Manuscripts and Special Collections

Robert of Gretham, 'Mirur' (WLC/LM/3)

WLC/LM/3, f. 46r

Anglo-Norman French, 1240-1260. 102 ff

The text is a series of vernacular verse sermons for Sundays and feast days, written in Anglo-Norman French, and intended for a lay as well as a clerical readership. The book is a 'spiritual mirror' and encourages morality and religious observance. Each sermon takes a passage from the Gospels as its starting point, goes on to explain the underlying meaning behind the text, and finally gives a practical teaching, drawn from the explanation.

The original was written about 1250 by Robert of Gretham (probably Greatham in Rutland) for the improvement of a lady called Aline to wean her away from romances of Charlemagne, Tristan, etc.

This copy is written in a thirteenth-century hand in double columns. The first 891 lines are missing from this copy, and it breaks off before the end. There are also two significant gaps in the middle of the copy, caused by missing leaves.

There is a complete copy of the book in WLC/LM/4, ff.57-171 

Dating is based on the most recent catalogue description: mid 13th century (Reference: The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts), combined with historical evidence for the marriage of Elena de Quency or Quincy, thought to be Robert's patron Aline, in around 1240 (Reference: K.V. Sinclair, ‘The Anglo-Norman Patrons of Robert the Chaplain and Robert of Greatham’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 27 (1992), 193-208)

Image shows f. 46 recto

View catalogue record


Further Reading

  • Historical Manuscript Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of Lord Middleton Preserved at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire, compiled by W. H. Stevenson (London:, 1911), p. 220.
  • Catalogue description by R. Hanna, in Ralph Hanna and Thorlac Turville-Petre (eds), The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: Texts, Owners and Readers (Boydell and Brewer, 2010)

Published edition: Thomas G. Duncan and Margaret Connolly (eds.) The Middle English Mirror : sermons from Advent to Sexagesima, edited from Glasgow, University Library, Hunter 250; with a parallel text of The Anglo-Norman Miroir edited from Nottingham, University Library, Mi LM 4 (Heidelberg [Germany] : Universitatsverlag Winter, 2003). This is the first in a proposed series, and covers only part of the volume. The edition is based on WLC/LM/4, ff.57-171.

Secondary literature: K.V. Sinclair, ‘The Anglo-Norman Patrons of Robert the Chaplain and Robert of Greatham’, Forum for Modern Language Studies , 27 (1992), 193-208; Robert de Gretham: Miroir ou les Évangiles des Domnées , ed. S. Panunzio (Bari, 1967, 1974), pp. 20-1; Marion Y. H. Aitken, Étude sur le Miroir ou les Évangiles des Domnées de Robert de Gretham (Paris, 1922), pp. 12-13.


Next page: WLC/LM/4


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