks of fragments, which were in private hands when Ker was researching Pastedowns, have since been obtained by the Bodleian.[7] For the convenience of the user, the Bodleian shelfmark is given below for every relevant entry. Also included are Ker's notes to his appendix of Oxford bindings without manuscript pastedowns [pp. 188 - 202 above]; these are, obviously, not to the main purpose of providing extra information about fragments themselves, but as Ker's notes regularly identify owners of the printed books, who often also owned books with pastedowns (and, indeed, manuscripts as well - though that is beyond the scope of this discussion), they are printed here for the sake of fullness.

The corrigenda are followed by two indices. The first is a brief index of manuscripts, directing the reader to new or changed identifications; the second, meanwhile, gathers together the names of early owners of the printed books and provides, where necessary, short biographical information.

To read Ker's Pastedowns half a century later is to appreciate how much it has inspired more recent research on manuscript fragments - and how much remains to be investigated.[8] The fragments listed here may rarely be of significance in establishing the text of a work, but they are very often telling evidence for the circulation of a text; some recent scholarship has also demonstrated how they can be used to inform the history of libraries. Moreover, some recent manuscript catalogues have established the practice of providing details of the pastedowns that survive in a collection's printed books. It is to be hoped that the republication of Ker's volume inspires further study of these valuable, tantalising shards of evidence.

David Rundle

Scott Mandelbrote


[1] It is a pleasure for the editors to acknowledge the generous assistance they have received in compiling the following corrigenda from Bruce Barker-Benfield, Alan Coates, Christopher de Hamel and Andrew Watson.

[2] N. Denholm-Young in Medium Ævum, xxv (1956), pp. 106 - 7. Other reviews include C. E. Wright's in The Library, 5th ser., x (1955), pp. 212 - 4; the brief notice by B. van Regemorter in Scriptorium, x (1956), pp. 141 - 142; and Times Literary Supplement, 30 July 1954.

[3] D. Pearson, Oxford Bookbinding 1500 - 1640 [Oxford Bibliographical Society, 3rd series, iii] (Oxford, 2000).

[4] Pearson, Oxford Bookbinding, pp. 143 - 4.

[5] See note on no. 632 below.

[6] Pearson, Oxford Bookbinding, p. 143. Colleges that have changed their pressmarks include All Souls, Merton, and New College. It is also the case that sometimes pressmarks are omitted from Ker's listings, an example being Gloucester Cathedral: for the relevant shelfmarks, and for the revised shelfmarks of other books, see appendix C in S. M. Eward, A Catalogue of Gloucester Cathedral Library (Gloucester, 1972), pp. 246 - 8.

[7] The guardbooks are that of E. M. Dring, whose provenance is discussed above at p. xvi, and which is now Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Lat. misc. b. 18 [Pearson's reading of 19 is a lapsus calami, recording an obsolete shelfmark], and the 'Lanhydrock guardbook', mentioned above at p. xvi (n. 1), which is now Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Lat. misc. b. 17.

[8] For a Europe-wide survey of the state of such studies, see R. Watson, 'Medieval Manuscript Fragments', Archives, xiii (1973), pp. 61 - 73; for a comment on the recent historiography of fragment-studies, see M. McC. Gatch, 'Fragmenta Manuscripta and Varia at Missouri and Cambridge', TCBS, ix (1990), pp. 434 - 475.