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

Exeter College MS. 26

John Lathbury, OFM, Alphabetum morale; England, s. xvmed


Language(s): Latin

1. (fol. 1–214v)
John Lathbury, Alphabetum morale (Distinctiones theologicae)
Incipit: Abstinendum est a deliciis quod post .p. exemplum
Explicit: Item nota in uerbo bene confessio de ave nidificante.
Final rubric: Johannes Latbury doctor de ordine fratrum minorum qui fecit lecturam super librum trenorum compilavit istum tractatum deo gracias.

unprinted; Stegmüller, Bibl., 4758. On the nature of the text see Smalley, Friars, 374–5. Our copy has marginal notes and corrections in the hands of the text scribes. On Lathbury see Sharpe, Latin Writers.

2. (fols. 214v-215r)
[List of distinctiones]
Incipit: Abstinencia
Explicit: ypocrita.
Final rubric: Explicit Tabula

Fol. 215v is blank.

*3. (fol. IIIr)

Two inscriptions, s. xv, the second no more than a pen-trial: (1) ‘tot levre mult laroit a lui que voet auer lentent de lui’ and ‘Beatus vir qui non semita impiorum et(?) tempore con’.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: in operacione.
Form: codex
Support: parchment FHHF
Extent: 215 leaves, preceded by one modern paper flyleaf and followed by the stubs (233 × 60 mm) of two medieval flyleaves which have been cut away, another medieval flyleaf (fol. III), once a pastedown, a modern paper flyleaf (fol. IV), and another flyleaf and its turnover (fols. V–VI) on which see Binding, below.
Dimensions (leaf): 267 × 195 mm.
Dimensions (column): 175–85 × 60–65 mm.
The tops of many leaves have been damaged by damp but there is no loss of text.


1–268 278 (wants 8). Catchwords by scribes throughout. There are quire signatures throughout in red in small lower-case letters and arabic figures, probably to clarify earlier numbers in ink in unusual forms. Examples of these are (quire 1), 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, where the first figure indicates the number of the leaf in the quire and the second figure the number of the quire; and, following the marking of quire c in a standard way (C1, C2, C3, C4), the marking of the leaves of d da, db, dc, dd and the leaves of e ea, eb, etc.


Two columns, 31–37 lines. Ruled in crayon.


Fols. 1–88v are in one secretary hand, sparsely punctuated by low point.

The rest of the book is in several bastard secretary hands, sparsely punctuated by low point and double virgula. A book script varying between rotunda and semiquadrata is used for headings.


On fol. 1 is a 9-line red-and-blue lombard which is extended to form a bar-frame border. Lombards throughout are otherwise 3/4-line and there are red and blue paraphs.


Sewn on five bands, between millboards covered with reversed calf, with three blind fillets round the edges, s. xvii. The spine, label, and endpapers are new, replaced by Maltby of Oxford in 1979. On fol. III (see above, Structure) towards each corner, are four sets of three holes, one with a trace of green staining, which suggests that an earlier cover had four bosses. Fols. V–VI are another former flyleaf, a leaf and its turnover from a printed (probably incunable) copy of Gratian’s Decreta, as in MSS 28, 30, and 43, which are bound in the same 17th-century style and were probably added by the 17th-century binder rather than being taken over from an earlier binding.


Origin: s. xvmed ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Although the book was probably at Exeter c. 1600, Ecloga does not record it unless it is no. 27, ‘Lathbury in threnos’ (the only other Lathbury, MS Exeter 27, being identifiable as Ecloga, no. 23 by the citation of its incipit). MS 26 may also be CMA 20 (‘Johannes Lathbury … Loci Communes’).

Exeter library identifications are, on the front pastedown, bookplate 1, ‘E 1–14’ and ‘Q8–6 Gall’ (both deleted), ‘173. F.18’ altered from ‘17⟨2. G. 6⟩’ (deleted), ‘173 F 18’ (deleted), ‘171.I.8’ and ‘Coxe Cat. no. xxvi’.

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

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