EDWARD, DUKE OF YORK (c.1373-1415). THE MASTER OF GAME; with other TREATISES OF HUNTING, HEALTH AND HUSBANDRY, in English, French and Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM.
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EDWARD, DUKE OF YORK (c.1373-1415). THE MASTER OF GAME; with other TREATISES OF HUNTING, HEALTH AND HUSBANDRY, in English, French and Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM.

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EDWARD, DUKE OF YORK (c.1373-1415). THE MASTER OF GAME; with other TREATISES OF HUNTING, HEALTH AND HUSBANDRY, in English, French and Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM.
[England, third quarter 15th century]240 x 175mm, i (former pastedown) + 142 + i (former pastedown) leaves, modern pencilled pagination running from i: 19(of 10, lacking i), 2-310, 412, 5-1010, 1110(pp.207/8, 211/2, 217/8, 221/2 singletons, text continuous), 1210, 137(of 10, lacking viii-x, probably cancelled blanks), 148, 156(of 8, lacking i and viii), two further stubs, catchwords in lower inner margin of final versos, between 25 and 35 lines written in several anglicana hands in black or brown inks between two horizontals and two verticals, except pp.185-204 ruled for three columns and pp.185-196 written in three columns, rubrics in red, headings underlined red, significant names, hunting calls etc in text in red, text capitals touched red, paragraph marks and line-endings in red, four-line initials in blue extensively flourished in red, some large initials not supplied; decoration varies between texts and between the main sections of the volume: pp.3-164, pp.165-184 and pp.185-286 (pp.163-4 cut at gutter, damp staining from p.271 to end, tears to lower outer corners p.275 to end, into text on final p.286, p.274 three words reinforced in different ink). Contemporary white leather over wooden boards, silver clasps with arms and crest of Dansey of Brinsop Court, Herefordshire, and monogram DRD (spine split along lower joint, corners rubbed). Cloth box.

PROVENANCE:

1. Inscriptions: 'Jacobus' added two lines of Latin verse p.162; 'To his very loving ffrend William Hyett' p.275, perhaps one of the Gloucestershire Hyetts; 'F. Vaughan' in margins p.285; all in 16th- to 17th-century hands; 'Thomas Smith his name for you are/Benjamen Smith James Smith', upside down in lower margin p.9, in 18th/19th-century hand.

2. Dansey family of Brinsop Court, Herefordshire: 'This book has been long in the possession of the Dansey Family of Brinsop Court, Herefordshire, April 15th 1770' (p.164); Beside 'Moderat fode gevith to a man his helthe' is written 'hys good'; below the text appears 'This treatise is almost unintelligible/1828'; 'The above observation is in the hand writing of my father who died in 1793, W. Dansey 4th Sept 1834', presumably referring to the first annotation (p.224). The information given here does not correspond to the record of the main line of the family at Brinsop Court, which was sold in 1814; the inheritance between the heirs of Deborah Dansey and her husband Edward Collins, who assumed the name of Dansey, was complex and the book may not have passed with Brinsop Court. It was used by 'Cecil' in his Records of the Chase and Memoirs of Celebrated Sportsmen, 1854, when it was 'in the possession of a gentleman of ancient family for many years residing in Herefordshire' (pp.6-7). Both Richard Dansey of Little Easton and his son, also Richard, kept hounds south of Ludlow up to 1831, so that 'Cecil' could have been introduced to the book by a hunting friend. If a Dansey were its first owner, Thomas, married to Isabella, daughter of Sir Richard Delabere, who died in 1495, is the most likely candidate. See W.H. Cooke, Collections towards the History and Antiquities of the County of Herefordshire in continuation of Duncomb's History, Hundred of Grimsworth, I, 1886, pp.32-40.

3. Schwerdt, II pp.357-9; Sotheby's, 11 March 1946, lot 2254.

CONTENT:

1. pp.3-158 Edward, Duke of York (c.1373-1415): The Master of Game, lacking opening to Prologue, beginning: 'unto the High excellent and cristyn prynce Herry[sic] the iiij. By the foreseide grace Kynge of Engelonde and of ffraunce ... the whiche boke yif hit like to your lordschippe schall be callid and namyd the maister of game', in 36 chapters. Chapter 1, p.13, 'of the hare and of his nature', opening 'The hare is a commune beste I nowgh and therfore me nedith not to tell of his makynge' and ending with the chapter 'how a man schall know a grete boore and for to can speke amonge hunters' on p.158 'Also whan his tuskis above be lowe and the werid of the nother tuskis hit is a tokyn of a grete boore'.

The opening of the dedication to the future Henry V as Prince of Wales, heir to Henry IV, which dates the work before 1413, is lacking in this copy. The author identifies himself as Master of Game to Henry IV; the generally well informed John Shirley (d. 1456) identified the author as the Duke of York in his copy, BL MS Add.16165, so that the author must be Edward, second Duke of York, appointed Master of Game in 1406. He was killed at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. His work is largely a translation of the Livre de chasse of Gaston Phébus, count of Foix, written 1387-9, adapted to English conditions and with five new chapters. Detailing how to hunt most game animals found in England and the appropriate language to use of the chase, it proved very popular and survives in 27 manuscripts, see G. Keiser, A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, X, 1998 [462], where this is ms 20. The edition by W.A. and F. Baillie-Grohman, The Master of Game by Edward, second duke of York, 1904, based on BL Cotton Vespasian B XII, dated before 1425 (see lot 504), numbers the prologue as chapter 1; in this copy the Prologue is unnumbered and Chapter 26 omitted but Chapter 25 is divided in three to reach the same total of 36 chapters. The ordering here is: chapters 1-11 (the Prologue and the different animals hunted), 27-36 (on questing and on hunting the hart) and 12-18, 20, 19, 21-25 (on hounds, hunters and tracking). The basic re-ordering of the second and third groups of chapters is an established alternative tradition, found for instance in John Shirley's copy (BL MS Add. 16165). This precise ordering is found in the Ellesmere copy dated to the second half of the 15th century, now in the Huntington Library, MS El 35 B 63. Apart from the Kerdeston leaf, see lot 3, ONLY TWO OTHER MANUSCRIPTS OF THE MASTER OF GAME ARE KNOWN IN PRIVATE HANDS, BOTH IN A PRIVATE COLLECTION IN TOKYO.

2. p.158 Hierarchy of Hawks and their Owners, opening: 'There is an Egle a vaweture and a melowne' for an Emperor, continuing down to 'A muskett for a holy water clerk' and ending 'and to the grete sore'.

3. pp.158-161 Hawks' diseases and remedies, opening 'These bene the Infirmyteis of evry hawke. first in the hede' and ending 'in a chamber and take away the loynes'. These two texts, added in a contemporary hand on blanks at the end of the eighth gathering, form part of a collection known as the JB group, from the initials on the colophon of the fullest version in BL MS Harley 2340, ff.47-51, see R. Hands ed., English Hunting and Hawking in the Boke of St Albans, 1975, p.xlviii, and Manual, X, [466], listing 13 manuscripts, with this as ms 8, and [465], listing 11 manuscripts, with this as ms 9. Texts 2 and 3 of the present lot are transcribed, and their close relationship to BL MS Royal 17 D IV discussed, by D. Scott-Macnab, A Sporting Lexicon of the Fifteenth Century, the J.B. Treatise, 2003, pp.136-40, 58-60.

4. p.161 'A medicyn for a hawk that is thik brething' requiring 'barle ole', ending 'Reed the fermor', added in a different cursive hand.

5. pp.165-181 A Collection of Forest Laws, in Latin, French and English, headed 'Hic incipit carta fforeste', running from Edward I to Richard II, opening: 'Edwardus dei gratia rex anglie ... Inspeximus cartam domini henrici quondam Regis anglie ... in primis omnes foreste' ending 'au roy pursoil malfait etc' followed by 'Here is the charge in swanymote', opening 'ffirst ye schulle do us to wete' and ending 'and how longe and whate harme hit is to the kyng'. This is the only copy still in private hands of the three pre-1500 manuscripts known, see Manual, X, [464], where this is ms 2. The selection here is comparable in extent and very similar, but not identical, to that in Beinecke MS 88, at Yale University, dated to the mid-15th century, which also has only one text in English, the section on Swanymote, regulating swans that belonged to the King. The final three pages of the ninth gathering are blank.

6. pp.185-196 Names for Hounds, headed 'Here begynnyth the names of all maner of houndis aftir the a.b.c. ffirste to begynne with a. for houndis names', opening 'Argente/Aldirman/Archere' going through hounds, brachs and terriers under each letter, followed by names for greyhounds, arranged alphabetically, and then for greybitches, listed apparently randomly and ending 'Eglantyne/Kerchefe/Chapelet'. Although lists of the different hunting dogs appear in other manuscripts of the JB group, see Manual, X, [468], THIS EXTENSIVE LIST OF SUITABLE NAMES FOR DOGS IS APPARENTLY UNIQUE. Further names were added in a 15th-century hand, showing that it was consulted and used. Some refer to desirable qualities, like Stykefaste for a greyhound, Solace for a brach and Sturdy for a terrier; others are more pretentious, like Pompey and Achilles, and others optimistic, like Havegoodday. They offer a most appealing insight into how people thought of their dogs and what was expected from them.

7. pp.197-198 Treatise on horses, opening 'Here begynnyth all the propertees and bewtes of a good horse and whiche colowre is beste fir to chese yif a man come in a market', ending 'a coll blacke hors ... do hym some maner of myschefe'. This does not appear as such in Manual, X, but may be extracted from a longer work or works.

8. pp.198-219 Medicines for horses opening 'Here begynneth the medecynis a ghenste all manere of maladies of horses. ffirste for a retrette in the horsis fote ... The signe for to know whan a hors holtith on the fote ... right ferre from hym and schall make signe for to fast'. This collection is found in eight other manuscripts, see Manual, X [441], this ms 9.

9. pp.219-221 Extract from The Boke of Marchalsi, opening 'Maister where of cometh pursynes hit cometh of grete hete of good flessche and of good blode', ending 'How men schall make entrete to an hors fote ... and then lay the trete on the hors fote as hit is aforeseyde', in red, 'Explicit quod [erased]'. This is an extract, opening with broken windedness, from the final section of remedies in the second part of The Boke of Marchalsi, which deals with ailments; the first part deals with the care of horses more generally, see B. Odenstedt, The Boke of Marchalsi, an edition from Harley 6398, 1973, the opening of this extract printed p.29. The Latin explicit in MS 5650 of the Wellcome Library attributes the work to John Marshall of Appleby, Westmoreland (fl.1440-60); the reasons for erasing the explicit here are unclear. This is ms 9 of the ten listed in Manual, X [443], and THE ONLY COPY IN PRIVATE HANDS.

10. pp.222-224 John Lydgate (c.1370-1449), Dietary: 'For helthe of body covir from colde thyne hede/Ete no rawe mete take good hede ther to/Drynke holsome wyne fede ye on light brede ... This reseyte is bowght of no poticarye/Of maister antonye ne of maister hewe/To all in deferente richeste dyatary'. The Dietary was a very popular piece of advice on health, being largely a commonsense recommendation of moderation. A further 57 copies are listed in J. Boffey and A.S.G. Edwards, A New Index of Middle English Verse, 2005, no.824. This is the version with ten stanzas, which had a considerable circulation; the 18-verse form, where the extra verses are inserted after verse one, was published by H.N. McCracken, Minor Poems of John Lydgate II, EETS o.s.192, 1934.

11. pp.225-250 Godfrey of Franconia (c.1350), Super Palladium, in English, headed 'Hic incipit Godfridus super Palladium de agricultura anglisicatum', list of contents opening 'To make applis growe with owte coris'; a later hand has numbered them 1-85, pp.225-227, and added numbers 1-59 by the corresponding sections of text, pp.228-248; text begins 'The maner of settynge of trees is in meny dyvers wises' and ends 'and hit schall be delitabull in savour and colour. Explicit Godfridus super Palladium de agri cultura'. This is a translation from the Latin treatise of Godfrey of Franconia on arboriculture. It offered practical advice, of varying accuracy, and is found in some 20 manuscripts, see Manual, X [433], where this is ms 18, and J. Griffiths, completed by A.S.G. Edwards, The Tollemache Book of Secrets, 2001, pp.33-38; it was edited by D.G. Cylkowski in Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England, ed. L. Matheson, 1994, pp.301-330.

12. pp.250-258 Nicholas Bollard (fl.1427), The Craft of Grafting, Prologue: 'Here begynneth the tretice of Nicholas Bollarde. This tretice he seithe is departid in iii parties ... The firste parte is of gendrynge of bryngynge forthe of trees and the maner of plantynge. The second parte is of graffynge and of the maner of rectifienge and amendynge of trees. The thirde parte ... the maner of altrynge (p.251) and changynge of the vertu that kometh hem of kynde '; text opens 'I sawe in the secretis of Aristotill that in the equynocciis ...' ending 'yif hit be well done bryngith in and techith other and this endith the tretice of Nicholas bollarde. Explicit tractatus Nicoli Bollarde'. Nicolas Bollard, said to have been a monk at the Benedictine Abbey of Westminster, originally wrote De arborum plantatione in Latin but his work achieved a much greater circulation in English; it was edited by W. Braekman Studia Neophilologica, 57, 1985, pp.19-39. Whereas several manuscripts contain only extracts, this compilation includes the complete text and is ONLY ONE OTHER COPY IS STILL IN PRIVATE HANDS. A further sixteen manuscripts have been listed, see Manual, X [434], this ms 13, and The Tollemache Book of Secrets, pp.33-38; it was edited by W. Braekman, Studia Neophilologia, 57 (1985), pp.19-39. Bollard's treatise is often found with the English translation of Godfrey's work. Together they offered advice directed chiefly to the growing of fruit trees and the processing of the fruit.

13. pp.259-286 Prince Edward's Book of Hawking, lacking first leaf of second gathering between pp.274-5, opening 'This is the maner to kepe hawkis but not al maner of hawkes but only goshawkys and sparhawkis. ffurste to speke of hawkys they benne egges', breaking in section headed 'for sekenes in the body of an hawke (Hands, 1975, l.816 but text here extended) ... and desyreth to rest and when she is apon her perche shee sleping [catchword]ffor to put over'; continuing '... apon the wynge and oyle of laurer and she wull hele. ffor brekyng of a bone ... '; ending top p.283 (see Hands, 1975, pp.xxiv-xxv), and then continuing with further remedies,'ffor hawke. Ffor al maner sekenesse in a hawke take parsely ... and he be poure lette hym bath in ronnynge water anye ... ', final leaf of gathering lacking. This is one of only four manuscripts known with the full version of the text,which was largely incorporated into The Boke of St Albans, and is THE ONLY ONE STILL IN PRIVATE HANDS, see Hands, 1975, pp.xxiv-xxv, and Manual, X, [452], where this is ms.7. It is similar in arrangement to MS Rawlinson C 506, in the Bodleian Library, of the late 15th century, one of the two manuscripts with the colophon attributing the book to 'Prynce Edwarde'. The loss of the final leaf in this manuscript, after the incorporation of additional material, means that any colophon is also lost. In BL MS Harley 2340, Prince Edward is qualified as 'Kynge of Englande' but it is unlikely that either Edward III or Edward IV was the author, although rulers did write on hawking, notably the Emperor Frederick II in De arte venandi cum avibus. The treatise seems to have been written by an austringer, keeper of hawks, and concentrates on practical details. The attribution, however, is typical of the desire to stress the nobility of hawking and its essential part in a gentleman's education.

This compilation is of exceptional interest as a group of texts of practical relevance to rural pursuits, covering all those essential to a gentleman: hunting, hawking, riding and the profitable use of his land, within the law. It is a far more coherent collection than those in many such miscellanies and the planning that went into its assembly is evident. Fortunately the compiler ensured the survival of the unique list of dogs' names, giving the collection an intimacy and immediacy that such didactic collections often lack.
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