John Whittokesmede as Parliamentarian and Horse Owner in Yale University Library, Beinecke MS 163

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Abstract

This paper presents prolegomena to a study of Yale University Library, Beinecke MS 163, looking at some selected details of its origins, content and language. It illustrates how research in one area of a discipline can lead to fresh insights into a range of other areas. In this case, work done for the primary purpose of dialectology has necessitated exploration into the life and concerns of a medieval
gentleman and his household, and has led to the discovery of several words and usages hitherto unrecorded in the historical dictionaries. One interdisciplinary insight is that John Whittokesmede had personal interest in the office of Speaker of the House of Commons and might have had (unsuccessful) pretentions to holding that office, at least in 1450 when he would have been qualified for it, having been elected knight of the shire for Wiltshire. Another interdisciplinary insight is that John Whittokesmede’s stable of riding horses would have been looked after using remedies that were current not only in the 15th century but well beyond that. Beinecke 163 shows the earliest (or only) attested usage of a number of words to do with equine disease or injury and their treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-72
Number of pages72
JournalSELIM: Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature
Volume17 (2010)
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Whittocksmead, Beinecke MS 163, Wagstaff Miscellany, 15th century, Parliament, Speaker of the House, Horse, Medicine, Lexicography, Dialectology, LALME.

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