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

Merton College MS. 120

Former shelfmark: M. 2. 4



Language(s): Latin with a very little Middle English (fol. ii verso)

fol. i blank; on the verso are a few notes on the contents.

On fol. ii ‘ordo legendi epistolas et euangelia per annum’ in 4 cols, written in an anglicana hand of c. 1400.

On fol. iiv are more notes, including (a) a record of the consecration, death and translation of St William (1154, 1155, 1283), of‘prima mortalitas et durauit per annum et dimidium’, 1348. (b) a series of notes of the form ‘Quando pina cadit super A iii die precedent’ xix hora erit commutacio lune’. (c) ‘Narrat enim Titus Liuius de lenone et meretrice ...’, followed by a quatrain in English, beg. ‘The joye of ur hert is withere to wo’: IMEV 3398. This copy is unique, but very similar lines are IMEV 221, 3311 and 3397. (d) ‘Iesu pie fons uiuorum consolator miserorum garciones destrue ...; Oratio. Omnipotens sempiterne Dues qui iniquissimos garciones et maledictissimos ad nocumentum humani generis in hunc mundum uenire fecisti cogis ut eorum corpora ad furcas trahantur et ibidem sepelabantur per Christum &c.’

(fols. 1–164v; 165rv blank)
PETER COMESTOR, Historia Scholastica
Incipit: Reuerendo patri et domino suo in Christi Willelmo Dei gratia Senonensi archiepiscopo
Incipit: Imperatorie maiestatis est in palatio tres habere mansiones
Explicit: magis honorabilis in cathacumbis. Laus tibi sit Christe quoniam liber explicit iste.

PL 198. 1053–1722; Stegmüller, Bibl. 6543–65.

Marginal corrections and annotation in early anglicana hands. At the foot of fol. 125 is the common quatrain ‘Anna tribus Ioachin Cleophe Salomeque maras’ (cf. WIC 1062).

(fols. 166–72)
Incipit: ⟨H⟩i sunt autem libri ueteris testamenti quos ob amorem doctrine legendos recipiendos
Explicit: postulata sequencia prenotabo.

Added informally in 3 cols, in a rough anglicana hand.

It begins with the same set of extracts from Isidore, De Ecclesiasticis Officiis, as in Hereford Cath. O. III. 2, fols. 173–5 (PL 83. 746–50).

The index ends on fol. 172, followed by ‘Versus de libris Biblie. Genesis Exo. Leui. Deu. Ios. Iudicumque’ (10 lines; WIC 7146).

(fols. 172v-3)
Tabula incidencium historie scolastice

Unfinished; in the same hand as fols. 166–72.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ab unitate
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 175 leaves (ii + 173)
Dimensions (leaf): 350 × 250 mm.
Dimensions (written): 265 × 180 mm.
The edges retrimmed affecting running heads and marginalia, and spattered with red.


A bifolium, 1–1312, 1412(9–11 canc.) / 158.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 48 lines.


An excellent English formal early gothic bookhand of ‘type monastique’.


Large red and blue flourished initials, with foliage tinted green and dull pink; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; red highlighting and underlining.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on five bands; formerly chained from the usual position. fol. i was a pastedown in an earlier binding.


Origin: S. XIII 2/4 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Made in England, a monastic book. On fol. 165v are at least two erased inscriptions, one seeming to include the word ‘abbatia’, the other very short, perhaps only a title.

On fol. 172 ‘Caucio M. Thome Chace exposita in cista Turvyll [pertinenti uniuersit. Oxon’ added above the line] decimo die Augusti anno Domini M. CCCC trecesimo primo pro xxvi. s. viii. d. et habet unum supplementum 2º fº nora patrem et impignoratur pro caucione Upton’. Chace (BRUO 379–80) was master of Balliol College, d. 1449. Nicholas Upton (BRUO 1933–4) was fellow of New College 1415–26, DCnL in 1439, d. by Feb. 1457.

At the head of fol. 1 ‘Liber domus scolarium de Mertonhalle in Oxonia ex dono magistri Iohannis Burbache doctoris in theologia et quondam s[ocii eiusdem domus] ut incatenetur in libraria communi ad perpetuum usum studencium ibidem.’ For Burbage, fellow 1411–35, see MS 3. Burbage probably bought it from the chest.

At the head of fol. 1 is the James no. ‘56’. Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with a title, s. xvii, and ‘O. 2. 4. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘M. 2. 4 (CXX)’ in red; the College bookplate. ‘4’ 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. 55; Powicke, no. 933; Alexander & Temple, no. 191.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Warden and Fellows of Merton College .

Last Substantive Revision

2019-06-04: First online publication

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