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

Merton College MS. 32

Former shelfmark: A. 3. 6



Summary of Contents: The script and decoration of MS 32, a typical monastic book of its period, show that it was made at and for Worcester Cathedral Priory, a community of Benedictine monks. It probably came to Oxford with the monk Richard Bromwich, who annotated it, and who is known to have studied at Gloucester College in the early 1300s. In the late 15th century it was jointly owned by two secular students who pledged it to raise loans. Eventually they sold or forfeited it, and it was acquired by Warden Richard Fitzjames (1487–1507), who gave it to the College.

Language(s): Latin

fol. i blank.

(fols. 1–136)
Augustine, De Trinitate

Preceded by the relevant extract from Retract. and the Epistola ad Aurelium (Epist. 74).

Incipit: Lecturus hec que de Trinitate disserimus
Explicit: et tu ignosce et tui

CPL 329; CCSL 50, 50A (1968)

There is copious marginal annotation of two periods: (a) s. xiv in., probably by a monk of Worcester (Richard Bromwich?), in a scholastic anglicana, together with pointing hands and profile faces; (b) s. xv, in a neat fere humanistica. The earlier hand, or a contemporary, has written small, neat running heads, giving book-numbers flanked with column-references in the form .aa. .aaa. .aab. .aac., to .aaz., then .ab. &c., ceasing at fol. 105 with .asg. Also numbers 1–3 (i.e. every 10 lines) down the central col., and subsection numbers (i.e. not the Augustinian chapters) in the margin.

fols. 136v-7 blank but for faint pencil-notes on 136v.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -gentie uias
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 138 leaves (i + 137)
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (written): 230 × 155 mm.
The edges retrimmed and stained yellow. The lower half of fol. 138 removed.


a singleton at each end, 1–178; the quires numbered at the end.


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 37 lines; pricked in the inner margins.


A single English protogothic bookhand of the highest quality; the rubrication, which sometimes lacks, is in a second hand.


Initials in 1–4 colours of red, blue, green and yellow, often ornamented or arabesqued in a style characteristic of the west midlands and of Worcester Cathedral Priory in particular (e.g. Worcester Cath. F. 24). A bearded face in the Q on fol. 14v. The 14-line L on fol. 1v is in three colours and accompanied by elaborate display-script using all four colours.


Late medieval, repaired by Maltby. Bare oak boards with wide bevels and projecting squares; two straps from shallow recesses in the front board to pins replaced by catches on the rear, all gone. On the rear board are the nail-holes from the usual Fitzjames label (see MS 24). The spine is covered with modern vellum; resewn on three bands. Marks on fols. 137 and 138 suggest that an earlier binding had a central strap and brass pin. fol. i was once a pastedown.


Origin: S. XII 3/4 ; England, Worcester cathedral priory (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably made at and for Worcester Cathedral Priory, brought to Oxford s. xiii ex. by one of the monks studying at Gloucester College.

On fol. 137v are the records of eight deposits as cautio in the Vaughan and Hussy chest, between 1462 and 1470, by John Thamys and John Fisher. In the first entry, for 19 May 1462, they specify as supplements vol. 3 of Gregory, Moralia, sec. fol. ‘male enim malum dicitur’, Hugh of St Cher on the Pentateuch, sec. fol. ‘catorum erat quando’, Chrysostom on John, sec. fol. ‘tabularum confecerunt’, (Ps.-) Chrysostom on Matthew, sec. fol. ‘eius lex quasi’, ‘Communis exposicio super epistolas Pauli’, sec. fol. ‘per ipsum facta sunt’, and Jerome on Isaiah in 2 vols, sec. fols ‘peteret et si inperitus’ and ‘et nunc nunquid’. Fisher (BRUO 687), B. Cn. L. 1449, canon of Lincoln from 1462, d. by July 1494. Thamys (BRUO 1858–9), B. Th. by 1451, rector of Ross on Wye, d. by Jan. 1482. Also the monogram of the Oxford stationer John More (1438–72), together with ‘appreciatur sic per stacionarium iiij li. v s.’

On fol. iv, in the usual untidy secretary hand, ‘Augustinus de Trinitate ex dono domini Ricardi Fitz James nuper Cicestrensis episcopi et custodis istius Collegii cuius anime propicietur Deus Amen.’ For Fitzjames, see MS 9.

Also ‘N. 3. 6. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with ‘A. 3. 6 (XXX)’ in red. ‘6’ is inked on the foredge. At the head of fol. 1 is the James no. ‘13’ (recte276), s. xvii in.

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. 23; Powicke, no. 1190; Römer 2. 303.

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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