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

Jesus College MS. 51


Language(s): Latin

1. (fol. 1r–v)
A mutilated fragment from a liturgical book of the first half of the 12th cent.
Incipit: (fol. 1r) uirtute carit[atis circumfultus]
Explicit: (fol. 1v) inter sident[sic] caelestis aule
2. (fols. 2r–100v)
Bede, De tabernaculo
Rubric: (fol. 2r) Incipit expostio Bede presbet[eri de taber]naculo et casis eius ac uestibus sacerdotum. Capitula libri primi.
Incipit: Moyses in montem domini cum Iosue
Rubric: Capitula libri ii
Rubric: Capitula libri tertii
Explicit: singulorum numeraro populo.
Final rubric: Expliciunt capitula.
(fol. 2v)
Incipit: ⟨L⟩ocuturi iuuante domino de figura
Explicit: (fol. 100v) quia isti sunt semen cui benedixt dominus.
Final rubric: Explicit expositio Bede presbiteri De tabernaculo domini.

ed. D. Hurst, CCSL 119A (1969), pp. 1–139; CPL 1354; Sharpe, Latin Authors

3. (fols. 100v–103v)
Pseudo-Bede, De ponderibus,

an excerpt from Isidore, Etymologiae xvi, 25–6

Rubric: (fol. 100v) De ponderibus.
Incipit: Ponderum ac mensurarum iuuat cognoscere
Explicit: (fol. 103r) instar collis uidentur et onus cameli efficiunt.
4. (fol. 104r)
Henry I of England, A letter to Anselm of Canterbury, announcing his victory at Tinchebray
Incipit: (fol. 104r) Henricus rex Anglorum Anselmo Cantuariensi archiepiscopo salutem et amicitiam. Paternati
Explicit: bellorum. teste Waldrico cancellario apud Wellebof.

ed. Schmitt, SAO, v, Ep. 401.

The letter was circulated, probably shortly after the batte lof Tinchebray in October 1106, as single-sheet copies that were textually independent of the various compilations made of original in Anselm’s archives in Christ Church. Another such text is known from Gloucester; Hereford Cathedral, P. I. 3. fol. 101r. The specimen here may well have been circulated with the following in a single piece of parchment. H. F. Doherty, ‘La bataille de Tinchebray et les actes d’Henri Ier’, Tinchebray 1106–2006. Actes du colloque de Tinchebray, 28–30 septembre 2006, ed. V Gazeau & J. A. Green (Rouen, 2009), 167–88.

5. (fol. 104r)
A letter from a presbyter of Fécamp to a presbyter of Séez, announcing Henry’s victory at Tinchebray
Incipit: (fol. 104r) Domino suo presbitero Sagii presbiter Fiscanni salutem et orationes. Bonum apporto nuntium
Explicit: mentis et corporis tribuat. Valete.

ed. H. W. C. Davis, ‘A Contemporary Account of the Battle of Tinchebrai’, EHR, 24 (1909), re-edited, with corrections, ibid . 25 (1910), 295–6. No other copies of this letter are known. For its transmission, see the item above.

6. (fol. 104r)
A poem in hexameter on the modes of consanguinity.
Incipit: (fol. 104r) Quid sit Socrus. Nurus. Patruus. Auunculus. Amita. Matertera. Patruelis Fratruelis. | Dicam quid socrus. quid glos. quid sit quoque nurus.
Explicit: Dic generum. natam cui sponsam cedis habendam.

Verses 1–7 were copied on the space left vacant on the right in a ?12th-cent. hand.

Unprinted. Also in Shrewsbury School MS 322, fol. 85v (12th- or 13th-cent.); UB Erfurt, Dep. Erf. CA. 8º 8, fol. 114v (12th cent., entitled ‘Versus de gradibus affinitatis compositi’).

7. (fol. 104v)
A table for signs for weights and money
Incipit: (fol. 104r) assis | abus uel decunx uel deunx
Explicit: Duo calci. | Calsu et tertia pars.
8. (fol. 105r)
Hildebert of Le Mans, Carmina minora
Incipit: (fol. 105r) Ade peccatum quae conueniens aboleret[sic]
Explicit: Angelus exultati homo gaudet tartata merent.
Walther 482
Incipit: In natale sacro sacre sollennia missae
Explicit: Nox aurora dies umbra figura deus.
Walther 9015

ed. A. Brian Scott (2001).

9. (fol. 105r)
Prophecy on the fall of Rome

Also in Eton College 21 (mid-12th cent.)

10. (fol. 105v)
Poem on the Psalms
Incipit: Qui terrena despicitis et sursum corda
Explicit: sine spatio. Amen.

Also in Besançon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 33, fol. 1v (12th-cent.).

11. (fol. 105v)
Exegesis of Rev. 21:19–20
Incipit: Intemeratae fidei homines | Fundamentum primum Iapsis
Explicit: Duodecimus ametistus
12. (fol. 105r)
Two sentences that can be read merged in several ways indicated
Incipit: Seria sepe uolo
Explicit: corpore mente.
13. (fol. 105r)
Two sentences, of which the latter is from the previous item
"Nos dominus saluet qui solus cuncta gubernat | Seria sepe uolo studio discernere solo"
14. (fol. 105v)
Mnemonic poem
"Sit tibi linea subcontraria prima secunde. | Tercia que sequitur contradictoria prime. | Prima subest quarte uice particularis habens se | Hanc habet ad seriem se lege secunda sequentem | Pugnat cum quarta contradicendo secunda | Tertius est quarto semper contrarius ordo."

A version of the poem is printed in Norman Kretzmann, William Sherwood’s Introduction to Logic (Minnesota 1966), p. 49, note 91.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment, of middling quality and arranged hair to hair, flesh to flesh.
Extent: a2 + 105 + z1 leaves: a consists of 2 singletons, of which the second was sewn to quire 1; a1 and z1 serve as pastedowns. Fols. 1–23 is badly damaged at the top, fols. 1 and 2 having been repaired with paper.
Dimensions (leaf): 265 × 165 mm.
Foliation: Foliation in modern pencil at the upper right-hand corner begins at a2, jumps from 48 to 50, and skips a folio between 84 and 85. An earlier foliation in grey ink, sometimes invisible, begins at 3r, ends at 100r, and skips 4 fols.


1–128 1310 (wants 10). Quire-marks are in Roman numerals in red ink on the first folio of each quire placed at the horizontal midpoint of the text block in the lower margin; v and x are erased (fols. 33r and 74r).


Ruled in dry-point, 30 long lines. Pricking visible in outer margins, ruled space 185 × 110 mm.


The original contents, i.e. Bede’s works, is in one good book English hand from the early 12th cent. He wrote also part of Jesus College MS 69.

The text was corrected by another hand, although the text scribe executed a few corrections.

The two letters, items 4 and 5 on fol. 104r, were added by a scribe from the first half of the 12th cent., who wrote part of Jesus College MS 54.

Although items 6 and 7, the poem and the table, differ from each other in terms of their palaeographical aspect, they are possibly in one hand from the first half of the 12th cent.

Items 8 and 9, the poems by Hildebert on fol. 105r, are in one hand from the first half of the 12th cent.

Item 10, the prophecy, on the same folio is apparently a new, contemporaneous hand.

Items 11 and 12, the eulogy of psalms and the exegesis, on fol. 105v are in one hand, likewise from the first half of the 12th cent.

The final inserts, items 12–14, are in one hand from the second half of the 12th cent.

There are several pen trials on z1, some from the second half of the 12th cent.

Two pen trials copy text from item 12, indicating that the flyleaf had been attached to the book before or during the second half of the 12th cent.

Bede’s texts were commented by at least three late medieval readers.


Initials are mainly in red ink and rarely in green. Arabesque initial in green, red, and purple on fol. 27v; in purple and red on fol. 67v; and in purple, silver, and red on fol. 100v. The first two signal breaks between books of item 2 and a break between items 2 and 3.

A winged reptile with a crowned human head in brown and red ink in the lower margin of fol. 77r (20 × 50 mm). A casually sketched human figure standing on an object, perhaps a snail, in brown ink below on the empty lines at the bottom of the text block on fol. 103r (2 × 4 cm). Two casual sketches in (an early) modern hand(s) in crayon: a crowned head on fol. 33v and a swordsman on fol. 35v.


Medieval binding.


Origin: England; 1100s × 1110s

Provenance and Acquisition

Evesham Abbey: chainmark at foot of second cover (as Jesus College MSS. 54, 93). Similar marks are in the same position on the boards of two Evesham manuscripts, Auct. D. 1. 85 and Queen's College 302, but this form of chaining is otherwise known only on manuscripts from some Oxford colleges.

Thomas Gascoigne: annotations on fols. 25v, 26r. Known to have preached at Evesham.

Record Sources

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-12-15: Andrew Dunning revised description by Samu Niskanen.