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Some New Light on Thomas Hoccleve Linne R. Mooney University of York As John Burrow points out in his 1994 biography of Thomas Hoccleve, the large number of documents concerned with grants and payments to Hoccleve, together with the autobiographical passages in his poems, ‘‘enable us to know more about Hoccleve than about most vernacular writers of the period.’’1 Burrow’s biography sets forth what we know of Hoccleve from these sources, and its appendix lists not only the manuscripts identified as written by Hoccleve’s hand but also the sixty-nine documents that name him as recipient of grants, annuities, or payments from the Exchequer. These latter Hoccleve life records are written by various clerks of royal government, and have been connected with Hoccleve because they name him. But since Hoccleve served as a Clerk in the Office of the Privy Seal for more than thirtyfive years, we might expect to find among the surviving documents of that Office some samples of Hoccleve’s own handwriting, that is, documents written by him in the course of his work for the Privy Seal. Two such documents were identified by A. I. Doyle and M. B. Parkes in 1978.2 These are National Archives E 28/29 (temp. Henry IV–V, draft of a document among letters written to and from Robert Frye, Clerk of the Offices of the Privy Seal and Signet) and E 404/31/322 (issue warrant, commanding the Exchequer to pay wages to 24 ‘‘vadletz ’’ of the royal household for accompanying Henry V on his forthcom1 John Burrow, Thomas Hoccleve, Authors of the Middle Ages series, 4 (Aldershot, Hants: Variorum, 1994), p. 1. 2 A. I. Doyle and M. B. Parkes, ‘‘The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century,’’ in M. B. Parkes and A. G. Watson, eds., Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts, and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker (London: Scolar, 1978): 163–210, esp. 82; repr. Parkes, Scribes, Scripts, and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation, and Dissemination of Medieval Texts (London: Hambledon Press, 1991), pp. 201–48, esp. 222. PAGE 293 293 ................. 16596$ $CH9 11-01-10 14:07:26 PS STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER ing expedition to France, dated 27 May 1415).3 Doyle and Parkes concluded: ‘‘Doubtless there are more unidentified specimens of [Hoccleve ’s] handwriting preserved among the collections in the P.R.O. and elsewhere.’’4 There are indeed many more documents written by Hoccleve’s hand in the collections of the National Archives, as I discovered when I went to examine the two named by Doyle and Parkes. The almost 150 documents written by Hoccleve that I have discovered so far survive in the following categories of documents at the National Archives (formerly called the Public Record Office, or P.R.O.): E 404, Warrants for Issues of the Exchequer of Receipt, or Lower Exchequer; E 208, King’s Remembrancer / Brevia Baronibus files of the Exchequer; and E 28, King’s Council and Privy Seal records of the Exchequer of Receipt. By far the greatest number of documents (132) I have identified as written by Hoccleve are in E 404 files, which are documents written by Clerks of the Wardrobe and Clerks of the Privy Seal instructing the Exchequer of Receipt to make payments out of the royal treasury. Those written by the Clerks of the Privy Seal command such payments in the name of the king and are stamped on the back with the Privy Seal in red wax. Those written by Clerks of the Wardrobe command such payments in the names of the Barons of the Exchequer, and were authenticated by the Clerks’ signatures. These latter documents, by far the most numerous in these files, are written on small slips of parchment often little more than 4 cm in height (by ca. 30 cm in width) because they simply record the warrant for payment in a few lines of script. The former are written on larger slips of parchment at least 9–12 cm in height (and ca. 30 cm in width), even if only recording a few lines of script, in order to allow space...


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