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NOTEBOOK OF T. BETSON OF SYON

MRJ number: 
109
College classmark: 
E.6

    Vellum and paper, 5.75 x 4.25, ff. 124 + 8, mostly 31 lines to a page.

15th cent., pretty well written.

    Skin over boards, a circle cut on the front cover.

    Donor, T. C. S.

    From Syon Monastery.  Not in the Catalogue: but see Miss Bateson's

edition, p. xxiii, note 5.

    Collation: a4, 110 210 38 412 58 - 118 1212 138 148, b4.

    The flyleaves are from a large book of the 14th cent. with music on a five-line stave. 

                                 Preter rerum seriem. parit deum hominem,

                                 Gaude uirgo salutata,

                                 Salue mater gratie. salue uena uenie,

                                 Gaude celi domina,

                                 Porta spei mater dei,

 

are the beginnings of poems in them.  Scribbled on them is:

                             Anno Domini 1500 peribit omnis caro per ignem

with other notes.

    Contents:

           1.    De intellectu tocius libri Institucionum        .         .         .         .      f.  1

                  Presupponenda sunt utilia.

                  Unfinished.

                  On f. 2 Sancte Petre princeps apostolorum ora pro nobis.

                  Orate pro anima Thome Betson de Syon.

                  In another hand: Vitam finis et diem laudat vesper.

                  Ytalice.  La vita el fin et il di lodo la sera

                                ben sta chi proua

                                bene stat qui probat.

                  Laws notes and verses, 2b.  Runic alphabet, 4b.

                  De Dioletica         .         .         .         .         .         .        .          .       4b

                  De uisu et qualiter decipitur.  Potes facere speculum.

                  (Receipts for conjuring tricks and illusions.)

                  On secret writing, 7.

                  In Latin and English, in double columns, Lord's Prayer, Seven

                      Sins, Senses, Works of Mercy, Articles of Faith, Command-

                      ments, etc.      .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .           10b

                  12b, 13a blank.  Receipts in English, 13b.

                  Decretum abbreuiatum, unfinished  .         .         .         .         .           14

                  Insula Bragmannorum seu fidelium .         .         .         .         .           17

                  Sunt multe Insule que nunquam habuerunt Regem.

                  17b-20a blank.  Notes and verses, 20b.  21 blank.

                  De regulis iuris, 22.

                  Diagrams of the sky, 25b, 26a.

                  Casus Papales, 26b.  Episcopales, 27b, interrupted by Fredericus

                      Imp. Rom. de libertatibus ecclesie.

                  Epitaphs of Duke of Buckingham (Materiam flendi tulit heu

                      mars atque dolendi): also of Terence and Llewelyn (with

                      answer of an Englishman)    .         .         .         .         .         .          28b

                  Questions and solutions in verse, 29.  Experiments, 29b.  A

                      noteworthy piece of ornament on 29b.

                  De urinis, 30.  Law notes, etc. with blanks, 30b.

                  Miscellaneous receipts, Latin and English,  35b.

                  Verses: Equa lege capit mors magnos atque pusillos      .         .             39b

                                                 

                               Quam subito rapuit penituisse mori.

                  Verses: Si qua tuus queritur parcissime lelphe caballus            .              40

                                                            

                               Vos procul ite fere procul hinc vos ite uolucres

                               Quo ruitis modo uos pellis et ossa manent.

                                      Expl. una epistola unius Italici ad alterum ….

                  Verses: Hec abathia ruit opus est nimium michi triste.     .          .            40b

                               Intus et extra pluit terribilis est locus iste.

                  And others.

                  De regulis iuris Bonefacii in sexto    .         .         .         .         .                 41

                  Similar matter, 43b, ending: usque huc de libro Bisshop.

                  Proverbs and notes, 46b.

                  Excerpts from Clementine constitutions, 49.

                  In secretis Aristotelis, 67b.

                  List of names of herbs in Latin and English, 70.

                  Receipts in English, 83.

                  De urinalibus, 84.  Receipts, 86.

                  Tract. de disposicione hominis, 86b.

                  Sciendum est igitur si quis nascatur in aliqua hora diei.

                  Receipts in English, 89.  In Latin, 102.

                  The chief hand ends 115a.

                  Receipts and prognostics in other hands, 115b.

                  Inc. Cronice Abstracte, 117b.

                  Iubal pater canencium in cithara.  There is a  remarkable

                      paragraph on the glory of Solomon's court.

                  Extracts, the last but one of Justinian's time.

                  Other receipts, 119b, continuing with blanks to the end.

Supplementary information 

Negative microfilm in St John's College Library.

A. I. Doyle, 'Thomas Betson of Syon Abbey', The Library, 5th series, 11 (1956), 115.

On Thomas Betson, Richard Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2000), p. 91.

Betson wrote parts of the British Library's MS. Add. 5208 and St Paul's Cathedral MS. 5.

C. De Hamel, Syon Abbey: the library of the Bridgettine nuns and their peregrinations after the Reformation (London, 1991).

Fols 70-83 were used by T. Hunt, Plant names of Medieval England (Cambridge, 1989).

The verses on folio 40r are from Antonio Beccadelli's Hermaphroditus Book 2.36.

 

John Adams & Stuart Forbes (eds), The Syon Abbey herbal : the last monastic herbal in England c. AD 1517 / by Thomas Betson, last librarian at Syon Abbey. (London, 2015)

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