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

St John's College MS 127

Richard Rolle, Works


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–24:
Rubric: Incipit tractatus de amore dei contra amatores ⟨ ⟩
Incipit: ⟨Q⟩voniam mundanorum insania gaudium eterni an⟨ ⟩ dibus electorum illabi non putat
Explicit: Illabere michi in tua dulcedine te mecum et meis commendo sine fine Amen
Final rubric: Explicit tractatus contra amatores mundi
RICHARD ROLLE, Contra Amatores Mundi (Sharpe, no. 1370 [501–3]), ed. Paul F. Theiner, The Contra Amatores Mundi of Richard Rolle of Hampole (Berkeley, Calif., 1968), with a description of our MS at 52–3. Fol. 24v is blank. The text is described and this MS noted, Allen, 203–9.
2. Fols. 25–56v:
Incipit: [the upper margin] Assit principio Sancta Maria meo ⟨A⟩dmirabar amplius quam enuncio quando siquidem sentiui cor meum primitus inualescere
Explicit: canorem ab ingenio humano in quibus si perseuerauero saluus ero amen
Final rubric: Explicit tractatus vocatus incendium amoris
ROLLE, Incendium Amoris,

ed. Margaret Deanesly, The Incendium Amoris of Richard Rolle of Hampole (Manchester, 1915), 145–278 (‘the short text’), with a description of our MS at 26–7. Most of fol. 56v was originally blank. The text is described and this MS noted, Allen, 209–29. There is a major medial break at fols. 40v/41, corresponding to the division between chs. 21 and 22 (Deanesly, 107).

3. Fols. 57–77v:
Rubric: Incipit tractatus super cantica canticorum
Incipit: ⟨S⟩uspirantis anime delicijs eternorum vox in orbe terrarum dare intonat Osculetur
Explicit: leuiamus igitur dum canimus amoris canticum Curremus in odore vnguentorum tuorum
ROLLE, the ‘Oleum effusum’, a commentary on Cant. 1:1–3 (Stegmüller, RB 7307 [5:97–8]), , the full version ed. D. Richardi Pampolitani Anglosaxonis Eremitae… in Psalterium (Cologne, 1536), 142–5., Allen describes the text (63–9) and notes our MS. As she indicates, this copy omits portions of the work, a fact of which the scribe was aware: ‘hic capiantur capitula videlicet Oleum effusum Ideo adolescentule Trahe me post te et Curremus in odore vnguentorum tuorum Ista forma capiantur capitula suprascripta’ (fol. 68v, in the lower margin). Appended to the text are the three notes which are regularly part of the compilation, which includes short versions of our item 2, Incendium amoris, and of this text (see Allen, 64):
4. Fol. 77v:
Incipit: ⟨O⟩mnis actio laudabilis siue reprehensibilis ex voluntate habet laudem
Explicit: voluntas vestra sit recta Illa pro certo erecta que subiacet voluntati dei
ANSELM OF BEC, epistola 3.133,

ed. PL 159:167 C 3–13.

5. Fol. 78rv:
Incipit: ⟨S⟩i quis sancte aut iuste viuat peccatores etiam pessimos non contempnat
Explicit: cum quibus sustentacionem per aliquid tempus accepi corporalem
ROLLE, Incendium amoris, long text,

chs. 12 and 15 ed. Deanesly, 177, 187.

6. Fol. 78v:
Incipit: ⟨E⟩x magno amoris incendio tantus virtutis decor in animo crescit quod iustus
Explicit: a penis liberi erunt sed et cum angelis eternaliter gaudebunt Amen
ROLLE, Incendium amoris, long text,

ch. 8, ed. Deanesly, 165.

Added texts include numerous pen-trials and short pieces:

a. fol. 24v

‘Si sapiens fore vis sex serua que tibi mando | Quid dicas et ubi de quo cui quomodo et quando’ (in red), Walther, no. 17963.

b. fol. 56v

‘In hijs denuo ii. In die noue solennitatis mee dicit dominus precedam’; ‘Quicquid vis et non potes reputabitur pro facto quod T’; ‘Q Angelicus iuuenis senibus satanizat in annis’ (Walther, Sprichwörter, no. 1042), with glosses; ‘Est nomen virtus grauitas onus accio fama’; ‘Est dis conueniens sub vincitur in que laborat’

c. fol. 61v, in the blank lower margin

‘Non in carne tibi fuerit fiducia carnem | Comprime ne reprimat te viciosa caro’, Walther, Sprichwörter, no. 17892.

d. fol. 78v, lower margin

‘Omar?’; ‘Confitemini’ (and two other starts on the word)

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: mundi
Form: codex
Support: Paper. The quires are regular groups of sheets folded in quarto (fols. 73 + 74 a half-sheet, with the mark), on a single stock, the type Monts / Dreiberg. The watermark is of Piccard’s Type II, resembling nos. 365–473, a type generally in use 1415–40.
Extent: Fols. i + 78 + i (numbered fol. ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 147 mm.


1–38 [fol. 24, a booklet boundary] 4–512 68 [fol. 56, a booklet boundary] | 78 84 910. In booklet 1, catchwords at the gutter boundary; no signatures. In booklet 2, a boxed catchword on fol. 36v; all leaves in the first half of quire 6 signed with roman numerals. In booklet 3, a boxed catchword on fol. 64v; no signatures.


Writing area 172 × 110 mm. (text 1) 170 × 118 mm. (text 2) 180–5 × 115–20 mm. (text 3). Written in long lines, 30 (texts 1–2) and 47 (text 3) lines to the page. No prickings or rules; bounded in brown crayon.


Written in anglicana, probably by three different scribes, a booklet for each. Scribe 1 punctuates by double virgula, medial point, and occasional punctus elevatus; scribe 2 by virgula and double virgula, point, and punctus elevatus; scribe 3 by point and punctus elevatus.


Headings in text ink, unfilled blanks for capitals (with guide letters) and rubrics.

A very few red side-notes of contents in text 1.

A drawing of a lion (fol. 7 leading edge).


Brownish leather over millboards, rough grained with a stamped rectangle at the centre, flowers at the corners, and a small floral stamped border around an inner rectangle, s. xvi ex. Sewn on five thongs. Scars on the boards suggest that there were previously ribbon ties to hold the book closed. Gold ‘127’ at the head of the spine, remains of a number in mostly flaked away black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns modern paper, a College bookplate on the front pastedown. At the front, one modern paper flyleaf at the rear the same (ii).


Origin: s. xv med. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘bloxh bloxham’ (fol. 56v), ‘Iohannes Bloxham est bonus homo sic dicit iohannes Wodestoke senior’ (fol. 78v, s. xv ex.), suggesting early ownership in Oxfordshire.

'Alexander Bifeld’ (fol. 56v, s. xv ex.).

Johannes Whyte de Suthwyk in Comitatu Sutht Armiger dedit hunc librum Thome White de london militi ad vsum Colegij per ipsum de nouo erecti in Oxon Anno 1555’ (fols. 1v–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).

MS 127 Description corrected by Ralph Hanna 29/10/2013:

Two scribes in different sets of booklets, the first copying Incendium Amoris only (short), the second Super Canticum only. In his note at the end of the fourth section of the text (fragmentary, lines 1–110 of this edition only) on fol. 68v, the second of these scribes states that the remaining portions had been copied above – in the conventional position of ‘the compliation’ following Incendium. Unfortunately, the two copyists were not in touch with one another (although certainly working on the same project, on common paperstocks), and the first scribe had never done this work, which would have begun where scribe 2 leaves off.

However, fol. 68v is the last leaf of a four-leaf quire, the planned conclusion of the second scribe’s work here. The final quire of the entire manuscript is actually a separate fourth booklet and probably in a different hand, certainly the first five folios or so in a different ink, from the remainder. This quire includes the sixth and seventh sections of Super Canticum, along with the extra materials (mostly bits of Incendium omitted from the short version) that typify ‘the compliation’ and that the scribal note indicates he believed had been earlier copied. This quire represents a repair predicated on the discovery that the Incendium scribe had not quite completed his job. (Super Canticum here probably combines two different sources, splitting at fols 68v/69, and no one copied most of the fourth segment of this work not any of the fifth here).


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


    Hope Emily Allen, Writings Ascribed to Richard Rolle Hermit of Hampole (New York, 1927).
    Margaret Deanesly, The Incendium Amoris of Richard Rolle of Hampole (Manchester, 1915).
    Jacques-Paul Migne (ed.), Patrologia Latina 159 (Paris, 1854).
    Gerhard Piccard, Die Wasserzeichenkartei Piccard im Hauptstadts-archiv Stuttgart: Findbuch, currently 17 vols. (Stuttgard, 1961– ).
    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).
    Friederich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid, 1950–80).
    Paul F. Theiner (ed.), The Contra Amatores Mundi of Richard Rolle of Hampole (Berkeley, Calif., 1968).
    Hans Walther, Initia carminum ac versuum Medii Aevi posterioris Latinorum, 2nd edn (Göttingen, 1969).
    Hans Walther, Proverbia sententiaeque latinitatis medii aevi: Lateinische Sprichwörter, 5 vols. (Göttingen, 1963–7).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-11: First online publication

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