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

Merton College MS. 321

Former shelfmark: K. 1. 8



Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: defendo nisi ille
Two structurally separate but very similar volumes, II having been inserted into I early on.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 182 leaves (ii + 180)
Dimensions (leaf): 290 × 195 mm.


1–312, 412(9–12 canc.) / 512(+ 1 before 1), 6–812, 910, 10–1312, 1412(lacks 9–12) / 158, 168(lacks 8); catchwords; the quires lettered at the beginning.


s. xvii, speckled calf, sewn on four bands; formerly chained from near the foot of the front board. Formerly two straps from the front to pins in the back. fols. i-ii, 175–80 are paper binding leaves.


Provenance and Acquisition

On f. i is ‘Bibliotheca Mertonensis D. D. D. Iohannes Lister de Barstrey in agro Eboracensi Arm: fil: et socii huius commensalis Nov. 17. 1674’, followed by contents and notes thereon, and ‘Q. 7. 12.’

Inside the front board is ‘M. 3. 7. Iur.’ and ‘Q. 2. 16’, both canc. and replaced with ‘K. 1. 8 (CCCXXI)’ in red; the College bookplate.

Merton College MS. 321 – Part I (fols. 1–44; 160–74v)


1. (fols. 1–34)
(fols. 1–3)
Magna Carta

1225 reissue

At the foot of f. 1 a hand of s. xv has added a note on the date of the reissue, death of Henry III, &c.

SR i, Charters, pp. 22–5.

(fols. 3–4)
Carta de Foresta (1217)

SR i, Charters, pp. 20–1.

(fols. 4–5)
Statute of Merton

SR i. 1–4.

(fols. 5–8)
Statute of Marlborough

SR i. 19–25.

Added in a hand of s. xv ‘In octabis Sancti Martini anno regis Henrici tercii lii.’

(fols. 8–14)
Statute of Westminster I

SR i. 26–39.

(fol. 14rv)
Districtiones Scaccarii

SR i. 197b.

Followed on f. 14v by a copy of the writ drafted to give effect to it, issued for the abbot of Thornton.

(fols. 14v-15)
Assise of Bread

SR i. 199–200.

(fol. 15rv)
Iudicium Pillorie

SR i. 201–2.

Ends with the Assize of Ale ‘uel pati iudicium tumbrelli si contra assisum uendiderunt.

(fols. 15v-16v)
Statutes of the Exchequer

SR i. 197–8.

(fol. 17rv)
De Mercatoribus

SR i. 98–100.

(fols. 17v-18)
Statute of Westminster III (Quia Emptores)

SR i. 106.

On f. 18 is a copy of the arrest writ authorised by the 1285 Statute of Merchants. At the head and foot a later hand has added the names and lengths of reigns of the kings of England, Alfred—Hen. VI.

(fol. 18rv)
Statute of Mortmain

SR i. 51.

(fols. 18v-20)
Statute of Gloucester, French version

SR i. 45–50.

The full text from c. 1 (p. 47); the preceding matter drastically summarized.

Language(s): Anglo-Norman
(fol. 20)
‘Explanationes Gloucestriae’

SR i. 50.

(fols. 20–32)
Statute of Westminster II

SR i. 71–95.

The same hand of s. xv has added ‘T. xvª secunda Iohannis Baptiste anno regis Edwardi primi xiii’.

(fols. 32–3)
On fines (beg. c. 1)

SR i. 128–30.

(fols. 33–4)
On false coin

SR i. 131–3.

‘... ove tele moneye.’

Language(s): Latin and Anglo-Norman
2. (fols. 34–44)
Copies of plea roll enrolments, reports and notes of the 1270s and perhaps 1280s

A unique report of common bench at a date earlier than 1279 is printed from fols. 41v-2 in P. Brand, The Earliest English Law Reports I (Selden Soc. 111, 1996), p. 96. Other reports are printed by him in III (Selden Society 122, 2005) at pp. 21–2 (1272 Cambridgeshire eyre) and IV (Selden Society 123, forthcoming), at pp. 463 (1275 Exchequer of the Jews case), 540, 556 (pre-1290, uncertain court), 522–3, 523 (pre-1290 unidentified assizes), 585–6 (1276 Common Bench). On f. 44v, originally blank, a later hand has copied a manumission of all bondmen in Staffordshire and a general pardon of all felonies etc., 15 June 1381.

Language(s): Latin and Anglo-Norman

For fols. 45–159v see below, part II.

6. (fols. 160–168)
(fols. 160–1v)
Statute of Exeter

SR i. 210–12.

At the foot of f. 160, in a later hand, are 4 rhyming couplets, ‘Anglorum regna bastarda bello superauit’ (WIC 1041).

(fol. 161v)
‘Prouisio de anno et die’

SR i. 7.

(fol. 162)
Statute on Conspirators

SR i. 216.

(fol. 162)
Circumspecte agatis

SR i. 101.

(fol. 162rv)
‘Statutum de iuratoribus’

SR i. 113.

Followed by the writ giving effect to it.

(fols. 162v-3)
Statum Hibernie de Coheredibus, 1236

SR i. 5.

Updated by a false ascription to Edward I.

(fol. 163)
Statute of Quo Warranto

SR i. 107.

The Statutum ... Nouum followed by the Statutum in French.

(fols. 163v-7)
Iudicium Essoniorum.
Incipit: Primum capitulum de difficultate essoniarum contra uires et mulieres

Ed. G. E. Woodbine, Four Thirteenth-Century Law Tracts (New Haven, CONN, 1910), pp. 116–142; Baker & Ringrose, pp. 78–9, not this copy.

(fol. 167rv)
Statute concerning Money

SR i. 219.

(fols. 167v-8)
Statute of Ragman, 1276

SR i. 44.

Language(s): Latin and Anglo-Norman
7. (fols. 168–74v)
Miscellaneous notes on legal matters (Latin and French) of the 1270 and 1280s
Incipit: Nullus potest obligare assingnatos ad warantyam
Explicit: (ends impf.) avaunt quiteclemaunce de party et

At the foot of f. 174v is added a letter of Henry VI ordering R. S. de O. to do right to T. W. concerning lands in O., witnessed by Humfrey duke of Gloucester as ‘custos Anglie’, Westminster 12 July 1432.

Language(s): Latin and Anglo-Norman

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 205 × 140–50 mm.


Ruled with fine pencil in 2 cols of c. 35 lines.


Each part is in a single anglicana hand of legal type.


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


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

Merton College MS. 321 – Part II (fols. 45–159v)


Language(s): Latin

3. (fols. 45–151v)
Incipit: Ceste soume contient deus maneres de pleez principaumment; ceo est a sauere pleez personeus e plez reaus
Incipit: (capitula f. 45rv)
Incipit: Edward par la grace de Deu roy de Engletere ... Desirauns pees entre le poeple ke est en nostre proteccioun
Explicit: (De attournes) saunz iour fetres al retourn celi.

Ed. F. M. Nichols, 2 vols (Oxford, 1865).

Language(s): Anglo-Norman
4. (fols. 152–4v)
Incipit: Modus qualiter balliui et prepositi debent onerari super compotum reddendum ...; Primo debet ille qui compotum reddet ... Au primes deyt celuy qe rendra acounte jurer de rendre leal acounte
Explicit: (c. 36 ) ii. galons de mel de chescune rouche.

Ed. D. Oschinsky, Walter of Henley and other Treatises on Estate Management and Accounting (Oxford, 1971), pp. 200–11, 418–57; Dean & Boulton, no. 395.

Language(s): Anglo-Norman and Latin
5. (fols. 154v-9v)
Incipit: Primes aprent coment hom deit governer teres e tenemenz
Incipit: Li pieres fiet en sa veilesce et dit a son fiz
Explicit: e se peneront de meuz fere.
Final rubric: Explicit maior hosebonderia.

Ed. Oschinsky, Walter of Henley, pp. 113–90, 307–85; Dean & Boulton, no. 394.

The rest of f. 159v is filled with later additions: (a) ‘Assisa pollicis ulne et particate’; (c) ‘Bussell galon ulnis’ (cf. SR i. 203); (c) ‘Statutum de uino. Fait aremembrer qe le tonelle de vin’; (d) ‘De malefactoribus in parcis. Vt malefactores in parcis forestis chaceis aut warennis de cetero plus timescant ... (ends impf.) occidant, quod si fecerint’ (SR i. 111–12).

Language(s): Anglo-Norman

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 210–20 × 155 mm.



Ruled with thick pencil in 2 cols of 39 lines.


Each part is in a single anglicana hand of legal type.


Red and blue flourished initials with long extensions; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; red or blue paraphs, red highlighting. A good deal of the decoration is omitted from II.


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

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. 127–8; Powicke, no. 1258; Oschinsky, p. 45.

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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