Munich BSB gall. 60 is a multi-part volume, predominantly made up of didactic and devotional works that were crudely copied on paper in the early 15th century. It almost certainly arrived at the BSB from Polling Abbey (Upper Bavaria), which was dissolved in the 19th century. In the 16th century the manuscript belonged to the Celestine monks of Sainte-Croix-sous-Offémont in the Compiègne forest (there’s an ownership mark on f. 74r). But at least bits of it seem to have come from a little further north…

Seal of the first Jehane de Mailly (Source: Ledru 1893, 118)

At the base of f. 16v is a note in a 15th-century hand that I transcribe as follows: ‘Je Jehane de Mailly, hunble abbesse de Bertaucourt, connoissons a avoir eu et recheu de noble home et sage Robert de Vitry le somme de chent sous et .vi. livres parisis’ (‘I Jehane de Mailly, humble abbess of Berteaucourt, acknowledge acceptance and receipt from the noble and wise Robert de Vitry of the sum of 100 sous and 6 livres parisis‘).

A Jehane de Mailly, abbess of the Benedictine abbey of Berteaucourt (in the Somme), is mentioned in documents from 1389 to 1445 (Ledru 1893, 118). She almost certainly wasn’t extraordinarily long-lived; it appears that one Jehane de Mailly was succeeded by another, not that surprising given abbesses were typically from local noble families and Jehane was hardly an unusual name.

A note by one of the Jehanes doesn’t, of course, mean either of them owned this part of the manuscript. In fact, the rest of f. 16v is given over to correspondence dated 1406 of a certain Jehan de Courchelles, chaplain of Frohen (just down the road from Berteaucourt). Was he the owner? And what was his relationship to Jehane?

There’s no evidence that the Dyalogue section of the manuscript was ever in the hands of Jehan de Courchelles, but it, too, probably came from Picardy. The language has a strong north-eastern colouring, beginning, for example, ‘Chest livres est appelés Li Dyalogues pour che que il est fais et ordenez des paroles de deus, ch’est du pere qui sen fil enseignoit et du fil qui au pere demande che qu’i ne set’. Note the use of ch (e.g. chest, for modern French c’est) and sen (for modern French son).

 

Bibliography

Ledru, Ambroise (1893). Histoire de la maison de Mailly, t. 1 (Paris: Lechevalier)

Sanson, Jacques (1646). L’histoire ecclésiastique de la ville d’Abbeville et de l’archidiaconé de Pontieu au diocèse d’Amiens (Paris: Pélican)