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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 March 2016
Learning to write the new humanistic script can surely be taken as a sign of humanistic interests’ in the fifteenth century. This is the conclusion of the compilers of a catalogue entitled Duke Humfrey and English Humanism in the Fifteenth Century which was produced in conjunction with an exhibition held in the Bodleian library, Oxford in 1970. As long as our interests are confined to the small circle of English humanists in this period who are known by name this statement may not lead us on to reflection or comment since its truth is self-evident. The situation is altered, however, and the words quoted above assume a new meaning and suggest a new line of approach in the light of an unexpected encounter with anonymous attempts to imitate the script in the unusual setting of a monastic letter–book or register.
1 R. W. Hunt and A. C. de la Mare in the catalogue of which the title and date are given in the text immediately below, p 66.
2 Ibid p 16.
3 For further details about Farley and other Oxford humanists referred to below see the appropriate entries in Emden (O).
4 Hunt, [R. W.] and de la Mare, [A. C], [Duke Humfrey and English Humanism in the Fifteenth Century] (Oxford 1970) p 16 Google Scholar.
5 It is described by Pantin, , ‘English Monastic Letter-books’ in Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait, ed Edwards, J. G., Galbraith, V. H. and Jacob, E. F. (Manchester 1933)Google Scholar.
6 These items are numbered 361, 363, 364, and 365 in the edition which the present writer is completing under the sponsorship of the Hampshire record office. It is worth noting that in these legal and administrative documents the wording follows the customary formulae, and there is therefore no trace of humanistic influence on the style or Unguage.
7 Hunt and de la Mare p 15. Another example is Thomas Chaundler, who was warden of Winchester College from 1450 to 1454 and of New College from 1454 to 1475. For these and other English humanists, see Weiss, R., Humanism in England during the Fifteenth Century (3 ed Oxford 1967)Google Scholar.
8 The careers of these men have been summarised by Emden.
9 These are numbered 208, 209 and 210 in the register.
10 See note 8 above.
11 Items numbered 172, 220, 244, 257, 316 and 355.
12 No 220.
13 No 316.
14 No 355.
15 The quotation is from a letter of Poggio to Niccolo Niccoli and is referred to in Hunt and de la Mare p 9; some of Poggio’s letters to Petworth are printed by Tonelli, T. in Poggii Epistolae (Florence 1832)Google Scholar.
16 Memorials of the Reign of King Henry VI. Official Correspondence of Thomas Bekynton..,. ed Williams, G., 2 vols (London 1872)Google Scholar passim.
17 Item no 360.
18 Hunt and de la Mare p 33.
19 For Aylward’s career see the entry in Emden (C).
20 Hunt and de la Mare p 54.
21 Ibid p 55.
22 Item no 471.
23 Because of the rarity of examples of the humanistic script in England at this early date they are being reproduced in a forthcoming collection of facsimiles compiled by Hunt and de la Mare and published by the Oxford Bibliographical Society.
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