Exeter College MS. 68
Anon., Sermones de tempore et de sanctis; Oxford, England, Fols. 1–197 c. 1460?, rest 1480 × 1484
A collection of sermons of uncertain authorship. Kaeppeli, and Schneyer, ii. 758–85 are unhelpful; Bloomfield, no. 0296, lists as Hugo’s, with a query; Glorieux, Theologie, 2bb, lists as doubtful or spurious, in this probably following E. Mangenot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, vii (Paris, 1921) 221–308. Mangenot points to the lack of medieval evidence to support the attribution, implying that the earliest evidence is that of Trithemius (but not found in his Scriptores) and remarking that the note of attribution in BNF, MS lat. 16515, is in a ‘modern’ hand. No author is named in Salisbury Cathedral MS 21. Nevertheless, although Hugo’s name is not mentioned in the present manuscript, the inclusion of this text in the final volume of Roger Keys’s gift, which is predominandy of works by or attributed to Hugo, suggests that there was a medieval belief in his authorship.
The proper of saints of the same collection of sermons as (1) above. The sermon on St Laurence (10 Aug.) breaks abruptly at the end of fol. 176v because of the apparent insertion of (3) and (4) below and the excision of the last leaf of quire 23, resuming only at the end, on fol. 182r. The excision of a leaf between fols. 227 and 228 leads to no loss of text, but sermon 102, De virginibus, ch. 6, ends abruptly because of the loss of the last leaf of the final quire. The lists of sermons below show that the volume contained at least 110 sermons, but since the book and perhaps also the list end abruptly, the full number cannot be known.
Inserted, with item 4, into the text of 2. References are to sermons by number.
The list is in numerical order followed by the incipit and the day on which they should be used, mostly in the form, e.g. ‘In die sancte trinitatis’; ending abruptly because of the loss of the sixth (final) leaf of quire 23. Inserted, with item 3, into the text of 2.
Two columns, 60 lines. Ruled in ink.
Fols. 1–197 (end of quire) written by Scribe 3 (William Osborne?); see MS 51, Script. In this volume he makes no use of high and low decorative ascenders. From there to the end is in several new hands: (1) fols. 198r–201va/48, (2) fols. 201va/48–202vb, then in a number of variable and merging hands. Rector’s Accounts, autumn 1480, refer to payments to ‘uni scriptori pro pargameno et labore circa Sermones Hugonis de Vienna xiiii5 id’ (Boase2, xxxvii n. 1): comparison of this sum with the total sum for writing and illuminating paid by John Combe (see History below) suggests that it was the fee of the principal scribe, Osborne.
Of the same type as MS 51 but mainly by Artist D (Bray). On fol. 1r is an illuminated border on three sides by Artist D: see headnote to MSS 51–68; q.v. also for a characterization of his work.
Otherwise 3/6-line red-and-blue lombards, flourished red, and 3-line plain blue initials, which seem to be in the same hand throughout; also rubrics, red running numbers of sermons, red marginal authorities, and chapter divisions. The Rector’s Accounts, ut supra, record payment in autumn 1484 to ‘John Bray pro ligacione et illuminatura duorum voluminum operis Hugonis de Vienna, xxd pro incathenacione eorundem in libraria’, one of which is certainly this volume and the other probably MS 60. On him see also headnote to MSS 51–68. Alexander and Temple, no. 593.
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 five bands. No headbands. For other details see Watson, Exeter, p. 87.
Provenance and Acquisition
One of the group of manuscripts, now 51–68, given to the College by Roger Keys, whose arms have been excised from the lower margin of fol. 1r. Keys’s ex dono inscription was probably on a lost preliminary leaf; see MS 53, History. This volume seems, however, to be a kind of appendix to the series: it contains sermons and not biblical commentaries atttributed to Hugo de S. Caro, it is not numbered as the 18th volume, as MSS 51–67 are each numbered 1–17, and the Rector’s Accounts make it clear that writing and illumination were completed in 1480 × 1484 (see Script and Decoration, above) and that M. John Combe (d. by April 1499: see BRUO) paid 26s 8d towards this—‘xxvis viiid a M. Johanne Combe pro complecione operis Hugonis de Vienna’—and perhaps a second volume referred to (see Decoration, above).
Exeter library identifications are, on the front pastedown, bookplate 3, and on it ‘173.H.8’, deleted and replaced by ‘213.G.7’, and ‘Coxe LXVII’ (pencil). On fol. 1r is ‘Liber Coll: Exon’ (s. xvi/xvii?).
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Last Substantive Revision
2020-04-29: First online publication