Manuscripts and Special Collections

Romances and Fabliaux (WLC/LM/6)




WLC/LM/6, f. 188r


French, c.1200-1250. 351 folios.

The volume is imperfect and has been conserved and rebound. It contains 18 stories, including six French romances:

  • Benoît de Sainte-Maure 'Roman de Troie' (ff.1-156);
  • Gautier d'Arras, 'Ille et Galeron' (ff.157-187);
  • Heldris de Cornuälle, 'Le Roman de Silence' (ff.188-223) (the only known copy of this work);
  • Part of the 'Roman d'Alixandre' (ff.224-243v);
  • 'La Chanson d'Aspremont' (ff.244v-303v);
  • Raoul de Houdenc 'La Vengeance Raguidel' (ff.304-335v); 

It also contains 12 other stories, mostly fabliaux, including seven by Gautier le Leu and a fragment by Marie de France (ff.336-345v, plus six leaves bound at the front of the volume and numbered a-f, but which properly belong after f.345).

The texts are illustrated by 83 miniatures depicting knights on horseback and other scenes and grotesques. 

The manuscript appears to have been brought to England in the 15th century, possibly following the looting of the chateau de Laval in 1428. On f. 249v is written, 'C'est lieure est Madame dela val'. On the last page (f 345v), in a later, 15th-century hand, is the name of 'John Bertrem de Thorp Kilton' (Kilton Thorpe in the North Riding). He died without heirs in 1471.

Dating is based on the most recent catalogue description: beginning of the 13th century (Reference: The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts), with recent work by Alison Stones suggesting the first quarter of the century (Reference: Alison Stones, 'Two French Manuscripts: WLC/LM/6 and WLC/LM/7', in The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts) 

Image shows f. 188 recto

View catalogue records

View zoomable images of the following folios from WLC/LM/6, together with transcriptions and translations of selected parts of the text, on our Wives, Widows and Wimples online learning resource:


Further Reading

  • Historical Manuscript Commission , Report on the Manuscripts of Lord Middleton Preserved at Wollaton Hall , Nottinghamshire , compiled by W. H. Stevenson (London:, 1911), pp. 221-36.
  • Frederick A. G. Cowper, ‘Origins and Peregrinations of the Laval-Middleton Manuscript’, Nottingham Medieval Studies , 3 (1959), 3-18.
  • Thorlac Turville-Petre and Dorothy Johnston, Image & Text: Medieval Manuscripts at the University of Nottingham (Nottingham: Djanogly Art Gallery, University of Nottingham Arts Centre, 1996), p. 9.
  • 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 editions:

  • Léopold Constans (ed.). Le Roman de Troie par Benoit de Sainte-Maure, 6 vols, SATF (Paris, 1904-12). This edition is based on another manuscript, and WLC/LM/6 was not known to the editor.
  • Frederick A. G. Cowper (ed.) Gautier d'Arras, Ille et Galeron SATF (Paris, 1956). The other extant manuscript of Ille et Galeron is ed. and transl. by Penny Eley in Gautier d'Arras, Ille et Galeron (King's College London Medieval Studies, XIII, 1996), with reference to the text in WLC/LM/6
  • Lewis Thorpe (ed). Le Roman de Silence : a thirteenth-century Arthurian verse-romance (Cambridge : Heffer, 1972); edition with facing-page translation: Sarah Roche-Mardi (ed. and transl). Silence: A Thirteenth-Century French Romance (East Lansing: Colleagues, 1992). Modern English translation: F. Regina Psaki (ed). Le Roman de Silence. Garland Library of Medieval Literature 63 (New York : Garland, 1991)
  • Lambert li Tors and Alexandre de Bernay, Li Romans d'Alixandre, ed. Heinrich Michelant (Stuttgart, 1846), 93/1-211/13; E. C. Armstrong et al (eds.) The Medieval French 'Roman d'Alexandre,' ed. 6 vols. SATF and Elliott Monographs in the Romance Languages and Literatures 36-41 (Princeton, NJ, 1937-42). This edition is based on another manuscript.
  • Louis Brandin (ed.) La Chanson d'Aspremont: Chanson de geste du XIIe siècle…, 2 vols (Paris, 1919-20)
  • Gilles Roussineau, Raoul de Houdenc: La Vengeance Raguidel (Geneva, 2004)
  • On the Gautier le Leu fabliaux: Charles H. Livingston, Le Jongleur Gautier Le Leu: Étude sur les fabliaux, Harvard Studies in Romance Languages 24 (Cambridge MA, 1951); Willem Noomen et al (eds.) Nouveau Recueil complete des fabliaux, 10 vols (Assen, 1983-98); Luciano Rossi and Richard Straub (ed), Fabliaux érotiques… (Paris, 1992)
  • Lewis Thorpe, 'Raoul de Houdenc: A Possible New Poem', Modern Language Review 47 (1952), 512-15
  • Lewis Thorpe, 'Les Fables de Marie de France: un nouveau fragment de manuscrit', Scriptorium 4 (1950), 102-4

Secondary literature:

  • M.-R. Jung, 'La légende de Troie en France au Moyen Age'. Romanica Helvetica 114 (Bâle, 1996), 21, 124-33; Keith Busby, Codex and Context: Reading Old French Verse Narrative in Manuscript, 2 vols, Faux Titre 221-22 (Amsterdam, 2002), 415-20, 481, 692-93.
  • F.A.G. Cowper, 'The New Manuscript of Ille et Galeron,' Modern Philology 18 (1921) 601-08.
  • F. Lecoy, 'Le "Roman de Silence" d'Heldris de Cornualle,' Romania 99 (1978), 109-25; special issues of Arthuriana: Volume 7, number 2, Summer 1997, and Volume 12, number 1, Spring 2002, both ed. F. Regina Psaki; many other journal articles.
  • André de Mandach, ‘A Royal Wedding-Present in the Making’, Nottingham Medieval Studies , 18 (1974), 56-76.
  • D. J. A. Ross, The Illustrations of the Old French Alexander in Verse, ed. M. Simon and A. Stones [publication expected]
  • M. Friedwagner, 'Die Vengeance Raguidel nach der Middleton-Handschrift', Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 39 (1919), 584-607; Lewis Thorpe, 'Notes sur le texte de La Vengeance Raguidel (première série) [part 2: Dernière série]', Romania 72 (1951), 387-96; 73 (1952), 93-108
  • On the Gautier le Leu fabliaux: Richard E. F. Straub, 'Des Putains et des Lecheors: la version oubliée du manuscript G', Vox Romanica 52 (1993), 164-79; Philippe Ménard, 'Une nouvelle version du dit Des putains et des lecheors', Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 113 (1997), 30-38


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