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

St John's College MS 79

Wycliffite Gospels


Language(s): Middle English

Fols. 1ra–127vb
Rubric: Here bigynneþ þe prolog on mathew
Incipit: Mathew þat was of Iudee as he is sett first in ordre […] [fol. 1va] The book of þe generacioun of ihesu crist þe sone of dauiþ
Explicit: he risiþ fro þe soper and doiþ of hise cloþis [CW: and whanne] ||
The Wycliffite Gospels, in the later version (IPMEP 119), ed. Forshall and Madden, 4:2–275. The text breaks off, at the end of a quire, in John 13:4. In addition, it lacks Luke 5:19–6:6 (ed. cit. 4:159–61), owing to a leaf cut out after fol. 78.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -uþ elyuþ
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. ii + 127 + xv (numbered fols. iii–xvii).
Dimensions (leaf): 275 × 200 mm.


1-98 108(–7) 11–168. Catchwords in scrolls (or on penants?), some ochre-slashed. All leaves in the first half of each quire signed with a letter and roman numeral; in this system, quires 1–16 = a–q.


The upper corner of fol. 1 repaired.


In double columns, each column 188-95 × 60-5 mm. , with 15 mm between columns, in 25 lines to the column. Frequent prickings, especially late in the volume; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in gothic textura rotunda (without ‘hooks’, but the minims very narrowly spaced in relation to their height). Punctuation by point, virgula, double point, and punctus interrogativus.


Headings in red for books and chapter numbers.

At the head of each Gospel, a 5-line capital in red, blue, and violet on flourishing of the same with extended flourishing and bar to make a vinet.

At chapter heads, 2-line blue lombards on red flourishing.

Some ochre-slashed capitals to divide the text.

Red running titles indicate the biblical book.


A modern replacement. Sewn on four thongs. At the front, two modern paper flyleaves; at the rear, fifteen modern paper leaves (iii–xvii).


Origin: s. xv in. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

'Thomas T.y....', an erased ex-libris (fol. 66v).

'Thomas Blownt' (fol. 32, s. xvi in.); the head of a letter, subscribed ‘This is Thomas Blowntis…’ (fol. 31v, in the margin); ‘This is Thomas Blowntes boke’ (fol. 66v, vertically in the margin); another opening of a draft letter in Blunt’s hand, this addressed to a clergyman 'Mr Wall', and mentioning ‘Thomas Blunt of syluntun’ (Sillington, Warks.?) (fol. 114v, upside down in the lower margin).

‘Liber Collegij Sanctj Joannis Baptistae Oxon’ Ex dono Nicolaj Linnebye socij 1605’ (fol. iiv).

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna, A descriptive catalogue of the western medieval manuscripts of St. John's College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) (with corrections of typographical errors in the opening rubric and secundo folio)


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


    Josiah Forshall and Frederic Madden (eds.), The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, in the earliest English versions, made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and his followers, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1850).
    R. E. Lewis, N. F. Blake, and A. S. G. Edwards, Index of Printed Middle English Prose (New York, 1985).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2021-06: First online publication

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