The J.B. Treatise is a collection of lore and information from the later fifteenth century on a range of topics considered essential learning for anyone aspiring to the English gentry. It has hitherto been known principally by way of an eclectic medley of filler material in the printed Boke of St Albans (1486), but survives in numerous variant forms in twenty-two, mostly unrelated, manuscripts. The treatise’s foremost concerns are hawking and hunting, but it differs from other contemporary treatises on these sports by concentrating on terminology rather than praxis. Much of its information is presented in the form of lists of terms, suggesting that it served mainly as a lexical primer rather than a manual of practical instruction.
This study – which includes four major variant texts, explanatory notes, a glossary and complete collations of the ‘J.B.’ lists of collective nouns and carving terms – is the first comprehensive survey of all known versions of the J.B. Treatise, whose contents will be of interest to English medievalists in a range of disciplines, including history, literature and linguistics. This second edition of the J.B. Treatise includes comprehensive updates to the introduction, notes, and glossary to account for new scholarship, including numerous emendations to the OED prompted by lexical evidence presented in the first edition (2003). It also incorporates a revised bibliography and references to new editions of medieval texts.