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

Exeter College MS. 57

Hugo de S. Caro, Comm. in Isaiam; Oxford, England, 1462


Summary of Contents: Exeter College MSS 51–68, most of the texts in which are by or attributed to Hugo de Sancto Caro, were produced in Oxford for Roger Keys, d. 1477, whose many positions included the visitorship of Exeter College (1442), the wardenship of All Souls College (1443–5), the archdeaconry of Barnstaple (1450), and the precentorship of Exeter Cathedral (1459) (see BRUO, ‘Keyes’). His arms are found in the borders of several of the manuscripts (although others have been excised) and several manuscripts include a long ex dono inscription (see MS 53) recording his gift of the books to the rector and fellows of Exeter College on 1 January 1469/70. On Hugo de Sancto Caro see E. Mangenot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, vii (Paris, 1921), 221–308. For two other great series of illuminated volumes produced in Oxford contemporaneously with these, then and now at Balliol College and Merton College, see K. L. Scott, ‘Two series of dated illuminated manuscripts made in Oxford 1450–64’, Watson Essays, 43–69. So far as is known from the incomplete series of dated colophons and the ex dono inscription, the manuscripts were written between 1452 and the late 1460s, but it is probable that they were delivered to the College singly or in twos or threes; a 1458 entry in the Rector’s Accounts records payments to John Godysson, stationer, for providing chains for three volumes of the set (Boase1, 21, Boase2, 40). Another series of entries in the Rector’s Accounts reveals, however, that MS 68 and another, probably MS 60, were not completed until after Keys’s death, between 1480 and 1484, perhaps for lack of money until that was supplied by M. John Combe (see Watson, Exeter, p. 85, and MS 68, History). In the whole series three principal scribes took part, assisted by several others in the last volume, MS 68. Four artists shared the illumination of the borders (and some of them also the spray decoration and small initials). For detailed analysis, see Watson, Exeter, pp. 85–87.

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r-292v)
Hugo de S. Caro, Comm. Isaiah.
Incipit: Habemus firmiorem sermonem propheticum cui benefacitis attendentes ... Petri .i. In hiis uerbis nos reddit apostolus circa lectionem prophetarum dociles
Explicit: calcabitis impios cum fuerint cinis subplanta pedem vestrorum. Amen.
Final rubric: Explicit Ysaias in vigilia sancti Nicholai Anno domini Millesimo. ccccmo.lxijº. Regnique Regis Edwardi quarti post Conquestum secundo.

Stegmüller, Bibl., 3688. There are marginal distinctiones.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: coma et colon.
Form: codex
Support: parchment FHHF
Extent: 292 rather matt leaves, preceded and followed by one 18th-century paper flyleaf.
Dimensions (leaf): 410 × 270 mm.
Dimensions (column): 285 × 80 mm.


1–358 3612. Elaborate catchwords by the scribe; no quire signatures or numbers.


Two columns, 60 lines. Ruled in crayon.


Written by Scribe 2 (see MS 53, Script). DMO, no. 788 (wrongly attributed to William Salomon), pl. 604 illus. part fol. 51r.


Of the same type as in MS 51 but by Artist C, for a characterization of whose work see Watson, Exeter, pp. 85–87. Keys’s arms are in the illuminated initial on fol. 1r and not at the foot of the page as usual.


Stamped leather bindings over square-edged wooden boards, (presumably) rebound; stamp used was employed in Oxford between 1535 and 1621, here in the second phase state, probably c. 1605–10. Two straps held by nails. Refurbished in the 19th century (1839?): that volumes were resewn is indicated by the very tight binding, which makes collation difficult, and by the provision of new endbands; edges were stained red; book was reinforced by pasting long strips of canvas round the spine and attached to the boards, and the old spines were replaced. Sewn on seven bands. There are remains of only one of the two straps, and three of the five tacks that held the lower strap have been lost. For other details see Watson, Exeter, p. 87.


Origin: 1462 ; Oxford, England

Provenance and Acquisition

For Keys’s ex dono inscription, once probably in this volume, see MS 53, History.

Exeter library identifications are, on the front pastedown, bookplate 3, on it ‘173–F–7’, deleted and replaced by ‘213 E.8’, and ‘Coxe Lvii’ pencil). At the foot of fol. 1r is ‘Liber Coll: Exon.’ (s. xvi/xvii?).

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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