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

St John's College MS 108

Gilbert the Englishman, Compendium medicine


Language(s): Latin with a flyleaf text in English

Fols. 1ra–351vb:
Rubric: Incipit liber morborum tam uniuersalium quam particularium a magistro GILEBERTO editus ab omnibus auctoribus practicis magistrorum excertus qui compendium medicine intitulatur […]
Incipit: De diuisione morbi ex qua modus tractandi monstratur A Morbis uniuersalibus propositi nostri intencio est inchoare et dicciones particulares auctorum
Explicit: in naue uue passe cepe cucumeres mala et pira dyadragagagium et cum diadragagon A
Final rubric: Explicit compendium medicine Et sic liber terminatur
GILBERT THE ENGLISHMAN, Compendium medicine (Sharpe, no. 367 [143–4], with further references), the text sometimes called Lilium medicinae, ed. Michael de Capella (Lyons, 1510). There is a brief contents list between the initial rubric and the opening of the text on fol. 1ra.

Flyleaf texts

b. Fol. ivv:

'Triplex causa febrem generat custodit et auget vt putrido porum constriccio praua dieta et quandoque porus generat custodit et auget' (s. xiv in., anglicana; above an erased version, s. xiii ex., in textura).

c. Fol. v:
medical distinctiones ,

in lead and much faded.

d. Fol. v:

‘Pro effusione sanguinis longeus smot god to þe hert þerowt com blod and water þat was wel good and wel holy þorw þe vertu of þat blod N y congour þe þy blod þat it stynt and stawnche and no more blede God was ybore in bedleem and yfwllyd in þe water of flom Iordayn þe flod was wood þe chylde was good […] '

Cited in full; cf. IMEV 624, Suppl. 627.5, 1946.5; ed. OT 89, and see further Douglas Gray, ‘Notes on Some Middle English Charms’, in Beryl Rowland (ed.), Chaucer and Middle English Studies in Honour of Rossell Hope Robbins (London, 1974), 58–71 at 61–3. Added at mid-page, s. xv1, in anglicana.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -pat stante
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. iv + 351 + ii (numbered fols. v–vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 246 × 160 mm.


1–912 1010 11–2512 2616+1 (+17, its stub showing before the first leaf) 2710 28–2912 302. Catchwords under the gutter columns, usually boxed, often in rubricator’s red. Early quires (and thereafter only the aberrant 26) signed. All leaves in the first half of each quire assigned a letter a–f; only a few quires assigned a signature: 2, 4–10 = a, a, 2–7.


In double columns, each column 175 × 45 mm. , with 10 mm between columns, in 48 lines to the column. No prickings; bounded and ruled in lead and black ink.


Written in gothic textura rotunda. Punctuation by point and medial point.


Like MS 76, the textual presentation is modelled on that of Bible MSS. Rubrics in red; alternate red and blue 2-line lombards at the heads of divisions (up to fol. 86, elaborately flourished in the other colour forming a full column border; thereafter flourishing ceases).

Running titles usually in blue (only fitfully present after fol. 300)—in books 1, 3, and the early part of book 5 (fols. 189–201), alternate red and blue—giving book and folio number.

Quire 26, in addition to its peculiar formation, is also unusual in its decoration, with some starts on flourishing with extended blue bars by initial capitals and a few capitals in gold leaf (continuing into the next quire and occasionally used for numbering in running titles).

One illuminated initial, in a champe with marginal floral sprays on gold-leaf ground, shows a red-robed physician examining a urine flask (fol. 1ra).

See AT, no. 293 (30), dating s. xiv2/4.


A limp vellum wrapper, s. xvi, with two rag ties to hold the book shut. Sewn on three thongs. Gold ‘108’ at the head of the spine, in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns modern paper, a College bookplate on the front pastedown. At the front, one modern paper flyleaf and three medieval vellum ones (apparently fols. ii + iv are a bifolium, fol. iii single and followed by its stub); at the rear, one medieval vellum flyleaf and one modern paper one (v–vi). When Coxe described the MS, it included flyleaves (s. xv3/4) from a commentary on Paul’s epistles to Timothy. These have now been removed and form MS 235, frag. nos. 112–13.


Origin: s. xiv1 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Liber Collegij Divi Johannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Domini Gulielmi Paddei Militis et olim Collegii 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) (with corrections of typographical errors in transcription of flyleaf text [d]).


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).
    Carleton Brown and Rossell Hope Robbins, Index of Middle English Verse (New York, 1943); Robbins and John Cutler (eds.) Supplement (Lexington, Ken., 1965).
    Henry Coxe, Catalogus codicum mss. qui in collegiis aulisque oxoniensibus hodie adservantur. Confecit Henricus O. Coxe: Pars 2 (Oxford, 1852).
    Douglas Gray, 'Notes on Some Middle English Charms', in Beryl Rowland (ed.) Chaucer and Middle English Studies in Honour of Rossell Hope Robbins (London, 1974), 58–71.
    S. J. Ogilvie-Thomson (ed.), The Index of Middle English Prose VIII: Manuscripts Containing Middle English Prose in Oxford College Libraries (Cambridge, 1991).
    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).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-04: First online publication

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