A Grete Myracle of a Knyghte Good Callyd Syr Roger Wallysborow

Bibliographic Information


Medieval Title:

A grete myracle of a knyghte good callyd Syr Roger Wallysborow”






Unknown; found only in the commonplace book of John Colyns, a mercer and bookseller in London, England who died sometime between 1539 and 1541. Two long romances in the book were professionally copied between 1460 and 1480. Colyns himself also copied  items into his book, or had them copied into it for him by others, between 1525 and 1539-41. See Carol M. Meale, “The Complier at Work: John Colyns and BL MS Harley 2252,” in Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century England: The Literary Implications of MS Study. Ed. Derek Pearsall. Cambridge: DS Brewer, 1983. 82-103.



Textual Information

Brief Summary:

A Cornish knight travels on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When observing a Cross relic, he is moved to petition God that he might obtain a piece of it and remove it without the guards of the relic learning of his deed. His thigh begins to itch, he scratches at it and his thigh opens, indicating to him that God wishes him to take a piece of the Cross. Sir Roger therefore cuts off a piece of the Cross and places it in his thigh, which miraculously heals up as if it had never been opened/wounded. The relic custodians search Roger but are unable to find the missing piece of the Cross.

Roger returns from the Holy Land by sea and a tempest blows up. The people on board the ship draw lots to see who should be tossed overboard (no reason for this course of action is given) and the lot falls to Roger. He asks leave to pray to God, does so, and the storm ceases. A sailor spies land and Roger asks to be put ashore at the next opportunity. Once ashore, Roger immediately falls asleep under a hedge by the shore. The next morning, as a local priest says Mass and reaches the point of the elevation of the host, a dove swoops down, takes the host in his bill, and flies off. The priest and parishioners follow the dove straight to the sleeping Roger. The dove lays the host against Roger’s thigh and it opens up to reveal the piece of the Holy Cross therein. The priest and people make so much noise that they wake Roger, who demands to know where he is. They tell him he is in Cornwall, Roger perceives by their language that this is so, thanks God and  all proceed to the Church to finish celebrating Mass. Roger gives a piece of the relic to that church and the remainder of the piece he has to St Buryan, where most of his lands lie.


Relics Appearing in Text:   



Manuscripts, Editions, and Translations


London, British Library MS Harley 2252, ff. 50v-51v; images available online at: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=harley_ms_2252_fs001r


List of Scholarly Editions of the Medieval Text:  

Jenner, H. and T. Taylor. “Legend of the Church of the Holy Cross” Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall 20.3-4 (1917-18): 295-309; edition on pp. 296-8. Available online: https://books.google.ca/books?id=-G5IAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA7&dq=roger+wallysborow&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q=roger%20wallysborow&f=fals (go to p. 295). (Scholarly transcription/edition from 100 years ago (some errors); contains some appended notes re: possible connections between Roger and historical Cornish families and re: church described and history of churches in Cornwall)



Original Editions/Translations We Have Produced: 

Transcription of: London, British Library, MS Harley 2252, ff. 50v-51v (Siobhain Bly Calkin)

A Grete Miracle of a Knight Good Called Sir Roger Wallysborow1 (Student Edition) Ed. Siobhain Bly Calkin


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