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

Merton College MS. 56

Former shelfmark: G. 2. 1



Language(s): Latin

fols. iv-ii blank.

(fols. 1–468; 468v-9v blank.)
Gregory, Moralia in Iob
Rubric: Incipit proemium beati Gregorii pape in exposicione Iob
Incipit: Reuerentissimo atque sanctissimo fratri Leandro coepiscopo Gregorius seruus seruorum Dei. Dudum te frater beatissime
Incipit: Inter multos sepe queritur quis libri beati Iob scriptor habeatur
Explicit: lacrimas reddat Deo et Domino nostro Iesu Christo cui ...
Final rubric: Moralia beati Gregorii pape urbis Rome in librum Iob per contemplationem sumpta expliciunt

CPL 1708; CCSL 143, 143A-B.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sollicicius exquirentes
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 471 leaves (ii + 469)
Dimensions (leaf): 375 × 250 mm.
Dimensions (written): 275 × 160 mm.
Heavily retrimmed, especially at the head, with loss of marginalia.


a bifolium, 1–1712, 1810, 19–3812, 3914, a singleton; catchwords.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 45 lines. Running heads on a line ruled right across the page.


One highly skilled large, formal English gothic rotunda bookhand, of slightly archaizing appearance.


Large and handsome red and blue flourished initials with long borders, incorporating drolleries. To the end of bk. 16 small blue initials, highlighted or flourished in red, open lemmata, which are in red. Running heads in red capitals; highlighting in yellow.

Additions: Using all the margins, an early anglicana hand has added book- and chapter-numbers, scriptural references, alphabetical letters perhaps for an index, and titles, as it seems for chapters not signalled in the text.


Modern, apparently replacing one of s. xix. Bare oak boards; the spine covered with vellum; sewn on ten bands. On fol. i are the marks of two straps and of an iron chain-staple in the middle of the foot. On fol. 269v are the marks of two chain-staples, one as at the front, the other from the large iron chain-staple.


Origin: c. 1300 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

At the head of fol. iiv, in an early hand, ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ ex legato Magistri Henrici de la Wyle quondam cancellarii Sarum et socii domus eiusdem.’ This is the hand of the inscriptions in MSS 123–6. Henry de la Wyle (BRUO 565–6), fellow 1284–6, d. 1329.

UO47. 206, ‘in libraria’.

On fol. i is ‘N. 5. 1.’, perhaps s. xvii, canc. and replaced with modern ‘G. 2. 1 (LVI)’ in red. Inside the front cover is 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. 37; Powicke, no. 134; N. R. Ker, ‘The English manuscripts of the Moralia of Gregory the Great’, Kunsthistorische Forschungen Otto Pächt zu ehren, ed. A. Rosenauer and G. Weber (Salzburg, 1972), p. 79 no. 42; Alexander & Temple, no. 263.

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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