The Harley Lyrics

The Harley Lyrics

Benedictine priory of Leominster, Herefordshire (United Kingdom) — Late 13th century – first half of the 14th century

The Harley Lyrics

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
The Harley Lyrics

Created ca. 1340, the so-called Harley Lyrics is a compendium of religious and secular poetry that is considered to be one of the most important surviving English medieval manuscripts due to the rarity, quality, and abundance of this unrivalled collection. It was written in Gothic cursive by the skilled hands of three scribes and can be divided into two parts. Part I consists of a collection of hagiographical texts written in Anglo-Norman while Part II consists of a miscellany of secular and religious texts in Middle English, Anglo-Norman, and Latin. Numerous red and blue initials adorn the text, which also has various blank spaces for initials indicating that the decoration of the manuscript was never completed. The coveted manuscript was owned by numerous bibliophiles before being acquired by the British Library as part of a larger collection in 1753.


Alternative Titles
Harley 2253
Henri d'Acre: Miscellany of secular and religious lyrics
Miscellany of English, French, and Latin works
Miscellany of the 'Harley Lyrics'
Size / Format
142 folios / 29.0 x 19.0 cm
Late 13th century – first half of the 14th century
Gothic; Gothic cursive
Red colored initials
Collection of hagiographical texts in Anglo-Norman French (ff. 1r-48v); Miscellany of texts including secular and religious lyrics in English, Anglo-Norman, and Latin, also known as the 'Harley Lyrics' (ff. 49r-142v)
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Edward Harley
Henrietta Harley
Margaret Cavendish Bentinck

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 Facsimile of British Museum MS. Harley 2253

Commentary: 1 volume by Neil Ker Ripley
Language: English
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Reproduction of the folios 1r-48v, 141rv and 142v of the original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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