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

Merton College MS. 55

Former shelfmark: B. 3. 7



Language(s): Latin

On fols. iiiv-iv are a few pencil-notes; fols. ivv-1 blank.

On fol. iiiv is a table of contents, c. 1300, beginning with items already lost by c. 1360: ‘In hoc uolumine continentur subscripti libri Augustini / Super Genesim ad literam li. 12 / De libero arbitrio li. 3 / De octoginta tribus questionibus / De duabus animabus / Liber retractationum l. 2 / Yponosticon / De diuinacione demonum / Sextus musice / De fide ad Petrum / De magistro / De moribus ecclesie et manicheorum / De beata uita / Liber conf’ 10. 11. 12. 13 / Liber soliloquiorum l. 2 / Super Genesim contra Manicheos l. 2 / De perfeccione iusticie / De uera religione / De uidendo Deo / De doctrina Christiana l. 4 / Enchiridion / De ecclesiasticis dogmatibus tamen dicitur quod est liber Gennadii / De trinitate libri 15 correctissimi et fuit [fratris several words, erased] / [Added later] Tabula super librum de Trinitate / De ciuitate Dei l. 22 / De quantitate anime / Ad Orosium / De heresibus / [Added later] Tabula super 12 libros Augustini et Prosperi.’ Against the lost items are written ‘desunt’, and ‘va[cat]’ in hands of s. xvi. At the head of fol. 1 is ‘467’, c. 1300; this could be a folio-number if it is not a shelf-mark.

1. (fols. 2–63)
Augustine, De Trinitate

Preceded by the relevant extract from Retract. and Epist. 174

Rubric: Incipit liber primus beati Augustini de Trinitate
Incipit: Lecturus hec que de Trinitate disserimus
Explicit: tu ignosce et tui

CPL 329; CCSL 50, 50A (1968). The rest of fol. 63, and 63v, originally blank, are filled with early pencil-notes. Marginal annotation throughout appears to be the draft of a commentary:

Incipit: In hoc primo facit Augustinus prolocutionem de quibusdam necessariis, s. de erroribus hominum circa diuinam naturam
2. (fols. 64–78)
A classified subject-index to art. 3

The work, in 3 cols, is organized into a number of sections according to the first two vowels of the key-words A, AA — VI, VO, VV, keyed to book- and chapter-numbers plus column-letters which do not appear in this copy. At the end, added in a later hand, is an explanatory note, ‘Explicit tabula super omnes libros de ciuitate Dei secundum uocales ...’.

(fols. 78v-9v)

originally blank, filled with early pencil-notes.

3. (fols. 80–233)
Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei
Incipit: Interea cum Roma Gothorum irrupcione agentium
Explicit: mecum gratias agant

CPL 313; CCSL 47–8 (1955).

On fol. 232 is a catalogue of the writings of St Augustine:

Incipit: Libros uero quos beatus Augustinus edidit hic breuiter enumerari uel annotari non omisi
Explicit: de correctione et gratia liber unus

Also in Dublin, Trinity Coll. 45, fols. 19v–20; ed. A. Wilmart in Miscellanea Agostiniana 2 (Rome, 1931), pp. 161–208.

4. (fols. 233v-43v)
Augustine, De Quantitate Animae
Rubric: Incipit liber beati Augustini de quantitate anime
Incipit: Quoniam uideo te habundare otio
Explicit: ipsum oportunior cui reseruabo
Final rubric: Explicit liber de quantitate anime

CPL 257; CSEL 89 (1986), pp. 129–231.

5. (fols. 244–8)
Ps.-Augustine, Dialogus Quaestionum LXV
Rubric: Incipit liber questionum Orosii ad Augustinum
Incipit: Licet multi ac probatissimi uiri
Explicit: qui preesset desiderat non prodesse

CPL 373a; PL 40. 733–52. fol. 248v is blank but for early pencil-notes.

6. (fol. 249)
Augustine, fragments

This is apparently a waste leaf containing uncompleted text: ‘ac misericors foret quas uirtutes...in secundo reformauit. Scripsi et duo uolumina secundum studium meum et amorem ratione...uoluenti mihi multa ac uaria.’ The first section is from AUGUSTINE, De Spiritu et Littera, c. 35 (PL 40. 806). The second is Retract. 1. 4, on the Soliloquia.

7. (fols. 249v-56)
Augustine, De Haeresibus


Rubric: Liber beati Augustini de heresibus
Incipit: Quod petis sepissime atque instantissime
Explicit: quod capiti defuisset

CPL 314; CCSL 46 (1969), pp. 273–345.

8. (fols. 256v-61)
An alphabetical subject-index

, in 3–4 cols, to works of Augustine

AbrahamZizannia, keyed to title, book- and chapter-numbers, and column-letters a–g. Written in the same anglicana hand which annotates throughout the rest of the book. It seems that these leaves were ruled for such an index when the book was first made.

fols. 262, 263v blank. On fol. 262v are pencilled notes.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: inuenire nequiuerint
The remaining fragment of a gargantuan book.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 269 leaves (iv + 265)
Dimensions (leaf): 370 × 250 mm.
Dimensions (written): 245 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (written): 245 × 200 mm.
(art. 2) The edges retrimmed with loss of early marginalia and stained yellow, now only surviving at the foot.


A4(1 canc.), 1–412, 514 / 616 / 7–1912, 2012 (+ 2 after 12), 2112, B4(4 canc.); the first four quires with catchwords and pencilled leaf-numbering.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 49–51 lines, art. 2 in 3 cols of 51 lines. Running heads throughout, between lines ruled right across the page.


Art. 1 is in an excellent French gothic rotunda bookhand; the rest in a more formal English gothic rotunda bookhand.


Art. 1 opens with a red and blue flourished initial; art. 1 blue initials flourished in red, and red or blue paraphs; arts 3–8 have blue or red initials flourished in the other colour. Art. 2 has red or blue paraphs. Throughout are running heads in red or red and blue capitals. Marginal chapter-numbers to art. 1 are in red, in arts 3–8 in red and blue, throughout associated with red paraphs.


Modern, replacing one of s. xix: scarlet goatskin; fols. i-ii and 264–5 are modern blank parchment binding leaves; resewn on five bands. In the middle of the foot of fol. iii is the mark probably of an iron chain-staple.


Origin: S. XIII ex. ; France (?) and England

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably belonged to the Oxford Franciscans in the first instance.

At the College by c.1350: UO47. 164, with the present secundo folio, stating that the book was bought from College funds.

On fol. iii is an erased cautio ; all that can be read using ultra-violet light is ‘Supplementum ’ and, immediately below, ‘Supplementum cautioni M. C. ?Chyng (or Alyng) exposita in cista xxvi die mensis Octobris anno domini m cccc xliiij et iacet pro [blank]. Further down again is ‘Caucio S Saynt’.

At the head of fol. 1vis an erased inscription, s. xiv, apparently ‘Liber domus Merton Oxonie.’ Further down, s. xvi in., ‘li 13’’, showing that the book was part of an electio .

On fol. 261v ‘precium xxx s.’; in pencil, ‘Memoriale fratris Thome de Barneby pro quatuor decem solidis’. Barneby (BRUO 111) was fellow probably at foundation (1274), certainly in 1276, later a Franciscan. (3) ‘Caucio magistrorum Willelmi Lynam et I. Woode et Nicholai Wreygth exposita in cista Exon’ anno Domini MCCCCL xxiiii die Marcii et habet supplementum scilicet peciam stantem cum coopertura et aquila in supremum et pondus xxv. unciarum et dimid. et iacet pro c. solidos’, renewed five times, the latest 4 Dec. 1455 for £4. 10; William Lyneham (BRUO 1193–4) became a fellow in 1426 or 1427, until his death in 1473; John Wode (BRUO 2069) was fellow c. 1445–50, d. by Nov. 1475; Nicholas Wryght (BRUO 2097) was fellow 1457–62, d. 1499.

On fol. 263 is a partly-erased cautio , ‘Caucio M. P. ?beco exposita in cista decimo septimo die mensis Decembri anno domini M CCCC LXIX et iacet pro ’, and the valuation of the stationer John Godsond (1438–56), ‘XL s.’

On fol. 1v is ‘N. 4. 16. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with ‘B. 3. 7’ in red. The College bookplate. ‘16’ 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, p. 37; Powicke, no. 282; Römer 2. 307.

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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