St John's College K.47 (James 356)

'La Coignee de Lutter'. English and French, sixteenth century


C. J. [John Crafford] (transl.): 'La Coignee De Lutter, ou Limaginaire escripture des eretiques Lesquels Reiettant Les Consilles et St Peres Prouvent Seulement Les Illusions De leur fantastiques Ceruelles' (fo. 1r). Dedicatory epistle (fo. 2r) in French to 'Marie Royne De la Grande Bretagne' [Mary Queen of Scots] maintains that the original was written in Latin by an unnamed Cardinal to Sigismund, King of Poland; that is, presumably, Sigismund II (1548-72). The valediction 'Celuy qui admire voz vertus C. J.' (fo. 4v) is pasted over a former version 'Jo: Crafford pouvre afflige? prisonnier dans la Prison de la Porte Neufve' [Newgate]. Could this be the Fransiscan friar John Crayford (d. 1562), canon of Durham and spiritual chancellor of Durham under Cuthbert Tunstall (see Venn)? If so we must date the present work, a translation into English, at c. 1560, which seems a trifle early for the hand. The translation, titled 'Luthers Hatchet, or the Heretiques imaginarie Scripture, who reiectinge the Interpretation of the Church, Councell, and Fathers, proveth only an illusion of theire owne braine', beg.: 'The unbridled boldnes in the Heretickes of our Tyme hath given mee iust cause (Great Kinge Sigismond) to write some thinges to you'; ends: 'or anie love or desire of the saving word; but have to theire uttermost power'. Incomplete.

Manuscript extra information

165x130 mm. 69 fos (modern foliation). Inside front cover 'Jackson' on circular label, and the price £1 1s.; also a crop rotation. Apparently acquired after 1840: the volume is not recorded in Cowie.

Perhaps two or three variants of what may be a single hand; probably autograph. Scriptural glosses in margins; catchwords. In the first variant there are several blanks, subsequently completed. Paper, with several fos missing at the end. Gold tooled leather on boards, a central stamp apparently the arms of James I, son of the dedicatee; traces of two pairs of ties.