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

Jesus College MS. 1


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r–132v)
John Mirk, Manuale sacerdotis
Rubric: (fol. 1r) Incipit prefatio libelli qui dicitur manuale sacerdotis.
Incipit: Amico suo karissimo domino Iohanni de S. uicario de A. frater Iohannes dictus prior de L(ileshul) salutem in auctore salutis. Ex uerbis domini saluatoris
Explicit: (fol. 2v) ac perducunt ad laborem perpetuum.
Final rubric: Explicit prefatio.
Rubric: Incipit prima pars huius libelli De eo quod sacerdos qui immaculatus ordines suos recipit per uiam salutis ad regnum tendit.
Incipit: (fol. 3r) Inter melliflua sancti psalterii cantica tangens cordam
Explicit: (fol. 129v) ad laudem et gloriam domini nostri Ihesu Christi. Cui est honor et gloria per infinita seculorum secula. Amen.
Final rubric: Explicit libellus dictus manuale sacerdotis secundum Iohannem Marcus priorem abathiae de Lilyshel.
Rubric: (fol. 130r) Hec est tabula istius libri Capitula prime partis huius libelli.
Incipit: 1. Quod sacerdos qui ordines suos immaculatus recipit per uiam salutis ad regnum tendit.
Explicit: (fol. 132v) .20. De contemplatione celestium gaudiorum.
Final rubric: Explicit tabula totius libri qui dicitur manuale sacerdotis.

ed. J. M. Girsch, ‘An edition with commentary of John Mirk’s Manuale sacerdotis’ PhD diss. (Toronto 1990); Bloomfield 2787; A. J. Fletcher, ‘The manuscripts of John Mirk’s Manuale sacerdotis’, Leeds Studies in English, new ser. 19 (1988), pp. 105–39.

(fols. 133r–134v and endleaves, now fols. 135–137)

Blank, sporadic notes and pen trials in several hands from 134v onwards.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 135 + iii leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 135 × 100 mm.
Moderately trimmed.
Foliation: Foliation in modern pencil on the upper right corner from 1 to 137, skipping a folio between 94 and 95 and counting the endleaves.


1–168 178 (wants 7th) + z4 (wants 4th). Quire signatures, denoting the quire and folio respectively (e.g. ‘a3’), in the first four leaves of quires 1–12 and then sporadically at the lower right corner. Catchwords at the bottom right hand of the each final verso.
Secundo Folio: habere sanctam


Pricked in the outer margins, ruled in crayon, 18 long lines. Ruled space 85 × 65 mm.


A single medium-quality anglicana formata hand.


Blue initials with typical red flourishes.

Small capitals in text are sometimes highlighted in red.


15th-cent., leather on boards, sewn on three raised bands, no endbands. Holes for two catch plates in the bottom cover.


Origin: England; 1450s × 1490s

Provenance and Acquisition

Apparent 15th-cent. pressmarks: ‘number I manual⟨e⟩ sacerdotis’ (paper pastedown); ‘37’ (fol. 1); ‘Num. I’ (fol. 1); ‘(80)’ (fol. 1).

‘Liber Domini David’, second half of the 15th cent. or first half of the 16th cent. (fol. iii recto).

Hugh Vaughan’, 16th cent. (fol. 1r).

‘R. ap Morgan’, 16th cent. (fol. 45v).

‘The above wryttyng is the hand of William Jankyn’, 16th cent. (fol. ii verso).

‘William David Morgan is the true owner of this booke’, 17th cent., cancelled (fol. 104r).

The manuscript had entered the College by 1649, as it appears in Mansell’s account as ‘Liber Collectionum – Manuale Sacerdotis’. (Jesus College Archives, College Register of Dr F. Mansell, 1649, p. 11.) The transfer probably happened not much before that year because the seventeenth-century individuals in inscriptions are not recorded in J. Foster, The Members of the University of Oxford 1500–1714 (Oxford, 1891–2). The names hint that the book came into the possession of the College from Wales. Pressmarks: spine: ‘J. Arch. S–J’, 17th cent. (paper label); ‘MS. Jesus Coll. Ox. F. 1.’, 20th cent. (paper label).

Record Sources

Description by Samu Niskanen (January 2011), revised by Andrew Dunning (December 2022). Previously described:

Last Substantive Revision

2022-12-08: Andrew Dunning revised description by Samu Niskanen.