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

Merton College MS. 161

Former shelfmark: G. 1. 5



Language(s): Latin

fol. i blank. On fols. iv-iv are lengthy notes in a rough anglicana hand which corrects and annotates the main text, unformatted but in 2 cols: ‘Nota quod omnis caritas incipit a sententia Plus etiam debeo diligere ...; Amor et uita quedam duo copulans uel copulare appetens ...; Notandum quod ymagines ecclesie possunt bene fieri ...; Et ne nos inducas in temptacionem Est autem temptacio inquisicio experiencie nature rationalis ...; Nota quod in personalibus affectionibus est error merencium’.

(fols. 1–14v)
An alphabetical subject-index


(fols. 15–305v)
ROBERT HOLCOT OP, Commentary on Wisdom
Incipit: Dominus petra mea et robur meum. Re. 22. Artes et sciencie humanis studiis adiuuente ... quod sapere concupiscentia sapientie deducet ad regnum perpetuum ad quod
Explicit: Quamuis autem ista sapientia in qualibet parte scripture ualeat inueniri specialiter tamen et quadam peculiari forma in libro sapientie continetur in quo reges et principes de cultu Dei et bonis moribus informantur.

Pr. Cologne [not after 1476], London 1489 &c.; Stegmüller, Bibl. 7416; Kaeppeli 3497; Sharpe, Handlist, p. 553.

fol. 305v is a quatrain ‘Hanc in honore pie candelam porto Marie’

On fols. 306, 307v-8 are more notes in the same hand as those on the front flyleaves; the more substantial are: ‘Nota quod stelle comata generantur exalacionibus candidis ...; Nota de morte prophetarum et apostolorum. Serra secat Ysayam lapis necat Ieremiam Ezechiel distrahitur Zacarias lapidatur Michias precipitatur ...; Nota quod precantes in sabbato maxime solunt ipsum ...; Vtrum licitus sit aliquod habere plura beneficia ...; Considerandi quod scriptura diuina potest diuidi in 8 partes ...; Nota 5 causas quare sabbatum nostrum sit ad primam feriam transferendam ...’

Fols. 306v, 308v blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (text, fol. 16) -colicon
Secundo Folio: (index) Item arguendum
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 314 leaves (iv + 308, incl. 113A, 118A)
Dimensions (leaf): 305 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (written): 230 × 140 mm.
The edges retrimmed with loss of marginalia, and spattered with red.


A4, 112(+ a bifolium after 11), 2–2512, 268; catchwords; quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 51 lines. The lemmata sometimes not distinguished from the commentary, sometimes in slightly larger script, sometimes in low-grade textura on every second line.


Three scribes, all probably Continental but working in England, the first two writing cursive influenced by anglicana, the third a low-grade bookhand: fols. 1–14v; 15–62v; 64–305v.


On fol. 15 a 7-line red and blue D, flourished in red and a little violet, and with 3-sided border in red and blue; blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs; red underlining.


Standard Merton s. xvii; sewn on six bands; formerly chained from the usual position. fols. i and 308 were pastedowns in an earlier binding.


Origin: S. XIV ex. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Pencilled scribbles of s. xv include ‘Quod Willerus Coke jentylman’ and ‘Petyr of Mylferton’ at the head of fol. 199, ‘Willelmus Coke jentylman’ on fol. 247. The place is Milverton in Somerset.

At the head of fol. 306, partly erased, is ‘Liber Magistri Thome Balsall | emptus prec’ xlvi s. viii d.’

Near the foot of fol. 305v is ‘liber Holcote super sapientiam precii [erased vj marcarum]’.

On fol. 307 ‘Liber collegii de Mertone ex dono magistri Thome Balsall quondam socii ibidem.’

On fol. ivv ‘In hoc libro continetur lectura Holcot super librum Sapiencie ex dono magistri [doctoris inserted] Thome Balsall nuper socii istius Collegii de Mertone. Oretis pro eo’, in the hand of the Fitzjames inscriptions &c. Balsall (BRUO 100), fellow c. 1448–58, d. by Mar. 1492.

At the head of fol. 1 is the James no. ‘122’, s. xvii in. Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with contents, s. xvii, and ‘ O. 6. 1: art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘G. 1. 5 (CLXI)’ in red; 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. 66; Powicke, no. 1097.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-07-02: First online publication

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