Incunabula Leaf Polychronicon

rectorecto Item: One Incunabula Leaf
Title: Polychronicon
Author: Ranulph Higden

Printer: William Caxton
Place of Printing: Westminister
Date of Printing: 1482
Format: Folio
Language: English
Reference: Goff H-267, Proctor 9645, GW 12468

Biography of Ranulph Higden

Ranulph Higden (ca. 1280- ca. 1363) was a Benedictine monk of the St. Werburgh monastery in Chester, England. He authored a chronicle entitled Polychronicon which was a history of the world. In 1352, he was summoned to Westminster by Edward III for counsel.



The Polychronicon was a history of the world from the creation in Genesis until Higden’s own period under Edward III of England. It dealt with the known world of Africa, Asia and Europe and the history of Britain. The Polychronicon was divided into seven books which included geography, customs, as well as world history. Higden used the works of earlier writers to supplement his own history and included both facts and legends. His work was very popular for the next two centuries and approximately 120 manuscripts of it exist. It was translated from Latin into English by John of Trevisa (ca. 1326- ca. 1402), the vicar of Berkeley and chaplain to Thomas Lord Berkeley. He translated Polychronicon for his patron Lord Berkeley.

Our Copy


A leaf from book seven of Polychronicon. 37 lines of Bastarda text with plus a headline on recto side along with one rubricated two-line initial and one red chapter mark. The chapter heading is underlined in red. 40 lines of Bastarda text plus a headline on verso side with one paragraph marks in red. Leaf written in Middle English. This leaf is found in An original leaf from the Polychronicon printed by William Caxton at Westminster in the year 1482 (San Francisco: Printed by the Grabhorn Press for The Book Club of California, 1938).

William Caxton

William Caxton (ca. 1422- ca. 1492) was an English merchant, printer and translator/writer. He is noted as the seminal printer in England.


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