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

Merton College MS. 8

Former shelfmark: A. 2. 8



Language(s): Latin

fols. iii-ivv, probably post-medieval, blank.

(fols. 8–190v)
Peter Riga, Aurora,

‘Incipit prologus super Aurorem. Omnis scriptura diuinitus inspirata ...; Accedat igitur paruulus ad huius libri lectionem ...; Frequens sodalium meorum peticio ...; Initium mundi quales ab origine prima ... (De uita Iob) Quos domini seruus compleuit fine decenti.’ In the order prols of Albert of Reims and Peter Riga, Gen.-Reg., Tob., Dan., Judith, Esther, Macc., Gospels, ‘Recapitulatio ueteris testamenti’, Acts, ‘Misterium de agno paschali quia quod editor transierat corrector apposuit. Vt legis Egyptum Dominus percussit et eius .... Incipit prologus super Cantica Canticorum. Solus Origenes cum doctos uicerit omnes .... Incipit prologus in Iob. Ex [sic] libri Moysi Iosue Paralipomenon Iob ...’.

Ed. P. Beichner (2 vols, University of Notre Dame Medieval Studies 19, Notre Dame, IND, 1965); Stegmüller, Bibl. 6823–5, listing many copies including this one. The inclusion of Cantica is a feature of Riga’s third edition.

Extensive passages of additional text are added in the margins on lines ruled ad hoc, and on fols. 2–7, 191–3v.

On fols. 6–7 is a long passage of prose: ‘Flaui tanquam fletu Iohannis cum hiis intenderem ... captus est et crucifixus.’

Glossed, near the beginning, in a French cursive hand of s. xiii.

fols. 7v, 194–5, 196v blank.

On fol. 196 is a list of works of Augustine, in a cursive hand of s. xiii, probably not English.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (fol. 3) Aut eciam
Secundo Folio: (fol. 9) tempore ut
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 201 leaves (iii + 198)
Dimensions (leaf): 320 × 170 mm.
The edges retrimmed and spattered with red. The outer col. of fol. 163 excised.
Dimensions (written): 205 × 75 mm.
Dimensions (written): 235–40 × 135 mm.
(fols. 2–7, 191–3)


a bifolium, A6, 1–158, 168(+ 1 after 4), 17–238, B6(5 canc.); many half-leaves.


Ruled with crayon in 46 lines of verse, except for fols. 2–7, 191–3, in 2 cols of 60 and 73 lines respectively.


The main text is written throughout in a practised French early gothic bookhand; the additions are in a similar hand.


Red and blue flourished initials; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; extensive rubrication. The decoration is sometimes omitted altogether, e.g. for all of the additional material on fols. 2–7, 191–3v.


s. xix, sewn on five bands; fols. i-ii, 197–8 are blank paper binding leaves. fols. 1 and 196 were pastedowns in an earlier binding. At the foot of fol. 1 is the mark of the large iron chain-staple. At the foot of fol. 196 is the mark of another, smaller iron chain-staple. Both leaves have faint marks of two straps and catches.


Origin: S. XIII ; France, Paris (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

French, probably Parisian.

Given to the College by William Reed in 1374: UO49. 2. On fol. 1 is an erased two-line inscription, probably a title of s. xvii. On fol. 1v, erased, ‘Iste liber est nostri quidem⟩ / mag⟨istri haberi direxit⟩’, in a French cursive hand of s. xiii; ‘Liber M. Willelmi Reed ⟨emptus de donis⟩ sibi datis per M. Nicholaum ⟨de Sandwych⟩’, in Reed’s hand, then ‘Liber M. Willelmi Reed’ archidiaconi Roffensis ^⟨nuper ^ ex dono reuerendi domini sui M. Nicholai de Sandwico. Oretis igitur pro utroque’, ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ in Oxon’ in communi libraria eiusdem et ad usum communem sociorum ibidem studencium cathenandus. Ex dono uenerabilis patris domini Willelmi tercii episcopi Cicestrie. Oretis igitur pro eodem et benefactoribus eiusdem ac fidelium animabus a purgatorio liberandis.’ The last two inscriptions and ‘Aurora Petri’ are in the hand of Reed’s clerk Walter Robert. William Reed (BRUO 1556–60), fellow from 1344 until at least 1357, archdeacon of Rochester 1359–68, provost of Wingham, Kent, 1363–8, bishop of Chichester from 1368/9, d. 1385. Nicholas of Sandwich (BRUO 1639–40), Kentish cleric and gentleman-scholar, was Reed’s great benefactor. He was still alive in 1347, his death-date unknown.

Below is the College bookplate. At the head of fol. 2 is ‘Cantori’, s. xv. Inside the front board is ‘N. 1. 8’, canc., and another bookplate, with ‘A. 2. 8 (VIII)’ in red. ‘8’ is inked on the foredge.

Record Sources

R. M. Thomson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Merton College, Oxford (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer), 2009.


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Merton College Library.


    Coxe, pp. 5–6; Powicke, no. 548.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Warden and Fellows of Merton College .

Last Substantive Revision

2018-08-01: First online publication

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