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

St John's College MS 60

Hymnal, Sarum Use


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 1–116:
Rubric: In nomine sanctissimae el indiuiduae trinitatis et gloriosissimae christi matris ac semper virginis Mariae Hic incipit liber hymnorum secundum morem et consuetudinem ecclesiae sarum Et primo hic sequitur hymnus qui in sabbato ante primam dominicam Aduentus domini […] Hymnus
Incipit: Conditor alme syderum aeterna lux credentium christe redemptor omnium
Explicit: nostris adauge sensibus nescire prorsus omnia corruptionis vulnera Deo patri sit gloria eiusque soli filio cum spiritu paracleto et nunc et imperpetuum Amen
Hymnal, Sarum Use

Cf. the text printed and commented in Expositio hymnorum secundum vsum Sarum (Cologne, 1494), Hain 6786*, BMC 1:282–3. Fols. 116v and 117 are blank but ruled, 117v blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -clini tempors
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: iii + 1188 (numbered 1–117, iv) + ii (numbered v–vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 292 × 195 mm.
Dimensions (written): 225–230 × 130 mm.


1–148 156. No catchwords. Two signatures appear, quire numbers in roman on the first leaves of quires (fol. 73 = ‘x.’, fol. 89 = ‘xij.’).


In long lines with musical staves, nine text lines (alternating with the music) to the page. No prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in gothic textura semiquadrata. Punctuation by point and virgula.


Headings and the musical staves in red.

Stave-high red, blue, and green lombards or pen-work strap capitals at the heads of individual hymns, frequently unflourished, often on either red or text-ink flourishing. Verses of the hymns sometimes divided with 1-line alternate red and blue lombards, with the same variations in flourishing.


Yellow-brown leather, s. xvii, over millboards, stamped with a frame with flowers at each corner. Sewn on five thongs. A mark on the upper board suggests the book was once chained with a staple in Watson’s position 6; there are also three holes, the impression of the staple, and some verdigris staining in fol. ii. Gold ‘60’ at the top of the spine (apparently on a space which once had a paper lozenge for the number), in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns modern paper, a College bookplate on the front pastedown (another on fol. iiv). At the front, a modern paper flyleaf and two medieval vellum ones (the first a former paste- down); at the rear, one medieval vellum flyleaf (again, a former pastedown) and one modern paper one.


Origin: s. xvi in. ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

‘This is one of the churche Bookes of tthame Made by me Wylliam foorest prest’ (fol. ivv). Ker, MLGB 188, 310 probably incorrectly identifies Forrest as a monk of Thame (Oxon., OCist); he also signed the only other book Ker finds from the house, BL, MS Burney 357 (other pieces of this book are dispersed among the Burney MSS). Forrest was vicar of Bledlow (Bucks.) in the 1540s; best known as a Catholic poet, he died after 1581; see DNB 7:444–5; BRUO 1501– 209–10. He was a petty canon of Osney Cathedral and drew a pension until at least 1545 in addition to the two MSS already mentioned, he also owned, and partially wrote, the Tudor part-books now BodL, MSS Mus. Sch. e.376–81 (including eighteen masses).

A bit of musical notation (fol. iii).

A frame with an inscription in one of its compartments, now defaced with black ink but partly legible in sunlight: ‘Ex dono reuerendisimo p⟨at⟩ris et domini domini Roberti kyn⟨ge⟩ ⟨hu⟩ius Ecclesiae cathedralis Oseneyae ⟨primi Antistitis Anno Domini MCCCCCxlij.⟩’ (portions now illegible supplied from Derham’s transcription, MS 373, fol. 77); above this ‘Chrygis ythegis othegowre’ and below it ‘lathegady ye Cysie booke’ (fol. iiiv, s. xvi in.). The inscription suggests that Forrest made the book under King’s auspices, for the latter was both an abbot of Thame and the last abbot of Osney (and first bishop of Oxford).

leonarde williames oethe this booke’ (fol. 72, upper margin; s. xvi3/4); he probably serves to identify the book with Thame church, not the Cistercian house, since King’s sister married Sir John Williams of Thame.

A partly erased inscription, ‘O lord yi […] ’ (fol. v).

‘Liber Collegli Sanctj Johannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Venerabilis virj Guilielmj Laud Sacrae Theologiae Doctoris Ejusdem Collegii Praesidis et Ecclesiae Cathedralis Gloucest’ Decanj 1620’ (fol. 1, 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.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2020-11: First online publication

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