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

St John's College MS 25

W. monk of Durham, Compilatio ex sacris scripturis


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 1ra–179ra
Rubric: ⟨A⟩d honorem saluatoris Incipit compilacio cuiusdam monachi Dunelm’ ex sacris scripturis sanctorum patrum sparsim excerpta quod in quinque fasciculis ad informacionem iuniorum in uirtute spiritus sancti compendiose [erasure]
Incipit: ⟨R⟩euerendo patri in cristo R Dunelmensis ecclesie Priori […] W FRATER eiusdem agonie et professionis regularis particeps […] ⟨Q⟩vociens quidem amantissimi patres inter multiplices meditacionum perplexitates illud terribile sapientis […]
Rubric: [fol. 2ra, the text] De effectu sacre scripture
Incipit: ⟨M⟩vltiplex namque bonum sacre pagine confert in specifico vt ait
Explicit: coccinea uel purpura designatur sanguis sanctorum martyrum
W. monk of Durham, Compilatio ex sacris scripturis

Francis Greine (see Provenance) wrote, in the blank space for a rubric (fol. 122ra) the ascription ‘per WILIELMUM Priorem DE COLDINGHAM’; see Stegmüller, RB 2884 (2:411) and, far more helpfully, Sharpe, no. 1886 (705–6). On information supplied by A.J. Piper, Sharpe suggests identifying William with either WILLIAM OF MIDDLETON or WILLIAM OF GREATHAM, which would place the date of composition in 1304–5. This, the unique manuscript, presents only three of the five ‘fascicule’ promised in the introductory rubric.

The manuscript was copied as three booklets, with mid-text blanks:

(a) At the end of fascicle 1, fol. 33ra is fully ruled, but with only 22 lines of text, the verso unruled and blank. At the blank foot of fol. 33ra, a list of chapters in the first fascicle, added s. xvii.

(b) On fol. 119vb, another booklet boundary, only seven written lines. Fols. 120–1 are an independent bifolium, slightly smaller than other leaves ( c.320 × 220 mm. ), with fol. 121v blank and unruled. Fols. 120ra–1rb have a table with folio references, ‘capitula tercii fasculi de incarnacione verbi’, i.e. the remainder of the volume, but the subsequent leaves lack any numeration, and the sheets may have been intruded from another copy.

(c) Fol. 179 is ruled for only the first twenty-three lines, i.e. to accommodate the end of the text in the first column; the remainder, along with the verso, is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: in lingua
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. i + 179 + i (numbered fol. ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 230 mm.


1–212 310(–10, probably blank) [fol. 33, a booklet] | 4–712 88 9–1110 [fol. 119, a booklet] 122 [a later insertion] | 138 1414 15–1712. Catchwords in the gutter (often framed in an ellipse and often cut away); no signatures. The three booklets do not correspond to the scribal stints.


the upper margin of fol. 1 cut away, and a good many pages rather ragged around the lower margins, e.g. fol. 49, with a triangular bit of the corner eaten away.


In double columns, with some variation among scribes and sections, generally each column 255 × 70 mm. , with 15 mm between columns, in 41 lines to the column. Prickings rarely visible in the gutters; bounded and ruled in brownish ink.


Written in textura, usually with anglicana forms for a and g, probably by three or four scribes:

1 wrote fols. 1–78 in gothic textura quadrata;

2, fols. 79–119, 122–44 in gothic textura semiquadrata;

3, fols. 144 until at least fol. 165, and possibly all the way to the end, in gothic textura quadrata.

In addition, a further scribe is responsible for the table of contents (fols. 120–1), written on an intruded bifolium in gothic textura quadrata.

Punctuation by medial point and punctus elevatus.


The book is generally ‘unfinished’.

Headings in red, the spaces sporadically unfilled up to fol. 74, from which point all spaces are blank.

Two-line spaces for capitals at initia (six to eight lines at book divisions), with guide letters, all unfilled.

Occasional red capitals to divide the text within chapters (the last on fol. 90), as well as (early on, after fol. 48 mainly in patches) red-slashed capitals.


Plain brown leather over millboards, s. xvi. Sewn on five thongs. On both boards, remains of anchors for cloth ties to close the book. Nail-holes and an impression from a chain-staple in Watson’s position 6. Pastedowns modern marbled paper, a College bookplate on the front one.

Single modern paper flyleaves front and rear (ii).


Origin: s. xiv in. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

The top edge of fol. 1 has been cut away, probably to remove an institutional ex-libris. Given the contents and the absence of any circulation of the work, probably a Durham book.

‘Sum liber Francisci Greine de Grindon [Coxe read ‘Swindon’, but the place is probably Grendon (Bucks.)] Vicarij Non est mortale quod opto’ (fol. 179ra, below the explicit, s. xvi ex.). Greine also provided the rubric on fol. 122ra, where his motto appears again.

‘Liber Collegij Divi Ioannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Domini Gulielmi Paddei Militis et ejusdem Collegii olim Convictoris 1634’ (fol. 2, upper margin).

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.


    Richard Sharpe, A Handlist of the Latin Writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540. Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin 1 (Turnhout, 1997).
    Friederich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid, 1950–80).
    Andrew G. Watson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of All Souls College Oxford (Oxford, 1997).

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

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.