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

Exeter College MS. 45

Biblia; England, s. xiiiin


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r-271r)

A Bible in the following order (the numbers of the prologues, etc. refer to Stegmüller, Bibl.).

[Fol. 1r] Jerome’s general prologue (284);

[fol. 2r] Jerome’s general prologue to the Libri historiales (285);

[fol. 3r] Genesis, beg. at 6. 21 ‘comportabis apud te’;

[fol. 12r] Exodus;

[fol. 20r] Leviticus;

[fol. 25v] Numbers;

[fol. 33v] Deuteronomy;

[fol. 41v] Joshua;

[fol. 46v] Judges;

[fol. 52r] Ruth;

[fol. 53v] 1 Kings;

[fol. 61r] 2 Kings;

[fol. 67r] 3 Kings;

[fol. 74r] 4 Kings;

[fol. 80r] 1 Chronicles, with prologue (328);

[fol. 86v] 2 Chronicles;

[fol. 94r] 1 Ezra, with prologue (330);

[fol. 96r] 2 Ezra;

[fol. 99r] Tobit, with prologue (332);

[fol. 101r] Judith, with prologue (335);

[fol. 104r] Hester, with prologue (341);

[fol. 107r] 1 Maccabees, with prologue (551);

[fol. 114r] 2 Maccabees;

[fol. 120r] Psalms 1–150 (parallel Gallican and Hebraic versions);

[fol. 146v] Psalm 151 (105,3) with rubric Hic psalmus proprie dauid scriptus extra numerum ... (11598); Canticles (Confitebor, Ego dixi, Exultavit, Cantemus domino, Audite coeli, Benedicite, Benedictus dominus, Domine audivi, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis);

[fol. 149r] Isaiah, with prologue (482);

[fol. 159r] Jeremiah, with prologue (487);

[fol. 170r] Lamentations;

[fol. 171v] Baruch;

[fol. 173r] Ezechiel, with prologue (492);

[fol. 182v] Daniel, with prologue (494);

[fol. 187r] prologues to minor prophets (500) and Hosea (507);

[fol. 188v] Joel, with prologue (511);

[fol. 189r] Amos, with prologue (515);

[fol. 190v] Obadiah, with prologue (519); Jonah, with prologue (524);

[fol. 191r] Micah, with prologue (526);

[fol. 192r] Nahum, with prologue (528);

[fol. 192v] Habakkuk, with prologue (531);

[fol. 193r] Zephaniah, with prologue (534);

[fol. 193v Haggai;

[fol. 194r] Zachariah, with prologue (539);

[fol. 196r] Malachi, with prologue (545);

[fol. 196v] prologue to Job (357); prologue (20a) to Libri sapientiales;

[fol. 197r] Job, with prologue (344);

[fol. 203r] Proverbs;

[fol. 207r] Ecclesiastes;

[fol. 209r] Cantica canticorum;

[fol. 209v] Ecclesiasticus;

[fol. 218v] Wisdom;

[fol. 222v] Matthew, with prologue (590);

[fol. 228v] Mark, with prologue (607);

[fol. 233r] Luke, with prologue (620);

[fol. 240r] John, with prologue (624);

[fol. 245r] Acts, with prologue (640);

[fol. 252v] James, with prologue (809);

[fol. 253r] 1 Peter;

[fol. 254r] 2 Peter;

[fol. 254v] 1 John;

[fol. 255r] 2 John;

[fol. 255v] 3 John; Jude; Romans, with prologue (651);

[fol. 259r] 1 Corinthians, with prologue (685);

[fol. 261v] 2 Corinthians, with prologue (699);

[fol. 263r] Galatians, with prologue (707);

[fol. 264r] Ephesians, with prologue (715);

[fol. 264v] Philippians, with prologue (728);

[fol. 265v] Colossians, with prologue (736);

[fol. 266v] 1 Thessalonians, with prologue (747), ending at 5. 14; ∥

[fol. 267r] Hebrews, beg. at 8. 13;

[fol. 268r] Apocalypse, with prologue (835), ending [fol. 271r] ... Explicit liber apocalipsis. Habet versus numero mille octingentos.

Begins abruptly because of excision of first leaf. Chapter divisions are modern; psalter divisions are ferial. The only stichometric figure provided is for the Apocalypse, which agrees with S. Berger, Histoire de la Vulgate (Paris, 1893), 325 n. 3.

As compared with the common set of sixty-four prologues (see Ker, MMBL, i. 96–7) this Bible has thirty-three, eight of the missing ones being accounted for by the loss of text between 1 Corinthians and Apocalypse. The others differ as follows from those in Ker’s list: Esther lacks 343; Obadiah lacks 517; Malachi not 543; Job also 357; Matthew not 589; Romans not 677; Apocalypse not 834. There are gaps on many pages as though space were being left for the addition of a gloss. Some books bear much marginal commentary of the 13th and 14th centuries.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ululatum.
Form: codex
Support: parchment HFFH
Extent: 271 good-quality leaves preceded by two medieval membrane flyleaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 452 × 215 mm.
Dimensions (column): 240 × 65 mm.
Foliation: Leaves are numbered in bottom right-hand corners of rectos in medieval arabic figures to 272 but in first 100 leaves almost all numbers have been trimmed off.


Apart from 12 210 (wants 1) collation is impossible because of the lack of catchwords and quire signatures or numbers and the tightness of the binding. That the volume was simultaneously written by the several scribes is suggested by the frequent shortfall of text at the end of sections, which leads to blanks of several lines or even of several columns. The hand that foliated the volume also numbered leaves of books in the centre of bottom margins of rectos e.g. the leaves of the psalter (fols. 120–48) are numbered 1–17; but if a new book begins on a verso that page is numbered ‘1’ (e.g. fol. 218v, beginning of Wisdom).


Two columns, 62 lines (but psalms 66–67 lines). Prickings for horizontals trimmed off or, if in gutter, invisible; some remain for vertical ruling. Ruled mostly in crayon but psalter is in drypoint.


Good gothic bookhand by several scribes, some writing quadrata and some semiquadrata. The insular symbol for est is used. Punctuated by punctus elevatus, punctus interrogativus, and low point.


At the beginning of books, 4/11-line blue-and-red lombards flourished red, some with extenders; at beginnings of prologues, 2/3-line blue lombards flourished red. Otherwise 1-line plain red and blue initials flourished in the other colour. Red-and-blue running titles and marginal book numbers; rubrics. There is guide-wording for rubricators in bottom margins but, although spaces were left for others, only those for Baruch and Apocalypse were inserted. Alexander and Temple, no. 178.


Sewn on four bands between wooden boards (the front with outward bevel, the back with inward bevel, and therefore perhaps reversed before the rebinding) covered with blind-stamped leather (Oldham, EBSB, MW. d(11), Oxford, 1613–14; Ker, Pastedowns, Roll xx (1)). On the front cover are the remains of two straps each held by five of the usual Oxford nails (one of which is lacking from the lower position). The thongs enter the boards through a tunnel in the edge. Endbands blue and ?brown; red edges, fore-edge title. Spine renewed; red leather label with gold title. The front pastedown and fol. i have holes from an iron chain-plate and stains which run as far as fol. 1.


Origin: s. xiiiin ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Fol. 3r, in top margin, ‘Iste liber constat Willelmo Elyot capellano Rectori Ecclesie de Byrynerber [Berrynarbor, Devon] quem quidem librum idem Willelmus emit a domino Waltero Baway.’ Fol. 271r, at end of text, ‘liber Willelmi Elyot clerici quem emit a domino Waltero Boway nuper vicario de heuytre’. Boway’s institution as vicar of Heavitree, Exeter, an ecclesiastical peculiar of the Dean and Chapter, is recorded in The Register of Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter. Part 1. The Register of Institutions, ed. F. C. Hingeston-Randolph (London, 1909), 10, and The Register of Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter, 5 (Canterbury and York Society, lxvi/5, 1972), ed. G. R. Dunstan, 24, contains references to his further preferments.

Fol. 3r, in bottom margin, ‘Hunc librum Willelmus Elyot Clericus Magister Domus dei de Portesmouth Wintoniensis diocesis in Comitatu Sutht’ olim Registrarius bone memorie Edmundi Lacy Exoniensis Episcopi quartodecimo die mensis Julij Anno Regni Regis Ricardi tercii primo [1483] dedit legauit ac in vita sua naturali disposuit Collegio Exon’ in Oxon’ ...’ [as in MS 14 above]. On Elyot see BRUO.

On the back pastedown is ‘Ad Collegium Exon’ in Oxon’ pertinet’ (s. xv). Not recorded in Ecloga, but nevertheless probably in the College in the medieval period: see Watson, Introduction, pp. xxii–xxiii. Not in CMA.

Exeter library identifications are, on the front pastedown, ‘H—3—10’, ‘H—3—11’, ‘N—7—11’, ‘C—2—7’, ‘V—4(?)—7’ (all deleted), bookplate 3, on which are ‘E—6—10’ (deleted), ‘37–E–1’ and ‘No. XLV. in Catal: MSS.’ On fol. iiv is bookplate 1.

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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