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

Merton College MS. 25

Former shelfmark: B. 3. 3



Language(s): Latin

fols. i, ii-iiiv blank. fols. ii-iiiv are ruled as the rest of the book, perhaps for a table.

(fols. 1–203; 203v blank)
Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah
Incipit: Expletis longo uix tempore in duodecim prophetis uiginti explanacionum libris
Incipit: Visio Ysaiae ...; Pro Iuda in quo significantur due tribus
Explicit: et mixtam clemencie sentenciam iudicis
Final rubric: Ieronimi liber super Ysaiam xviii. et ultimus prophetam feliciter hic finit

CPL 584; CCSL 73, 1; Lambert 207. Chapter-numbers are written in the margins and near the top outer corner of each recto, perhaps by Fitzjames.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: litteram habet
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 206 leaves (iii + 203)
Dimensions (leaf): 390 × 265 mm.
Dimensions (written): 255 × 165 mm.
The edges stained yellow.


two bifolia, the first leaf the front pastedown; 1–208, 21–26, 23–58, 268(8 canc.); catchwords, sporadic leaf-numbers, and quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form.


Ruled with fine pencil in 2 cols of 49–52 lines.


Several Continental archaizing bookhands, some found in MSS 23 and 24; the first hand of MS 23 writes the lemmata on fols. 77–101v. At the foot of fol. 161 is ‘Nota quaternum istum’.


On fol. 1 is a full border and initial in Flemish style, by the same artist as that in MS 23. The border includes Fitzjames kneeling in prayer, and at the foot his arms impaling those of Rochester (he was bishop 1497–1503). The initial encloses Jerome as cardinal, seated at a desk, patting his lion. The remaining decoration is English: books open with 6–10-line initials in colours and brilliant gold, on square grounds with foliage and partial floral borders. That on fol. 20 has the arms of Rochester, those on fols. 39 and 53v those of Fitzjames. Chapters open with 5–7-line champe initials. Commentary on verses open with blue initials flourished with red; red running titles, lemmata and highlighting.


Original, cushion-bevelled wooden boards with slightly projecting foredges, covered with tawed skin, originally pink; an overcover of the same sewn on, trimmed at the foot. The stubs only of two leather straps from recesses in the front board to brass catches at the rear, of which one remains. Sewn on five bands raised and outlined with string. To the rear board is nailed a label 180 × 60 mm., under horn, with Fitzjames’ arms in colour and ‘Beatus Hieronimus super Esaiam prophetam ex dono domini Ric’ Fitziames nuper Cicestrensis episcopi et Custodis istius Collegii’, in an elegant English bookhand influenced by humanistica. Near the foot of the front foredge, and near the head of the rear foredge, are marks of post-medieval brass chain-staples.


Origin: 1497–1503 ; Flanders (?) and England

Provenance and Acquisition

Companion volume to MS 23.

On fol. iv, in the usual rough secretary hand, ‘Beatus Hieronimus super Esaiam prophetam ex dono domini Ricardi Fitz James nuper Cicestrensis episcopi et custodis istius collegii cuius anima propicietur Deus Amen’. The same or a very similar hand is responsible for the marginal chapter-numbers.

At the head of fol. 145 is ‘Walterus de Morton’.

On the front pastedown: ‘Hieronymus super Esaiam’ and ‘lib. 18.’, s. xvii; ‘N. 2. 13. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with modern ‘B. 3. 3. (XXV)’, in red; the College bookplate.

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, p. 20; Powicke, no. 1179; Alexander & Temple, no. 619.

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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