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

Exeter College MS. 46

Psalterium; England, c. 1340–55


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r–6v)
Sarum calendar
Rubric: Kl’. Prima dies mensis et septima truncat ut ensis.
Explicit: Nox habet horas .xvi. dies .vi.

Sarum calendar in gold, red, blue, mauve, and black; ungraded except by colour. As SM xxi–xxxii with the following principal differences. All memoriae and mediae lectiones are omitted. ‘Dies malus’ is replaced by a gold ‘V’. 12 Mar., adds ordination of Gregory, red; 3 Apr. adds Richard, black; 7 June adds transl. of Wulstan, red; 9 June omits Primus and Felicianus, adds transl. of Edmund abp., red; 15 June adds transl. of Richard, black; 16 June omits Cyriacus and Julitta, adds Botulph, red; 26 July adds Anne, red; 31 Aug. adds Cuthburga, red; 15 Sept. omits Festiuitas reliquiarum Sarum, adds octave of BVM, red; 4 Oct. omits Francis; 13 Oct. adds transl. of Edward, king and conf., red; 13 Nov. omits Brictius; 17 Nov. omits Anianus, adds Hugh, red. The octave and transl. of Thomas on 5 Jan. and 7 July respectively are erased as is Silvester, 31 Dec. ‘Pape’ is deleted throughout.

2. (fols. 7r-152v)
Incipit: || amus a nobis
Explicit: laudate eum in cymbalis iubilacionis. omnis spiritus laudet dominum.

The loss of single leaves in quires 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 causes the following gaps: fol. 2, text beg. ‘amus a nobis’ (Ps. 2. 3); fols. 27–8, from ‘et enarre’ (Ps. 25. 7) to ‘Dum appropiant’ (Ps. 26. 2); fols. 41/2 from ‘speraui. tu ex’ (Ps. 37. 16) to ‘Obmutui’ (Ps. 38. 3); fols. 54–5, from ‘fecisti dolum’ (Ps. 51.4); to ‘Deus de celo’ (Ps. 52. 2). There is an apparent gap between fols. 87–8 after ‘opera tua’ (Ps. 85. 8) but although a leaf has been removed the text is continuous.

3. (fols. 152v-166r)
Incipit: Confitebor tibi domine quoniam iratus es
Explicit: [fol. 163v] Illuminare hijs qui in tenebris et in umbra||
Incipit: || [fol. 164r] in trinitate et trinitatem in unitate ueneremur
Explicit: fideliter firmiterque crediderit. saluus esse non poterit.

Canticles: Confitebor, Ego dixi, Exultavit, Cantemus domino, Domine audivi, Audite celi, Te Deum, Benedicite, Benedictus dominus. The gap between fols. 163/4 is due to the loss of the third leaf of quire 22, from the last verse of the Benedictus dominus to the Athanasian Creed, verse 27, with the loss of the intervening Magnificat and Nunc dimittis.

4. (fols. 166r-169v)
Commemoration of Souls
Incipit: Kyrieleyson
Explicit: et habundancia in turribus tuis.

As SM 423–7 with many differences. Sandler notes that the litany is strongly mendicant in flavour, separating monks and hermits from confessors and including Francis, Anthony, Dominic, Clare, and Elizabeth. Alban, Oswald, Edmund, Swithun, Aethelwold, Dunstan, and Cuthbert are omitted, Thomas Becket (not deleted) is the only English saint. Louis of France is included.

5. (fols. 169v-192v)
Office of the Dead

Fol. 169v. Oremus pro fidelibus defunctis. Requiem eternam dona eis domine ... Domine exaudi oracionem meam. Et clamor meus ad te ueniat. Oracio. Deus cui proprium est misereri ... tue pietatis absoluat. per. Oracio. ∥ [fol. 170r] gem tuam sustinui te domine … Antiphona. Si iniquitates obseruaueris ... Antiphona. Opera. Psalmus. Confitebor tibi domine ... [fol. 172v] ... Ad matutinas inuitatorium ... [fol. 173r] ... In primo nocturno. Antiphona ... [fol. 177v] ... In ijº Nocturno. Antiphona ... [fol. 186v] … In laudibus. Antiphona ... [fol. 192v] ... Antiphona. Ego sum resurreccio et uita ... Kyrieleyson … Pater noster. Et te nos. Psalmus

Before the break in the text, caused by the loss of four leaves from quire 23, the text appears to be Sarum rite, as SM 431. After the break, the text is York rite, as Manuale Ebor., 62–89/20.

*6. (fol. 193r)
Rubric: Nomina regum prime monarchic Angl’.
Incipit: Aluredus nobilissimus rex et primus monarcha Angl’ regnauit .xxix. annis et apud Hyde translatur
Explicit: Ricardus secundus filius Edwardi Principis Wallie filij Edwardi tercij regnat [1377–99].

Added during the reign of Richard II (1377–99) on a blank final leaf.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (fol. 7r) amus a nobis.
Form: codex
Support: parchment FHHF
Extent: 193 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 295 × 200 mm.
Dimensions (written): 170 × 110 mm.
Foliation: Numbered in modern pencil.


16 28 (wants 1) 38 48 (wants 7) 58 68 (wants 6) 78 88 (wants 4) 9–118 128 (wants 6) 13–218 228 (wants 3) 238 (wants 2–5) 24–258 268 (wants 4, 5) 1 singleton, or 266 (wants 5). Catchwords, not by scribe. No quire numbers or signatures.


One column, 21 lines. Ruled in crayon


1–5, a fine gothic quadrata script, punctuated by low point; *6, a good bastard anglicana, punctuated by low point.


Six miniatures have evidendy been lost from the beginning of the psalter and at its divisions. The following remain (the identification of the subjects follows Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts, ii, no. 102):

fol. 54v, Doeg slaying a priest (Ps. 51);

fol. 68r above, David playing the harp before an ox-cart pulling the Ark, and below, Michal on the ramparts of Jerusalem pointing upwards towards David (Ps. 68);

fol. 99v, above, the death of Absolom, and below, a messenger brings the news to David (Ps. 97);

fol. 102r, David(?) within a castle kneels in prayer, a bust of the Lord above (Ps. 101);

fol. 116v, above, death of David, below Solomon asleep (Ps. 109).

Five/six-line initials precede each psalm, illuminated with full leaf borders when on pages with a miniature, otherwise with painted and illuminated borders. They are filled with leafy spirals and hybrid or animal figures.

Gold 1-line initials on pink-and-blue panels; painted line-fillers with geometric, animal, floral, or leaf motifs.

On the possible artists see under History, below. Our Frontispiece reproduces fol. 68r. Sandler illus. 259–61 reproduces miniatures on fols. 54v, 68r, 99v respectively, all reduced; Dennison (see below), pls. 29, 33, 34 reproduces details of miniatures on fols. 116v (full size), 54v (reduced), 102r (enlarged) respectively, also pls. 39 and 40, details fols. 132v (enlarged), 126v (enlarged), and pl. 42 (full page, fol. 109r, reduced); Alexander and Temple, no. 306, pl. xxi reproduces fols. 54v, 68r, all reduced.


Sewn on five bands between millboards covered with gold-stamped and filleted calf, early nineteenth century. The pattern of the painted and gilded fore-edge is now too indistinct to describe but probably dates from the 19th-century rebinding.


Origin: c. 1340–55 *6 added during the reign of Richard II 1377–99 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Lynda Dennison, ‘Some unlocated leaves from an English fourteenth-century Book of Hours now in Paris’, in England in the Fourteenth Century, Proceedings of the 1991 Harlaxton Symposium, Harlaxton Medieval Studies, 3, ed. N. Rogers (Stamford, 1993), 15–33, argues that our manuscript is closely related to a group of manuscripts which owe ‘in varying degrees an allegiance in style and ornament, as well as iconography in certain cases, to the products of the central Queen Mary workshop (i.e. the producers of Queen Mary’s Psalter, BM, MS Royal 2 B. vii).’ She regards the locality of the atelier as uncertain — London, Oxford, or Cambridge—and suggests as perhaps more probable that the artists worked within a well-established peripatetic network. On the basis of a study of the ‘Creation Hand’ artist who appears in other manuscripts, she proposes a date of production c. 1348–1350/55 as against Sandler’s c. 1340.

It is not known when the book came to Exeter; it is not in Ecloga (but see Watson, Exeter, Introduction, pp. xxii–xxiii) or CMA.

Exeter College library identifications, on the front pastedown, are bookplate 3, on which are ‘169–K–6’ and ‘XLVI in Catalogue’ (pencil, s. xix or xx).

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.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)

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