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

Exeter College MS. 17

Canon Law; Oxford(?), England, s. xivex


Physical Description

Secundo Folio: C. quia uero
Form: codex
Support: parchment FHHF
Extent: 247 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 440 × 275 mm.
Dimensions (column): 340 × 85–95 mm.
Foliation: numbered in modern pencil


1–118 1210 138 ∥ 148 (wants 1; 8 sewn in) 15–208 2112 ∥ 18–258 2610


Two columns, 80 lines throughout except the text in C(i) which has 40. Ruled in crayon, except C(i), ruled in red ink; Catchwords, not by scribes, are on every quire where they are necessary, almost all in one hand and mostly in boxes. Quires are signed in crayon on first leaves in an informal hand using a mixture of letters, ad hoc numbering, and signs which provide no sense of sequence (reliance presumably being placed on the catchwords). The first four leaves of quires 6 and 25 are lettered a, b, c, d, but neither quire has an overall signature.


A, B, and C(iii)–(iv) are in several university-type hands, not easily distinguishable except the rotunda script which is found conspicuously at the end of B but which seems to develop imperceptibly out of preceding hands. The text of C(i) is in a less than expert semi-quadrata and the commentary in a rotunda of university type. C(ii) is by the same hand as C(i) but the script is smaller. The script of C(iv) is bastard anglicana, with headings in a large but imperfect quadrata. Punctuation is by low point and C(i) also uses the punctus elevatus. Tituli are commonly written in the top right-hand corners of pages.


Seventeen handsome 10-line illuminated initials (some with long extenders) are used for the beginnings and major divisions of works, on fols. 1r, 12r, 13r, 14v, 24r, 44r, 62r, 75r, 84r, 98r, 121r, 132v, 155r, 174r, 197r, 207v, 231v. The gold letters are on crimson and blue grounds traced with white. The grandest initials also make use of orange.

Next down in the hierarchy are 5/7-line illuminated initials,

then 3-line blue lombards flourished red.

There are rubrics, red and blue paraphs, red underlining of lemmata, and in C(i) some touching of small capitals with yellow ochre, red line-fillers, and ornamental frame-ruling in red. Wording for the rubricator to follow often survives in the margins.

Alexander and Temple, no. 324.


Sewn on six bands. Standard Exeter binding; sprinkled edges, simple and quite elegant, calf over millboards, the calf bearing blind decoration of a floral type, early 19th century.


Origin: s. xivex ; Oxford(?), England

Provenance and Acquisition

A book of this type might have originated in Oxford, where there were stationers who could obtain the exemplars of the texts and the workmen who, under supervision, could produce a tripartite volume of good if not first quality. That such a person was involved in this book is suggested by the fact that the three sections share scribes and the illuminator, and that the construction of the volume was guided by catchwords almost entirely in one hand throughout.

There is no evidence to explain the book’s acquisition by Exeter but it is recorded at Exeter c. 1600 as Ecloga, no. 14 and was therefore presumably in the College in the medieval period: see Watson, Exeter, Introduction, pp. xxii–xxiii. Not recorded in CMA.

Exeter library identifications, on the front pastedown, are: the library book stamp, ‘L1—2’ (deleted), ‘Ex: Coll: Oxon:’, ‘Q7–10 Gall’ (deleted), ‘172–E–10’ and ‘Coxe Cat. no. XVII’ (pencil). ‘10’ is on a round paper label at the top of the spine.

Exeter College MS. 17 – Part A (fols. 1–61)


Language(s): Latin

i. (fols. 1r-54r)
Willelmus de Monte Lauduno (Guillaume de Montlauzun), Lectura in constitutiones Clementinas
Rubric: Incipit apparatus domini W. de anduno[sic] super constitucionibus clementinis.
Incipit: Magnifice bonitatis mireque pietatis viro domino inclitissimo infanti illustrissimi principis domini regis arrogatonum filio eiusdem cancellario ... Quoniam a Johanne et de Johanne pro reuelanda ueritate
Incipit: [Prohemium]. Johannes episcopus. Hoc prohemium diuiditur in iiij partes. Primo studium generale
Explicit: Rescriptis ex parte et de appellatione reprehensibilis.
Final rubric: Explicit apparatus domini Guillelmi de Auduno super constitutionibus Clementinis.

for edns. see Hist. litt. de la France, XXXV (1921), 467–503, at 477–8 n. 1, and on the author also Dict. de droit canon. v. 1078–9; Schulte, ii. 197–8, no. 2. This text and some items below are found together in a number of manuscripts, in this case MSS BNF lat. 16902, Hereford Cathedral, O. VIII. 5 and Vatican, Vat. lat. 1397.

ii. (fols. 54r-61r)
Willelmus de Monte Lauduno, Apparatus in tres constitutiones Johannes XXII (Extrav. comm. 3.3un, 3.2.4, 1.6un)
Incipit: Suscepti. Hoc decretalis potest intitulari sub titulo de Rescriptis
Explicit: solutio non modica habeant incommoda .ff. familie hercis plane.
Final rubric: Explicit apparatus domini Willelmi super extravagantes.

pr. Rome, 1475 (Hain, 11595); ed. Corpus Iuris Canonici una cum glosis, 3 vols. (Paris, 1582), iii. [4], fols. 189–96, 167–79, 134–49 respectively; Schulte, ii. 198, no. 3. This text, item 1 above, and others below are found together in MSS BNF, lat. 16902 and Vatican, Vat. lat. 1397.

Fol. 61v is blank.

Exeter College MS. 17 – Part B (fols. 62–106)


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 62r-106v)
Jesselinus de Cassanis, Glossa ordinaria in Extravagantes Johannis XXII
Rubric: Incipit apparatus domini Gesselini de cassellis super Clementinis.
Incipit: Reuerendo in christo patri domino suo Arnaldo dei gracia sancti Eustachij diacono cardinali. Gesselinus de Cassandj ... In perfeccione in inhumana creatura
Explicit: Johannis diuina prouidentia pape .xxij. anno octauo.
Final rubric: Explicit apparatus domini Gescelini de cassandis. Iuris vtriusque professoris domini pape capellani super constitucionibus clementinis factis per dominum Clementem papam quintum et per sanctissimum dominum Johannem papam Vicesimum secundum publicatis. Benedicamus domino: Deo gracias

ed. Corpus Iuris Canonici (as 2 above), 3; Schulte, ii. 199–200; J. Tarrant, ‘The Life and Works of Jesselin de Cassagnes’, Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law, NS ix (1979), 37–64 (list of manuscripts, not including ours, at 57–60); Hist. litt. de la France, XXXV (1921), 348–61, edns. at 354 n. 3. This text and others above and below are found together in MSS BNF, lat. 16902, Vat. lat. 1397 and Hereford Cathedral, O. VIII. 5. Comparison with the text in Hereford Cathedral, MS O. VIII. 5 shows that the absence of a quire signed g between f (quire 12) and h (quire 13) signifies no loss of text.

Exeter College MS. 17 – Part C (fols. 107–247)


Language(s): Latin

i. (fols. 107r-170v)
Johannes Andreae, Apparatus ad Clementinas
Incipit: (comm.) || cum quibusdam constitucionibus quas prius edidit sub editis titulis
Rubric: Rubrica de summa trinitate et fide catholica.
Incipit: (text) || Fidei catholice fundamento
Explicit: (text) [fol. 168v] partibus obseruetur.
Explicit: (comm.) uirginis gloriose nos collocet cum electis. Amen.
Final rubric: Explicit apparatus domini Johannis Andree super Clementinis.

pr. Mainz, 1460 (GW 7077) etc.; ed. Corpus Iuris Canonici (as 2 above), iii; Schulte, ii. 217; Dict. de droit canon. vi. 89–92. Together with other items in this manuscript this text is found in several other manuscripts, including MSS Hereford Cathedral, O.VIII. 5 and BNF, lat. 16902. Apart from the loss of the beginning of text and commentary, the disturbed state of quire 14 (fols. 104–13) leads to no loss of text.

ii. (fols. 170vb-173vb)
(a). (fols. 170vb-173ra)
Clement v, Constitutio V.II.I

Friedberg, ii. 1193–1200.

Incipit: Exiui de paradiso
Explicit: se nouerit incursurum
(b). (fol. 173ra–b)
John XXII, Decretales extravagantes,

1.2, III, Friedberg, ii. 1205.

Incipit: Suscepti regiminis
Explicit: volumus firmitatis
(c). (fol.173rb–vb )
John XXII, Decretales extravagantes,

1.2, I, Friedberg, ii. 1207–9.

Incipit: Execrabilis
Explicit: ad cetera permansuris
(d). (fol. 173vb)
John XXII, Decretales extravagantes,

1.2, VI, Friedberg, ii. 1212–13.

Incipit: Johannes episcopi seruus seruorum dei ad perpetuam rei utique concertacione finem cupientes imponere
Explicit: decreuimus contractum matrimonium consummare. Nulli ergo omnino hominem liceat ||

(a–c) are found in Hereford Cathedral, MS O. VIII. 5, which contains other items in this manuscript, and (b) and (c) in MSS Hereford Cathedral, O. IV. 2 and BL, Royal II C. xi.

iii. (fols. 174r-246v)
Paulus de Liazariis, Lectura in Constitutiones Clementinas
Rubric: Hic incipit apparatus domini Pauli.
Incipit: Bonus uir sine Deo nemo est et non potest ... Johannes. omissis questionibus que in principio decretalium et .vi. libri formantur …
Explicit: Irritandus ... cum omnibus sanctis eius in exitu mereamur.
Final rubric: Finitur lectura domini pauli de lazariis[sic] excellentissimi decretorum doctoris super constitucionibus clementinis.

unprinted; Schulte, ii. 246–7; Dict. de droit. canon. vi. 1276–7. Together with other items in this manuscript, this item is found in MSS Hereford Cathedral O. VIII. 5, Bod. Lib., e Mus. 41 (SC 3642), and Vat. lat. 1452; it is followed by item iv below. An error by the writer of fol. 222r makes it look as though there were a break in the text between fols. 221 and 222 but the text runs on: fol. 221 ends ‘ec’, the catchword is ‘ecclesiastico’ but the writer of fol. 222r began the page not with that but with the next word, ‘Sacra’. There are extensive marginalia in a hand of s. xiv.

iv. (fols. 247v)
Incipit: Incipit modus procedendi in causis que in palacio apostolico agitantur. Et primo de causis beneficialibus. Si cause namque beneficiales per appellacionem in palacio predicto
Explicit: a causis in prima instancia et idem eciam seruatur in tercia instancia. Explicit.

In MSS Hereford Cathedral, O. VIII. 5(2), Bod. Lib., e Mus. 41 (SC 3642), and Vat. lat. 1452 this item follows item iii above.

Additional Information

Record Sources

Andrew G. Watson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Exeter College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2000.


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Exeter College Library.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Rector and Fellows of Exeter College.

Last Substantive Revision

2020-04-29: First online publication