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

Exeter College MS. 158

Miracula S. Thomae Herefordensis; Hereford?, England, s. xiv

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: inuocaret.
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 60 leaves preceded and followed by one medieval membrane flyleaf
Dimensions (leaf): 217 × 160 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160–165 × 110–118 mm.


1–28 312 4–54 68 712 88 (wants 5–8). Catchwords by the scribes. Quires are lettered on first pages in the order g, f, h, a, b, c, d, e (see B(1)).


One column, 27–32 lines, but B(*4) has 31 lines.


Written in a large number of gothic bookhands, some with documentary features such as the splitting of heads of ascenders. Punctuated by low point. Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims , pl. 1, reproduces fols. 29v–30r, much reduced.


Plain red initials, some ½-line and others with extenders; rubrics; red running titles, red paraphs.


Sewn on four bands between cushion-bevelled wooden boards covered with pink whittawed leather, now shiny (s. xv). On the front cover is a strap held by three nails and on the back cover a hole from the corresponding clasp. The cords enter through tunnels in the side of the boards and are held by wooden pegs.


Origin: s. xiv ; Hereford?, England

Provenance and Acquisition

The book’s medieval history is unknown but the use of a fragment of a document concerning the diocese of Hereford (item *A) suggests that it came from there and perhaps from someone in the episcopal familia or one of the cathedral clergy.

On fol. 1v is a pen-trial, ‘William Mullowe’, c. 1600.

On fol. iv ‘Vide Catal: MSS. Glynne 87.’ and ‘87’ (s. xviii) refer to the catalogue of the library of Sir William Glynne (CMA ii. 49–54, no. 2011. 87), with the majority of whose manuscripts the book came to Exeter by bequest of Joseph Sandford: see MS 87, History.

Exeter library identifications are, inside the front cover, the book stamp and, on fol. 1v, ‘Coxe CLVIII’ (pencil). On the cover, in ink but rubbed, is a title ending ‘Coxe CLVIII’. ‘87’ is on a square paper label on the spine.

Exeter College MS. 158 – Part *A (fol. 1r pastedown)


Language(s): Latin

(fol. ir)

A raised pastedown, fragment of a document, full-page size, issued in the name of John, bp. of Hereford, i.e. either John Trillek, 1344–61, or John Gilbert, 1375–89. Places in the diocese of Hereford mentioned include Frome Episcopi (Bishop’s Frome), Frome Canonicorum (Canon Frome), Staunton, Falley, and Kenecestr’ (Kenchester).

Exeter College MS. 158 – Part B (fols. 1–60)


Language(s): Latin

i. (fols. 1r-44r)
Miracles of St Thomas de Cantilupe
Rubric: [At top of page, trimmed] miracula fieri incipiunt.
Rubric: Hic notantur quedam miracula fideli assercione probata que operata est potencia summi Dei diebus istis in Ecclesia Cathedrali Hereford’ ad laudem et gloriam sui Nominis et declaracionis meritorum et uita laudabilis serui eius pii memorie domini Thome de Cantilupo quondam Episcopi Ecclesie supradicte. Cuius Ossa in eadem Ecclesia sunt sepulta.
Incipit: Quinta igitur feria in cena Domini videlicet iijº Nonas Aprilis anno gracie m. cc. lxxxº septimo et a transitu dicti Episcopi ab hac uita anno quinto. Cum dominus Ricardus Dei gracia eiusdem Ecclesie Episcopi
Explicit: [fol. 32v] ad propria remeauit. ||
Incipit: || [fol. 33r] quod imminebat ibidem. Et ecce equo ipsius submerso
Explicit: [fol. 33v] fuit celitus restitutum ||
Incipit: || [fol. 34r] gensis Leomenistrie
Explicit: [fol. 35v] Hugo de Messynge Bur ||
Incipit: || [fol. 36r] statim status eius
Explicit: cum magna deuotione ad Tumbam beati Thome quondam Episcopi Herefordensis peregit.

Canonized in 1320, from the dossier prepared for consideration by the pope and cardinals, presented in an annual sequence. Fols. 1r–41r contain an account of the miracles that took place at the saint’s tomb between 1287 and 1305, as printed in Acta Sanctorum, Oct., 1. 656–96, whose numbering of the miracles is followed. In comparison with our manuscript, the printed text is not good, many personal and place names being badly garbled if not indeed incomprehensible (e.g. ‘Wilesbiny’ = Aylesbury and ‘Vorte’ = Dorset). The book is strangely put together and the text is not entirely continuous. At fol. 28 quire 3 comes at the end of a series of quires lettered g, f, h with miracle 133 complete; quire 4 begins on a leaf signed aj with the last four lines of miracle 134 followed by 137, and from quire 5’s ruling and scripts, which differ from those shared by quires 4 and 6, it is evident that 5 has been inserted into the sequence of quires, with consequent lettering of subsequent quires a–e. In quire 5, fols. 33–36, the centre leaves, 34 and 35, are folded the wrong way round and the text now runs in the order 33v, 35rv, 34rv, 36r. (The error probably dates from 15th-century rebinding.) Fols. 41r/11–44r continue without a break in two different hands of s. xiv, with an account of miracles up to the year 1309. These were not considered by the canonization commission and are not printed in Acta Sanctorum. Fol. 44v is blank except for a three-line pen-trial of the beginning of a miracle of 1410 concerning ‘mulier Tirota nomine filia Emme de la Diche’ on the facing page.

On the canonization process in general and with frequent reference to the canonization of Thomas de Cantilupe, see chapters by P. H. Daly and R. C. Finucane in St Thomas Cantilupe Bishop of Hereford: Essays in his Honour, ed. M. Jancey (Hereford, 1982), 125–35 and 137–44 respectively. R. C. Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England (London, 1977), ch. 10, is exclusively concerned with Cantilupe. A complete text of the process is in Vatican, MS Vat. lat. 4015 fols. 1r–121v.

ii. (fols. 45r-47v)
Miracles of St Thomas de Cantilupe
Incipit: Die dominica videlicet in uigilia beati Laurencii Anno domini mº.CCCº decimo. venit ad tumbam uiri Dei mulier Tirota nomine filia Emme de la Diche de uilla que uocatur Strete in parochia de Kyngesleone[sic] in Comitatu et dyocesi Hereford’ ... [fol. 47r] ... Die mercurie proxima ante festum Sancti Ethelberti anno domini .m.ccc duodecimo uenit ad tumbam uiri Dei Neel dominus de Saleford
Explicit: sicut fideliter Deo promiserunt.

Seven further miracles, those dated being of 1310–12, in two new hands. Like the miracles in B above, these were not considered by the canonization commission and are not printed in Acta Sanctorum. Kingsland and Street are both within a few miles of Leominster. Fol. 48r is blank.

iii. (fols. 48v-59v)
'Relatio processus' of St Thomas de Cantilupe
Incipit: ⟨I⟩n negotio canonizationis pie memorie domini Thome quondam Herefordensis episcopi sedes apostolica de quinque principaliter mandauit inquiri. Videlicet de fide vita moribus fama et miraculis
Explicit: Miraculum de Agnete de la Broke Ciuitatis Heref’ ceca per .v. annos ... iterum mandante beato Petro quod ||

One of three surviving copies of the relatio processus used by pope John XXII and cardinals to make a final decision on Thomas de Cantilupe’s canonization; BHL 8253k. Other copies are Vatican, MS Ottob. lat. 2516 fols. 46rv and Rome, Bibl. Alessandrina, MS 99. Because of lack of time, only seventeen of the twenty-four miracles were submitted for consideration and our text is broken off in the middle of the eighteenth by the removal of the second half of the final quire.

*4. (fol. 60r)
An account of a miracle of St Thomas de Cantilupe
Incipit: Johannes Moreuyle mercator natus in parochia de Criketon in Devonia moram trahens in Comitatu de Somerset in villa de Taunton anno domini millesimo ccccmo quarto xvij die mensis Augusti venit peregre ad tumulum Sancti Thome Hereforden’ et iurauit tactis sacrosanctis et altari Sancti Thome sapiens miraculum fuisse verum
Explicit: et sic faciens votum impleuit die et loco supradictis.

An account of a miracle by which, through the intercession of St Thomas, John Morevyle was freed after being captured by pirates and thrown into prison.

Additional Information

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

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