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The manuscript of Stephen of Lexington: letters from Ireland 1228-29 The Register of the Letters of Abbot Stephen of Lexington is in the Biblioteca Nazionale, Turin, Italy. The manuscript is codex number D.VI.25 and is made up of 100 folios, composed of twelve fascicules; this manuscript was written between the years 1228 and 1239, with the bulk of material being written between 1228 and 1233, leaving only the last eleven folios, from folio 89, written from 1233 to 1239. The complete manuscript has been published in two parts,1 of which the first part2 contains the letters written when Stephen of Lexington was abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Stanley in England in 1228 and 1229 and visitor of the Cistercian monasteries in Ireland in 1228, as well as other letters of a later date in the Register which are relevant to the visitation of the Irish monasteries in 1228.3 Thirty-nine of the first fifty-two folios of the manuscript, which comprise the first six fascicules, were copied while Abbot Stephen was abbot of Stanley (he was elected abbot of Savigny in France on 24 May 1229 and left Stanley in July of that year). There are two principal hands in these first fiftytwo folios, one of which has written thirty-nine of these folios; this scribe was with Abbot Stephen during his visitation of the Irish monasteries in 1228 and in the period following it when he had returned to Stanley; he would have been a monk of Stanley, and he was a careful and pleasing scribe who wrote with the form and style of one familiar with the techniques of letter-writing rather than the more rushed and prosaic techniques used in the copying of cartularies and followed elsewhere in the manuscript by other scribes.^ The other principal hand in these fifty-two folios (six fascicules) is that of a monk of Savigny, and all that he has written relates to the time when Abbot Stephen had left Stanley and was abbot of Savigny; only the work of the monk of Stanley was actually written during the course of the visitation of the Irish monasteries in 1228 and while Abbot Stephen was abbot of Stanley in 1228 and 1229. The monk from Stanley is the scribe of the first thirty-three folios and folio 34r of the manuscript, which comprise the first gathering of four folios, the second gathering of twelve folios and the first five folios and folio 34r of the fourth gathering, which 1 B. Griesser, ed., Registrum Epistolarum Abbatis Stephani de Lexinton, Analecta Sacri Ordinis Cisterciensis 2, 1946, 1-118 and 8, 1952, 181-378. 2 Analecta Sacri Ordinis Cisterciensis 2, 1946, 1-118; hereafter Registrum. 3 Registrum, 111-6. 4 Registrum, 2. 30 B.W. O'Dwyer is of eight folios; folio 34v of the manuscript is headed with the date 1230 and the scribe is the monk of Savigny; all the remaining letters in this fourth gathering, from folio 34v to folio 36v , are dated to 1230 and 1231, and therefore are not contemporary with the time when Abbot Stephen was abbot of Stanley. The fifth gathering of the manuscript, which is of eight folios, is made up of letters dating from the second half of 1231 and early 1232.5 The sixth gathering (which commences on folio 45r ) is of eight folios and the monk of Stanley has written the first four folios; he has left vacant the second half of folio 48v and the whole of folio 49r , which have been filled with three letters by various hands at a later date (December 1230 and 1232-33); the monk of Stanley takes up the script again on folio 49v and continues to folio 51r , when the monk of Savigny takes over with the statutes of the visitation of Longueville in 1231 and continues to the end of the gathering (folio 52v ) and into the seventh gathering. Everything written by the monk of Stanley is related to and is contemporary with matters concerning Abbot Stephen while he was abbot of Stanley in 1228 and until July 1229; everything else in the manuscript is of a later date...


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