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

Merton College MS. 71

Former shelfmark: K. 2. 6



Summary of Contents: MS 71 is an important copy of the major work of Thomas Bradwardine, one of the most eminent of the so-called 'Merton school' of scientists, archbishop of Canterbury in 1349. It was copied professionally in 1369 for Fellow Simon Lambourne, who gave it to the College. Before and after the main text he transcribed, in his own hand, two otherwise unknown letters from Bradwardine to the Fellows relating to the composition of the work.

Language(s): Latin

fol. i blank.

(fols. 1–266v)
Thomas Bradwardine, De Causa Dei contra Pelagianos
Rubric: De causa Dei contra Pellagium et de uirtute causarum Thome de Bredewardyna cancellarii Londonie
Incipit: Magnorum et multorum peticionibus atque repeticionibus cumulatis incessanter
( capitula fols. 2–4v)
Incipit: In primis firmissime supponatur quod Deus est summe perfectus et bonus in totum
Explicit: (q. 53; f. 265v) ad scientiam ueritatis et in ipsa indeclinabiter confirmetur
(In another hand) Isti 36 articuli subscripti secundum doctorem istum in tantum sunt falsi et erronei; quod ipsos magno desiderio affectabat ab ecclesia condempnari ac eorum ut premittitur opposita confirmari...
Final rubric: Explicit istud opus de causa Dei contra Pelagium et de uirtute causarum uirtute Dei cause causarum perscriptum London’ anno milesimo trecentesimo quadragesimo quarto Domini Ihesu Christi

pr. H. Savile (London, 1618) / repr. Frankfurt, 1976; Stegmüller, Sent. 896–8; Sharpe, Handlist, p. 643.

On the originally blank col. b of fol. 4v, in the anglicana hand of Simon Lambourne, is a letter from Bradwardine (headed ‘T. de B.’) to the warden and fellows of Merton: ‘Dilectis fratribus et amicis custodi ac scolaribus aule de Mertone in Oxonia Spiritus Sancti graciam septiformem. Aliquociens accidisse comperi ut in rerum difficilium tractacione ...’, notifying them of his new book. pr. Savile, pp. cxvii-xviii. The same hand copies another in the blank space left on col. b of fol. 266v: ‘Dilectis fratribus et amicis custodi et sociis aule de Mertone in Oxonia Thomas de B. salutem et gratiam in omnibus feliciter prosperandi. Peticioni uestre mox obtemperare uolui ...’, to accompany a copy of his work which he is sending them. pr. Savile, p. 876. Each of the three books begins a new quire; hence fols. 137v-8v are blank (text begun on fol. 138 was scraped off), and so are fols. 200–2v.

fol. 267v is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (capitula) in ipsa namque
Secundo Folio: (fol. 5) quapropter
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 268 leaves (i + 267)
Dimensions (leaf): 380 × 260 mm.
Dimensions (written): 300 × 220 mm.


a singleton, 14, 2–1212, a bifolium, 13–1612, 1710, 186, 19–2112, 226, 2312, 2410, a singleton; framed catchwords; pencilled quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of c. 60 lines.


Written, probably by one variable hand, in a mixture of gothic rotunda bookhand and anglicana.


Books open with large and handsome red and blue flourished initials, with partial borders in the colours. Blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs; running heads in red and blue capitals.


s. xx, Maltby; bare oak boards, backed with vellum; resewn on five bands. On fol. 265v are marks of two clasps at the foredge and one each at head and tail, of a brass chain-staple from the foredge near the head, and of the large iron chain-staple near the foot.


Origin: 1369 ; England, Oxford

Provenance and Acquisition

On fol. iv‘Liber M. Simonis Lambourn’ prec’ vii marcarum. Scriptus anno Domini mccclxix.’ There is no need to suppose that Lambourne was the scribe; the book is doubtless a professional product and made at Oxford. He does, however, annotate and provide marginal auctoritates. At the foot of fol. 266v, very faint, is ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ in Oxon’ datus per Magistrum ⟨Symonem Lambourn⟩’, s. xv. At the head of fol. 267, probably autograph, is ‘Liber M. Simonis Lambourn’ d⟨atus⟩ aule de Merton’ ad perpetuum usum sociorum eiusdem.’ Lambourne (BRUO 1087) was fellow 1347–61, later canon of Southwell. He left MS 284 to John Bloxham (BRUO 204), and gave MS 306 to the College. On fol. ivis ‘Donavit Bibliothecae Mr. Simon Lambourn’ and ‘N. 6. 5. Art:’, s. xvii, the second canc. and replaced with ‘K. 2. 6 (LXXI)’, in red. Beneath 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, pp. 43–4; Powicke, no. 523; S. H. Thomson, Latin Bookhands of the Later Middle Ages 1100–1500 (Cambridge, 1969), pl. 101; Watson, Dated and Datable Oxford, no. 838, pl. 202.

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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