Most studies of the medieval English Carmelite province neglect the Whitefriars’ literary efforts.[1] By far the largest proportion of Carmelite texts in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries consisted of scholarly works, produced especially at Oxford and Cambridge universities.[2] However, the ‘Order of the Brethren of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ also exhibited an interest in ‘devotional’ literature, written in the vernacular as well as Latin, and aimed at an enthusiastic lay (sometimes female) audience. A number of original texts and translations show that Carmelites engaged with the notion of ‘vernacular theology’.[3]


Modern scholars have largely overlooked the literary contribution of the medieval Carmelite community’s corpus of writings, partly because of its overshadowing by the larger and more celebrated mendicant orders of Dominicans and Franciscans. Much study has also been done into the role of the Bridgettines and the Carthusians as major producers of religious texts in medieval England.[4] However, though the Carthusians were undeniably a ‘major force in the translation and dissemination process’[5] and the Bridgettine library at Syon was certainly an ‘intellectual treasure house’[6] in its later years, such views have underestimated the bibliographic credentials of the Whitefriars.[7]


The low profile of the Carmelites is surprising, since England was the largest of the order’s twelve medieval provinces, approaching a thousand friars at its height, about thirty-nine houses, and sub-divided into four administrative ‘distinctiones’, London (house founded 1247), York (1253), Norwich (1256), and Oxford (1256). The Carmelites enjoyed particularly strong links with England ever since their enforced migration from Palestine in 1238, and presentation at the English court in 1241.[8] Two of the order’s earliest general chapters were held in England (Aylesford in 1247 and London in 1254). It was at the first that the Carmelites decided to petition the Pope for a mitigation of their eremitical formula vitae, which had been given to them sometime between 1206 and 1214 by St. Albert, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.[9] The formula vitae had stated that each hermit was to live a life of prayerful contemplation [Ch. 7] in solitary places [Ch. 2], occupying a single cell [Ch. 3] in a community with other hermits [Chs. 1 & 9].[10]


After the move to the west, the order tried to adapt the spirit of the Albertine Rule to the mendicant life. As Lawrence observes of the Carmelites, ‘their conversion into orders of friars bears witness to the powerful impact of the mendicant idea upon the consciousness of religious people in the thirteenth century.’[11] This conversion, in response to the twelfth century ‘evangelical awakening’,[12] radically altered their way of life, from eremitic solitaries to coenobitic mendicant friars. Conventional historiography has seen the Carmelite integration of the eremitical and mendicant lifestyles as a smooth progression. However, the conversion was not without practical and spiritual difficulties. Mendicancy required the Carmelites to abandon their early rural hermitages, in favour of Europe’s urban centres, where the Carmelites could minister to the growing populace, and gain income and recruits.


Necessary and fruitful as the change in lifestyle was for the order, it eventually provoked questions amongst the Carmelites (particularly its writers) as to how their contemplative roots could be squared with their active urban pastorate.[13]  Despite adopting the Vita Apostolica by papal sanction, Carmelites still regarded themselves as contemplative desert hermits.[14] The Rubrica Prima of 1281, the summary of the order’s early history, emphasised its reclusive nature, and instructed young Carmelites that they were continuing the spirit of Elijah and Elisha’s contemplative solitude.[15] Many of the writings produced by the order in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries reflect the Carmelite struggle between preserving their identity as semi-monastic solitary contemplatives, and mendicants committed to an active pastoral mission in the world.[16]


In their early history, the hermits of Carmel seem to have lacked a literary culture. Early Carmelite spirituality was conveyed by word of mouth, rather than by circulated writings. Bernardo Oller, prior general of the Carmelites until his death in the early 1380s, explained the early brethren’s lack of books by stating ‘Nec alia documenta antiqui religiosi habere curaverunt; sufficit enim eis bona fides et praescriptio antiquitatis’.[17] Since the original hermits living on the mountain range of Carmel were probably mostly lay penitents,[18] the Carmelites only developed a clerical culture from the mid-1300s when their ministrations to the growing numbers of literate laypersons exposed the need for ordained – and therefore literate – members.[19]


From the second half of the fourteenth century the order made up for its early dearth of literature by becoming the most active and prolific in literary terms of all the orders in England.[20] In particular, Carmelites wrote a number of legends and histories concerning their origins on Mount Carmel, which allowed the Whitefriars to distinguish themselves from the other mendicant orders. In an age when Marian devotion flourished generally, the Fratres Beatae Mariae de Monte Carmeli perceived themselves as enjoying a special relationship with the Virgin.[21] Moreover, the legends encouraged the Whitefriars to perceive themselves as hermit descendents of the prophet Elijah (and thus the oldest of the Church’s orders), a privilege confirmed by the chancellor of Cambridge University at a determinatio in 1374.[22]


Such disputes were one aspect of feverish Carmelite activity in the schools of Europe. The Carmelites quickly became a student order, devoting themselves to the pursuit of academic excellence.[23] As has been observed, ‘Without the towns the friars would never have come into existence; without the universities they would never have become great’.[24] Carmelites became prominent in towns and universities across Europe.[25] Emden records some 225 Carmelites connected in some way to Cambridge University in the Middle Ages, and a further 244 at Oxford,[26] though of course the number will have been higher than records can reveal. The Carmelites’ pursuit of academic excellence was necessary to sustain their pastoral provision, and stimulated their role as sermon preachers.[27]


The Carmelite system of education and book ownership was the bedrock of their literary activities. In England, each Whitefriar (who could begin his novitiate from the age of fourteen) received initial instruction at his filial convent, that is, the house in which he entered the order, and to which he was (at least nominally) attached for life.[28] There was no central house for instruction in the novitiate, but even small provincial convents such as Hulne seem to have had substantial libraries for this purpose.[29]


The brightest Carmelite friars in England continued their study in one of the province’s studia particularia in London, Oxford, York and Norwich (established in 1281 for the largest cities in the kingdom, one in each ‘distinction’). The antiquary, Protestant polemicist, and former Carmelite John Bale (1495-1563), a source of so much information about the medieval province and its books, described the early sixteenth-century library of the studia at Norwich (also his filial house) as ‘noble and fair’.[30] Bale became the first literary historian interested in studying Carmelite texts, observing ‘That so many learned divines and erudite writers should have followed each other so quickly and within so short a time and from within such a small fraternity seems almost miraculous’.[31] Bale was one of several Carmelite scholars to study abroad, and the international nature of the order facilitated the circulation of books and ideas amongst the friars. University graduates could participate in the spread of Carmelite texts thanks to their right to teach in any Christian university, (ius ubique docendi).[32] Just as English Carmelites copied texts whilst studying abroad,[33] it is more than likely that Whitefriars from the continent (such as those from Lombardy and Tuscany studying in Cambridge) copied English works.[34] Several continental confreres came to study at the studium generale (study house for philosophy) established in London.[35] The Carmelites were the only order not to have a studium generale in Oxford,[36] largely because an influx of international students would have precluded English friars from taking the doctorate (which was limited to one Whitefriar a year), and also because so many Carmelite academics were at court. Though neither Oxford nor Cambridge ever became official studia generalia of the order, and only a few Whitefriars were ever sent for a university degree, Carmelites became heavily involved in the faculties of those towns,[37] producing a disproportionately high number of friars who reached the highest levels of academia, such as Stephen Patrington (d. 1417), and John Baconthorpe (c.1280-1348), and many of the writers included in this survey of Carmelite literature.[38]


Copsey puts the total output of Carmelite writings in England at over 1,200 titles, some of which were once catalogued by Bale and others.[39] Since many have been lost, and Bale did not visit all Carmelite houses (especially in the north and west), the number must have been higher. The large number of books suggests that the Carmelites had well sustained libraries. Many of these texts came from Oxford, where the number of identifiable Carmelite authors is considerably larger than their Dominican counterparts.[40] This corpus of Carmelite literature can be divided into various generic groups: scholastic and logical texts such as doctrinal controversies, almost certainly by far the largest portion of medieval Carmelite libraries,[41] Latin devotional texts, and works of ‘vernacular theology’.


This last category offers an insight into the medieval Carmelite interest in lay vernacular spirituality. The circulation of English compositions by Carmelites was more widespread than their academic works, which remained within educational institutions.[42] The circulation of texts of spiritual guidance to the laity shows that Carmelites attempted to widen the readership of contemplative literature beyond the confines of the convent.


Many fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Carmelite texts merit analysis. It is my intention to study only the work of Richard Misyn in detail, but an overview of the writings by some of his predecessors and contemporaries is required to appreciate fully Misyn’s place in the Carmelite literary canon. Because the wide spectrum of Carmelite vernacular theological writing is hard to compartmentalise, the basic taxonomy I have followed is to present authors individually, illustrating thematic links between them.


Richard Lavenham

Richard Lavenham (d. 1399+) was an exceptionally prolific writer on numerous topics, including Scripture, discussions of logic and physics, sermons, anti-Lollard treatises, lectures on the Revelations of St. Bridget, and the history of the Carmelite order. Lavenham acted as confessor to Richard II, and was a close friend of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, showing Carmelite influence in the highest political and religious circles of Ricardian England.[43]


Lavenham gained his doctorate in Oxford before 1384, lecturing as a magister regens at the height of the Wycliffite controversy. Amongst the mendicant orders, ‘the Carmelites in particular, became firm opponents of Wyclif and his followers’,[44] perhaps because of Wyclif’s strong opposition to the Carmelites’ eremitic claims.[45] Nowhere were the Carmelites more dedicated to upholding orthodoxy than in Oxford, the ‘seedbed’ of Lollardy, and Lavenham took it upon himself to compile the heretical beliefs of John Purvey.[46]


Probably written in the last quarter of the fourteenth century, Lavenham’s Litil Tretys on the Seven Deadly Sins[47] may similarly be seen as a Carmelite’s vernacular assertion of orthodox morality and church doctrine against ‘he þt bringeth vp or ellis folwith eny newe opynyon a ·en þe feyth of holycherche’ [9/5-6]. A work on the ‘vices and virtues’, a genre in which the friars were especially prominent,[48] Lavenham’s text provided parochial clergy with the basic religious instruction necessary for the cura animarum and celebration of the sacraments.[49] Initially read by clergy as an aid to priests in the confessional and pulpit,[50] such books gradually came to be read by devout laypersons as meditative tracts.[51] In teaching orthodoxy, such texts simultaneously suppressed heresy.


The fact that Lavenham’s treatises on logic, physics, and the Bible were written in Latin reserved them for a university environment, which deemed such subjects inappropriate for a wider lay audience. Likewise, whilst Lavenham’s writings on Bridget’s Revelations demonstrate an interest in contemporary female spirituality, his decision to lecture on them in Latin is again indicative. Lavenham composed the Litil Tretys in English, showing a desire to instruct the illiterati (those unable to read Latin). However, Lavenham’s only vernacular text was ‘devotional’ and didactic theology, rather than academic and speculative.


Though Lavenham’s ‘vernacular theology’ was largely conventional, his decision to write the Litil Tretys shows that he was aware of a market for such texts, and the potential use of English in asserting orthodoxy, as well as in challenging it. The sixteen extant manuscripts of the Litil Tretys indicate that it was a popular piece of vernacular theology, which enjoyed ‘considerable currency and varied ownership in and beyond East Anglia’.[52] Manuscript evidence further asserts the perceived orthodoxy of the Litil Tretys, which was compiled alongside notably orthodox vernacular texts.[53] Indeed, the base text of Van Zutphen’s edition (London, British Library MS Harley 211), a demonstrably Carmelite manuscript, seems to have been written in a similar hand, and in the same year (1439), as the anti-Wycliffite Fasciculi Zizaniorum.[54]


Richard Maidstone

At Oxford Lavenham is likely to have known, and probably taught, Richard of Maidstone. A Carmelite of academic repute, Maidstone composed a Latin poem, Latin prose treatises and theological commentaries, as well as a vernacular theological work, the Penitential Psalms, a meditation in verse upon the seven penitential psalms.[55]


Maidstone was probably born in the 1340s.[56] He joined the order’s friary at Aylesford, Kent, and it was in the cloister there that he was buried on 1 June 1396. In Aylesford he came into contact with the classic texts of medieval theology, since the librarium there contained about 75 volumes in 1381.[57] Maidstone was sent to the order’s studium at London where he was ordained priest on 20 December 1376. During the late 1380s, Maidstone was made a Bachelor of Theology at Oxford and eventually became a Doctor of Divinity before 1390.[58]


Maidstone divided his energies between Oxford and London, where the Carmelite house was ideally located for intercourse with the governing classes.[59]  Several Carmelites preached at court, such as John Swaffham, Thomas Peverel, and Stephen Patrington, all eventually receiving bishoprics.[60] Probably during the 1390s Maidstone acted as confessor to Richard II’s uncle, the Lancastrian John of Gaunt, a position held by a number of Whitefriars, including the court preacher William de Reynham, John Badby, Walter Dysse, the preacher and controversialist Richard Mardisley, and John Kynyngham, another prominent opponent of Wyclif’s teaching. [61] Many of Maidstone’s Whitefriar contemporaries were instrumental in the condemnation of Wyclif’s beliefs at the Blackfriars ‘Earthquake’ Council in London in May 1382,[62] and when the friars were accused by Wycliffites of stirring up the insurgents of the so-called ‘Peasants’ Revolt’ of 1381, the heads of the mendicant orders beseeched Gaunt’s support.[63] Gaunt founded the Carmelite priory at Doncaster in 1350, and as well as supporting hermits and anchorites he left more money to the Carmelites in his will than to the other orders.[64] As a member of Gaunt’s entourage, Maidstone was part of a powerful political set and cultural milieu, where poets such as Chaucer found audience.[65]


Maidstone was himself ‘an accomplished metropolitan writer,’[66] whose literary aspirations were evident in a long Latin poem, written in 1393 to celebrate the reconciliation of Richard II and the City of London the previous year, the detailed description of the festivities suggesting that Maidstone took part.[67] Copsey calls the ode competent laudatory verse, but marked more by good intentions and length rather than by any poetic skills.[68]


Maidstone’s poetic skills are better displayed in the metre, rhyme and imagery of his Penitential Psalms, written during the 1380’s or 90’s.[69] Since the recitation of the Psalms was the traditional prayer of hermits, Maidstone’s text may well have had special appeal to a Carmelite readership. However, the Whitefriars recited the monastic Office (which combined the Psalms with other texts), and the Penitential Psalms were generally more popular with laypeople that did not recite the full opus dei. [70]


Whilst a large number of surviving manuscripts (in Maidstone’s case 27) is not necessarily a guarantee of wide readership in Ricardian England, the fact that (unattributed) excerpts from Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms were added to prayer books used by both secular clergy and laity stands testimony to the fact that Carmelite texts were circulated beyond the immediate confines of the order.[71] Maidstone’s decision to write on the Penitential Psalms shows a Carmelite responding to the growing demand for devotional material in the vernacular in the later Middle Ages.[72] As well as being confessor to John of Gaunt, Maidstone was licensed to hear confessions in Rochester Diocese in 1390.[73] Maidstone’s ‘seuen salmes’ may have been read in a penitential context, and recommendation of his text by ‘clerical intermediaries’ to penitents would ensure its popularity.[74]


As with Lavenham, it is striking that Maidstone should have written his Penitential Psalms in direct and accessible English. When John Ashwardby, vicar of St. Mary’s, Oxford, preached against the mendicant ideal of voluntary poverty, Maidstone wrote his major theological work, Protectorium Pauperis (“In defence of poverty”) probably in 1392.[75]  In his treatise, Maidstone accused Ashwardby of preaching controversy openly to the laity in English, whereas Maidstone himself had debated ‘in scolis et coram clericis in lingua Latina’.[76] Like Lavenham, Maidstone believed that the university was the proper forum for debate, in Latin, and like Lavenham, Maidstone’s vernacular text is devotional rather than speculative, and entirely orthodox.


Maidstone’s dislike of vernacular theological debate was symptomatic of his order’s opposition to Lollardy. It is therefore ironic that on a number of occasions Maidstone is indebted to the later version of the Wycliffite Psalter.[77] His text may even have been the provocation of, or response to, the (undated) Lollard appropriation of Rolle’s psalm commentary.[78] The structure and language of Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms acknowledges the laity’s desire for an understanding of the Scriptures, but restricts it. Rather than providing his audience with a full translation of the Penitential Psalms, Maidstone followed each Vulgate Bible verse with a stanza of commentary in English that translated the sentiment of the verse and expanded upon its meaning. This macaronic structuring allowed readers with a basic grasp of Latin to improve their understanding of the Psalms from the adjacent English commentary. In the Prologue to his own English Psalter Commentary,[79] Rolle declared that ‘In this werke i seke na straunge ynglis, bot lightest and commonest and swilk that is mast like til the latyn swa that thai that knawes noght latyn by the ynglis may com til mony latyn wordis.’[80] Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms may similarly have functioned as a teaching device, for either the illiterati, or young Carmelite novices developing their knowledge of the Office.


Studying the codicology of extant manuscripts containing Maidstone’s work brings to light further evidence about the use of fifteenth-century Carmelite texts. Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms appear in widely different compilations, due to differences in taste and interpretation.


Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson A 389 is an interesting mixture of religious texts, which includes two versions of Rolle’s Ego Dormio.[81] The manuscript is entirely written in Latin, apart from Maidstone’s Psalms, the second version of Ego Dormio, some English prayers and a love-song to Jesus. The manuscript also contains works that Misyn chose to translate, Rolle’s Emendatio Vitae and the long text of his Incendium Amoris.[82] It is not unusual to find Carmelite materials compiled alongside Rolle. Indeed, Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms were usually ascribed to Rolle,[83] though an additional stanza in the Rawlinson manuscript correctly supplies the author’s name as ‘frere Richarde Maydenstoon’ (a fact independently corroborated by Bale).[84] The opening of the Penitential Psalms in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Digby 18 states ‘Here bigynneþ þe prologe of þe seuene salmys in englysche by Richard Hampole heremyte’.[85] The different attributions are striking, since they demonstrate the dominance of the Rolle cult by the late fourteenth century, and show that Carmelites and the ‘hermit of Hampole’ were perceived as sharing a number of stylistic similarities.[86]


Another florilegium containing Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms is London, British Library, MS Additional 39574 (the so-called ‘Wheatley manuscript’).[87] This early fifteenth-century portmanteau miscellany of entirely ‘devotional’ materials places Maidstone’s work alongside such vernacular verse and prose texts as the Life of Adam and Eve, and prayers to the Virgin and St. John. Carmelite material was thus read alongside other theological works in the vernacular.


Probably the most intriguing of the manuscripts to contain Maidstone’s Penitential Psalms is Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 102 [ff. 128r-136r].[88] This manuscript, written by one hand in the mid-late fifteenth century, contains a diverse mix of texts alongside Maidstone, including the C-text of Piers Plowman,[89] political poems referring to dates up until 1418, and the Debate of Body and Soul. The dialect of the scribe is that of Worcestershire, perhaps predictable in a manuscript containing Piers Plowman, and shows the dissemination of Carmelite texts to an area apparently unconnected with Maidstone. Maidstone’s inclusion alongside texts which, if not seditious, could certainly be read as offering criticism of the status quo shows that Carmelite theological material in the vernacular was not restricted to compilations of orthodox devotional material.[90]


Thomas Fishlake

The writings of Maidstone’s Carmelite contemporary, Thomas Fishlake (fl. 1377), were compiled in manuscripts that could not be considered in any way heterodox. Fishlake translated Walter Hilton’s The Scale of Perfection from English into Latin, about 1400 (within a very few years of Hilton’s death in 1396).[91] This act demonstrates a Carmelite’s interest in making vernacular English theology available to an international Latinate audience. Indeed, thanks to Fishlake, the Scale ranks ‘together with Gower’s Confessio Amantis as the only works originally composed in Middle English which are known to have circulated on the continent during the medieval period.’[92] The fifteen extant Latin manuscripts show the wide dispersal and obvious popularity of the text, and since five of these are of continental provenance, English Carmelite texts were demonstrably copied across the Christian world.[93]


The Bridgettines copied Carmelite writings. They possessed several copies of Fishlake's translation, one at Syon, and two at their motherhouse at Vadstena; one of which (now Uppsala University Library MS C 159) was copied at Syon by a Bridgettine deacon Clement Maydstone (d. 1456).


The Carthusians (linked to the Bridgettines in many ways and also highly active in the collecting of religious texts) were also responsible for the gathering and dissemination of Carmelite works. The Fishlake translation in Bibliothèque Municipale de Marseille, MS 729, was written ‘in carthusa Vallisbenedictionis secus avinionem’ (Villeneuve-les-Avignon), and the Charterhouse of Sheen owned another manuscript.[94]


Fishlake’s translation shows a Carmelite attraction for texts originally written for solitaries, an attraction that was particularly influential upon Misyn. Hilton’s incipit of Book One dedicates the Scale to a female recluse. Fishlake’s translation attracted the energies of the Carthusian recluse John Dygon at Sheen, who annotated and copied texts now in Oxford colleges,[95] and the Carthusian textual critic James Grenehalgh.[96] As we shall see, copying by Carthusians and Bridgettines is a recurrent phenomenon in the circulation of Carmelite texts.


One Fishlake manuscript in particular illustrates that Carmelites also circulated devotional texts amongst themselves. Once at the Carmelite library in Cambridge, this manuscript was owned by another of Hilton’s probable university contemporaries, Fishlake’s friend, John Pole, O. Carm.[97] This constat, or gifted copy, is a compilation of materials on the eremitic life, of particular interest to the Carmelites, who saw themselves as maintaining Elijah’s solitary contemplative tradition.


Fishlake was a good and careful translator, who made few errors, and used a good English manuscript as his source, so good that the York manuscript provides a good (though not ‘learned’) base text for the English ones.[98] Like all the other Latin manuscripts bar one, the York manuscript ascribes the Scale to Hilton, and like six others (though one is erroneous) it has a colophon about Hilton's death, suggesting that it was written soon after the Augustinian canon’s demise, and especially concerned with authorial attribution.


On the face of it, translating the Scale into Latin may seem to work against the principle of having theological texts in the vernacular. On the contrary, it shows a desire amongst English Carmelites to increase access to the English brand of vernacular theology across the church at large, and Hussey interprets Fishlake’s translation as ‘the ultimate medieval accolade’ for the writer of the ‘eminently sane, moderate and balanced treatise’.[99] Alternatively, translating Hilton’s vernacular theology into Latin may have been a way for an academic’s lexical mindset to test its orthodoxy in the language with which theologians felt more comfortable. This would seem likely, given the milieu of orthodoxy in Cambridge in the late fourteenth century (particularly in contrast to Oxford).[100]


Fishlake is known to have been an active member of the university and convent in Cambridge between at least c.1375 (when he became a bachelor of theology) and 1377, later gaining his doctorate.[101] Fishlake’s literary tastes were influenced by his membership of the ‘Arundel circle’, a group of largely northern clerks who studied and worked in Cambridge whilst serving Arundel as bishop of Ely, who moved north when he was translated to the episcopate of York in 1388.[102] The circle included Cambridge friars, who ‘would have worked with Arundel’s Ely clerks and been valued for their theological knowledge and pastoral skills’.[103] Carmelites were very influential in the Cambridge theological community, and in 1377, at Arundel’s personal request, Fishlake preached at the Ely diocesan synod.[104] Pole was another member of this tight-knit network of friends and colleagues, as was Hilton.[105] It seems probable that the ‘positions which [Hilton] takes must reflect some of the cross-currents in contemporary theology’.[106] Carmelite theologians were particularly active in Cambridge, and it is quite possible that Hilton’s vernacular theology of the ‘mixed life’ was influenced by the friars, whose preaching and ministry demonstrated that contemplation was not restricted to monks, but within the reach of all.[107] It may be possible to find in Hilton the influence of the Carmelite Thomas Maldon, doctor of theology and prior of the Cambridge house in the early 1370s, and writer of questiones on topics such as the proper conducting of the pastoral office and the spiritual understanding of scripture.[108] East Anglian prelates rated the Carmelites and their writing highly. William Grey, Bishop of Ely (d. 1478), had a collection of texts that included Maldon’s Lectura in Ps. 118, an exposition of the first 48 verses of the psalm (now Oxford, Balliol College, MS 80, ff. 190r-232r).[109] As we shall observe in the study of Misyn, Arundel’s clerks were responsible for supervising the piety and ensuring the orthodoxy of spirituality in the diocese of York, where they helped to promote the ‘mixed life’, a programme in which Hilton’s works played a significant part. Fishlake’s work should be viewed as a Carmelite contribution to the Arundel circle’s spiritual programme.


The work of Fishlake shows that the Carmelites had a particular regard for Hilton’s brand of vernacular theology.[110] Like many of the texts read, written or translated by medieval Carmelites, Hilton’s writing addresses the important debate in the medieval church about the perceived conflict between the active and contemplative lives, which had exercised the Carmelites ever since their migration west. The Whitefriars concern about their own paradoxical position of being solitary contemplatives living in community and working within the world made Hilton’s text eminently suitable for translation. Fishlake’s translation of The Scale shows that a Carmelite considered Hilton’s vernacular theology to be as beneficial for the Latinate clergy as it was for a female recluse.


Fishlake’s translation of Hilton illustrates a number of important points regarding Carmelite literary activity. It shows a real interest and influence in contemporary theological developments, a regard for anchoritic literature, and a desire to promote English spirituality amongst readers at home or abroad. The provenance of extant manuscripts informs us that Carmelite writings were circulated internally around the order, and also copied by other groups. In particular, Fishlake highlights the Carmelite desire for ‘mixed life’ literature that blended the ideals of mendicancy, and contemplation. All these aspects of Carmelite literature re-emerge in the writings of Richard Misyn.


Thomas Ashburne

Another Carmelite worth mentioning alongside Fishlake as a possible translator of religious texts from English into Latin, and a possible inspiration for Misyn, is Thomas Ashburne (fl. 1384).[111] He joined the Carmelites at Northampton where in 1384 he wrote a theological poem, De Contemptu Mundi (‘On despising the world’) lamenting the lack of religious devotion among rulers, and pointing out the astrological reflection of the state of the world.[112] Ashburne perhaps translated into Latin the hugely popular northern poem The Prick of Conscience, falsely ascribed to Richard Rolle.[113] As we have seen in the case of Maidstone, Carmelites were sometimes involved in the translation of texts that the Lollards had interpolated to suit their own theology. The Prick of Conscience was one such text,[114] though whether such translations were an attempt to reclaim orthodoxy, or whether they actually provoked reinterpretation by the friar-hating Lollards is hard to state with certainty. If Ashburne was in fact responsible for the translation, then his is the first known Carmelite engagement with a text then thought to have been by Rolle. Even if Ashburn did not translate The Prick of Conscience, then the short allegorical English poem that preceded the work may have been by him.[115] Ashburne’s interest in a moral and penitential work such as The Prick of Conscience would stand alongside the fact of his being licensed to hear confessions in Lincoln diocese on 11 February 1350,[116] and demonstrates yet again the Carmelite interest in vernacular penitential texts.


Alan of Lynn

Another Carmelite active in pastoral and literary work was Master Alan of Lynn (c.1348-1432).[117] Lynn was a notable and prolific Carmelite scholar born in Bishop’s (now King’s) Lynn, where he entered the Carmelite house. He studied in Cambridge not long after Fishlake, eventually lecturing on patristics and the Bible, and incepting as Doctor of Theology before 1410. He is recorded as having been lector at Cambridge from before 1407, lecturing in that year in the studium of the Norwich convent. There he worked primarily as a compiler of numerous indices or tables of contents (tabulae) for the large library, probably for the benefit of his students. Only two of Lynn’s indices survive: an alphabetical index to Bersuire’s commentary,[118] and a tabula of Bridget of Sweden’s Revelations.[119] However, Bale’s research tells us that Lynn wrote numerous treatises and exegetical works in Latin, now lost,[120] as well as indices which included the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, John Baconthorpe, the Church Fathers, Philip Ribot’s De Peculiaribus Gestis Carmelitarum, and the pseudo-Bonaventuran Stimulus Amoris. Though he wrote little original work himself,[121] he had a voracious appetite for cataloguing works of mysticism. His examinations of popular spirituality are important for our survey of Carmelites interested in vernacular theology.


Lynn’s interest in spirituality was not restricted to the authorised mystics found in the library at Norwich. His conversations with his contemporary townswoman, Margery Kempe (b. 1373), show his interest in the female spirituality of fifteenth-century East Anglia. Their relationship tells us about the type of lay religious experience that interested fifteenth-century Whitefriars, and the influence they had upon the piety of the mercantile class, including its women.[122] Like many other Carmelites involved in the direction of women, Lynn acted as one of Kempe’s spiritual advisors. He not only initiated an enquiry into Margery’s survival of a falling beam,[123] but also ‘supportyd hir in hir wepyng and in hir crying and also enformyd hir in qwestyons of Scriptur whan sche woolde any askyn hym’.[124] Kempe’s peculiar brand of autonomous female spirituality intrigued Lynn, who allegedly found her conversation ‘gostly and fruteful’,[125] and was aided in his preaching through her intercession.[126] However, the friendship between Kempe and Lynn earned the disapproval of the Carmelite provincial Thomas Netter, who declared that ‘he schulde no mor spekyn wyth hir, ne enformyn hir in no textys of scriptur’.[127] Significantly, when Lynn and Kempe were reunited, they shared a dinner ‘sawcyd and sawryd with talys of holy scriptur’.[128] This is evidence that at least some Carmelites went against the norms of orthodoxy in their desire to instruct women in the Bible.


Netter’s initial prohibition is understandable in its historical and geographical context. In the early fifteenth century, East Anglia and the East Midlands (especially Norwich and Leicester) saw a number of Lollard heresy trials.[129] The possession and reading of the Bible in the vernacular was itself a potentially heretical act, and though Carmelites were renowned as opponents of the Lollards, and Lynn himself had a reputation as an opponent of Wyclif, presumably his Bible discussions with Kempe took place in English. Netter presumably feared that the order’s reputation for orthodoxy could be besmirched if its doctors of theology consorted with the likes of Kempe, who was constantly dogged by accusations of heresy.[130]


Carmelites were aware that spirituality and literacy became increasingly linked in the later Middle Ages. Given Lynn’s interest in the cataloguing of religious experience, it seems likely that he was the ‘Whyte Frer [who] proferyd hir [Kempe] to wryten freely yf sche wold’ her ‘tribulacyons and hir felingys’.[131] However, Kempe’s fear of committing her actions and thoughts to vellum in an age of increasingly conservative spirituality prevented her from accepting the services of the Carmelite amanuensis, who perhaps wished to record her story as a test of her orthodoxy. Lynn’s interest in the religious experiences of laywomen makes for an interesting comparison with Misyn.


Kempe was equally interested in the activities of Carmelites, and from her descriptions of meetings with several Whitefriars it is probable that she knew of their reputation as the most actively anti-Lollard of the orders. In constructing her ‘autohagiography’,[132] Kempe surrounded herself with Carmelites of strong orthodox credentials. When criticised by clergymen, Kempe calls upon the support of ‘a worshipful doctowr of divinite, a White Frer, a solem clerk and elde doctowr, and a wel aprevyd’,[133] presumably Alan of Lynn. Another meeting with Lynn took place whilst Kempe was en route to gain the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter and seal as proof of her orthodoxy.[134] In Norwich, Kempe preceded her meeting with Julian of Norwich by visiting the Carmelite William Southfield (d. 1414), ‘a good man and an holy levar’, revered during his lifetime for his orthodox devotion, and visions of the Virgin.[135] In Bristol, Kempe dined with the Carmelite Thomas Peverel, who as ‘bischop of Worcetyr’ (1407-1419) had been responsible for John Badby’s conviction and burning as a Lollard in 1410.[136] It is probable from a reference to Smithfield that Kempe was aware of the fate of Badby, the second Lollard to be executed at the site.[137] Describing his nemesis’s hospitality, gifts and blessing to her is Kempe’s attempt to ally herself with the Carmelite forces of religious conservatism.


Kempe’s self-professed orthodoxy is further underlined by the texts she informs us she heard read to her: ‘Hyltons boke’, ‘Bridis boke’, ‘Stimulus amoris’, and ‘Incendium Amoris’.[138] All these were either indexed by Lynn or translated by other Carmelites, and it demonstrates that the Whitefriars’ devotional reading closely resembled, and probably influenced, that of the laity. The educated and literate air Kempe sought for herself by listing texts written and read by Whitefriars may also have impressed any audience familiar with the Carmelites’ academic reputation. In an attempt to assert her orthodoxy, and to promote herself as a well-educated woman, Kempe’s contacts and choice of reading matter place her firmly in an identifiably Carmelite textual community.


Thomas Netter

Though Thomas Netter of (Saffron) Walden (c.1372-1430) wrote exclusively in Latin, we have already seen his influence upon the Carmelite textual community and its interest in vernacular theology. Any account of Carmelite writings must make reference to Netter’s activities.[139]


Entering the order at Hitchin, Netter trained at the London studium and probably became baccalaureus in Oxford c.1403, gaining his doctorate c.1410. Carmelite Provincial between 1414 and 1430, Netter has been called the last great medieval theologian, and ‘the most distinguished friar of any order between the age of Ockham and the Dissolution’.[140] Netter wrote the vast Doctrinale antiquitatum fidei ecclesiæ Catholicæ, a three-volume text that expounded church teaching in opposition to Wyclif and Huss. The Doctrinale effectively became the church’s ‘official anti-Wycliffite statement’.[141]


Manuscripts of Netter’s Doctrinale are useful in telling us about the modus operandi of fifteenth-century Carmelite textual production.[142] As Copsey observes, Netter’s work was in high demand, and a number of Carmelites are known to have copied this text for dissemination.[143] Eight illuminated manuscripts of the Doctrinale, probably produced in a Carmelite house, show that the Whitefriars were skilled book producers. They could create academic texts as beautiful as liturgical ones, which were circulated both within the order, and sold outside it.[144] Like Carthusians, fifteenth-century Carmelites had the means, the skills, and the motivation to copy and disseminate works of religious instruction.


Netter’s work is often called the last major work of Carmelite literature in the Middle Ages, yet it must have had great impact upon two other Whitefriars who remain overlooked, Richard Misyn, and Thomas Scrope.


Thomas Scrope

Thomas Scrope, alias Bradley,[145] is the final and most colourful author to be considered in this overview of medieval Carmelite literature. Until his death in 1491 at the age of nearly a hundred, he preached throughout the countryside, earning him a saintly reputation. He was probably the illegitimate grandson of Sir Richard le Scrope, first baron of Bolton (1327-1403), a family remarkable for their political power and literary patronage.[146] Having completed his studies and been ordained before 1425, Scrope lived a life of apostolic zeal as an itinerant and apocalyptic preacher, until (like Alan of Lynn) he provoked Netter’s disapproval.[147] Scrope subsequently lived as a recluse in a cell in the Carmelite friary in Norwich from 1425 until approximately twenty years later.[148] As a recluse (either an anchorite or hermit), Scrope was living in a dramatic way the contemplative vocation of his order. Tanner highlights the Carmelite anchorites who for him ‘represent an interesting return to the original traditions’ of the order.[149] During this time, (approximately when Misyn was writing), Scrope occupied himself in the composition and copying of books and sermons.[150]


Scrope was interested in vernacular theology, owning and annotating a copy of Lavenham’s Litil Tretys.[151] His own contribution to the Carmelite corpus of vernacular literature survives in one fifteenth-century manuscript, London, Lambeth Palace Library MS 192.[152] This simple yet beautiful manuscript contains two English works.


The first is Scrope’s translation of an anonymous rule for hermits attributed to Pope St. Linus, entitled (in a sixteenth-century hand) ‘The Booke of the institution and proper deeds of religious Carmelites’.[153] The text deals with pope Linus’s supposed ordinances on the solitary life, which are somewhat reminiscent of the Albertine Rule. The text concludes with the phrase  ‘This is þe charge of an hermy·tis lyffe’. Though this text is not Carmelite in origin, Scrope and the sixteenth-century annotator (probably Bale), saw it as being applicable to the order. The text would have had obvious appeal to Scrope who tried to recapture what he perceived to be the earliest model of Carmelite life by rejecting his community in favour of an anchorhold. We shall see that this anchoritic spirituality was simultaneously influencing Misyn’s work.


The second vernacular work in the Lambeth manuscript, written in the 1430s, is Scrope’s literal translation of a very significant history of the Carmelite order compiled in Latin between 1379 and 1391 by the Spanish provincial Felipe Ribot, Libri decem de institutione et de peculiaribus gestis religiosorum Carmelitarum. This text – part of what modern scholars call the Ribot Collection – dealt with the spiritual life and ideals of the Carmelites from the order’s supposed Old Testament beginnings until the papal revision of the Rule. The collection was divided into four parts, and though Ribot claimed to be the editor of four individual texts, ascribable to clerics from the fifth century onwards, modern scholarship believes that Ribot or a contemporary wrote the entire collection.[154]


Whatever the date(s) of the Ribot collection, the fact of its emergence in the late fourteenth century is highly significant, since it shows the Carmelites’ growing interest in their own history, and a literary recourse to what they considered to be the founding principles of the order. By 1420 the Ribot collection had come to be considered so important a history that Thomas Netter wrote to the prior general, John Grossi, requesting a copy of the book of John XLIV [the Ribot collection], ‘qui liber magni pretii et honoris esset apud nos, maxime si emi posset ut haberetur in vetusta scriptura’.[155] This letter implies that the English province did not own a copy of the Ribot collection until Netter’s request, though it was known and valued, and within a decade or so a copy had reached the Norwich convent, where Scrope translated it as The Ten Bookys of the Instytucyonys and Specyal Dedys of Relygyows Carmelitys [f. 47], and where Alan of Lynn indexed it (presumably from the same copy). Though Scrope wrote several accounts of the early history and spirituality of the order, his translation of the Institutione was the only one in English. We might expect his purpose in doing so was to promote Carmelite ideals beyond the order. In fact, Scrope dedicated the Lambeth manuscript text to his prior at Norwich,[156] which suggests that Carmelites regularly read vernacular texts by the end of the fifteenth century.



Bale bound Scrope’s translation alongside the Latin text of the Institution in the Lambeth manuscript – a physical demonstration of the status accorded to vernacular writings by the end of the Middle Ages.[157] In between the two [f. 43v], Bale wrote a list of 27 Carmelite bishops, concluding with the names of Scrope-Bradley, and Richard Misyn. Both Carmelites held the bishopric of Dromore at the same time.[158] Both Carmelites were writers, and were demonstrably ‘Carmelite’ in their interests.


From this limited overview of Carmelite writers, it is possible to extract important themes and patterns in the authorship, production, circulation, and readership of Carmelite literature. Carmelite writings show an interest in the desert origins of the order, and ‘the body of writing in which Carmelite friars reflected on their own history and identity suggests a spirituality much indebted to the memory of those hermits.’[159] However, Whitefriars were equally interested in copying, collecting, cataloguing and translating contemporary texts from across the theological spectrum. The Carmelites were not only interested in scholastic theology, but also ‘vernacular theology’. They were keenly interested in the spirituality of their day, including that of women and anchorites. Whitefriars were aware of the dangers of heretical spirituality, and policed the bounds of orthodoxy with both scholastic and vernacular texts. Study of English Carmelite writings exposes a vibrant textual community that circulated books within its own bounds, as well as importing and exporting them. Misyn’s texts can best be appreciated within this textual community and literary tradition.

[1] The historical studies of the order by Smet, Egan, Copsey and others are invaluable, but the literature of the English Carmelites is rarely the focus of sustained enquiry, notable exceptions being the studies undertaken by Dr. Edden, formerly of Birmingham University, and Rev. Clark. Some study has been made of literature in other provinces. Useful background reading on the order’s history and distinctive spirituality includes TC; Edden, ‘The Mantle’; Edwards, The Rule; early chapters of McGreal; Leclercq et al, p. 477; Flood; Steggink et al; ROE, II, pp. 196-9; NCE, III, p. 118; articles by Egan and Copsey. In his annotated bibliography [CIB, I, pp. 205-250], Copsey justifiably laments the lack of a ‘comprehensive, scholarly account’ of the Carmelite province, as exists for the other mendicant orders. Useful for the study of convents, individuals are omitted from Copsey’s bibliography in anticipation of a biographical register of medieval Whitefriars, a draft copy of which Fr. Copsey has given me access to.

[2] Medievalists have devoted most attention to the friars’ scholastic writings [Fleming, in Wallace, p. 352].

[3] A term employed as a catchall by Watson to denote ‘any kind of writing… that communicates theological information to an audience’ [‘Censorship and Cultural Change’, p. 823 n. 4; ‘The Middle English Mystics’, in Wallace, p. 544; ‘Visions of Inclusion’, pp. 166-73]. This term – which incorporates the broad spectrum of devotional, mystical, and para-mystical writings – enables ‘a far larger body of texts than the usual group of four or five Middle English mystics to be incorporated within the canon of Middle English religious literature’ [Renevey & Whitehead, p. 1]. Vernacular theology (as opposed to scholastic and monastic theologies) is discussed by McGinn, The Flowering, pp. 19-24; Nuth, pp. 23-4.

[4] I have not the scope to elaborate, as I would wish, on the striking similarities between Carmelites and Carthusians. On Carthusian and Bridgettine literary activities see Sargent, ‘The Transmission’, James Grenehalgh; Cré, in Renevey & Whitehead, p. 45 ff.; Savage & Watson, p. 16; Gillespie, ‘Dial M’, ‘Cura Pastoralis in Deserto’, ‘The Book and the Brotherhood’.

[5] Manual, IX, p. 3050.

[6] Gillespie, ‘The Book and the Brotherhood’, p. 186, ‘Dial M’, p. 253.

[7] The role of the Carthusians in disseminating vernacular theology has been somewhat over-emphasized, given the fact that ‘English Carthusians are more notable for carefully controlling and limiting the circulation of mystical books… than they are for broadcasting their book-making activities’ [Gillespie, ‘Dial M’, pp. 248-9]. Sargent admits that the significance given to their role may result from the disproportionate number of extant Carthusian manuscripts [‘The Transmission’, p. 240]. Hanna joins the ranks of ‘a developing, but still very nascent, group of voices urging a reassessment of the religious orders and vernacular composition’ [p. 27]. Courtenay describes the English Carmelites and Benedictines as ‘the two most active and prominent groups in both church and university’ in the second half of the fourteenth century, but they ‘have not been credited with any significant role in late medieval intellectual life’ even thought their ‘changing patterns of interest and writing best reflect some of the larger cultural changes going on in the late fourteenth century’ [p. 371]. Doyle acknowledges the Carmelites’ role as spiritual counsellors and writers [‘Publication’, pp. 113-4]. Fleming's chapter [in Wallace] acknowledges the literary contribution of friars, and describes the traditional critical approaches to mendicant writing.

[8] Turner, Abstract of Chapter 2; Copsey, ‘Simon Stock’, p. 652; Egan, in CIB, I, p. 2; RHME, pp. 113-4 & 146; TC, pp. 10-28; ROE, II, p. 144; Courtenay, p. 70; EIA; MM, pp. 270-1.On the order’s administration see Poskitt, in CIB, I, pp. 149-165.

[9] The Carmelites gained papal acknowledgment in 1226. Albert’s formula vitae was referred to as a ‘rule’ (though not officially a regula in the sense of Canon Law) by Gregory IX in 1229 [TC, p. 8]. On the Albertine Rule, see Edwards, The Rule; Steggink et al; Waaijman; McGreal, pp. 17-31; TC, pp. 6-7, 270 n. 27; CTC, pp. 158-9; MM, p. 270; ROE, II, p. 198.

[10] McGreal’s chapter numbering.

[11] Lawrence, The Friars, p. 100; MM, p. 274.

[12] MM, pp. 238-43.

[13] Principal Carmelite ministries included preaching, teaching, hearing confession, and writing works of religious instruction - the ars artium of the Fourth Lateran Council [CTC, p. 162].

[14] The Carmelite prior provincial Thomas Netter made no distinction between hermits and religious when speaking of the origins of the order [Doctrinale, Blanciotti (ed.) Tome III, p. 575]. The order retained the name ‘hermits’ in its title well into the Middle Ages. The ‘Reconstructed Carmelite Missal’ (British Library MS Additional 29704-5, f. 130) illustrates a Carmelite dressed as a hermit [Rickert, p. 52; Plate XIII]. Pointing out the eremitic stipulations of the Albertine Rule on solitude, fasting, silence, and perpetual abstinence, Yoshikawa states ‘the Carmelites maintained the pre-eminence of contemplation at the root of their spirituality’ [p. 69].

[15] MCH, pp. 33-43; TC, p. 15-6; McGreal, p. 37.

[16] Carmelite contemplative life continued after the change to mendicancy [TC, pp. 18-19]. Whitefriars lived the contemplative life amongst the people they served. All medieval religious were, in a sense, contemplatives, but as Egan points out [anniversary lecture], Carmelite contemplative identity remained distinctive. Literature played an important part in this. Extant records of Carmelite book collections show the friars read a wide range of genres including scholastic texts, legendae, canon law, sermons, patristics, theology, music, histories, grammars, and ‘mystical’ texts. Some of the texts read by Carmelites are listed by Egan, ‘The Aylesford Cartulary’, Carmelus 47, (2000), pp. 221-34.

[17] ‘…Good faith and prescription were sufficient for them’ [MCH, p. 404, lines 83-85, translated in TC, p. 15].

[18] TC, p. 20.

[19] For a general history of the mendicant movement, and its need for educated clergy, see MM, pp. 251-64.

[20] ROE, II, p. 152.

[21] Edden, ‘The Mantle’, pp. 77-82; NCE, III, p. 118.

[22] Clark, in CIB, II, pp. 1-34; ‘Late Fourteenth’, pp. 8-9; Fleming, in Wallace, p. 374; TC, p. 55; Crompton, p. 35. On the claims for Elijah as founder and Albert as ‘Legislator’, see Egan, in CIB, I, p. 107; EIA, p. 47; TC, pp. 7-8.

[23] The Carmelite academic drive was needed to prove the order’s usefulness to the church so as to avoid the annulment that had destroyed so many fraternal orders at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274. Whilst most Carmelites did not progress much beyond the local distinction, a significant minority became an educated elite. On the friars’ academic drive in the schools (and opposition to it), see CTC, p. 165; MM, pp. 261-8.

[24] Southern, p. 273.

[25] On the scholastic theologians and philosophers to emerge from amongst the Whitefriars see Xiberta; Zimmerman, ‘Les Carmes’; Smalley.

[26] Egan derived this information from Emden’s Biographical Registers [CTC, p. 168].

[27] The Carmelites became renowned preachers, though scholars debate how much Carmelite sermon literature survives. The sermon cycle Edden believed to be of Carmelite authorship [Carmelus 43] has been shown by Nold to be a copy of a Franciscan cycle, though the Carmelite scribe purported the contents to be by a Carmelite bishop and show strong ‘Carmelite sympathy for mysticism’ [Edden, ‘The Mantle’, p. 82]. Another sermon cycle is preserved in the Bodleian Library [Edden, ‘Marian Devotion’]. On medieval preaching see Spencer; Fleming, in Wallace, pp. 359-62; PV, pp. 49-50; Pantin, pp. 235-9; D’Avray; Owst.

[28] On the Carmelite education system see Poskitt, CIB, I, pp. 155-165; TC, pp. 29-38; Gallyon, p. 132; Flood. On the medieval university curriculum and the mendicant variation see Courtney, pp. 3-55, pp. 56-87; and in Biller & Dobson, pp. 77-92; ROE, II, pp. 144-5; Cobban. Much study of Carmelite education is based on assumptions from the other mendicant orders and therefore inaccurate, though Copsey’s forthcoming article ‘The Formation of the Medieval English Friar’ should address this.

[29] Little is known about Carmelite libraries because not one medieval catalogue survives. Humphreys provides information about some books held at the convents of Aylesford, Boston, Lincoln, London, Norwich, Oxford and Hulne, [pp. xv-xvi, xviii, 155-92] the final being ‘a reasonable picture of a complete library but… probably very different from the libraries at eg. London, Oxford and Cambridge’, [p. xv]. The convents that housed studia had a library separate from the students’ library. Library growth was ensured by a corporate copying enterprise, and the fact that each friar left his books to the order when he died (such property was owned communally). Notably generous bequests include Robert Bale’s donation to his own friary of Burnham Norton in 1503 [Gallyon, p. 133], and Robert Ivory, donor of the London convent [Clark, ‘Late Fourteenth’, p. 10]. Laity also donated books to the Whitefriars in their wills [PV, p. 107]. On mendicant libraries, see Courtenay, p. 86; Fleming, in Wallace, p. 369; Bell, in Hellinga & Trapp, pp. 230-31; Parkes, in Catto & Evans, pp. 431-45. Humphreys’s work is being revised by Prof. Richard Sharpe of the University of Oxford.

[30] Scriptorum, I, pp. 468-9, quoted in Harris, p. 14; McCaffrey, p. 263.

[31] Bale, MS Harley 3838, f. 5, translated by Copsey, SW, p. 175. Bale’s interest in book production led to the keeping of notebooks, and his major printed work, the two-volume Scriptorum. Amongst his manuscript writings on Carmelite matters are British Library MSS Harley 1819, Harley 3838, and Oxford, Bodleian Library, MSS Bodley 73, Selden supra 41, Selden supra 72. Clark gives a description of each in ‘Late Fourteenth’, p. 8 n. 47. Bale’s works have to be treated with an awareness of his theological and political bias. Amongst numerous critical studies of Bale, see Hudson, ‘Viseo Baleii’; Aston, Lollards and Reformers, pp. 234-5, 244, 272 n., 328; Leland, pp. 434-5 ; Brett & Carley’s introduction to Bale’s Index [pp. xi-xviii]; SW, pp. 181-3; Sharpe, Entry 576, pp. 210-11; W. T. Davies.

[32] Courtenay, p. 23.

[33] Richard Paston copied a catalogue of Carmelite saints whilst studying at Paris [Copsey, ‘Simon Stock’, p. 672; Egan in CIB, I, pp. 93-4].

[34] Emden points out the international attraction of the Cambridge convent [BRUC, p. xxii]. Oxford was not generally open to Carmelites of other provinces [Courteney, p. 70].

[35] For information on studia generalia, see Pantin, p. 119; Lawrence, MM, p. 303; TC, pp. 29-30; Flood, p. 157. Courtenay [pp. 70, 72] claims the London house was designated a studium generale in 1294, whereas Egan [CTC, p. 169] pointing to the Constitutions dates it to 1321.

[36] Sheehan, in Catto, p. 198.

[37] The Carmelites founded a Cambridge convent in 1247 [TC, p. 27; Courtenay, p. 70], and had a house of study there from c. 1251. They set up in Oxford in 1256. On the university houses, see Knowles & Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses, p. 236; Egan, in CIB, I, pp. 70-3; BRUC, p. xxii; Sheehan, in Catto, pp. 193-223; Dobson, in Catto & Evans, pp. 539-79; CTC, pp. 155-170; studies listed by Copsey, in CIB, I, pp. 226-7, 245-6.

[38] Patrington influenced the production of vernacular literature by leading the committee that drew up the Additiones to the Bridgettine Rule at Syon  [Gillespie, ‘Dial M’, p. 252 n. 31; Deanesly, pp. 111, 121, 124]. On Patrington, see Kennedy, in CIB, II, pp. 168-200; DNB, XV, pp. 492-3; BRUO, pp. 1435-6. On Baconthorpe, see Kennedy, in CIB, II, pp. 256-61; Etzwiler, in CIB, II, pp. 262-319; Sharpe, Entry 574, pp. 208-10.

[39] SW, p. 175. Copsey’s listing (of both Latin and vernacular writers) provides the basis for the Carmelite entries in Sharpe’s Handlist.

[40] Courtenay, p. 71.

[41] Humphreys, ‘The Libraries of the Carmelites’, p. 128.

[42] Doyle, ‘Publication’, p. 114.

[43] Sharpe, Entry 1349, pp. 487-91; SW, pp. 193-200; SWA, pp. 195-6; BRUO, pp. 1109-1110; DNB, XI, pp. 652-3; Scriptorum, I, pp. 508-9; McCaffrey, p. 137.

[44] Clark & Dorward, p. 19. On the Carmelites’ opposition to the Lollards, see TC, p. 35.

[45] Aston, Faith and Fire, p. 98.

[46] Haereses et errors domini Johannis Purvey sacerdotis, in Fasciculi Zizaniorum, (ed.) Shirley, pp. 383-99. On Lavenham’s anti-Lollard activities see Van Zutphen, p. xxx; Hudson, PR, pp. 159, 174, 292, 340; Lollards and their Books, pp. 85-110. The Fasciculi Zizaniorum is the title given to a collection of documents relating to Wyclif and the Lollards, compiled by an anonymous Whitefriar in East Anglia in 1439, and now preserved as Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS e Musaeo 86, a manuscript once owned and annotated by Bale. On the Fasciculi, see Shirley; Crompton; Van Zutphen, pp. xxx-xxxi, xxxv; PR, pp. 44, 67; Aston, Lollards and Reformers, pp. 19, 85-6, 236; Wyclif and his followers, no. 19, p. 18; ROE, II, p. 148; Turner, Ch. 5; Alban, John Wyclif, p. 1; Edden, ‘Marian Devotion’, p. 101; Copsey, in CIB, I, p. 212.

[47]  Joliffe, pp. 79-80; IPMEP entry 789. The text is edited by Dr. Van Zutphen.

[48] On this characteristically ‘fraternal’ genre, and Lavenham’s success in it, see Fleming, in Wallace, pp. 357-8.

[49] On the need for pastoral manuals in the church, see Gillespie, ‘The Literary Form’; Pantin, pp. 189-219.

[50] It is apposite that Lavenham’s Litil Tretys should be placed alongside sermons in some manuscripts (such as Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 750), suggesting a deliberate compilation of pastoral material [Spencer, p. 216; Van Zutphen, p. xii].

[51] Van Zutphen, p. xii. The devotional materials in one of the manuscripts containing the Tretys (Norwich, St. Peter Hungate Museum of Church Art, MS 48.158.926) reveal its potential as a contemplative text.

[52] Doyle, ‘Publication’, p. 114. Doyle identifies two Lavenham manuscripts [‘Publication’, pp. 114, 121 n. 24] that are not listed by Van Zutphen, pp. xxxiii-xlix, or Copsey, SW, pp. 199-200.

[53] London, British Library MS Harley 1288 is a florilegium which contains both an imperfect copy of the Litil Tretys (ff. 64-75v), and chapters xxiv and xxv of The Chastising of God’s Children (ff. 81v-86v) which assert traditional teaching on the Eucharist and recapitulate the seven deadly sins. On the manuscript’s contents, and the aggressive orthodoxy of The Chastising, see Bazire & Colledge, pp. 5, 35; Van Zutphen, p. xxxvii-xxxviii; Manual, IX, pp. 3131-2, 3468-9.

[54] Van Zutphen, p. xxxv.

[55] IMEV, Entries 1961, 2157, 3755; Brown, Register, II, Entries 1215 & 2421; Manual, II, pp. 388, 540-1. On Maidstone’s writings see SW, pp. 201-3; Sharpe, Entry 1352, p. 492; RMPP, pp. 9, 11. Edden’s is the most recent edition of the Penitential Psalms.

[56] RMPP, p. 10; DNB, XII, pp. 783-4; BRUO, p. 1204.

[57] Copsey, English and Scottish Medieval Carmelite Libraries, p. 2.

[58] Edden, in CIB, II, p. 120 n 2.

[59] The Carmelite house in London was close to palaces and Episcopal residences in the western suburb, between Fleet Street and the Thames [Courtenay, pp. 70, 95; Poskitt, in CIB, I, p. 151; McCaffrey, pp. 129-71].

[60] For sees and dates, consult ROE, II, p. 153. Maidstone was noted as a preacher of sermons at Oxford and at court in the catalogue of Carmelite writers (Viridarium) compiled by John Grossi, the order’s prior general, who visited England in 1413 [Xiberta, pp. 48-9]. Sadly, none of these sermons survive, except that preached against Ashwardby, though Bale recorded some incipits [Scriptorum, I, pp. 498-9; MS Selden 41, f. 174; MS Bodley 73, ff. 39v, 40v, 51v, 71v, 113, 196v, 197v.]. See BRUO, p. 1204; PR, pp. 95-7.

[61] Sheppard, p. 42-3; ROE, II, pp. 145, 153; PV, pp. 49-50.

[62] Sheppard, pp. 43-4.

[63] Sheppard, p. 44; DNB, XV, p. 492.The Carmelites’ relationship with Gaunt is a complex one that deserves further study, especially since the Duke was also protective of Wyclif. On the accusations flying between Carmelites and Wycliffites in the wake of 1381, see R. F. Green in Hanawalt, (ed.), Chaucer’s England: Literature in Historical Context, (Minneapolis, 1992), p. 192.

[64] Egan, in CIB, I, pp. 32-4; PV, p. 67.

[65] The Whitefriars influenced Chaucer in a number of ways. The Kalendarium by Nicholas of Lynn (1386) features in Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe, and in The Canterbury Tales [Lynn, (ed.) Eisner, pp. 29-34; Scriptorum, I, p. 468]. The view of Elijah as founder of the Whitefriars was mocked in The Summoner’s Tale, lines 2116-8.

[66] John Thompson, p. 41.

[67] Smith, Concordia Facta inter Regem Riccardum II et Civitatem Londonis; Federico, pp. 126-9, 144-55; Bowers, passim; Strohm, pp. 107-11; Fleming, in Wallace, p. 370; Rigg, pp. 242, 285-6, 309, 313. For an extended account of the divide between Richard II and the citizens of London, see Kipling, pp. 11-21 (on Maidstone, p. 12 n. 16.) Though their political verse is generally poorly rated, the Carmelites’ involvement at court as religious and political ‘scriptwriters’ is an important aspect of their ministry, deserving further study. Maidstone was not the first English Carmelite political writer. Robert Baston, prior of Scarborough, wrote verse on the battle of Bannockburn (1314) [TC, pp. 59-60; Rigg, pp. 244-5].

[68] Copsey, Carmelite Register. More study is needed into how mendicants learnt the art of poetry. All Carmelite graduates would have learnt rhetoric and composition as part of the grammar school curriculum. Larger mendicant libraries held copies of arts poetica (guides to poetry). Even though the 1433 Hulne cartulary had no books recorded in the category ‘Rhetorica cum Poetria’, its inclusion suggests that Carmelites were familiar with such works [Humphreys, The Friars’ Libraries, pp. xvi, 166]. It was not unknown for mendicants to enjoy pecuniary benefits from writing for patrons [PV, p. 26].

[69] RMPP, pp. 10 & dating of base text, p. 12.

[70] On the tradition of the seven Penitential Psalms, their use as private lay devotion during the low mass, who read the Psalter, and when it was used, see Leroquais; Harper, pp. 67-72; Dix, p. 599; PV, p. 36.

[71] RMPP, p. 11; Doyle, ‘Publication’, pp. 114-5; John Thompson, p. 42.

[72] John Thompson, p. 40.

[73] Kent County Archives Office, Reg. Bottlesham, Rochester, DRc/R5, II, f. 2v.

[74] Doyle, ‘Publication’, p. 115; John Thompson, p. 42.

[75] Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS e. Mus. 86 (the Fasciculi Zizaniorum MS), ff. 160-175v, and MS e. Mus. 94, ff. 1-5 (only the last third). Edited by Williams, in CIB, II, pp. 35-83. On Maidstone’s opposition to Ashwardby, see Edden, in CIB, II, pp. 84-105; RMPP, p. 11; PR, pp. 95-7; Clopper, p. 178, n. 26; TC, p. 35. Since they show us how the friars viewed themselves, defences by the order are useful in sketching the parameters of Carmelite interest. On the dating of Maidstone’s Protectorium and his determinatio against Ashwardby, see Wendy Scase, Piers Plowman and the New Anti-clericalism, (Cambridge, 1989), p. 10.

[76] MS e Musaeo 94, f. 5v, quoted by Hudson, PR, p. 96. See Edden, in CIB, II, p. 120 n. 2; ‘The Debate between Richard Maidstone and the Lollard Ashwardby’. For information on the so-called ‘Oxford Translation Debate’, see Watson, ‘Censorship and Cultural Change’.

[77] RMPP, p. 109, n. 52.

[78] Richard Rolle, (ed.) Allen, p. 65; Deanesly, p. vi; PR, pp. 27, 259-64, 421-2.

[79] Manual, IX, pp. 3055-6.

[80] Rolle, (ed.) Bramley, p. 4; Allen, p. 68.

[81] Ogilvie-Thomson, (1988), p. xliv.

[82] Deanesly, p. 23; RMPP, pp. 13-14; Allen, p. 251; Pearsall, pp. 7-9, 65; Kuczynski, p. 261 nn. 10, 15, p. 274; Mossé, p. 377; Coote, p. 277; Hanna, Pursuing History, pp. 281, 288-9, 461, 463, 470; Horstman, pp. 3, 50-57, 61-71, 106, 368; Brown, p. 262; Robbins, p. 329; Hudson, Lollards and their Books, p. 220n; Blanchfield, pp. 465-7.

[83] RMPP, pp. 9, 10, 12, 21.

[84] On the opening verse, see Day, pp. 103-4; RMPP, pp. 47, 109; Edden, in CIB, p. 119 n. 2.

[85] Day, p. 103 (n. 1).

[86] Labelling the work as Rolle’s may have been a deliberate mistake, to avoid the restrictions placed upon vernacular writings after 1409 (a fuller discussion of this follows in Chapter Two).

[87] RMPP, p. 19; Day.

[88] Hunt & Watson, pp. 116-7; References to this manuscript are legion (and can be consulted in the card index of Duke Humfrey’s library), including Kail; RMPP, p. 18; Manual, V, p. 1418; Edden, in CIB, II, pp. 106-124; Robbins, Historical Poems, pp. xxvi, xxviii, xlii, 39-53. I acknowledge my debt to Jenni Nuttall of Magdalen College, Oxford, for information on this manuscript.

[89] The C-Text of Piers Plowman is perhaps the most interesting in terms of Langland’s self-presentation. As Hanna points out, the figure of Will seems to explore the vocation of a hermit, whose contemplative lifestyle might seem to contrast with that of the labourer [‘Will’s Work’, p. 54 n. 5], and ‘Will evokes the practice of hermits… in order to claim that his poeticizing might be licit activity’ [Hanna, in Minnis, p. 89]. As Chapter Two will illustrate, Carmelite writings attempted to reconcile the active and contemplative lives.

[90] The debates over the content of Piers Plowman and Langland’s religious leanings continue. The ambiguities of the text (particularly with regard to mendicant religion) are discussed by Fleming, in Wallace, pp. 372-3; Clopper; PR, pp. 398-408. ‘Misappropriation’ of Langland’s text is discussed by Kerby-Fulton.

[91] Hussey, ‘Latin and English’; SW, pp. 186-7; Sharpe, Entry 1748, pp. 656-7; Tanner, Bibliotheca, p. 282; Manual, IX, pp. 3075-76 & 3430-3433; Gardner, pp. 11 & 22. The EETS is preparing an edition of Book I of the Scale, which will place Fishlake’s Latin text (edited by Hussey) and Hilton’s ME text (edited by Sargent) on facing pages.

[92] Manual, IX, p. 3076.

[93] Hussey, ‘Latin and English’, pp. 456-7.

[94] Hussey, ‘Latin and English’, p. 457; Sargent, ‘The Transmission’, pp. 235-6.

[95] Hussey, p. 457.

[96] Sargent, James Grenehalgh, p. 10.

[97] This manuscript, written in a fifteenth-century hand, is now in York Minster Library, MS XVI.K.5. Book I of The Scale occupies the first 13 quires, and the colophon [f. 36r] is reproduced in Ker & Piper, IV, pp. 725-7. John Pole was at the Cambridge house in 1377, incepted as D. Th. in 1381, and died at the Coventry house [Hussey, ‘Latin and English’, p. 457; Scriptorum, I, p. 568; BRUC, p. 456].

[98] Hilton, (eds.) Clark & Dorward, pp. 56-7; (ed.) Bestul, pp. 7 & 14; Hussey, ‘Latin and English’, pp. 456, 457 n. 6, 464.

[99] Hussey, ‘Latin and English’, p. 476.

[100] As Clark points out, ‘Cambridge men are regularly to be found on the side of orthodoxy while Oxford men appear on both sides’ [‘Late Fourteenth’, p. 15]; PR, p. 92.

[101] Manual, IX, p. 3076; Bale, MS Bodley 73, f. 79; Rawlinson MS C 397, f. 8v.

[102] This close-knit circle of friends was a significant power base for orthodoxy, and its intellectual milieu allowed the promotion of Carmelite scholars. On Arundel’s circle, and its great influence on the religious sentiment and literature of York, see PV, p. 174 ff.; Dobson, ‘The Residentiary Canons’.

[103] PV, p. 183.

[104] Cambridge, University Library, Reg. Consist. 1373-81, f. 72; PV, pp. 183, 189-90; Clark, ‘Late Fourteenth’, p. 7; Aston, Thomas Arundel, pp. 74-5.

[105] PV, pp. 175, 179-81. Hilton was probably a canon lawyer at the Ely diocesan consistory court in Cambridge.

[106] Clark, in CIB, II, p. 125; ‘Late Fourteenth’, p. 7 ff.

[107] On the links between Hilton and the Cambridge Carmelites, see Clark, ‘Late Fourteenth’, p. 7-10, 13-14; CIB, II, pp. 125-67; Hussey, ‘Latin and English’; PV, pp. 183 & 189-9, 213-4.

[108] BRUC, p. 385; Clark, in CIB, II, pp. 137, 165.

[109] Clark, in CIB, II, p.p. 125-6

[110] Clark & Dorward, pp. xi & 18-19.

[111] DNB, XIX, p. 655; ECP, p. 4; TC, p. 58.

[112] This poem was sadly lost in the fire of 1731, but had been preserved in the Cotton Library, MS Vitellius F. xiii. 1, [see Thomas Smith, pp. 103-4, 158].

[113] A later hand in MS Cotton App. VII ascribes the translation to Ashburne, which Allen states cannot be absolutely denied, but seems equally insupportable [p. 381]. On The Prick of Conscience, see Manual, VII, pp. 2268-70; Manual, IX, pp. 3055, 3067; Lewis & McIntosh; Deanesly, p. vii; Clay, p. 176.

[114] Aston, Lollards and Reformers, pp. 208, 210-11; Justice, in Wallace, pp. 682 & 686.

[115] SW, p. 178.

[116] Lincoln, Lincolnshire Archives Office, Reg. Gynewell, (Reg. IXC, f. 46).

[117] DNB, I, p. 214; BRUC, pp. 381-2; TC, pp. 58-59; Wogan-Browne, et al, p. 91 n. 135; Sharpe, Entry 75, p. 33; Clark, ’Late Fourteenth’, pp. 13-4; SW, p. 200; SWA, pp. 196-7; Bale, MS Harley 3838, f. 92, MS Bodley 73, ff. 2, 119.

[118] Tabula super ‘Reductorio morali tocius Biblie’ Petri Berchorii’, London, British Library MS Royal 3 D iii, f. 1 ff. [ROE, II, p. 152].

[119] Oxford, Lincoln College, MS lat. 69, ff. 197 ff.

[120] Bale says he saw over fifty works by Lynn in the Carmelite convent in Norwich, and knew of others in libraries he had not visited [Scriptorum, I, pp. 551-3]. Bale recorded the incipits of each of Lynn’s works in his notebook [MS Bodley 73, ff. 2, 40, 197v, 200v, 204v-205].

[121] His two major original works, now lost, were recorded by Bale [MS Bodley 73, ff. 139, 208] and included Sermones notabiles. Kempe records attending Lynn’s divinely inspired sermons, [BMK, Book I, Chapter 89].

[122] I am grateful to Dr. Yoshikawa for making available to me her study of Carmelite influence in Kempe’s spirituality. See also Yoshikawa, in Renevey & Whitehead, pp. 177-95; Gallyon, pp. 123-38.

[123] BMK, Book I, Ch. 9.

[124] Ibid., Ch. 69.

[125] Ibid.

[126] Ibid., Ch. 89.

[127] Ibid., Ch. 69. On Netter’s attitude to women reading the Bible, see Aston, Lollards and Reformers, p. 65.

[128] BMK, Book I, Ch. 70. Kempe was finally reunited with Alan of Lynn when he was due to ‘dinyn in towne wyth a worschipful woman whech had takyn the mentyl and the ryng’. Lynn’s guidance of a vowess (a widow who vowed never to remarry) is another example of Carmelite interest in female spirituality.

[129] On the trials, particularly those ordered by Bishop William Alnwick (whom Misyn would have known when Alnwick was translated to Lincoln from 1436-49), see Tanner, Heresy Trials; Hudson, Selections, Text 5 and accompanying notes; Aston, Lollards and Reformers, pp. 71-99. As Harvey points out (p. 291), bishop Alnwick was also in possession of a copy of Netter’s Doctrinale, showing a link between Carmelite theology and diocesan prosecution of heresy.

[130] Part of Netter’s objection to Lynn’s involvement with Kempe may have been that she did not conform to the accepted models of female religious life. Indeed, a monk at Canterbury told Kempe ‘I wold thow wer closyd in an hows of ston’ [BMK, Book I, Ch. 13], that is to say, her spirituality might be recognised if she conformed to the life of an anchoress. Wynkyn de Worde printed extracts from her Book referring to her as an anchoress [Gillespie, ‘Dial M’, p. 247]. As the following analysis of Misyn shows, Netter may well have been less condemnatory of Lynn’s relationship with Kempe had it been more like that of Misyn and his anchoress-reader.

[131] BMK, Preface; Wogan-Browne, et al, p. 85.

[132] Wogan-Browne, et al, p. 84.

[133] BMK, Book I, Ch. 61.

[134] Ibid., Ch. 55.

[135] Ibid., Ch. 18; ECP, p. 4; TC, p. 58

[136] BMK, Book I, Ch. 45 [see note to line 3592 in Windeatt’s translation].

[137] Kempe (ed.) Staley, note to Book I, Ch. 16, line 825.

[138] BMK, Book I, Chapters 17, 58 & 62. Alan of Lynn indexed Bridget’s Revelations and the pseudo-Bonaventuran Stimulus Amoris. We have already discussed Fishlake’s interest in Hilton’s Scale, and Misyn’s translation into English of Rolle’s Incendium will be the focus of Chapter Two. On the significance of these texts to Kempe, see Windeatt’s introduction to his ME edition, pp. 9-18, and his Modern English translation, pp. 15-22.

[139] Poskitt, in CIB, I, p. 166; Sheppard, pp. 45-6; Alban; Shirley, pp. lxx-lxxii; Fleming, in Wallace, p. 352; Wyclif and his Followers, no. 13, p. 13; NCE, X, p. 363. On Netter’s anti-Lollard career, see Turner, Ch. 4; DNB, XIV, pp. 231-4; BRUO, pp. 1343-4; Fleming, in Wallace, p. 352; Sharpe, Entry 1799, pp. 671-2; Wyclif and his followers, no. 89, p. 56; PR, passim. Netter acted as confessor and envoy to kings Henry V and VI. Netter’s correspondence is extremely helpful in gleaming details of medieval Carmelite life and work. Bale quoted extracts from a collection of 164 epistolae in his notebook [Bodleian MS Bodley 73, ff. 94v-103v; Sharpe, p. 671]. Alban has translated some letters [CIB, II, pp. 343-80] and a new translation is forthcoming. Letter V [CIB, II, p. 346] informs us Netter also wrote in Latin a vade meum text for aristocrats, now lost.

[140] ROE, II, p. 146.

[141] Genet, in Dobson, The Church, Politics, p. 31.

[142] Scott, II, p. 187 ff.

[143] Copsey states that ‘during the first half of the fifteenth century, eighteen Carmelites are known to have been engaged in copying manuscripts’, including the Doctrinale [Scott, II, p. 187], though he does not list them [‘Simon Stock’, p. 673]. Roger Alban (d. 1453+) is one of them [Sharpe, Entry 1544, p. 580; Edden, ‘Marian Devotion’, p. 101]. On the diffusion of the Doctrinale, see M. M. Harvey.

[144] Scott, I, pp. 26-7, II, pp. 187-89. Production quality seems to have been a recurrent preoccupation for Netter [Letters V & XXVIII, in CIB, II, pp. 346, 362]. The Carmelites produced liturgical books of exceptional quality. The London Carmelites were partly responsible for the (now reconstructed) Carmelite Missal, probably written at their convent before 1391 [Rickert, p. 23; ROE, II, p. 279; Edden, ‘The Mantle’, p. 78; Scott, II, pp. 24-30]. Naturally, liturgical texts were sine qua non for Carmelites, who could not function without them. The production and circulation processes for liturgical texts are worth further analysis than this thesis can afford. Fr. Boyce has been the most prominent student of Carmelite ritual, though his focus has been liturgical rather than bibliographic.

[145] Named after his birthplace in Leicestershire, where the Scopes were prominent landowners. DNB, XVII, pp. 1085-6; Sheppard, pp. 39-40; McCaffrey, pp. 86, 261-2; CLMN, pp. 59-60; Scriptorum, I, pp. 629-30; Ware, I, pp. 261-2; Copsey, English and Irish Medieval Carmelite Bishops, p. 6; CPL, IX, p. 241; HBC, p. 317; Bale, MS Bodley 73, f. 1; Sharpe, Entry 1827, pp. 679-80; SW, pp. 209-11; EIA, p. 52; ‘Simon Stock’, p. 659, n. 28.

[146] Warren, p. 211. The full significance of the Scrope family will become apparent in Chapter Two. On the family see PV, passim, though Hughes calls Scrope ‘Richard’, not Thomas (PV, p. 116).

[147] Clay, p. 163.

[148] There is some confusion as to whether Scrope ended his anchoritic life in 1441 or 1446 [CLMN, p. 198; Scriptorum, I, pp. 629-630; Clay, p. 163; Warren, p. 211 n. 61].

[149] CLMN, p. 59.

[150] During his seclusion Scrope wrote his Chronicon [Bale, MS Harley 3838, f. 107v; Sheppard, p. 33 n. 4; SW, p. 210]. In 1441, at his family’s suggestion he wrote Informatio et Supplicatio, a defence of the Carmelite order addressed to the pope.

[151] London, British Library MS Harley 211, [Van Zutphen, pp. xxxv-vi – see p. 9 above]. Scrope’s name appears twice [ff. 174, 191v]. Scrope’s ownership demonstrates an internal interest in the order’s vernacular literature.

[152] Pickering & O’Mara, IMEP, XIII, p. 15; James & Jenkins, pp. 300-302; Todd, p. 124; Manual, II, ‘Rule of St. Linus’ & ‘Institutions and Special Deeds of Religious Carmelites’, pp. 479-81, 659; ECD, p. 206. Although the translator is not named, Scrope was almost certainly responsible [f. 45v announces the text as Liber Thome Scrope episcopi Dromoren, and f. 46v contains a brief note on Scrope in a seventeenth-century hand]. The two ME items are written in three hands, of which the two responsible for the latter have been localised respectively in Suffolk and Norfolk [LALME, LP 4635 and 4636; IMEP, XIII, p. 15]. Scrope’s dedication of the translation to his prior at Norwich is evidence that vernacular texts circulated within the order. The dedication, now lost, was recorded by Bale [MS Harley 3838, f. 108], who owned the manuscript [inscription, f. 1r – cf. James, p. 302].

[153] London, Lambeth Palace Library MS 192, f. 46 [IMEP, XIII, p. 15; Clay, p. 88; Warren, pp. 103, 211 n., 296-7; Manual, II, p. 659; IPMEP, p. 437]. Known as the Lambeth Rule (though properly a charge rather than an actual regula) written for male lay anchorites in the thirteenth century. On the popularity of such eremitic rules, see PV, p. 64. Oliger [pp. 243-268] transcribed the rule for hermits from this manuscript and provided a facsimile of f. 46. It is also edited and introduced by Kenny. Edden is currently working on an edition of Scrope’s ME translation of the Institution for the EETS.

[154] On Ribot’s collection, see Shepard, p. 39; MCH, p. 11; Smet, ‘The Perfection’, p. 179; Egan in CIB, I, p. 98 ff. The Latin text of the Institutione, which James [p. 300] called the Speculum Carmelitarum of Phillipi Riboti, has been edited by Paul Chandler (University of Toronto thesis, 1991).

[155] ‘a book which would be of great value and honour to us if it could be purchased for us in ancient script.’ [Alban, in CIB, II, p. 362; Egan, CIB, I, p. 95]. Netter no doubt felt that having the history written in ‘ancient script’ added antiquity and authenticity to the volume.

[156] The dedication is lost but was recorded by Bale [MS Harley 3838, f. 108].

[157] Dr. Edden informs me that Scrope is unlikely to have used the Latin copy in this manuscript for his translation.

[158] Scrope was consecrated as bishop in 1450, and from this date he acted as suffragan in Norwich between 1450-77, and in Canterbury in 1469 [Norfolk & Norwich Record Office, Reg. Lyhert, Reg/6/11, ff. 214-5; Stubbs, p. 205; Eubel, II, p. 162; HBC, p. 349]. Scrope-Bradley was still using the title ‘Bishop of Dromore’ when his confrater Misyn came to the bishopric.

[159] Edden, ‘The Mantle’, p. 83.