Questions About the Parker MS

This article was made to compile questions that I have about the Parker Manuscript. My original questions were in my Investigating the Parker Chronicle, ASC article. I made this article to keep that one cleaner and easier to navigate, as well as having the questions easily listed here without anything other than the answers. The list below is not the same as the list in the ItPC, ASC article. Changes have been made to condense multiple questions into one, and also to position some questions near each other given their similar topic.

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Question 1: Why are there multiple dates given to the chronicle?
Answer: The MS is made up of 5 booklets which are dated to different dates. The Parker Library on the Web says the layout is in 2 volumes. They don’t specify in a way that most people can understand what pages belong to which volume. My guess is that Booklets 1-4 are in Volume 1 and Booklet 5 is in Volume 2.

Question 2: What parts/pages are dated to which years?
Parkes (1976) splits them up as:
B1 – Fols. 1-25. 9th-10th centuries.
B2 – Fols. 26-32. Mid-10th-11th cc.
B3 – Fols. 33-52. Mid-10th c.
B4 – Fols. 53-56. 10th-12th cc.
B5 – Fols. 57-83. 8th-9th cc.

To recap, the “Date Created” dates given in the “more details” part are:
[ca. 1099]
[ca. 700 A.D.-1099]

Also, in the summary it says, “The Parker Chronicle, also known as the A-version, is the oldest manuscript surviving. It was started in the late ninth century and continued into the eleventh.“:
9th-11th. – Booklets 1+2.

The Parker Chronicle “was started in the late ninth century and continued into the eleventh“. Sedulius, “probably dating to the third quarter of the eighth century“. I don’t think c.700 = c.775-800, so I’m still wondering why they say c.700. I think they can only input dates that end in “00” or “99”. I think this is an issue because a more precise approximation is known at least for this manuscript and a few others that I’ve checked. I think it’d be useful for everybody’s sake if the Parker Library on the Web put the best approximations that are known, and not do the weird by century “00”/”99″ dates.

Approximate means “close to the actual, but not completely accurate or exact.” The year 800 is closer to the truth than 700.

Question 3: Who dated it?

Question 4: How was it dated?
Answer: Dr. Hoskin, the Director of the Parker Library said that it can be dated through “context, and through palaeographical study“. Although I figure she implied this was done for the Parker Chronicle, she does not say that the PC was dated using these methods, only that the PC can be dated using these methods. Parkes gives more information about how it was dated paleographically.

Question 5: Why is it claimed that it “originated somewhere in Wessex, probably Winchester…“?
Answer: Neil Manterfield from the Anglo Saxon Chronicle Facebook group claims that the first page of Bately (1983) says that the reason why they believe it’s from Winchester is because the handwriting matches 3 other MSS from Winchester. What are these 3 other MSS?

Dr. Hoskin relayed to me that “the scribe focuses on some points on Winchester events which he knows well and which suggest he was both present at and interested in events in that area“. This is an area that requires further expansion on the information for me to accept it as provenance.

Question 6: When was it first believed to have originated in Winchester?

Question 7: What is the 10th century provenance and when was that provenance discovered?
(possibly the “tenth-century quire signatures”? [2, p.149])

Question 8: What did Parker call the Chronicle?

Question 9: When was it named the Parker Chronicle?

Question 10: Does Wotton ever mention where/when he got it and what it was called when he got it?


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Additional Questions about the Parker MS

Question 11: When was the library at Corpus first called the Parker Library?

Question 12: When did Wotton give Parker the MS?

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[1] –

[2] – PARKES, M. B. “The Palaeography of the Parker Manuscript of the ‘Chronicle’, Laws and Sedulius, and Historiography at Winchester in the Late Ninth and Tenth Centuries.” Anglo-Saxon England, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 149–171. JSTOR, Accessed 25 June 2020.

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