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

Merton College MS. 252

Former shelfmark: C. 1. 14



Language(s): Latin

fols. iii, ivv-viiiv blank; on f. iv is a title, s. xvii.

(fols. 1–10)
An alphabetical index

Abscondita—Zelus Domini

(fols. 10–220v; 221–4v blank)
NICHOLAS BYARD OP, Distinctiones
Rubric: Incipiunt distinctiones fratris Nicholai de Byard.
Incipit: Absconditur malum ...; Abscondita est in terra pedica eius
Explicit: (ends impf. in S xl. ‘seruiendum’) non ipsi nos populus eius et [catchwords oues pascue]
Final rubric:

Pr. Cologne 1505 &c.; Kaeppeli 3045; Bloomfield 1841.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (tabula) celum aperitur
Secundo Folio: (text; f. 11) ut pica
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 234 leaves (viii + 226)
Dimensions (leaf): 175 × 130 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 85 mm.
The edges retrimmed and spattered with red.


A6, 1–1012, 11–128, 13–1912, B4; catchwords. Quires are missing after 19.


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 33 lines. An extra line was provided for running heads, which are in the form of alphabetical letters.


A single French gothic rotunda bookhand.


Parisian. Red and blue flourished initials with long extensions; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; red or blue paraphs; red highlighting and underlining.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on four bands; formerly chained from the usual position. Fols. i-ii, 225–6 are paper binding leaves, the outermost from the same book as in MS 84. The outermost parchment leaves were formerly pastedowns in an earlier binding. f. iii consists of two leaves pasted together, the first as strengthening for the second, which is thin and damaged; at its foot is the mark of a brass chain-staple. At the foot of f. iv, cropped by the binder, are the marks of the large iron chain-staple. Traces of this are perhaps to be seen on f. iiiv, but much of its foot is torn away.


Origin: S. XIV in ; France, Paris

Provenance and Acquisition

Near the head of f. viiiv is a thoroughly-erased single-line inscription. On f. iiiv ‘Liber M. Willelmi Reed episcopi Cicestrensis quem emit a uenerabili patre Thoma Tryllek episcopo Roffensi. Oretis pro utroque.’ Followed by a table of contents in the same hand, including a second item no longer present (‘Diffiniciones uocabulorum secundum ordinem alphabeti’), then ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ in Oxon’ in communi libraria eiusdem et ad usum communem sociorum ibidem studencium cathenandus. Ex dono uenerabilis patris domini Willelmi tercii episcopi Cicestrie. Oretis igitur pro eodem et benefactoribus eiusdem ac fidelium animabus a purgatorio liberandis. xi uolumen.’ Between the table of contents and following inscription another text has been thoroughly erased. For William Reed, fellow from 1344 until at least 1357, d. 1385, see MS 8. This volume was part of his legacy.

‘3’ is inked on the foredge. At the head of f. 1 is the James no. ‘195’, s. xvii in. (also in MS 67). Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with a table of contents and ‘D. 6, 5’ (canc.), s. xvii, and ‘P. 4. 3. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘C. 1. 14 (CCLII)’ 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. 100; Powicke, no. 564.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-01: First online publication

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