Principal Notes and Queries The Author of the Manuel des Péchés

The Author of the Manuel des Péchés

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Notes and Queries
June, 1991
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June 1991


WILLIAM of Waddington, who was probably
named after the village of Waddington,
Lancashire (three miles south-west of the
Cistercian Abbey at Salley),1 and who was
probably born during the last quarter of the
twelfth century, was a secular canon who
became a prominent member of Archbishop of
York Walter Gray's legal team, and who seems
rapidly to have become one of the Archbishop's
favourite servants.
His legal career is well documented in the
Archbishop's register.2 In c. 1221 'Willelmo de
Wydington'3 witnessed a confirmation of a
grant of a church to York Minster (Reg. Gray,
142-3 n.). In 1226 'Willelmo de Widindon' and
'Galfrido de Bocland' witnessed a grant to the
Archbishop of a parcel of land (Reg. Gray, 221
n.). 'W. de Wydendon and G. de Bocland' are
described as the Archbishop's justices at
Hexham in a document of 1229, in which they
witnessed an archiepiscopal grant of land to
Richard, the sometime bailiff of Hexham (Reg.
Gray, 235, 227 n.), and as 'our justices' in a
document of 1236, in which they again
witnessed a grant to Richard (Reg. Gray, 248).
' Some events in the medieval history of this village are
examined in my D.Phil, thesis, The Original and Subsequent
Audiences of the Manuel des Peches and its Middle English
Descendants (University of Oxford, 1990), 267-74. The
Tempest family, who owned three copies of the Manuel, held
the lordship of the village from 1268. Previous attempts to
identify the author of the Manuel have been inconclusive or
vaguely suggestive (see C. G. Laird, The Source of Robert
Mannyng ofBrunne's Handlyng Synne (Stanford University
Ph.D. thesis, 1940), 303-17; E. J. Arnould, Le Manuel des
Peches (Paris, 1940), 248-9; A. I. Doyle, A Survey of the
Origins and Circulation of Theological Writings in English in
the 14th, 15th, and early 16th Centuries (Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis, 1953), i. 58-9). What follows is a positive
identification. A detailed study of the evidence in Archbishop Gray's register (; see next n.) has until now never been
attempted. The evidence presented here which does not
derive from the register has never been noticed before.
J. Raine (ed.), The Register, or Rolls, of Walter Gray.
Surtees Society, lvi (1872 for 1870).
The commonest version of the author's name in the
surviving manuscripts begins with the element 'Wid-' (see the
variants to line 12751, as presented in Arnould, 436). Only
two copies offer 'Wad-'. In Domesday Book the name of the
village is spelt - perhaps incorrectly or phonetically 'Widitun'; from the second quarter of the thirteenth century it
was commonly spelt 'Waddington'. See A. H. Smith (ed.), The
Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire, vi. English
Place-Name Society, xxxv (1961 for 1957-8), 199. The
manuscript variants thus reflect known historical variants.


A year later, in another grant to Richard, they
are described as itinerant archiepiscopal
justices (Reg. Gray, 249). In 1228 'W. de
Widindon and G. de Bokland', described as
archiepiscopal justices based at Hexham,
witnessed the Archbishop's grant of Hexhamarea lands to Richard (Reg. Gray, 228); in an
undated but probably contemporary exchange
of lands between these two parties also
witnessed by 'Willelmo de Widendon' and 'G.
de Bocland', Widendon and Bocland seem to
be described as canons of Beverley (Reg. Gray,
227-8 n.).4 In another undated but probably
contemporary document, these two men
witnessed an exchange of Yorkshire land
between the Archbishop and another party; in
this document 'Willelmo de Widindon' is
described as the seneschal 'domini Ebor.', and
'G. de Bocland' as a canon of Beverley (Reg.
Gray, 232 n.).5
Waddington may have been the Archbishop's
seneschal for twenty or more years. In 1242
the Archbishop granted trusteeship of private
land in the Beverley area to 'domino W. de
Wydindon, senescallo nostro' (Reg. Gray,
253). In 1247 an archiepiscopal grant of land
to the Prior of the Augustinian house at
Worksop, Nottinghamshire (18 miles northwest of Southwell) was witnessed by 'domino
W. de Wydindon tune senescallo domini
Ebor.', by the Archbishop's Chancellor, and by
'Waltero de Ludham' and 'Ric. de Boyvill'
(Reg. Gray, 256-7), the last two elsewhere
being frequently associated with Waddington
(see below). In 1252 the Archbishop granted a
'general aquittance' to 'Wm. de Wyd., our
seneschal' (Reg. Gray, 268).
Waddington was a feoffee of the Archbishop
in the archiepiscopal Manor of Southwell (a
'peculiar' district in the Diocese of York) for
many years,6 and when Gray's register refers to
Testibus Bernardo priore de Hext. (Hexham), Ada de
Tindale, Petro de Vallibus, Ada Bertram, Thoma de
Widington, Roberto de Erington, Radulpho de Erington,
Willelmo de Ruley, Willelmo de Widendon, G. de Bocland
canonicis Beverl., Thoma de Stanford clerico, et aliis.'
Bocland was also Dean of St Martin's-le-Grand and
canon and precentor of the collegiate house at Ripon. See
A. F. Leach (ed.), Visitations and Memorials of Southwell
Minster, Camden Society, n.s. xlviii (1891), 180 n.
On the medieval history of the 'Peculiar' see W. Page,
The Victoria History of the County of Nottingham, ii

(London, 1910), 152-61.



him in this capacity it often describes him as a
'knight'. In 1226 the Archbishop granted a
piece of land in Southwell to 'Wm. de Widindon and his heirs, for their homage and
service', 'doing knight service for the 15 th part
of a knight's fee therefore' (Reg. Gray, 223).7 In
September of the following year the Archbishop
granted fifty acres of surplus land in his Manor of
Southwell (including some land in Easthorpe,
near Southwell) to 'Wm. de Widindon and his
heirs, for his homage and service' (Reg. Gray,
226). William thereafter seems to have had a
small chapel at Easthorpe, which, like his
chantry at Southwell (see below), was dedicated
to St Nicholas (Reg. Gray, 223 n.). In 1235 the
Archbishop granted land in Southwell and
(nearby) Morton to 'dilecto et fideli nostro
Willelmo de Wydendon, pro homagio et servitio
suo' (Reg. Gray, 244-5).8
The register also often refers to Waddington
as a knight when recording his legal services. In
1239 'Sir Wm. de Widindon, knight' witnessed
an archiepiscopal grant of land in the Hexham
area (Reg. Gray, 252, including n.), and in 1241
the Archbishop's plan for support of a chantry
in York Minster was witnessed by 'dominis
Willelmo de Widindon et Waltero de Ludham,
militibus' (Reg. Gray, 191). Waddington and
Ludham ('militibus') also witnessed the Archbishop's grant of a manor to the Dean and
Chapter of York in 1241 (Reg. Gray, 195). In
1246 they and other 'knights' witnessed the
Archbishop's grant of a church advowson to a
private citizen (Reg. Gray, 202). In 1248 'Sir
Wm. de Widingdon and Richard de Boiville,
knights' witnessed an archiepiscopal grant of
land to a private party (Reg. Gray, 259, including n.). In the same year two canons of Southwell
and 'Willelmo de Wid[ind]ona et Ricardo de
During the same year 'Willelmo de Widindon' and two
canons of Southwell witnessed an exchange of land between
the Archbishop and the Prior of the Augustinian house at
Hexham. See J. Raine (ed.), The Priory of Hexham, ii, Surtees
Society, xlvi (1865 for 1864), 93-4.
" This land abutted that of Roger de Lanum (Laneham),
clerk, an apparent relative of William de Lanum, sometime
canon of York and archdeacon of Durham, who founded
University College, Oxford (see Reg. Gray, 245 n.). A
Matthew Waddington (MA, University College) held the
vicarage of Laneham during the early seventeenth century.
See K. S. S. Train (ed.), Lists of the Clergy of North Nottinghamshire, Thoroton Society Record Series, xx (1961 for
1959-60), 109, and J. Foster (ed.), Alumni
1500-1714, iv, (Oxford, 1892), 1550.

June 1991

Boyvill militibus' witnessed the Archbishop's
grant of land to the Keyper Hospital (Reg.
Gray, 288-90).
Probably c.1250 'Sir William Wydyngton,
Knight, Seneschal of the Archbishop, Bailiff of
Southwell Manor' founded a chantry at the altar
of St Nicholas in Southwell Minster. Geoffrey
de Bocland, Waddington's fellow justice,
witnessed the foundation.9 In a 1369 inventory
of the goods kept at the altar of St Vincent in
Southwell Minster, a copy of Waddington's
poem is mentioned ('Et unus liber qui vocatur
"manuele peche", lingua gallica conscriptus,
pretii iii s. iiii d.').10
In 1241/2 Robert de Lexington (canon of
Southwell and King's Justice) founded a
chantry in Southwell Minster. A good deal of
this chantry's annual revenue was thereafter
provided by the Gilbertine house at Sixhills,
Lincolnshire (35 miles north-east of Southwell),11 a house in which Robert Mannyng of
Brunne, the first translator of Waddington's
poem, lived for a time, and to which Mannyng
addressed his Story of England.11 In a
humorous letter of 13 32, the Chapter of Southwell, after advising the Convent of Sixhills that
debtors to the Chapter are routinely excommunicated, urged Sixhills to send the chantry's
endowment money within six days.13
Certain historical incidents may expand on
this connection. In 1232-5 William 'de
See Leach's Southwell Minster, 180, including nn. The
approximate date for the foundation was suggested by Page,
VCH Nottingham, ii. 160. The immunity of peculiars and
manors from frequent external scrutiny made them ideal
spots for nepotistic activities (see VCH Nottingham, ii. 159,
and R. M. Beaumont, The Chapter of Southwell Minster
(Nottingham, 1956), 11). A person named 'Willelmo de
Weddyngton' was a constable of York in 1249 (see J. S.
Purvis (ed.), Chartulary . . . of Healaugh, Yorkshire
Archaeological Society Record Series, xcii (1936 for 1935),
147, where Weddyngton witnesses a grant to Healaugh
"' See Leach's Southwell Minster, 198. This manuscript
has not been mentioned in any previous study of the Manuel.
It may be St John's College, Cambridge, MS 167, which (cf.
fo. 157r) was owned by the middle of the fifteenth century by
a John Strelley, of Linby, Nottinghamshire (ten miles west of
Southwell Minster). The collection at the altar in the Minster
included copies of the Summa Summarum and Pars Oculi
Sacerdotis (see Leach, 198, including nn.).
' See Leach, 182, including nn.; on Lexington see Leach,
For more on Mannyng's life and writings, see my D.Phil,
thesis, 126-96, and 275-8.
'•' See Leach, 182, including nn.


June 1991

Wadingeton', Richard 'de Brunna', and William
of Lincoln (archdeacon of Leicester) witnessed
a rental contract for land in Eastgate (less than
one mile from Bourne, Lincolnshire, the birthplace of Robert Mannyng). William of Lincoln's
predecessor as archdeacon of Leicester was
Robert Grosseteste, to whom the Manuel des
Peches is attributed in two manuscripts of
Mannyng's Handlyng Synne}* In 1269 three
canons of Southwell were ordered by Archbishop Giffard to induct a Robert 'le Brun' as
proctor to a newly appointed prebend of Southwell.15 The date of this event makes it most
unlikely that the person involved was the translator of the Manuel, for Mannyng's writing
career did not end until the late 1330s.16 In
1294, however, a Thomas of Waddington
resigned from the rectory of Toynton St Peter,
Lincolnshire (22 miles south-east of Sixhills) to
take a post at the church of Leconfield,
Humberside (3 miles north of Beverley); the
new rector of Toynton St Peter was named
Roger Brun.'7 Connections between the
Tempest family, who owned three copies of
Waddington's poem, and the house at Sixhills
will be explored elsewhere.18

Boston, Massachusetts
See K. Major (ed.), The Registrum Antiquissimum of
the Cathedral Church of Lincoln, x, Lincoln Record Society,
Lxvii (1973), 8 0 - 1 . The attribution of the Manuel to
Grosseteste appears in the opening rubrics in Bodleian
Library MS Bodley 415 and British Library MS Harley 1701
of Handlyng Synne.
See W. Brown (ed.), The Register of Walter Giffard,
Surtees Society, cix (1904), 92. The orthographical distinction between 'Brown' (ME Brune) and 'Bourne' (ME
Brunne) was not always observed in Middle English.
'Bourne' was occasionally rendered Brune (see E. Ekwall,
The Concise Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edn
(Oxford, 1960), s.v. 'Bourn' and Brendon Hills' (for
'Brown'), 55,63).
"• Seen. 12.
SeeR. M.T. Hill(ed.), The Rolls and Register of Bishop
Oliver Sutton, i, Lincoln Record Society, xxxix (1948), 188.
Waddington was presented to Toynton in 1278 (see F. N.
Davis, C. W. Foster, and A. H. Thompson (eds), Rotuli
Ricardi Gravesend, Lincoln Record Society, xx (1925), 81).
He resigned from the rectory of Farforth (12 miles south-east
of Sixhills) in 1284 (see Hill, Reg. Sutton i. 53).
'" In Historical Notes on Robert Mannyng of Brunne and
his Associates', a forthcoming article to be published elsewhere, I shall present evidence which suggests that the
Tempests, who were related to the Waddingtons, were also
related to Mannyng and to associates of Peter Idley, who refashioned Handlyng Synne during the fifteenth century.

0026-3970/91 S3.00


WHEN Jeanne Drennan and I published the
Middle English Prose Complaint of Our Lady
and Gospel of Nicodemus (Middle English
Texts, 19 (Heidelberg, 1987); reviewed in
Notes and Queries, ccxxxiv (1987), 145) we
included as a parallel text an edition of the
Anglo-Norman source from two manuscripts
known to us, British Library MSS Royal 20 B.V
(Rl) and Egerton 2781 (Eg). Professor Richard
O'Gorman has recently drawn my attention to a
fragment of an Anglo-Norman prose text in
Cambridge University Library MS Dd.4.35.21
have been able to identify this as a portion of the
Complaint of Our Lady and Gospel of Nicodemus. The fragment comprises two folios (fos.
1-2) from the late fifteenth or early sixteenth
century which have been bound in at the beginning of a fifteenth-century manuscript of Latin
verse and prose. If we use the pagination and
lineation of our edition, the text consists of
p. 101 AN 9 auoyt-p. 119 AN 9 fes (2). The
following collation adds to the apparatus of the
text which is based on Rl; it therefore records
only readings which differ from those of the
base manuscript and not instances of agreement
between Rl and Dd against Eg. It does not
include obvious mechanical errors. An asterisk
denotes an emended reading in Rl.
p. 101/AN 9 auoyt*] auoit EgDd, amoyt Rl.
10 assetz] assez en EgDd; de] om. EgDd. 11
Quant] et quant EgDd. 14 comensay] comenceray Dd.
p. 102/AN 1 qe (1)] come EgDd. 3 douz)
mon douz Dd. 4 & voz) om. Dd; des] om. Dd.
5 tants (2)] tantz des Dd. 6 rendrent] rendent
EgDd. 10 & (2)] pur mes EgDd. 12 a* (1)]
om. RIEg, et Dd; coueryr] coueri EgDd. 13
lues) om. EgDd.
I am grateful to Professor Richard O'Gorman of the
Department of French and Italian at the University of Iowa
for drawing my attention to Cambridge University Library
A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library
of the University of Cambridge, vol. i (Cambridge, 1856),