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

Merton College MS. 46

Former shelfmark: C. 1. 7



Language(s): Latin, with a few later annotations in Middle English

At the head of fol. iiiv is a note, s. xv, on the contents.

On fols. 1 and iiiv (in that order), in an English bookhand, s. xiii in.:

Rubric: Sermo uisitatoris uel cuiuscunque prelati ad subditos paucis uerbis immutatis uel omissis
Incipit: Fratres mei quero Gen. xxxvii. ubi scribitur quod Ioseph penultimus fratrum percipiente patre
Explicit: perducat et introducat Iesus Christus d. n. qui ...
(fols. 4–184)
BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, Sermones super Cantica
Rubric: Incipit liber beati Bernardi abbatis primi Clareuallis super Cantica Canticorum
Incipit: Vobis fratres alia quam aliis de seculo aut certe aliter dicenda sunt
Incipit: (Serm. 86) Non est quod a me iam queratur cur querat anima uerbum
Explicit: ut filii inquit lucis ambulate

SBO 1–2 (this MS collated as O); Stegmüller, Bibl. 1721. Preceded by capitula on fols. 1v-3v. On these capitula , another version of which appear in Bruges, Bibl. de la Séminaire 21068 (perhaps from the Cistercian abbey of Dunes), see J. Leclercq, ‘Recherches sur les sermones sue les Cantiques de Saint Bermard’, RB 64 (1954), 208–23, at pp. 212–14, 219. In the Bruges MS they are attributed to an abbot of Margam.

On fol. 184v, in the same hand as the material on fols. iiiv-1:

Rubric: Collatio de S. Bernardo
Incipit: De omni corde suo laudauit Dominum Eccl. xlvii. K. ut ait egregius predicator apostolus Paulus
Explicit: ad diligendum Dominum nostrum I. C. qui ...

Addressed to a community of monks.

On f. 185 are notes on the name of Jesus, in hands of different dates including Elliot’s. The hand of fol. 184v writes the first, a long one, quoting William Brito: ‘Sciendum quod nomen Saluatoris quod est Iesus scribitur Grecis litteris ...’. fol. 185v blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (fol. 5) facies
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 190 leaves (iii + 187)
Dimensions (leaf): 255 × 185 mm.
Dimensions (written): 175 × 125 mm.
The edges retrimmed with loss of marginalia as late as s. xv, and stained yellow.


A4, 1–118, 126(+ 2 after 4), 13–198, 206, 21–38.


Ruled with plummet in 2 cols of 33 lines; pricked in both margins.


Good English protogothic bookhands: fols. 4–161v; 162–72; 172–84; flex punctuation. The capitula appear to be in a different hand, though similar to the first.


Plain red or green initials. On fol. 43 is a profile monk’s face as nota .


Annotated by Robert Elliot, sometimes in English, e.g. fols. 117 ‘stoturyng’, 145v ‘most sovereyn medcyn’. At the foot of fol. 184 he wrote ‘deo gracias perlegitur hic liber anno 1469, 19 die Augusti’, and ‘Secundum quosdam libros uocantur omelie Bernardi super cantica numero lxxxvi. Beda etiam scripsit super cantica .7. libros in libraria Dunelm’ ?Ox’.’ This presumably refers to no. 12 in the list of books at Durham College, c. 1395, pr. H. E. Salter, W. A. Pantin and H. G. Richardson, Formularies which bear on the History of Oxford, c. 1204–1420 (OHS n. s. , 2 vols, 1939–40), I, p. 241.


s. xii, reworked c. 1500, recently repaired and rebacked: tawed skin over flush, chamfered oak boards, the edges presumably reshaped when the edges were retrimmed. Resewn on four bands; ff. i-ii and 186–7 are modern blank paper binding leaves. A strap of pink leather with clasp from a recess in the front board to a pin, replaced with a catch, at the rear. On the front board are marks from two brass chain-staples, one at the foredge near the foot, the other in the middle of the foot. On the outside of the rear board is written ‘Bernardus super cantica’, s. xv, and a four-line note (scriptural passages) by Robert Elliot near the foot, repeating one at the foot of fol. 185. The outermost parchment leaves were formerly pastedowns.


Origin: S. XII 3/4 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably made in a Cistercian house in south-west England and used by its abbot. At the head of fol. 4 a strip of parchment has been excised. Over the gap another piece of parchment has been pasted, with the James no. ‘232’, s. xvii in.

On fol. iii, much effaced by glue, ‘Collegio Merton tradatur ad incathenandum in libraria eiusdem ex dono M. Roberti Elyott cuius anima propicietur Deus amen’. Robert Elyot (BRUO 638) was fellow of All Souls 1450, still in 1461, d. Jan. 1499. This was one of three MSS (the others are 193 and 214) bequeathed by him and received in the library on 5 Sept. 1499 (Registrum, p. 235). Also, s. xv, ‘Iste liber est [fratris ... ] prec’ xx s.’

On fol. iiiv‘Bernardus super Cantica’ and ‘N. 4. 7. Art:’, s. xvii, the second canc. and replaced with ‘C. 1. 7 (XLVI)’, in red. ‘7’ is inked on the foredge. The College bookplate is inside the front board.

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. 31; Powicke, no. 1130; N. R. Ker, ‘Robert Elyot’s Books and Annotations’, Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 5th ser. 30 (1975), 233–7.

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

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.