Capgrave's Oeuvre

In Regum (before 1437)

Four volumes, all lost, but all mentioned by Capgrave in his preface to In Genesim

In Genesim (1437-38)

Manuscript

Oxford, Oriel College, MS 32. Manuscript presented to Duke Humphrey at his Woodstock residence. Revised by Capgrave, with three diagrams, labeled in Capgrave's handwriting, on the constructon of Noah's ark. Historiated initials show Capgrave at his desk (fol. 4), Capgrave presenting the manuscript to Duke Humphrey (fol. 3v), and God creating Adam (fol. 4v). Inscription in the manuscript reads: "Cest liure est a moy, Humfrey duc de Gloucestre, du don de Frere Johan Capgave, quy le me fist presenter a mon manoyr de Pensherst, le jour de l'an M.CCCCXXXVIII [i.e. 1 January 1439]." This commentary's date of composition is indicated in a colophon on fol. 187v.

Editions (preface only)

Liber de Illustibus Henricis. Ed. Francis Charles Hingeston. London, 1858. Pp. 229-32.

M. C. Seymour, John Capgrave. Bookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 1996. Pp. 39-40.

In Exodum (ca. 1439-40)

Manuscript

Oxford, MS Duke Humfrey b.1. Manuscript presented to Duke Humphrey. Includes a historiated initial depicting Capgrave presenting the manuscript to the duke and six pages with illuminations. Corrections by Capgrave. See the entry in the Bodleian Library Catalogue and a sample illumination. Date of composition indicated in a colophon.

Editions/Translation (preface only)

Peter Lucas. Fom Author to Audience: John Capgrave and Medieval Publication. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 1997. Pp. 285-293. (translation and transcription)

M. C. Seymour. John Capgrave. Bookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 1996. Pp. 40-41. (transcription)

In Leviticum (after 1440)

Lost. For Duke Humphrey. Projected by Capgrave in In Genesim. Listed, with incipit, in Bale's Catalogus.

In Numeros (after 1440)

Lost. For Duke Humphrey. Projected by Capgrave in In Genesim. Listed, with incipit, in Bale's Catalogus.

In Deuteronomium (after 1440)

Lost. Projected by Capgrave in In Genesim. Listed, with incipit, in Bale's Catalogus.

Concordia (1440-45?)

Lost. In his Treatise of the Orders (see below), Capgrave refers to "the book whech I mad to the abbot of Seynt Iames at Norhampton in Latin, whech boke I named Concordia, be-cause it is mad to reforme charite be-twix Seynt Augustines hermites and his channones" (Munro, 146). He mentions the book again, summarizing its account of the translation of the body of Saint Monica to Rome, in his Solace of Pilgrims (Munro, 92-93). Leland and Bale identify the dedicatee as John Watford, abbot of Augustinian Canons Regular at Saint James from 1430-1445. Bale reported seeing a copy in the library of Thomas Keys (Index, 188). Bale himself owned a copy, which was lost in 1559.

Life of Saint Norbert (1440)

Middle English verse life of St. Norbert of Xanten, who founded the Premonstratensian Order in 1120. Written at the request of John Wygenhale, abbot of the Premonstratensians of West Dereham, Norfolk. Completion date of 1440 given in the epilogue.

Manuscript

San Marino, Huntington Library MS HM 55. Presentation copy, written and signed by Capgrave. Historiated initial shows Capgrave presenting the manuscript to abbot. See the detailed description of this manuscipt, with images, from the Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library.

Edition

The Life of St. Norbert. Ed. Cyril Lawrence Smetana. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1977.

Life of Saint Katherine (ca. 1445)

Middle English verse life of the virgin martyr Katherine of Alexandria in five books, written for a general audience. Distinctive features include a lengthy prologue in which Capgrave recounts the discovery of his long-lost (and probably fictitious) source, an obtrusive narrator (reminiscent at times of Chaucer), and an interest in psychology, politics, and theology. The Life of Saint Kahterine survives in more manuscripts than any other of Capgrave's works, and it is the only work not to survive in an autograph or holograph manuscript. The dating is based on a reference to Capgrave's Katherine in Osbern Bokenham's Life of Saint Katherine, which can be reliably dated between 1445 and 1447.

Manuscripts

London, British Library MS Arundel 20.

London, British Library MS Arundel 168

London, British Library MS Arundel 396

Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Rawl. poet. 118

Editions

The Life of St. Katharine of Alexandria. Ed. Carl Horstmann. EETS.OS 100. 1893. Reprint, Millwood, NY: Kraus, 1987.

The Life of Saint Katherine. Ed. Karen A. Winstead. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999. This edition is also available online.

De Illustribus Henricis (1446-47)

Dedicated to Henry VI, De Illustribus Henricis consists of twenty-four short biographies of famous Henries, including the Lancastrian Kings Henry IV, V, and VI. Capgrave's chapter on Henry VI recounts his visit to the Lynn priory in 1446.

Manuscripts

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 408. Autograph.

London, British Library, Cotton MS Tiberius A viii.

Edition

Liber de Illustribus Henricis. Ed. Francis Charles Hingeston. London, 1858.

Translation

The Book of the Illustrious Henries. Trans. Francis Charles Hingeston. London, 1858.

Super Epistolas Pauli (before 1447)

For Duke Humphrey. Lost, but listed, with incipit, in Bale's Catalogus.

Life of Saint Augustine (ca. 1450)

Written for an unnamed gentlewoman. Capgrave pays particular attention to Augustine's mother, Monica.

Manuscript

London, British Library, Add. MS 36704. Holograph, which includes Capgrave's Life of St. Gilbert and Treatise of the Orders.

Editions

Life of Saint Augustine. Ed. Cyril Lawrence Smetana. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2001.

John Capgrave's Lives of St. Augustine and St. Gilbert of Sempringham, and a Sermon. Ed. J. J. Munro. EETS.OS 140. London, 1910.

Solace of Pilgrims (ca. 1451)

No formal dedication, but in his preface, Capgrave gratefully acknowledges Sir Thomas Tuddenham's sponsorship of his recent pilgrimage to Rome. Capgrave embarked on his trip in 1449 and may have stayed there into 1450, the "Jubilee Year." The Solace contains anecdotes about religious sites, many featuring women.

Manuscripts

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 423. Holograph corrected by Capgrave.

Oxford, All Souls College, MS 17, fols. 1-2, pp. 221-4 (fragment)

Oxford, Balliol College, MS 190, fols. 116-19 (fragment)

Edition

Ye Solace of Pilgrimes. Ed. C. A. Mills. London: Oxford University Press, 1911.

Life of Saint Gilbert (1451)

Written at the request of Nicholas Reysby, master of the Gilbertine double monastery at Sempringham and specifically for the benefit of the Gilbertine nuns. Year of composition indicated at the end of the life.

Manuscripts

London, British Library, Add. MS 36704. Holograph; manuscript includes Capgrave's Life of St. Augustine and Treatise of the Orders.

London, British Library, Cotton MMS Vitellius D xv. (burned fragment).

Edition

John Capgrave's Lives of St. Augustine and St. Gilbert of Sempringham, and a Sermon. Ed. J. J. Munro. EETS.OS 140. London, 1910.

A Treatise of the Orders under the Rule of St. Augustine (ca. 1451)

Incipit identifies the text as drawn from a sermon Capgrave gave at Cambridge in 1422. Capgrave refers to the Latin sermon in his Life of Saint Gilbert, writing, "vnphap I wil sette [it] in Englisch" after he has finished Gilbert (Munro, 61). Capgrave's phrasing makes it unclear whether he was appending a pre-existing English version of the sermon or whether he was planning to produce such a version specifically for inclusion in the manuscript he was sending Reysby.

Manuscript

London, British Library, Add. MS 36704. Holograph; manuscript includes Capgrave's Augustine and Gilbert.

Edition

John Capgrave's Lives of St. Augustine and St. Gilbert of Sempringham, and a Sermon. Ed. J. J. Munro. EETS.OS 140. London, 1910.

Manipulus doctrinae christianae (ca. 1452)

Lost, but cited, with incipit, in Bale's Catalogus. For John Kempe, cardinal and Archbishop of Canterbury.

In Actus Apostolorum (ca. 1458)

For William Gray, Bishop of Ely, whose kindness when Capgrave was ill in Rome Capgrave gratefully acknowledges in his preface.

Manuscript

Oxford, Balliol College, MS 189. Autograph presented to Bishop Gray which has Capgrave's marginal "nota bene" trefoils.

Edition (preface)

M. C. Seymour, John Capgrave, 42-43.

In Apocalypsim Joannis (ca. 1460)

Lost, but listed, with incipit, in Bale's Catalogus. For William Gray, Bishop of Ely.

De Fidei symbolis (ca. 1462)

For William Gray, Bishop of Ely

Manuscripts

Oxford, Balliol College, MS 189. Autograph presented to Bishop Gray.

Oxford All Souls College, MX XVII. Holograph, with Capgrave's revisions.

Edition (preface)

Seymour, John Capgrave, 44-46.

Abbreviation of Chronicles (ca. 1462-63)

History beginning with Creation and ending in 1417, with attention to cultural and intellectual history, to the contributions of women, and to English political history. Dedicated to Edward IV.

Manuscripts

Cambridge, University Library MS Gg.4.12. Autograph, with fifteen marginal trefoils (Capgrave's "nota bene" marks) on fols. 46v, 55r,66r, 71r, 75v, 76r, 76v, 79r, 82v, 84r, 90r (two), 95v, 97v, 104r.

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 167.

Editions

John Capgrave's Abbreuiacion of Cronicles. Ed. Peter J. Lucas. EETS.OS 285. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983.

The Chronicle of England. Ed. F. C. Hingeston. London, 1858.

Further Lost Works

For the titles of other lost works, along with the evidence for the existence of each work, see Seymour, John Capgrave, pp. 246-48; and Lucas, From Author to Audience, pp. 313-14.

Questionable Attribution: Nova Legenda Angliae

Since the sixteenth century, Capgrave has been credited with this collection of 158 saints' lives in Latin. For an assessment of the evidence, see Peter Lucas, "Capgrave and the Nova Legenda Angliae," Appendix 3 of his From Author to Audience: John Capgrave and Medieval Publication (Dublin: University of Dublin Press, 1997), 294-306. Lucas concludes that "Capgrave's part in the making of the work was probably nil" (295).

Sources

©2008 Karen Winstead