TREATISES IN ANGLO-NORMAN VERSE: opening with WALTER OF BIBBESWORTH (c.1219-c.1270), Le tretiz, with interlineations and side-notes in Middle English, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [England, probably first half 14th century] 208 x 135mm. iv + 67 + ii leaves: 18, 28, 38, 43(of 4, iv cancelled blank), 58, 66, 78, 88, 98, 102, COMPLETE, catchwords and prickings, endleaves reused part-folios from a 13th-century scholastic text, 20, 25 or 21 lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand by two scribes between horizontals and paired verticals ruled in plummet, titles and headings outlined in red, paraphs of texts 1,3 and 4 and initials of text 2 in red. CONTEMPORARY CHEMISE BINDING of white leather (extensions trimmed, some restorations). PROVENANCE: Sir Henry Sharington (d.1581), whose ownership inscriptions are on the final verso and inside the lower cover, inherited Lacock from his brother Sir William in 1553. It is not clear whether the manuscript was already part of the convent's library or came to it through Sir Henry. His daughter Lady Grace Mildmay in her remarkable account of her early life and tuition by Mistress Hamblyn makes it plain that Sir Henry and his wife, Ann Paget, took the education of their children seriously. Although no mention is made of schooling in French it is tempting to imagine that Sir Henry thought the Bibbesworth, as it was intended, a perfect introduction to the language. The endleaves made from a redundant theological manuscript have, alternatively, been seen as arguing for the manuscript having an earlier provenance at Lacock: the suggestion has been made that these were written by Fr William of Cirencester who had the cura penitenciarie of the Abbey from 1303 (Pugh & Critall eds, VCH Wiltshire, vol.3, 1956, pp.303-316). CONTENT: Walter of Bibbesworth, Le tretiz ff.1-27v; Nicholas Bozon (c.1280-1320), Les proverbes de bons enseignements, here called Liber de proverbiis sapientie, ff.28-40v; Hue de Tabarie, Ordre de la chevalerie ff.42-53v; Le mariage des ix filles du diable, often attributed to Robert Grosseteste (1170-1253), bishop of Lincoln but here described as St Maurice, bishop of Paris's translation from the Latin, ff.54-67. This collection of verse texts opens with the treatise written by the English knight and Anglo-Norman poet Walter of Bibbesworth for Lady Dionysia de Munchensi: it was a practical and entertaining manual for use in teaching French to the children of nobility. It concentrates on providing the vocabulary necessary for everyday life in a rural environment: childcare, animals and birds, with their group nouns and the noises they make, parts of the body, clothing, activities such as baking, fishing and other household and country pursuits. The author's interest in homonyms and care in providing rhyming contexts to explain their difference is one aspect that makes the work memorable and amusing, and the selection of the content at times seems tailored to catching and pleasing the attention of a child: for example the extended passage on the noises made by birds and beasts. Throughout, to make sure that difficult words can be understood, Middle-English equivalents are provided in side-notes. Just eleven other complete copies -- and with many variant readings -- are known, all in public collections. The other rhyming texts could be seen as guiding the child's development along other desired channels. Their moral education would be served by the allegory of the marriage of the devil's daughters to vices and by Bozon's proverbs explaining aphorisms from classical, biblical and patristic sources, while a social and chivalric outlook might be fostered by the long explanation of the rituals and significance of knighthood given in Hue de Tabarie's account of knighting his captor Saladin. The near-original condition and continuous celebrated provenance make this a remarkable manuscript. The rarity of its texts -- none is recorded as ever having been offered at auction -- and the insight it offers on the medieval attitude to children and their education make it a truly exceptional and historically significant survival. For Lady Grace Mildmay see, L.A. Pollock, With Faith and Physic: Diary of a Tudor Gentlewoman -- Lady Grace Mildmay 1552-1620, 1993. For the texts see: for Walter of Bibbesworth Le tretiz: K.K. Jambeck, 'The Tretiz of Walter of Bibbesworth: Cultivating the Vernacular', in Childhood in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. A. Classen, 2005, pp.159-83; K. Kennedy, 'Le Tretiz of Walter of Bibbesworth' in, Medieval Literature for Children, ed. D.T. Kline, 2003, pp.131-143; W. Rothwell, 'Husbonderie and Manaugerie in Later Medieval England', in The Anglo-Norman Language and its Contexts, ed. R. Ingham, 2010, pp.44-51; for on-line editions: W. Rothwell ed. on List of on-line Anglo-Norman Source Texts, for the Anglo-Norman Text Society edition of 1990, and idem on The Anglo-Norman On-line Hub, 2009. for Bozon's Proverbes: A.C. Thorn ed., Les proverbes de bon enseignement, Lund University, 1921; the text is discussed in relation to Bibbesworth's in Rothwell, Husbonderie.... for Hues de la Tabarie: E. Barbazan ed., L'ordene de la chevalerie, 1759, repr. 2009. for Le mariage des ix filles du diable: P. Meyer, 'Notice du ms Rawlinson Poetry 241', Romania, 29 (1900), pp.54-72.