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

St John's College MS 1

Augustine, Homilies on John


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 1ra–314va:
Incipit: Intuentes quod modo audiuimus ex lectione apostolica quia animalis homo
Explicit: ipse compellerer meum terminare sermonem
Final rubric: ⟨A⟩urelii AUGUSTINI doctoris eximii omeliarum liber in euangelium domini nostri ihesu cristi secundum iohannem explicit […] Deo gracias Amen
AUGUSTINE, In Iohannis Evangelium Tractatus CXXIV (CPL 278), ed. Rabod Willems, CC 36 (1964). Fol. 314vb is blank; fol. 315ra–vb has an index of the 124 homilies, in their text order and identifying the liturgical occasion for each. Most of the final column is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ista omnia
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. ii + 321 + i (numbered fol. iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 460 × 325 mm.


1–1512 166 17–2612 2710 (–10, probably blank) 286. Occasional fragmentary catchwords, but mostly cut off in binding (a full survivor at fol. 282v), usually towards or in the gutter; no signatures. The anomalous quire 16, a 6 in the midst of a book in 12s, also corresponds to a textual break between homilies 47 and 48, and presumptively marks a break in production at fols. 186/187, where the rubric appears on the former and the incipit on the latter. Quire 28, as noted above, is a separate production, designed to fill out Augustine for local use.


Water damage at the centre of the upper edge, most pronounced and with some damage to running titles and upper margin foliage, from about fol. 80 to 250. An initial has been cut from fol. 294, and a large square from the foot of fol. 302rb.


In double columns, each column 332 × 100 mm. , with 20 mm between columns, in 32 lines to the column. Only isolated prickings for columns (the added quire 28 routinely pricked for lines); bounded and ruled in reddish-brown ink.


Written in gothic textura prescissa, perhaps more than one scribe, e.g. a possible change of hand on fol. 92v, and perhaps more later. Punctuation by point, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus. On the apparent scribal signature on fols. 281 and 285, see ‘Provenance’ below.


Headings in red.

At the head of each homily, a 5-line blue and violet champe, often with gold leaf, usually with floral extensions running the full length of the margin.

In two of these extensions (fols. 296, 308v), what appear to be heraldic devices (Coates 79).

The champes are filled with vine patterns, leaves, and dragons (occasionally human-headed animals, as at fols. 160vb and 163ra).

In the first such (fol. 1ra), the initial I forms a full border, in blue and violet, the letter itself gold with dragons. Some human heads, perhaps added, appear at the ends of the vines.

Occasionally at internal divisions, smaller and less ornate examples, including small blue lombards on red flourishing.

Red running titles identify the liturgical occasions.

At least two initials might be considered historiated: (a) fol. 27vb, the head of homily 6, has an angel within the initial; (b) fol. 46va, the head of homily 9, has an angel and perhaps a human in conversation.

There may be a variety of hands; beginning with homily 50 (fol. 196rb), the gold leaf in the initials has been diapered.

AT no. 268 (28) and plate xv (fol. 235v).

Occasional pencil drawings appear in the lower margin, e.g. a woman carrying towels, fol. 72.

In booklet 2, the rubric is written in decorative red lombards across the top of the page.


Later brown leather, s. xviii over slightly bevelled wooden boards, probably from a medieval binding. Partially restored at the bottom of both boards and along the spine of the top board. Sewn on nine double heavy white cords, taken straight into the board, as in Pollard’s figure 5 but unstaggered. Remains of seats for two straps on upper board (with five? brass nails in each) and nail holes from their clasps near the centre of the lower board. Two nails from a chain staple in Watson’s position 6. Early modern vellum paste-downs front and rear blank except for college bookplates on each (different ones). At the front, one paper and one vellum flyleaf; a single paper flyleaf at the rear (iii). Fol. ii has a note of contents, ‘Augustini Homeliae in Iohannem’, s. xviii.


Origin: s. xiii/xiv ; England (Reading)

Provenance and Acquisition

Written and retained at Reading abbey (OSB) (Ker, MLGB 157). Liddell prints (48–49) the Reading book-list from our MS 11, fol. 3, and identifies this book, on the basis of its secundo folio, with item 13 ‘Augustinus super Iohannem euangelistam. iio folio. ista omnia’. See the more recent editions, CBMLC B 74 (4:451–3) and Coates, 85–6. Although Registrum indexes this work and surveys Reading, this copy is not noted (sub R.1.105 [26]), unless ‘43’ there, normally Woburn abbey, is in error for ‘42’ (Reading).

Thomas Chakenden’ Monachus scripsit istum librum’ (fol. 285, the lower margin); ‘Thom ⟨ ⟩ Monachus Radyngie scripsit .⟨stum librum⟩ (fol. 281, the lower margin, partly erased). These plummet inscriptions are perplexing, since Chakenden writes in anglicana, s. xv in., a century after the hand of the text, but a date consistent with Coates’s identification of him with a monk who fl. 1408 x 1412 (79; cf. Liddell 54).

Several other scribbles may be from Reading:

(a) ‘Iohan Wyllyam henred non est Wyllelmus henred’ (fol. 321v, lower margin, s.xv/xvi);

(b) a cancelled inscription (fol. 306vb);

(c) ‘Rycharde shyr.. ‘, ‘Ego sum bonus puer quem deus amat que est ille ...... Gill Gold... (fol. 121rb, the leading edge and lower margin);

‘Liber Collegij Divi Ioannis Baptistae Oxon’ Ex dono Magistri Ioannis Stonor Generosi de North Stoke in comitatu Oxon’ 1609’ (fol. iiv). On the probable route by which the book passed from Reading Abbey to Stonor; see Liddell, 51–3, and the more extended treatment at Coates, 135–8.

An added Booklet 2 = fols. 316–21


Language(s): Latin

2. Fols. 316ra–18ra:
Incipit: In anniuersario regis henrici Postquam de paradisi gaudijs culpa exigente pulsus est primus humani generis parens
Explicit: te amplius uenerari debes in qua morem egregij predicatoris mutaris
An unidentified lection for the anniversary of King Henry I’s death

Liddell points out (47) that Henry I founded Reading Abbey, and that prayers for him as founder typify books from the house. He notes other examples in this book and at our MS 11, fol. 240 (49 nn3–4); see also Coates 164.

3. Fols. 318ra–21rb:
Incipit: De sancto Benedicto Legetur in Refectorio ista lectio | [fol. 318rb] Fuit uir uite uenerabilis gracia benedictus et nomine ab ipso puericie
Explicit: declarat sed queso ut de uita tanti patris ad narracionis ordinem redeas
A lection for the feast of St Benedict,

the incipit from GREGORY THE GREAT’S vita (Dialogi 2), ed. PL 66:126.

Added text

Fol. 321v:

'Si sapiens fore vis sex serua qui tibi mando | Quid loqueris et vbi de quo cui quomodo quando’. Walther no. 17963, also cited from BodL, MS Bodley 127 and All Souls College MS 51, added s. xv, and partly repeated in a different hand over an erasure below.

Physical Description


In the same page format as the remainder and, although pricked for lines, lacks bounds and rules.


Written in a slightly later textura quadrata, s. xiv med.


Origin: s. xiv med.

Additional Information

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna, A descriptive catalogue of the western medieval manuscripts of St. John's College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact St John's College Library.


    J. J. G. Alexander and Elźbieta Temple, Illuminated Manuscripts in Oxford College Libraries, the University Archives and the Taylor Institution (Oxford, 1985).
    Alan Coates, English Medieval Books: The Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal (Oxford, 1999).
    Eligius Dekkers and Aemilius Gaar, Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn. (Turnhout, 1995).
    N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books. Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks. 2nd edn. (London, 1964), extended by Andrew G. Watson, MLGB: Supplement to the Second Edition. RHS Guides and Handbooks 15 (1987).
    J. R. L[iddell], 'Some Notes on the Library of Reading Abbey'. Bodleian Quarterly Record 8, 86 (1935) 47–5.
    Jacques-Paul Migne (ed.), Patrologia Latina 66 (Paris, 1847).
    Graham Pollard, 'Describing Medieval Bookbindings.' In J. J. G. Alexander and Margaret T. Gibson (eds.), Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays Presented to R. W. Hunt (Oxford, 1976), pp. 50–65.
    Richard H. and Mary A. Rouse and R. A. B. Mynors (eds.), Registrum Anglie de libris doctorum et auctorum veterum. Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues 2 (London, 1991).
    Hans Walther, Initia carminum ac versuum Medii Aevi posterioris Latinorum, 2nd edn (Göttingen, 1969).
    Andrew G. Watson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of All Souls College Oxford (Oxford, 1997).
    Radbod Willems (ed.), Aurelii Augustini Opera 8 In Joannis Evangelium tractatus CXXIV, Corpus Christianorum 36 (1954).

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust

Last Substantive Revision

2023-01: First online publication

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