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

St John's College MS. 76

William of Parma, Chirurgia


Language(s): Latin with some added material in Middle English and Anglo-Norman

Fols. 14–108v
Rubric: Incipit cirurgia magistri GILLIELMI PARMENSIS
Incipit: Propositum est tibi bone edere librum de operatione manuali ut satisfacio
Explicit: cum bibitur cum uino confert spasmo et contracioni lacertorum
Final rubric: Explicit cyrurgia GUILLELMI PARMENSIS

the prologue cited eTK 1141H; ed. Summa conservationis et curationis, Hain 14144, BMC 7:1071 (Piacenza, 25 May 1476). The three leaves at the head (fols. 11–13) are a quire for front matter: fol. ii is blank, the verso bounded and ruled in double columns, as are the subsequent fols. 12ra–13vb, with a contents table for the work. Half of fol. 108v, as well as fol. 109rv, were originally blank.

The book has been compiled to serve as a practitioner’s handbook. Typically, the rules run to the page edge, to facilitate adding personal observations and other relevant materials, an opportunity accepted by a variety of later hands (as also on the added folios in both the front and rear). A few of the notes are in French, and English plant-names appear on fols. 95v, 99v, and 101v.

Added materials

Discounting leaves associated with the modern rebinding, fourteen vellum leaves have been added at the ends of the book, ten (fols. 1–10) at the front and four (fols. 110–13) at the rear. Of these, fols. 1 and 113 have been used as pastedowns in an earlier binding. At the front, fols. 3–10 are a quire of eight, with fol. 2 a single; fols. 110–13 at the end are a quire of four. The texts here include:

Fols. 1v–5, 10rv, 109–13:

medical notes, in the main recipes, in Latin and English (only one brief bit of French in the first section). Added in a variety of hands, s. xv; the English items described OT 85–6.

b. Fol. 3v:
Incipit: Confiteantur tibi domine omnia opera tua et sanncti tui benedicanti tibi Gloria Sicut k k k Pater noster Et ne nos […]

A series of petitions. This item and the next two in gothic textura semiquadrata, s. xv ex.

c. Fol. 4:
Incipit: [an alphabet, followed by] gaude virgo mater cristi que per au⟨r⟩e⟨m⟩ concepisti gabrielis nuncio

followed by the Paternoster, Ave, and Creed.

d. Fol. 4:
Incipit: Per crucis hoc lignum fugat procul omne malignum Et per eadem lignum saluetur quodque benignum Confitemini domini quoniam bonus […] Confitior deo celi et beate marie et omnibus sanctis .. nobis peccaui
Explicit: et nos maneamus in ipso amen Deus p⟨ ⟩ cie et . leccionis maneat uobiscum Tu autem domine miserere nostri

Assorted biblical quotations and hymns.

e. Fols. 6–9v:

coloured drawings of surgical implements.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Capitulum 13 (fol. 13)
Secundo Folio: et scias (fol. 15)
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. xiii (numbered fols. i–iii, 1–10) + 99 (numbered fols. 11–109) + vii (numbered fols. 110–13, iv–vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 285 × 190–5 mm.
Dimensions (written): 203 × 105 mm.
Foliation: There is an accurate medieval foliation in the lower margins, in which fols. 14–85 = 1–72.


14 (–4) 2–912. Boxed catchwords along the bound for the gutter; signatures in blue, roman numerals for leaves only, on fols. 63–5.


The lower margins of fols. 75, 77–8, 81–2, 84, and 106 have been cut off; those of fols. 87, 99, 101, 103–4, and 108 repaired. The top corners of fols. 106–7 have been torn off unevenly.


In long lines, 40 to the page. Prickings in early portions; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in gothic textura rotunda. Punctuation by point and occasional punctus elevatus.


Headings in text ink underlined in red.

At initia, 2-line blue lombards on red flourishing; alternate red and blue paraphs to break up the text.

Running titles, ‘Liber’ and the appropriate number across the opening in blue and red.

See AT, no. 307 (31) and plate xxii (fol. 8).


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf and two modern paper flyleaves (i–iii); at the rear, two modern paper flyleaves and another marbled leaf (iv–vi).


Origin: s. xiv med. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Iohannes Wryghtson’ (fol. 4v, s. xv/xvi); ‘Thys boke ys on crystys curs ys anodyr | he that stellyth the ton y pray goed send hym ƿe todyr | quod Iohannes Wryghtson’ (fol. 5v).

The old shelfmarks ‘2/m’, ‘D.12’, ‘Abac: ij N. 71’ (cancelled) and ‘76’ (fol. iv).

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.


    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).
    S. J. Ogilvie-Thomson (ed.), The Index of Middle English Prose VIII: Manuscripts Containing Middle English Prose in Oxford College Libraries (Cambridge, 1991).
    Guilelmus de Saliceto, Summa conservationis et curationis. Chirurgia (Piacenza, 1476).
    Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre, A Catalogue of Incipits of Medieval Scientific Writings in Latin, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, Mass., 1963).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2021-07: First online publication

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