«Sawles Warde» and the Wooing Group

Parallel Texts with Notes and Wordlists

by Harumi Tanabe (Volume editor) John Scahill (Volume editor)
©2015 Monographs XII, 170 Pages


This volume completes the first uniform edition of the Early Middle English Ancrene Wisse Group. It contains Sawles Warde from the Katherine Group, and the Wooing Group of lyrical meditations. These works, originally written for devout women, are of unusual literary and linguistic interest. The readings of all the manuscripts are printed in parallel for easy comparison, presenting the various versions of the Wooing Group in a more cohesive form than in existing editions. Paleographical and textual notes are provided, along with frequency wordlists and a selection of notes from an unpublished edition by E. J. Dobson.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Editors
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Explanatory Notes
  • Parallel Texts
  • Sawles Warde
  • The Wooing Group
  • On Ureisun of God Almihti
  • Þe Oreisun of Seinte Marie
  • On Lofsong of Ure Louerde
  • Þe Wohunge of Ure Lauerd
  • Textual Notes
  • Sawles Warde
  • The Wooing Group
  • Wordlists
  • Sawles Warde
  • Royal
  • Titus
  • The Wooing Group
  • Nero
  • Lambeth
  • Royal
  • Titus
  • Appendix
  • Unpublished Textual Notes by E. J. Dobson


This volume completes a project to provide a complete edition of the Ancrene Wisse Group that is uniform in presentation and consistently diplomatic in approach, a project that has extended over more than twenty years. The fruits of this project have already included three volumes of manuscript parallel texts of the Ancrene Wisse Group: The Ancrene Wisse: A Four-Manuscript Parallel Text, Preface and Parts 1–4, ed. Tadao Kubouchi and Keiko Ikegami et al. (2003, Peter Lang), The Ancrene Wisse: A Four-Manuscript Parallel Text, Parts 5–8 with Wordlists, ed. Tadao Kubouchi and Keiko Ikegami et al. (2005, Peter Lang), and The Katherine Group: A Three-Manuscript Parallel Text (2011, Peter Lang).

In contrast to the multiplicity of copies of the Ancrene Wisse, which compelled us to make a selection, and the two or three copies of the Katherine Group texts, which allow us to present the manuscript evidence in its entirety, for much of the Wooing Group there is only one manuscript; yet we believe that even those texts benefit from being part of an edition of this kind. In fact, for two of the Wooing texts there are two manuscripts, although both existing editions have treated the copies separately and even given them different titles, for all that they are far more alike than the two manuscript versions of Seint Iuliene, as inspection of the parallel texts in this series will bear out.

In order to preserve manuscript evidence while producing a concordable and relatively readable text, this edition is the first of the texts concerned to use symbols to show the separation and joining of word-units, and a slash with no space on either side in single words divided at a line-end. In fact, it is the first edition to record manuscript lineation and word-division for the Royal and Titus versions of Sawles Warde, as well as being the first of the Wooing Group that does not silently expand abbreviations.

Although the Concordance of Stevenson and Wogan-Browne provides a combined wordlist to the Nero and Titus versions of the Wooing Group texts, it has seemed worthwhile to make separate wordlists here, alongside lists for the Lambeth and Royal texts. ← VII | VIII →

We wish to express our thanks to the Trustees of the British Library, the Bodleian Library and the Lambeth Palace Library and their staff for extensive access to the manuscripts. The preparation of this volume was supported by a Seikei Research Grant 2012–14, to which we are gratefully indebted. We thank Chiho Kawano for her assistance. The production of this volume would not have been possible without the expert assistance received from Mr Akiharu Motohashi. In particular, we are greatly indebted to his help with the production of the Wordlists.

Finally, at the conclusion of this series of editions, the Manuscript Reading Group would like to put on record its debt to Professor Emeritus Tadao Kubouchi, who guided its activities for many years, and instilled in its members an understanding of the value for linguistic research of meticulous attention to manuscript sources.

November 2014 Tokyo Medieval Manuscript Reading Group

← VIII | IX →

Explanatory Notes

I. Editions, Manuscripts and Abbreviations

Printed and Facsimile Editions:

d’Ardenne, S. T. R. O., ed. (1977) The Katherine Group: Edited from MS. Bodley 34 (Bibliothèque de la Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres de l’Université de Liège Fascicule 215). Paris: Société d’Edition ‘Les Belles Lettres’. [Abbreviated as d’A]

Ker. N. R., introd. (1960) Facsimile of MS. Bodley 34: St. Katherine, St. Margaret, St. Juliana, Hali Meiðhad, Sawles Warde (EETS OS 247). London: Oxford University Press.

Millett, Bella, and Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, eds. (1992) Medieval English Prose for Women: Selections from the Katherine Group and Ancrene Wisse. Revised and corrected edn. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Morris, Richard, ed. (1868) Old English Homilies and Homiletic Treatises (Sawles Warde, and Þe Wohunge of Ure Lauerd: Ureisuns of Ure Louerd and of Ure Lefdi, &c.) of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries; Edited from Mss. in the British Museum, Lambeth, and Bodleian Libraries; with Introduction, Translation, and Notes; First Series (EETS OS 34). London: Trübner.

Thompson, W. Meredith, ed. (1958) Þe Wohunge of Ure Lauerd (EETS OS 241). London: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, R. M., ed., (1938) Sawles Warde: An Early Middle English Homily edited from the Bodley, Royal and Cotton MSS. (Leeds School of English Language Texts and Monographs III) Kendal: Titus Wilson.


Stevenson, Lorna and Jocelyn Wogan-Brown, eds. (2000) Concordances to the Katherine Group and the Wooing Group. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer. [Abbreviated as S-WB] ← IX | X →

Manuscripts, sigla and original contents:

BOxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 34
This contains all five of Katherine Group texts, and nothing else.

LLondon, Lambeth Palace, 487
This contains seventeen homilies, some of them using Old English material, Poema Morale and, at the end, incomplete and (Thompson ix) in a slightly later hand, On Ureisun of God Almihti.

NLondon, British Library, Cotton Nero A.xiv
This contains Ancrene Wisse (and is one of the manuscripts included in our parallel text of that work), three of the four Wooing texts, the rhymed ‘On god ureison of ure lefdi’ and several other brief religious texts.

RLondon, British Library, Royal 17 A.xxvii
This contains the Katherine Group apart from Hali Meiðhad, and Þe Oreisun of Seinte Marie, incomplete and on a vacant leaf at the end but (Mack, Seinte Marherete, EETS OS 193, 1934, xiv) in one of the hands of the Katherine Group texts.

TLondon, British Library, Cotton Titus D.xviii
This contains Ancrene Wisse, three of the Katherine Group texts and Þe Wohunge of Ure Lauerd, making it the only manuscript to bring together texts from the three components of the Ancrene Wisse Group.





aleft column (of T)

bright column (of T)

II. Editorial Procedure

The aim has been to give a diplomatic text of what was written by the original scribe of each manuscript. Although extensive use has been made of facsimiles, readings have been checked throughout against the manuscripts. The resultant text has been compared with the editions of d’Ardenne, Thompson and Wilson, and significant discrepancies are identified in the notes. We are indebted to the lists in S-WB of textual disagreements with d’A and Thompson, and to the reviews of d’A by Bella Millett (Review of English Studies NS 30 (1979); 333–4) and Bernhard Diensberg (Anglia 99 (1981): 226–9).

It is hardly possible in a printed text to show the range of manuscript variation in the spacing between letters. On this point, we have generally followed d’A, S-WB and Thompson, which aim to reproduce manuscript word-division (though there seems to be some silent normalisation in Thompson), but we have recorded ← X | XI → clear errors and disagreements in the notes. Symbols, listed in IV. below, have been added to produce appropriate concordable units.

For the most part, we have distinguished just two varieties of each letter, reproduced as upper- and lower-case. However, scribal practice seems to justify showing a third form of a, which is reproduced as a. Our w represents wynn; our W represents the w that occurs twice in L. Medially and finally, scribes occasionally use forms elsewhere reproduced as upper-case, but these are only transcribed as such where a littera notabilior could plausibly been intended, i.e. where preceded by a space, or by another capital, as in text-final ‘AMEN’.

III. Arrangement of the Lines in the Parallel Text

We use B as the control text for Sawles Warde (or R where it is wanting), and N as the control text for those parts of the Wooing Group extant in more than one copy, with the other texts arranged underneath. For these additional texts, the line number is that of the line immediately after the first slash or the first folio break (or the entire line if it contains neither of these marks).

IV. Symbols and Conventions

(…)Unreadable or doubtfully readable letters

{…}Letters emended by the original scribe

[…]Letters expuncted by the original scribe. Where the erased letters or words are illegible, the brackets are left unfilled.

`…´Letters inserted by the original scribe

`´An illuminated letter that has been supplied from a guide-letter, as in (e.g.) ‘`N´’

[]An illuminated letter that has been supplied without a visible guide-letter, as in (e.g.) ‘[N]’

*Precedes every Latin word (in Sawles Warde and Þe Wohunge of Ure Lauerd). Expressions such as pater noster, sometimes used as part of English sentences, are nevertheless so marked wherever the form is a possible Latin one.

/Indicates the end of each line of the manuscript. Where it coincides with a word-division, it is printed with a space on each side. The line-breaks of the control texts are so indicated only when they do not coincide with those of our transcript.

|Indicates a folio break.

ˇSeparates distinct lexical items that are written continuously in the manuscript.

_Joins the parts of a single lexical item that are separated in the manuscript.

-Hyphen written by the original scribe at the end of a line. If it coincides with a word-division, it is printed with a space on each side. In the N ← XI | XII → manuscript of the Wooing texts, some word elements are joined by horizontal hyphens, single or double; in our view these are not the work of the original scribe, and they are not reproduced here, though some of them are included in Thompson’s text.

.Whether used as a punctuation mark or indicating a run-over from the line above, the punct is printed with a space on each side.

Paraph mark in the R and T texts of Sawles Warde (not reproduced by Wilson), sometimes indicating a runover from the line above.

;Punctus elevatus

´The acute accents of the manuscripts are so indicated, except for the mark that normally occurs over i.

aDistinctly larger form of lower-case a.

&Represents the Tironian nota, occasionally for the sequence et in Latin words other than et.

*c.Abbreviation for Latin cetera.

italicsThe expansion of abbreviations is marked by italics. (d’A and Thompson silently expand abbreviations.) Letters written in superscript, mainly at line-ends, are not so marked in this edition.

boldLetters given prominence by either ornamentation or colouring are printed in bold. ← XII | XIII →

Parallel Texts

← 1 | 2 → ← 2 | 3 →


XII, 170
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (April)
Dobson lyrical meditations Ancrene Wisse kahterine group
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XII, 170 pp.

Biographical notes

Harumi Tanabe (Volume editor) John Scahill (Volume editor)

Harumi Tanabe (Seikei University) and John Scahill (Insearch, University of Technology Sydney) represent the six medievalists of the Tokyo Medieval Manuscript Reading Group, which has previously produced diplomatic parallel texts of Ancrene Wisse (2003, 2005) and the Katherine Group (2011).


Title: «Sawles Warde»  and the Wooing Group
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