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

Exeter College MS. 30

Innocent IV, Apparatus in decretales; England, c. 1330–1340


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r-268r)
Innocent IV, Apparatus in decretales
Incipit: ⟨L⟩egitur in Ezechiele. Venter tuus commodet
Explicit: Volumine isto quo ego do tibi
Rubric: De summo trinitate et fide catholica
Incipit: Firmiter credimus. De fide teneas
Explicit: ut no. supra de consuetudine in principio. Deo gracias.
Final rubric: Explicit liber quintus Innocencij quarti.

Pr. Strasbourg, 1478 (Hain, *9191); Schulte ii. 92–3. On the text see Kuttner reference cited under MS 29. Comparison with the 1478 edn. shows that all tituli are present; although the rubrics for III. 19 and IV. 20 have been omitted on fols. 184v and 225v respectively the text is intact. An apparent sign of the loss of a quire between fols. 102v and 103r is due to nothing more than the scribe’s omission of the first two words of fol. 103r. Some of the many glosses added in s. xiv are said to be by, inter alia, ‘arch.’ (Archidiaconus, i.e. Guido de Baysio), ‘Jo.’ (Johannes Monachus, alias Cardinalis?), ‘Innoc.’ (Innocent III), ‘W.’, ‘Compostol’ (Bernardus de Compostella junior), ‘Jo And’ (Johannes Andreae). Fols. 268v–70r contain canon-law notes in crayon in an anglicana hand of s. xiv; fol. 270v has more of the same in another hand of the same period.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: non videlicet.
Form: codex
Support: parchment FHHF
Extent: Written on 5–270 poorly prepared leaves, preceded by two printed leaves (see Binding) and their stubs (fols. iii, iv, i, ii) and two medieval membrane leaves (fols. v, vi), and followed by two printed flyleaves and their stubs (fols. I–IV) from the same book.
Dimensions (leaf): 385 × 240 mm.
Dimensions (column): 285 × 75–80 mm.


1–612 714 8–1712 186 19–2112 2212 236 244 (wants 1, 2). Catchwords, by the scribe, remain on all quires where they were necessary. Leaves of quires are lettered a–f in anglicana on first leaves but quires are not numbered.


Two columns, 72 lines. Ruled in crayon.


An English scribe’s poor attempt at the sort of Italian gothic rotunda script used in north Italian law books; punctuated by low point. The many glosses and the notes on fore- and endleaves are in anglicana. See further below, History.


Original decoration is probably English but could pass as Italian in style: blue lombards flourished red, red lombards flourished blue or grey in Italian style; rubrics; red-and-blue running numbers for books; lemmata underlined red.

English-style decoration, round which the marginal gloss has been neatly written, consists of a 9-line illuminated historiated initial at the beginnings of books (that for bk. 1 has been excised), extended into a border in gold, crimson, and blue with white dots and/or lines on the colour throughout. Two/three-line initials at the beginnings of tituli are in this style throughout, presumably superimposed on Italian ones. The subjects of the four surviving English historiated initials are (fol. 86r: bk. 2, rubric De iudiciis) a judge(?) expounding to, or admonishing, two men, all standing; (fol. 163r: bk. 3, rubric De vita et honestate clericorum) a priest saying mass; (fol. 217r: bk. 4, rubric De sponsalibus et matrimoniis) a priest joining a couple in matrimony; (fol. 226v: bk. 5, rubric De accusacionibus [et iniquiis], miniature damaged) two seated figures (? accusers) with another(?) behind and between them.

Alexander and Temple, no. 288 (s. xiv2/4).


Sewn on seven bands between millboards covered with reversed calf, three blind fillets round the outer edge, s. xvii. Flyleaves at front and back are from the same, probably incunable, copy of Gratian’s Decreta as those in MSS 26, 28, 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. Rust stain and a hole at the foot of the front flyleaf (fol. 3) suggest that the book was once chained.


Origin: c. 1330–1340 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

In favour of a north Italian origin are (1) the fact that law books were exported abroad from legal centres such as Bologna and Padua; (2) that script and the original decoration could suggest a north Italian origin; and (3) that quiring in 12s is compatible with north Italian practice. Objections to this are (1) the membrane is of poor quality and free from any suggestion of preparation in the Italian style; (2) the script begins as a reasonably good gothic rotunda of English type but by fol. 2v, although becoming more Italian in style, has deteriorated and never improves. Letter forms are quite convincing imitations of Italian rotunda letters except that a is almost always in the north European two-compartment form and the Italian form with the high ascender and tiny low bow is never found. The Italian form of the ampersand is used but the -bus abbreviation is more often north European than Italian and m lacks the north Italian (especially Bolognese) habit of increasing the length of successive minims; (3) among all the glosses, the earliest dating from not long after the writing of the book, and on the several pages of notes, there seem to be no examples of non-English hands; (4) even marginal directions to the rubricator are in anglicana.

There is no evidence to date the book’s arrival in the College but it is recorded in Ecloga, as no. 18.2, and since acquisition of this kind of text during the sixteenth century is highly unlikely, had probably been there since at least the fifteenth century. CMA, no. 45.

Exeter library identifications, inside the front cover, are bookplate 1, ‘E1—24’ and ‘Q8—10 Gall’ (both deleted), ‘172–E–6’, ‘MS 30’ (pencil) and ‘Coxe MS xxx’ (pencil). For ‘23’ on fol. vr cf. ‘10’ in MS 29. ‘6’ is on a round paper label with serrated edges at the top of the spine.

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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