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.
, Comm. Joh.
Incipit: Ego ex ore altissimi prodii primogenita ante omnem creaturam
Explicit: qui diuiditur in sex partes.
Incipit: In prima commendat Iohannem
Explicit: Tercia exponit illud. Et hic est Johannes.
Rubric: Prologus Augustini.
Incipit: Omnibus diuine scripture paginis. Hic est prologus Augustini in quo commendat euangelium
Explicit: virgini commendauit.
Rubric: Incipit euangelium Johannis.
Incipit: ⟨I⟩n principio erat verbum
Explicit: perambulancium in delectis suis. Explicit.
Final rubric: Deo gracias et beato Johanni: in vigilia apostolorum Symonis et Iude [28 Oct.]. Anno domini millesimo CCCCmo quinquagesimo vjº. pro et nomine Venerabilis Viri Magistri Rogeri Keys. Archidiaconi de Barstapull’ in Ecclesia Cathedrali Exonie cui donet Christus regnum celeste. Amen. Merces scriptoris sit christus omnibus horis "Amen".
Stegmüller, Bibl., 3723.
Secundo Folio: euangeliste.
Support: parchment FHHF
184 leaves preceded by one 18th-century paper flyleaf and one membrane flyleaf, and followed by one 18th-century flyleaf.
Dimensions (leaf): 405 × 285 mm.
Dimensions (column): 280 × 80 mm.
1–238. Catchwords by the scribe. No quire letters or numbers.
Two columns, 60 lines. Ruled in crayon.
Of the same type as in MS 51 but by Artist A, for a characterization of whose work see Watson, Exeter, pp. 85–87.
Major decoration, a border, is on fol. 1r, but, probably for the sake of Keys’s arms of which only a tiny part remains, half of the bottom border and the whole outer border have been torn away.
Illuminated initials with sprays begin each chapter (that on fol. 4v was cut away) and there are rubrics, red and blue paraphs, blue running titles, and chapter number and lemmata underlined in red.
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. Boards have square edges. For other details see Watson, Exeter, p. 87.
Provenance and Acquisition
Fol. ii is a half-sheet on the verso of which is the long ex dono inscription found in many of Keys’s books given to Exeter College: see MS 53, History. His arms have been torn out of the border on fol. 1r: see Decoration above.
Exeter library identifications are bookplate 3 stuck on the front pastedown, on which are ‘173–H–4’, deleted and replaced by ‘213.G.3’, and ‘Coxe LXIV’ (pencil).