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

Merton College MS. 320

Former shelfmark: O. 3. 9



Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1–194)
HENRY BRACTON (attrib.), De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae
(fols. 1–4; 4v blank)
Rubric: Incipit liber domini Henrici de Brattoun super legibus et consuetudinibus regni Anglicani.
Incipit: In rege qui recte regit necessaria sunt duo
Explicit: inde preceptum habuerint siue non.

Ed. G. E. Woodbine and S. E. Thorne (Cambridge, MA, 2nd edn., 1968–77), this copy described at i. 7–8; Sharpe, Handlist, p. 164. f. 96v blank, without a break in the text.

On f. 194v is ‘doe well and drede not’, s. xv.

Marginal annotation of all periods to s. xvi, especially in a neat humanistica of c. 1500, which should be the hand of a warden (see below).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (table) que suntactiones
Secundo Folio: (text, f. 6) quod ad statum
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 199 leaves (ii + 197)
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 245 mm.
Dimensions (written): 270 × 160 mm.
Foliation: Foliated s. xvii.


14, 2–38, 4–912, 104, 11–1812, 194(lacks 3); catchwords; the quires numbered at the beginning.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 72 lines.


A neat early gothic bookhand.


Modest initials in colours and gold fols. 1 (2), 5 (2), one of 14 lines on f. 142; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; red or blue paraphs.


s. xvii, speckled calf, sewn on five bands; formerly chained from near the head of the front board. Fols. i-ii, 196–7 are blank paper binding leaves. f. 195 was formerly a pastedown in an earlier binding.


Origin: S. XIII ex.

Provenance and Acquisition

On f. 194v, over an erased name, ‘Thomas Maydin ⟨libri⟩ possessor’, s. xvi. Near the head of f. 195 an inscription has been erased, made more illegible by reagent. ‘Iohannes’ and ‘Willelmum ?Dengle de pl’ can be read.

On f. 195v is ‘Willelmus Stamford b ad ?Friston⟩’. Places of that name are in Suffolk or Sussex.

This should be the copy bequeathed by Thomas Farnelow, fellow by 1340, still in 1353, d. 1379, for whom see MS 102. According to his will (proved 13 Dec.) it was to be for the use of the warden. However, there is no sign of the manuscript having been at the College before s. xvii in.

Inside the front board is a title, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 1. 18 Art’ and ‘Q. 7. 1. Iur.’, both canc. and replaced with ‘O. 3. 9 (CCCXX)’ 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. 127; Powicke, no. 527; Alexander & Temple, no. 291.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-11-13: First online publication

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