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

Merton College MS. 287

Former shelfmark: K. 1. 1



Language(s): Latin

f. iii is blank, but contains setoff from a text in a very small hand, much obliterated. On the verso is ‘Ysidorus ethimolog’’, s. xv ex.

(fols. 1–167; 167v blank)
ISIDORE, Etymologiae
Rubric: Epistola Ysidori ad Braulionem
Incipit: Domino meo et Dei seruo Braulioni ... Omni desiderio desideraui ...
Incipit: Domino meo et uere domino Christoque electo Ysidoro episcoporum summo Braulio ... O pie domine et uirorum prestantissime
Incipit: Domino meo et Dei seruo B. episcopi Ysidorus. Quia te incolumem cognui
Incipit: Domino meo et uere domino Christique electo Ysidoro episcoporum summo B. ... ; Solet repleri leticia homo interior
Incipit: Domino meo et Dei seruo B. episcopo Ysidorus. Tue sanctitatis epistole me in urbe Tolletana inuenerunt
Incipit: En tibi sicut pollicitis sum
Incipit: Disciplina a discendo nomen accepit
Explicit: ignis ardore siccetur.
Final rubric: Explicit Ysidorus Ethimologiarum in libris xx. mirabiliter elaboratus.

CPL 1186; ed. W. M. Lindsay, 2 vols (Oxford, 1911).

At the head of f. 168 are four lines of verse: ‘Mus sine murilego miles sine principe’. f. 168v blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: necessariora sunt
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 171 leaves (iii + 168)
Dimensions (leaf): 315 × 205 mm.
Dimensions (written): 235 × 140 mm.
The edges retrimmed and spattered with red.


A singleton, 1–612, 710, 8–912, 1010, 11–1412, 154.


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 46 lines.


The proficient gothic rotunda bookhand of W. de Holkot. At the foot of f. 83 is pencilled ‘In principio istius quaterni recepit W. de Holkot d. pro scriptura per talliam uidelicet x d. pro sextario et recessit a mensa mea et hospicio. In octabis pasche et medium quod in pecunia numerata recepit ante predictas octabas pasche iiii s.(?)


Large and handsome red and blue flourished initials; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; plain red or blue initials for capitula; running heads in capitals of the colours. On f. 79 is a table of consanguinity. Rough marginal pencil sketches of mathematical and astronomical instruments, animals &c., passim. In the outer margin of f. 96v, however (against xii. 2 ‘de bestiis’) is a roundel containing a fine tinted drawing of a lioness licking her cubs, in the inner margin a series of four roundels containing bestiary subjects from the text.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on four bands; formerly chained from the usual position. Fols. i-ii are paper binding leaves, both from the same printed book as in MS 272. Fols. iii and 168 were pastedowns in an earlier binding.


Origin: S. XIII

Provenance and Acquisition

On f. 167 ‘Liber magistri Ricardi Fytz james sacre theologie professoris emptus per eundem ultimo die Ianuarii anno Christi 1481 precii xiii s. iiii d.’ On f. iiiv is an erased name, perhaps ‘French’: BRUO lists three of this name. Below is ‘Ysidorus Ethimologiarum Ex dono domini Ricardi Fitz James nuper Cicestrensis episcopi et custodis istius Collegii Cuius anime propicietur Deus Amen.’ Inside the front board is pasted the usual label, formerly nailed to the back cover of an earlier binding, with the title and Fitzjames’s ex dono and arms. For Fitzjames, fellow from c. 1468, warden 1483–1507, see MS 9.

At the head of f. 1 is the James no. ‘204’, s. xvii in. Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with contents, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 2. 3. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘K. 1. 1’ in red; the College bookplate. ‘3’ 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. 114; Powicke, no. 1186.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-14: First online publication

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