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

Merton College MS. 303

Former shelfmark: N. 1. 5



Language(s): Latin

Fols. i-iiv blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -mi ad formam
Formally two separate volumes, but probably always part of the same book.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 262 leaves (ii + 260)
Dimensions (leaf): 305 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (written): 255 × 160 mm.
The edges retrimmed affecting running heads and marginalia and spattered with red.


Two singletons, 1–512, 68(7–8 canc.) / 7–2012, 218, 2212, 234, a bifolium; the quires of II are numbered at both ends.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 43 lines.


A single English gothic rotunda bookhand, influenced by textualis.


Red and blue flourished initials; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; plain red or blue initials, touching and filling with red and yellow. On fols. 98, 149rv, 185v are good diagrams of the phases of the moon, hours of daylight, consanguinity, the humours and the world, in red, yellow and ink of text. In the margin of f. 228 is a representation of a ‘clavis’ (part of a ship).


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on five bands; formerly chained from near the foot of the front board. At the foot of f. 260, the pastedown in an earlier binding, are the marks of the large iron chain-staple.


Origin: S. XIV in. ; script of English appearance.

Provenance and Acquisition

The mark of the Merton large chain-staple shows that the book was at the College before c. 1500.

At the head of f. 66v is pencilled ‘iiii s.’

Further down is ‘?V. de Champ’’.

At the head of f. 1 is the James no. ‘180’, s. xvii in. ‘5’ is inked on the foredge.

Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with the contents, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 3. 5. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘N. 1. 5’ in red; the College bookplate.

Merton College MS. 303 – Part I (fols. 1–66v)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1–65; 65v-6v blank)
ISIDORE, Sententiae
Rubric: Incipit liber primus sentenciarum Ysidori ...
Incipit: Summum bonum Deus est
Explicit: non quos celestis aula beatificandos includit.
Final rubric: Explicit liber tercius sententiarum Ysidori.

CPL 1199; PL 83. 537–738.

Capitula on f. 1rv.

Merton College MS. 303 – Part II (fols. 67–260v)


Language(s): Latin

2. (fols. 67–241v; 242rv blank)
ISIDORE, Etymologiae
Incipit: Domino meo et Dei seruo Braulioni episcopo Ysidorus. Omni desiderio desideraui
Incipit: Domino meo et uere domino ... O pie domine et uirorum prestantissime
Incipit: Domino meo et Dei seruo
Incipit: Quia te incolumem cognoui
Incipit: Solet repleri leticia homo interior
Incipit: Domino meo et Dei seruo
Incipit: Tue sanctitatis epistole me in urbe Toletana inuenerunt
Incipit: An tibi sicut pollicitus sum
Incipit: Domino et filio Sesibuto Isidorus. En tibi sicut pollicitus sum
Incipit: Disciplina a discendo nomen accepit
Explicit: uis morbi ignis ardore siccetur.

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

(fols. 243–57)
An alphabetical subject-index (A litteraZorobabel) in 4 cols.
(fols. 257v-8 and 258v-9; 259v-60v blank)

Long passages of text omitted from fols. 139, 189 and 193v.

Part II is annotated in an early anglicana hand which adds chapter numbers, notes the position of the missing passages of text, and uses monks’ heads in profile as markers.

Additional Information

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. 120–1; Powicke, no. 1235; Alexander & Temple, no. 766.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-11-05: First online publication

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