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

Merton College MS. 297B

Former shelfmark: G. 1. 1

STATUTES; S. XV (bef. 1435)


Language(s): Latin

Fols. iv-iiv, iiiv blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (f. 2) XIX statutum de seruibus
Secundo Folio: (f. 10) large Meis la partie
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 396 leaves (iii + 393)
Dimensions (leaf): 295 × 200 mm.
Dimensions (written): 200 × 130 mm.
The edges retrimmed and spattered with red. The early leaves are damaged by damp a the head.


A4(lacs 1), 18 / 2–312, 416, 512, 68, 7–812, 96, 11–1412, 1514, 16–1812, 1914(14 canc.), 20–2612, 2712(+ 1 after 9), 2812(+ 1 after 8), 2912(+ 1 after 8), 30–112, 32–58, 364, a singleton; catchwords.


Ruled with fine pencil in 41–2 long lines.


I is written in textura; otherwise two secretary hands, the second responsible for art. 7. Art. 6 was finished after 18 Feb. 1426 and presumably before 6 Nov. 1429, when Henry VI was crowned.


On f. 328 a 14-line initial A, pink and blue in a gold frame, enclosing Henry VI as a boy, seated and holding two crowns and with two sceptres in his lap, a scroll inscribed ‘Viuere pacifice michi sit et utrique corone’; handsome full border with magpie. Arts 5 and 6 (fols. 161 and 304) open with 13-line gold initials on gold and pink grounds, patterned and enclosing beasts, each gorged with a coronet and bearing an inscribed scroll, the second with full border: an eagle (f. 69, Edw. I?, ‘Laus legislate uolat undique cum probitate’), a leopard (f. 161, Edw. III, ‘Viuat uis legis quia ius est gloria regis’), a hart (f. 225, Ric. II, ‘Sauns departier’), a dog (f. 273; Hen. IV, ‘Ma soueraine’), and a horned dog-like spotted animal (f. 304; Hen. VI, ‘Vn sanz pluis’). On f. 9 a gold S on pink and blue ground (champe); 6-line blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs; red highlighting. A marginal sketch of a leopard rampant on f. 272v.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on six bands; formely chained from the usual position.


Origin: S. XV (bef. 1435) ; England, London (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Made in England, perhaps in London.

At the foot of fols. 9v, 106v, 211v, 296v, ‘Liber ecclesie Christi Cantuar’ de statutis et legibus Anglie, quem librum Iohannes Pyrye de Cantuar’ iurista legauit eidem ecclesie anno domini millesimo CCCCXXXV cuius anime propicietur Deus.’ Either the John Pyrye who was bailiff in Canterbury in 1401–2, or the man who became a monk of Christ Church in 1435, d. 1449 (J. Greatrex, Biographical Register of the English Cathedral Priories of the Province of Canterbury [Oxford, 1997], p. 259).

Art. 7 was probably added at Canterbury in or soon after 1445.

On f. iii, s. xvi, ‘Liber Collegii Mertonensis ex dono Magistri Iacobi Leeche quondam socii eiusdem’, repeated on f. i, s. xvii, together with a table of contents. Leach d. 1589.

On f. i is also ‘P. 4. 28. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘Q. 7. 11.’, canc. and replaced with ‘Q. 2, 15’, canc. and replaced with ‘K. 1. 7 (CCXCVII B)’ in red. ‘11’ is inked on the foredge. The College bookplate is on f. iii.

Merton College MS. 297B – Part I (fols. 1–8v)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1–2v)
Index of statutes

A table to arts 5 and 6, 1–83, in 2 cols.

2. (fols. 3–8v)
Sarum calendar in red and black

Erkenwald in red; added in red, John of Beverley and John of Bridlington, ‘Dedicacio noui templi London ix lc’ at 7, 11 and 31 May.

Merton College MS. 279B – Part II (fols. 9–393v)


Language(s): Latin

3. (fols. 9–19)
Curia Baronis
Incipit: Sache qen court Baron si poet homme pleder
Explicit: que aueerer nous deuons &c.

Unpr.; Baker & Ringrose, pp. 619–20, list copies including this one. In the text on f. 13 are 15 lines in English about payment of debts: IMEP, pp. 52–3.

Language(s): Anglo-Norman and Middle English
4. (fols. 19v-68v)
Table of contents and lists of chapters,

in arts 5 (fols. 19v-34; 34v blank) and 6 (fols. 35–62; 62v-8v blank)

The table to art. 5 occurs also in Lincoln’s Inn, Hale 74, f. 9 seq., and in Bodl. Libr., Douce 362, fols. 13–27v. It takes into account 20 pieces in those manuscripts but not in this one (MMBL 3. 660).

Language(s): Latin
5. (fols. 69–159v; 160rv blank)
Statutes from Magna Carta to Edward II

A complete list is in MMBL 3. 660–3: to the references there add: fols. 83v-5v Statute of Gloucester, in French: Baker & Ringrose, p. 52. f. 106rv ‘Modus calumpniandi essonia’: Baker & Ringrose, p. 97. f. 111 ‘Modus faciendi homagium et fidelitatem’, in French: Baker & Ringrose, p. 58. f. 114rv View of Frankpledge, in French: Baker & Ringrose, p. 60. fols. 117v-18 ‘De wardis et releuiis’: Baker & Ringrose, p. 100. fols. 119v-20 Extenta manerii: Baker & Ringrose, p. 61. fols. 120–1 ‘De apportis religiosorum’: = SR i. 150 (Statute of Carlisle, 35 Edw. I); for the word ‘apportis’ in the title, see Statutes at Large 1 (1811), p. 175. f. 126rv ‘Diffinicio de excepcione. Notandum quod quatuor modis dicitur excepcio ...’. A commonly-found explanatory note: Baker & Ringrose, pp. 96–7, listing copies including this one. f. 129rv ‘Composicio de ponderibus. Nunc dicendum est de ponderibus plumbi et aliarum rerum. Notandum est quod le chare de plumbo ...’: as in CUL Gg. 5. 7, f. 12v. f. 130rv Expositiones uocabulorum: copies listed in Baker & Ringrose, p. 62. f. 133rv ‘Statutum siue tractatus de antiquo dominico’. A frequently-copied opinion, occasionally ascr. Anger de Rypone: pr. Year Books 20 & 21 Edward I (RS, 1866), pp. xviii-xix; copies, including this one, listed by Baker & Ringrose, pp. 49–50. f. 148 ‘Distinccio de socagio. Socage poet estre ...’: Baker & Ringrose, p. 97, listing copies including this one. ‘Expliciunt uetera statuta uidelicet Henrici tercii, Edwardi primi et Edwardi secundo post conquestum regni Anglie.’

Language(s): Latin and Anglo-Norman
6. (fols. 161–337v)
Statutes 1 Edward III – 4 Henry VI
(fols. 161–224v)
Edw. III
(fols. 225–272v)
Ric. II
(fols. 273–302v; 303rv blank)
Hen. IV
(fols. 304–26v; 327rv blank)
Hen. V
(fols. 328–37v)
Hen. VI

Listed in MMBL 3. 663–4.

Language(s): French and Latin
7. (fols. 337v-88)
Unnumbered statutes of 6, 8–11, 14–15, 18, 20, 23 Hen. VI

SR ii. 232, 238–58/29 (end of c. 26), 263, 272, 278, 289, 295, 301, 315, 326.

fols. 388v, 390–1v, 392–3v blank. f. 389 is headed ‘Henrici sexti’. On f. 389v are pen-trials, including ‘Sir G. G. Nenman (or Nonman)’ and ‘A. D. J. M. 1623’. On f. 392 is an extract in French, headed ‘In parliamento tento apud Westmon’ tercio die Iunii anno vii E. iiijti’.

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.


    Not in Coxe; Powicke, no. 1255; Alexander & Temple, no. 436; MMBL 3. 660–5.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-25: First online publication

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