Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2014
It is possible to deduce more about Trinity College Dublin MS 516 than about most miscellanies. Its owner and compiler enters his name and place of residence frequently in the book and also dates some of his entries. This is a highly personal compilation, and there is no evidence of anyone else intervening in the book until after the death of the original compiler. Like the compilers of many miscellanies, this man had antiquarian interests, but historical and political concerns appear to have determined in large part his choice of texts. And, because he was primarily interested in historical events and political issues, especially issues concerning the church, dates can frequently be assigned to the individual items he collected, and to when they were copied. It is therefore possible to get closer to the compiler of this miscellany than is usually the case, and to make informed judgments about his personal concerns – some of which appear, in retrospect, to be unusual.
The manuscript consists of 224 folios of parchment and paper, measuring approximately 22 × 15 cm, but there is a bit of unevenness in the size of some of the pages and the paper leaves show a variety of watermarks, as if small stocks of paper were purchased as needed.