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

St John's College MS. 96

Eadmer, Vita Oswaldi etc.


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–29v:
Rubric: Incipit prologvs in vita beati osvvaldi archiepiscopi
Incipit: Secundum propositum gratiȩ dei uenerandus eboracensis antistes osvvaldus ante secula […]
Rubric: [fol. 1v] Incipit vita sancti osvvaldi archiepiscopi et confessoris
Incipit: Exordivm ergo nativitatis gloriousus osvvaldus nobilissima progeniȩ nactus eleganti forma
Explicit: dispositioni uestrȩ parere In omnibus autem atque per omnia uoluntas domini fiat cui sit honor potestas et imperium per omnia secula seculorum Amen
Final rubric: Explicit vita sancti Osvvaldi archipresulis
EADMER OF CANTERBURY, Vita et miracula S. Oswaldi (Sharpe, no. 247 [104–5]), ed. James Raine, Historians of the Church of York, RS 71.2 (1886), 1–59, with a description of our MS at pp. ix–x.
2. Fols. 30–8v:
Rubric: Incipit vita sanctȩ mariȩ magdalene
Incipit: Post dominice resvrrectionis gloriam ascensionisque triumphum ac spiritus paracliti de supernis missionem
Explicit: alia signa in eodem loco meritis sanctȩ Marį magdalenȩ perpetrantur ad laudem et gloriam domini nostri ihesu cristi qui cum [form ending] Amen
Vita sancte Marie Magdalene

Not noted in BHL but a life of Mary with the same incipit appears at Cambrai, BM, MSS 809, fol. 61v, and 846, fol. 148; Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine MS 1709, fol. 126v.

3. Fols. 39–46v:
Rubric: Incipit passio sancti eadwardi regis et martiris
Incipit: Inclitvs rex eadvvardvs alto et nobilissimo regvm antiquorum stemate in brittania
Explicit: perpetuis deliciis in cȩlesti ierusalem perfrui mereamur prestante domino nostro ihesu cristo qui cum [form ending] Amen
Passio et miracula S. Edwardi,

ed. Christine E. Fell, ‘Edward King and Martyr’ (Leeds, 1971), using this MS as base.

4. Fols. 47–149v:
Rubric: Incipit liber primus de aduentv sancti Avgvstini Anglorum apostoli sociorumque eius in brittanniam et de eius virtutibus
Incipit: Potentissimvs triumphator mundialis tiranni omnia trahens ad seipsum in crucis [the last two letters re-inked] examine
Explicit: conuersatione recolere Ut in regeneratione beatorum cum eis mereamur sempiterne gaudere et redemptorem nostrum regnantem cum patre [form ending] Amen
GOSCELIN OF CANTERBURY, Historia, miracula et translatio S. Augustini (Sharpe, no. 395 [151–4]), ed. Acta sanctorum, May 6, 374–437. The ‘Historia’ and ‘Miracula’ are treated as a single work in two books (with a break at fol. 80v); the ‘Translatio’, which follows at fol. 104v, also contains two books (the division at fol. 135), and the text concludes with the ‘miracula sancti letardi episcopi’, which begins at fol. 146v.

Added texts, in four hands of s. xiii in., responsible for a, b–c, d, e–f, respectively:

a. Fol. 150rv:
Incipit: Sanctorum patrum uestigiis inhererentes nouis morbis noua remedia procuramus Statuimus igitur ut si quis possessiones ecclesiasticas inuaserit
Explicit: Sciat itaque unusquisque quia quod quis dicit ueritati debet et quod promittit fidei
Canons of the legatine council of London (?1143),

ed. D. Whitelock, M. Brett, and C. N. L. Brooke, Councils and Synods, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1981), 800–4, our MS mentioned at 797.

b. Fols. 150v–2:
Incipit: Amantissimo patri et domino dei gratia summo pontifici evgenio BAERNARDUS CLAREUALUS uocatus abbas modicum id quod est Auditum est in terra nostra et celebri sermone
Explicit: quia quibus successisti in sedem illos sine dubio sequeris ad mortem

discussing differences between the bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York, in one part and the archbishop of Canterbury; ed. J. Leclercq et al., Opera, vol. VIII (Rome, 1977), 115–19.

c. Fol. 152:
Incipit: Henrico dei gracia excellentissimo Anglorum Regi et Duci Normannie et Aquitanie et com⟨iti⟩ Andegauensi fratres capituli maioris mon’ et eorum humilis minister H Salutem et oraciones Lectis in capitulo nostro altitudinis uestre litteris excellentissime regum contritum est
Explicit: dispositionibus defunctique desiderio noscitur obuiare

Raine describes (p. ix), the text as ‘a letter from the prior and monks of Marmoutier to Henry II, refusing to accede to his request to give up the body of Roger, bishop of Worcester, who seems to have died there in 1179’.

d. Fol. 152:
Incipit: Domnus henricus venerabiis winto\ni/ensis episcopus dedit .. ecclesie persorensi calicem qui ponderat quatuor Marcas et duos solidos Domnus hugo abbas de fucarmunt dedit eidem ecclesie calicem
Explicit: dedit calicem ad magnum altare pulcherimum de pondere etc
A list of chalices donated to the Benedictine priory of Pershore (Worcs.),

with additions s. xiv in. The last original entry mentions Richard, chamberlain to William Beauchamp.

e. Fol. 152v:
Incipit: Sciatis quod ierusalem cum arce dauid et Castro bellimontis reddita est Saladino
Explicit: equum ipsum per totum exercitum uidentibus omnibus equitauit Valete
Letter from TERRICUS, the preceptor of the Templars in Jerusalem, to Henry II,

ed. William Stubbs, Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, RS 51.2 (1869), 346–7, where it is dated 1188.

f. Fol. 152v:
Incipit: De tempestate sirurca Sciendum est quod continget ultimo die augusti et erit multum timenda
Explicit: putamus tempestates predictas non tanturn periculosas quam in regione solis propinqui
A note on a storm in Palestine.

This item and the preceding one are presented as a single column in a potential two-column format.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sors
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. iii + 152 + i (numbered fol. iv). Tabs at some text heads.
Dimensions (leaf): 267 × 180 mm.
Dimensions (written): 185–200 × 110 mm.


1–38 46 58 [fol. 38, a booklet boundary] | 68 [fol 46, a booklet boundary] | 7–198 202, the final bifolium (fols. 151–2) a later addition to accommodate the extra texts. No catchwords. No signatures in the first two booklets, but in the third, most quires signed with a roman numeral in the centre of the lower margin of the first recto, quires 8–13, 16–18 = ii–vij, x–xij.

Quire 4, in spite of its brevity, appears to be complete. It represents a superseded booklet boundary: the scribe intended only to copy item 1, which would fit neatly in the allotted space, but subsequently decided to extend his work.


The lower corner of fol. 3 cut away.


In long lines, about 28 lines to the page (varies slightly with the scribe). Prickings; bounded and ruled in stylus until fol. 46v, thereafter in black ink (some sections in brown crayon).


Written in several hands, all using protogothic bookhand; see N. R. Ker, English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960), 20 n. 5. The first scribe copied fols. 1–2 the second, fols. 3–46v; the third, fols. 47–80; the fourth, in a very spiky hand, fols. 80v–149v, with the table of chapters, fols. 104v–6, probably a fifth scribe. Scribes 2–4 punctuate by point and punctus elevatus; scribe 3 also uses the punctus interrogativus.


Throughout the MS, red headings in rustic capitals, although many spaces are blank.

At the head of item 1, a 10-line green, blue, and orange arabesque capital with vine interlace and human and animal figures and heads; at the head of item 2, a large blue arabesque initial in a different slate colour and with red and green vine pattern.

At chapter divisions of item 1, plain 3-line arabesque capitals in slate-blue, violet, and red; in item 2, arabesque capitals in red and green, at least one unfilled.

In booklet 2, a purple arabesque initial at the head, a 6-line red initial with blue vine at the head of the Passion; small red and green arabesque capitals for chapters.

In booklet 3, a 9-line gold and red arabesque capital (fol. 106); regularly alternating red, gold, and green arabesque capitals at chapter divisions.

Both books of the ‘Translation’ begin with 6-line arabesque capitals in gold and red with vine and leaf design; chapters introduced by 2-line red or gold arabesque capitals (occasionally with floral decoration in the other colour).

A plain 4-line red capital at the head of St Letard.

See AT, no. 84 (12), , dating s. xii3/4, and plate v (fol. 1). The authors connect the book with Dublin, Trinity College MS 53 (‘the Winchcombe Psalter’), and more distantly, BodL, MS Douce 368, , another book from Winchcombe, with Bede’s Historia (PA 3, no. 104 [13]).


A modern replacement. Sewn on two thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf and two medieval vellum flyleaves; at the rear, only another marbled leaf (iv).


Origin: s. xii ex. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

A contents list (s. xiii in., with an addition s. xiii/xiv); and ‘liber Gilleberti prioris’ (s. xiii) (fol. ii). On this basis, as well as the added text (d), the book is associated with Pershore (Worcs., OSB) (Ker, MLGB 550, 293). Two other surviving books, both of patristic authors, belonged to prior Gilbert: Cambridge, Emmanuel College MS 38; and Oxford, Jesus College MS 4.

Pen-trials and verses from hymns, s. xv and xv/xvi (fol. ii).

‘Orate pro anima Rogeri Euyrton patris domini Symonis Euyrton vicarie chorali ecclesie cathedralis Wellen’ Et animabus fratrum consanguiniorum que dicimus et animabus Omnium fidelium defunctorum Amen’ (fol. iii; s. xv ex., anglicana).

A table of contents s. xvii, with additions s. xviii (fol. iiiv).

Given to St John’s college by John White; in the Benefactors’ Book (col. ii) as ‘Vita et miracula Oswaldi Mariae Magdalenae Sancti Edwardi Augustini MS’.

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).
    Christine E. Fell (ed.), ‘Edward King and Martyr’ (Leeds, 1971).
    N. R. Ker, English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960).
    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).
    J. Leclercq et al. (eds.), S. Bernardi Opera, vol. VIII (Rome, 1977).
    Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander. Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, 3 vols (Oxford, 1966–73).
    James Raine (ed.), Historians of the Church of York, RS 71.2 (1886).
    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).
    William Stubbs (ed.), Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houedene, The Rolls Series (Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores) 51.2 (1869).
    D. Whitelock, M. Brett, and C. N. L. Brooke (eds.), Councils and Synods, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1981).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-12: First online publication

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