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

St John's College MS 132

John Arderne, Practica


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–49
Rubric: Practica magistri IOHANNIS DE ARDERN cirurgici de Neuwerk
Incipit: Ego Iohannes predictus a prima pestilencia que fuit anno domini MoCCC quadragesimo nono vsque annum domini MmCCCmlxx. moram traxi
Explicit: frondes cum anxungia porci vetustissima tritum et appositum wlnera maxima sanat
John Arderne, Practica

Equivalent to the text in BL, MS Sloane 56, fols. 38ff.,, but at some point part of Arderne’s recipe collection has been joined, perhaps beginning fol. 16v: ‘ […] de nascentibus valere multum videtur et a me est expertus Pvluis grecus sic fiet Recipe auripigmenti citrini piperis nigri calc’ vini […]

2. Fols. 49–56v
Incipit: Extracta emoroidarum secundum lanfrancum bononiensem discretissimum magistrum regem francie qui duos hibros cirurgie composuit
Explicit: Cum ista medicina curatus fuit \rex [marg.]/ henricus anglie de exitu ani

The incipit, at least, of JOHN OF ARDERNE’S haemorrhoids tract, beginning in Sloane 56, at fol. 65. But the conclusion, as it appears in the Sloane copy, here occurs on fols. 21v–2. For such disorganization in the MSS, see Peter Murray Jones, 'Four Middle English Translations of John of Arderne', in Minnis, 62–89 at 66–7.

3. Fols. 56v–8
Incipit: ⟨C⟩ontingit etiam sepius matrices mulierum exire et dependere deorsum contra coxas
Explicit: quod si continetur proculdubio precedentibus vniuersalibus purgacionibus et dieta mirifice curat

Probably a fragment from the end of ARDERNE’S recipe book.Fol. 58v is blank.

4. Fols. 59–62v
a rough index of the book.

Fol. 63 has some washed materials and fragmentary notes on the verso, fol. vi a blason.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: et aput london’
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. v + 64 (numbered fols. 1–63, vi) + iii (numbered fols. vii–ix).
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160–75 × 110–15 mm.
Foliation: An early modern foliation in lower corners of rectos, in which fols. 1–58 = 1–62 (including leaves now lost).


112 210 312 (–4, –5) 412 512 (–2, –6) 68 (–7, –8, probably blanks, one a stub) 74. Catchwords, usually in boxes or scrolls; no signatures.The final quire is on heavy vellum of a quality not for writing, probably added later.


In long lines, about 35 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded in brown ink, no rules.


Written in a variety of anglicanas, all using secretary a. Punctuation by occasional point.


To fol. 49, 1-to 3-line red lombards at the heads of individual sections, red paraphs to break the text.

Thereafter, no red and blanks, usually with guide letters, for initial capitals.

From fol. 38v, running titles for subjects in text ink.

Illustrations of cochlears and operations fol. 5, and frequent marginal illustrations of diseases and operations.

A drawing of a castle and city (fol. 23, lower margin).

See AT, no. 542 (53).


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf, two modern paper flyleaves, and two medieval vellum ones (the first a former pastedown, a College bookplate on the verso of the second); at the rear, two modern paper flyleaves and another marbled paper leaf (vii–ix). Fols. 60v and vi are former pastedowns, the latter from a binding sewn on five thongs taken straight into the board and unstaggered, as in Pollard’s figure 3.


Origin: s. xv2/4 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Frauncys brydges’ (fol. ivv, s. xv ex.); he also probably wrote ‘deus ne in furore arguas me’ (fol. v).

A cancelled ownership inscription, including the name ‘blandford’ (fol. vv, s. xvi).

The old shelfmark ‘Abac: ij. No. 13’ (fol. vv).

‘Liber Collegij Diui Johannis Baptistae ex dono Domini Gulielmi Paddei Militis et Collegii olim Convictoris 1634’ (fol. 1, 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)


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).
    Peter Murray Jones, 'Four Middle English Translations of John of Arderne'. In A. J. Minnis (ed.), Latin and Vernacular (Cambridge, 1989), pp. 62–89.
    Graham Pollard, 'Describing Medieval Bookbindings.' In J. J. G. Alexander and Margaret T. Gibson (eds.), Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays Presented to R. W. Hunt (Oxford, 1976), pp. 50–65.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-03: First online publication

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