A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

Christ Church, Allestree Library MS. L.4.1

Clement of Llanthony, Oon of Foure; England, s. xiv/xv


Language(s): English

Fol. iii: originally blank (see Provenance).

1. Fols 1-7v
Rubric: Here bigynneþ a kalender of þe gospels þat ben rad in chirche.

Ed. FM, 4:683-98 passim. In an anglicana-influenced textura; this scribe checks the main text, item 4, against an exemplar and makes regular corrections, usually by providing marginalia (fol. 21v, 22v, 32, 32v, 33, 35, 36, 37v, 40, 41, 41v, 44, 47, 49, 52v, 53, 57v, 64v, 66, 67, 67v, 81v, 93, 95, 99v, 103v, 106v, 107v, 117, 120 etc) but also, in some cases, by erasing the text and rewriting it on the line (eg fol. 39, 105v); for possible exemplars he may have used, see the listing of copies provided in the entry for this manuscript in S. J. Ogilvie-Thomson, Manuscripts containing Middle English Prose in Oxford College Libraries, Index of Middle English Prose, Handlist 8 (Cambridge, 1991), 18, and Sharpe, no. 194.

There are only five lines on fol. 7v.

Fol. 8: blank.

2. Fols 9-10v
Incipit: Seynt austyn seiþ in þe secounde boke of cristen doctrine in þe ende What euer þing a man fyndiþ
Explicit: goddis spechis in expownynge bi þat we heringe as drinking ben more holpen

A prologue to Oon of Foure, ed. FM, 1:44-49 (the page foot) from BL, MS Harl. 6333. The text appears in a minority of Oon of Foure MSS, and separately in a transcript at Lambeth Palace Library, MS 594, pp. 47-48 (s. xvii).

3. Fols 11-16
Incipit: Clement a prest of þe chirche of lantony gadride alle þe sentensis of foure gospelleris ... Here bigynneþ þe chapitres of þe first part....

Prologue and contents list to the following work. Now available in print in Paul Smith’s 1985 University of Southampton PhD dissertation, 2 vols (sl, 2015) 2:1-24 (where our manuscript has the siglum ‘C’).

Fol. 16v: blank.

4. Fol. 17-126
Rubric: Here bigynneþ þe first part capitulum i. in io. capitulo of ioon
Incipit: In þe bigynniynge eiþer first of alle þingis was goddis sone
Explicit: I deme þat þe world shal not take þe bokys þat shulden be wrytyn
Final rubric: Here endiþ oon of foure þat is book of alle þe four gospelers gadrid shortli into o storye bi Clement of Lantony’
Clement of Llanthony, Unux ex quattuor (Middle English translation)

Sharpe no. 194 [86-88], the whole unprinted, but see Paul Smith’s dissertation provides an edition of parts 1-5, with a full edition expected imminently from Heidelberg Middle English Texts. Owing to a missing folio before fol. 33, the manuscript lacks parts of 3.3-5; this lacuna corresponds to the text in BodL, MS Bodley 771, fols 17vb/9 ‘þe stondynge watir’-18rb/37 ‘in þe citee’.

Fol. 126v: blank but ruled.

The manuscript has been previously described, Ker, MMBL, 3:595-96.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Tewisday ix. part (fol. 2)
Secundo Folio: first is (fol. 10)
Secundo Folio: ben fourteen (fol. 17)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (FSOS). All flyleaves modern paper flyleaves, excepting last at front which is parchment and integral to the manuscript.
Extent: Fols: iii + 126 + ii
Dimensions (leaf): 180 × 130 mm.
Dimensions (written): 125 × 80 mm.


18 (with fol. iii being its first leaf) 210 (lacking fourth before fol.11) 3-48 58 (lacking first, before fol. 33) 6-158 168 (lacking eighth, blank). Catchwords at the end of most quires; no signatures.


In long lines, 28 lines to the page in the main text (item 4; in item 1: 29; items 2 and 3: 33/34).

A few instances of full pricking survive; bounded and ruled in brown ink and lead.


Written in gothic textura quadrata, with items 1 and 2 each having their own scribe and 3 written in a smaller script by the scribe of 4.

Punctuation by punctus elevatus, double point, virgula, and occasional middle point.


Headings in red. At textual divisions, blue lombards with red flourishing, four- and five-line at openings of books, three-line for chapters, two-line in the prefatory quires. Red letters in the margins to identify biblical lections, non-biblical materials underlined in red. Running titles for the parts in red preceded by a blue paraph. The text is divided by red-slashed capitals, red paraphs, and in some portions, blue paraphs.


Dark brown leather over millboards, with a frame in blind, s. xix. Sewn on four thongs. In the top spine compartment in gilt the title, ‘Clementis de Lanthonia Unum ex Quatuor Anglice’. Pastedowns modern paper, the printed Allestree label (see MS F.1.1) on the front pastedown.


Origin: England; s. xiv/xv

Provenance and Acquisition

There is some sign of use of the manuscript in the presence of annotations by a fifteenth-century reader (fol. 13v, 14, 15, 22v, 41v, 44, 84v).

There is, though, only one sign suggesting ownership and that from the seventeenth century: a note at fol. iii is in the hand of Richard James, librarian to Sir Robert Cotton. On the basis of John Bale, he claims that ‘opus hoc transtulisse videtur in Anglicanum sermonem Joh. Wicklefus’. There is no other internal evidence to confirm that James wrote this note for Cotton and that, thus, this was in his ownership, but the placing of the note is very much like those found in other Cotton manuscripts. If it was owned by him, the note must date from the period when James was his librarian, that is, from 1625 until his death in 1638 (see Tom Beaumont James in Oxford DNB). The volume may not have stayed long in Cotton’s library and it certainly does not seem to appear in the lending lists: Colin G. C. Tite, The Early Records of Sir Robert Cotton’s Library (London, 2003). It is known that Cotton gave away other Wycliffite manuscripts, some of them to James Ussher: Colin G. C. Tite, ‘“Lost or stolen or strayed”: a survey of manuscripts formerly in the Cotton Library’ in C. J. Wright ed., Sir Robert Cotton as Collector (London, 1997), 262-306 at 268-69 & 282. No gift to Allestree from Cotton is known and perhaps it moved indirectly from the one collection to the other. Like the rest of his collection, the manuscript was bequeathed by Richard Allestree in 1681.

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna and David Rundle, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts, to c. 1600, in Christ Church, Oxford (Oxford, 2017).


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Christ Church Library.