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Man yt Wol (MS Harley 3542)

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Man yt Wol
MS Harley 3542, British Library
London, United Kingdom

MS Harley 3542 084v.png
MS Harley 3542 085r.png
Type Commonplace book
Date ca. 1440
Place of origin British Empire
  • Unknown (fencing manual)
  • Roger de Baron
Material Paper, with a British Library binding
Size 118 folia (145 mm × 200 mm)
External data Library catalog entry
Other translations

The MS Harley 3542 is a compilation manuscript containing a fencing manual, created in England in the early to mid 15th century.[1] It currently rests in the holdings of the British Library in London, United Kingdom.[2] The manuscript seems to be three separate works bound together, including two alchemical compendia (ff 1-16, 17-94) and a medical compendium (ff 95-118). The fencing treatise, known as Man yt Wol ("The Man that Will"), comprises ff 82-85 of the larger manuscript. Along with the Cotton Titus manuscript and the Ledall manuscript, this is one of only three extant treatises on Medieval English martial arts.[2]


The known provenance of the MS Harley 3542 is:[2]

  • 1500s - owned and annotated by Thomas Byard, vicar of Bockerill [Devon].
  • 1600s - owned by Samuel Knott (d. 1687), rector of Combe Raleigh and priest of Broad Hembury, co. Devon.
  • 1600s-early 1700s - owned by Robert Burscough (1650/51-1709), prebendary of Exeter in 1701, archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1703, rector of Cheriton Bishop in 1705.
  • 17 May 1715 - acquired by Robert Harley (1661-1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician.
  • 1724-1741 - owned by Edward Harley (1689-1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer.
  • 1741-1753 - owned by his widow, Henrietta née Cavendish Holles (1694-1755) and her daughter Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (1715-1785), duchess of Portland.
  • 1753 - sold for a fraction of their value to the British Museum (at the time of its founding).
  • 1973 - moved to the British Library (at the time of its founding).


This is the table of contents provided by the museum.[2]

1r - 14r Treatise on alchemy (The Mirror of Lights)
14r - 15v Four alchemical recipes
16rv Three Alchemical recipes (Modus Maurandi)
17r - 25v Alchemical text (Semita recta Alkymie Alberti)
25v - 28r Alchemical text on the transmutation of metals ('Per artificium vero fit & transmutacio me/tallorum)
28v - 35v Alchemical text attributed to Ramon Llull (Verbum albrematum verissimum & approbatum de occultis)
40r - 41v Alchemical text (Compo[si]cionis / lapidum philosophorum .4. modis)
41v - 44r Alchemical recipes
44v - 55v Epistola boni viri, possibly Guillelmus Sedacerius, De alchimie perfectum
55v - 57v Alchemical text and recipes (Casus magnorum lapsus gravis anteriorum / Sunt afflictorum solamina philosophorum)
57v - 59v Breviloquium lapis philosophorum by Johannes Pauper
59v - 60v Alchemical recipe (Opus mirabile)
60v - 64v Alchemical treatise by John Dastin
64v - 67v Alchemical text
68v - 80v De occulta philosophia by John Sawtry
80v - 81r Alchemical verses
81r - 82r Alchemical verses
82r - 84v
84v - 85r
85r - 94v Recipes for medical and alchemical processes
95r Collection of texts on pulse in Middle English, followed by verse on pulse and humors in Latin
95v - 97r Gualterius, De pulsibus
97v - 100v Text on women's medicine (De ornatu mulierum)
101r - 102r Treatise on medical herbs (Materia medica)
103r - 110r Astronomical-medical treatise by Ralph Hoby
110r Eight-line poem on pulses
110v - 111r Notes on urine (De urinis tractatus)
111rv Notes on urine (Omnis urina est colamentum sanguinis)
111v - 112r Text on phlebotomy
112r Three paragraphs on astrological reckoning for bloodletting
112v Pen drawing of bloodletting man, with text on veins, but veins not marked
113r - 115v, 116v Excerpts of Rogerina minor by Roger de Baron
115v - 116v Excerpts from Summa parva (?) by Roger Frugard
116v Tables on latitudes of seven climates, all with Greek names
117r - 118v Pseudo-Nennius, De mirabilibus Britannie maioris
118v De mensuris


Folio 82r
MS Harley 3542 082r.png
Folio 82v
MS Harley 3542 082v.png
Folio 83r
MS Harley 3542 083r.png
Folio 83v
MS Harley 3542 083v.png
Folio 84r
MS Harley 3542 084r.png
Folio 84v
MS Harley 3542 084v.png
Folio 85r
MS Harley 3542 085r.png

Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


  1. Terry Brown. "A Transcription of ff. 84-85 of Harleian 3542 (A verse describing the use of the Two hand Sword)". Anglo-Saxon Books Ltd. http://aaoema.com/Two-Hand-Sword-Translation-SECURE.pdf. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Explore Archives and Manuscripts". British Library. Retrieved 08 August 2016.
  3. or each other, or him, hë
  4. visage
  5. reuence
  6. allure's
  7. allure
  8. or it, yt
  9. a for the
  10. or him, or quickly, hÿ

Copyright and License Summary

For further information, including transcription and translation notes, see the discussion page.

Work Author(s) Source License
Modernization (82r - 84r) Jon Pellett MEGALOPHIAS His Page
Modernization (84v - 85v) Terry Brown American Academy of English Martial Arts
Transcription Alfred Hutton, Terry Brown Index:Man yt Wol (MS Harley 3542)