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

St John's College MS 14

Peter of Herenthals, Commentary on Psalms


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1ra–227ra:
Incipit: Patri reuerendo dominoque meo carissimo domino Iohanni de Arkel dudum traiectensis ecclesie […] Frater PETRUS pri⟨or⟩ ecclesie Floreffiensis indignus premonstracen’ ordinis […] Pater carissime cum rem quamlibet honestatis splendore perspicuam simul et […] [fol. 3rb, the text] Beatus vir […] Iheronimus Psalterium est quasi magna domus que habet plures cubiculos seu cellas
Explicit: spiritualem intelligere et intellectis humiliter obedire ad laudem et gloriam tuam qui es benedictus in secula seculorum amen amen
PETER OF HERENTHALS, Collectarius super librum Psalmorum or Glossa continua super librum Psalmorum (Stegmüller, RB 6616 [4:314–16]), ed. Cologne, 1480 (Hain 8364, BMC 1:248). Peter, who d. 1391, composed the work in 1374. Fol. 227rb and the entire verso are blank.
2. Fols. 228ra–36va:
an alphabetical index for Peter’s Collectarius,

the last column of the final leaf is blank.

Added text:

Fol. 227ra:
Incipit: Libro finito reddit \sit/ laus et gloria cristo doctores in isto libro sunt isti subscripti 1 Ieronimus 2 Augustinus […]

A scribal colophon, following the explicit, with a note on the authors Peter joins in his catena, s. xv in.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: .. in libro
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. i + 236 + i (numbered fol. ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 370 × 240 mm.


1–912 1012+1(+10) 1112+2 (+9 [tipped in], +11?) 12–1310 14–1912 2012(–10, –11, –12, probably all blank, the first two stubs). Two of the inserted leaves correct large textual omissions: fol. 118 (quire 10, leaf 10) is connected to 117va by signes de renvoi , and fol. 130 (quire 11, leaf 9) is a small leaf tipped in, restoring material lost at the page bound fols. 129v/131. Scrolled catchwords in the gutter, that on fol. 36v in red with a red snake’s head. Fragmentary remains of signatures, although originally all leaves in the first half of each quire appear to have received a quire letter and an arabic leaf number; signatures now occur in quires 2, 3 (both B) 8–11 (h–l; these at the centre of the leaf), and 15 (? e, from another series).


Water damage to the lower margin of leaves beginning about fol. 125 and generally becoming more severe through the volume.


In double columns, each column 260 × 65+ mm. , with 19 mm between columns, in 56 lines to the column. On a great many leaves, ruling extends an additional 45 mm, 9 lines, below the last written line. No prickings; bounded and ruled in brown ink.


Written in anglicana with variable secretary duct and routine secretary a, perhaps more than one hand; the index is in a different hand writing anglicana, and two leaves (fols. 118, 130) by a corrector of s. xv2/4, writing anglicana. Punctuation by point only.


No headings, but the psalm incipits are written in textura of varying degrees of formality.

Three-line blue lombards on red flourishing at the heads of the psalms, similar 1-line lombards for smaller divisions.

Lemmata are underlined in red, names of authorities quoted in red, and scattered red-slashed capitals divide text portions.

Early on, a few marginal red sidenotes, which have left offsets on the opposite leaves; more usually, these are supplied in text ink.

Running titles with the psalm number in text ink, the verses numbered in text ink in the margin.

At the head of the index (fol. 228ra), a 4-line blue, violet, and gold champe with a full vinet of blue, violet, orange, and gold bars with leaves.

The same border decoration, usually reduced to a bracketed corner of the text or an intercolumnar bar, appears at major textual divisions, but with historiated initials. These include:

Fol. 1ra (the prologue): Peter tonsured presenting his book to the throned bishop John, with an unfilled scroll;

Fol. 3rb (Ps. 1): David enthroned with harp and book, teaching the expositors whom Peter summarizes here;

Fol. 34rb (Ps. 26): the coronation of David;

Fol. 55rb (Ps. 38): David enthroned;

Fol. 81va (Ps. 51): David with his sceptre, watching a series of figures, including a fool;

Fol. 82va (Ps. 52): David and Christ watching a fool with a cudgel;

Fol. 112rb (Ps. 68): David praying to the cross from the waters;

Fol. 135vb (Ps. 80): David playing the harp with two other musicians (with horn and tambourine);

Fol. 160ra (Ps. 97): David with a choir of six tonsured men;

Fol. 163va (Ps. 101): David enthroned with book and harp;

Fol. 180vb (Ps. 109): the first two persons of the Trinity seated on a bench.

Most of these illustrations appear at the expected places, the heads of the ‘nocturns’ of the Psalter, and are unusual only in some of the subjects depicted (see Scott, 2:108, 113, 216). But in light of Scott’s presentation of decorative programmes in English Psalters (table i, 2:378–9), two of the lections illustrated are infrequent: only a handful of the MSS Scott presents illustrate Ps. 51, and illustrations to Ps. 101 are apparently so rare as not to be noted in the table at all. See AT no. 345, dating the book s. xiv ex., and plate xxiv (fol. 81va).


Wooden boards from a medieval binding, re-covered in brown leather, s. xvii. Sewn on seven thongs, taken straight into the board, as in Pollard’s figure 5. ‘14’ stamped in gold at the head of the spine and in black ink on the leading edges. The front pastedown is waste medieval vellum, with a College bookplate and a note identifying the contents (‘Catena petri de Harentale prioris Floreffiensis praemonstratensis ordinis in Psalmos’, s. xvii); the rear pastedown, modern marbled paper. At the front and rear, one modern paper flyleaf (the rear fol. ii).


Origin: s. xv in. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Poynt le bien & ne chaunge my notre maner’ (fol. 128v lower margin, the ink traced over with rubricator’s red, s. xv in.).

‘liber Sancti Cuthberti de Dunelm” (fol. 1 upper margin, s. xv ex., partly erased), followed by a strapwork ‘G’ (a class mark) near the leading edge. Ker, MLGB 17.

‘Liber Collegii Sancti Ioannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Magistri Ioannis Stonor de Northstoke in Comitatu Oxon’ Generosi’ (fol. 2).

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).
    Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century Now in the British Museum, 8 vols. (London, 1909).
    L. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum, 8 vols. (Stuttgart, 1826–38, repr. Milan, 1948), with Supplement by W. A. Copinger (London, 1895–1902; repr. Milan, 1950).
    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).
    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.
    Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts, 1390–1490. 2 vols. (London, 1996).
    Friederich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid, 1950–80).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-02: First online publication

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