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

St John's College MS. 165

Anselm and Bartholomew of Exeter


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–33v:
Rubric: Orationes beati ANSELMI archiepiscopi
Incipit: Orationes siue meditationes que subscripte sunt quoniam ad excitandam legentis mentem […]
Rubric: [the text] Hic incipiunt orationes siue meditationes a beato ANSELMO archiepiscopo egregie edite
Incipit: Terret me uita mea nanque diligenter discussa apparet mihi aut peccatum
Explicit: ut per te ad ea bona perueniam ad que homo sum creatus Prestante domino nostro ihesu cristo Qui sit benedictus in secula Amen
ANSELM, A combination of the Meditationes and Orationes (Sharpe, no. 120 [59–61]), ed. Franciscus S. Schmitt, Sancti Anselmi Opera, 6 vols. (Edinburgh, 1946–61), 3:3, 11–83. The text varies from the order printed, probably because of misplacement and loss of leaves, not as Southern (see the next) suggests (p. xxi), because it is an early recension. In order, the MS presents meditatio 1, oratio 2, meditatio 2, orationes 18–19 and a brief piece not in the printed text (fols. 7–8), inc. ‘Domina mea dominatrix mea […] ’; orationes 5–6, 8–13, 15, 14, 16, 7, 17, and 4 (the explicit at edn. 12).
2. Fols. 33v–74:
Rubric: Incipit prefatio de uita sancti anselmi archiepiscopi
Incipit: Qvoniam multas et antecessorum nostrorum temporibus insolitas rerum mutationes nostris diebus […]
Rubric: [fol. 34, the text] Uita sancti anselmi archiepiscopi
Incipit: Instititvta uite et conuersationis anselmi cantuariensis archiepiscopi litterarum memorie traditurus
Explicit: pius pater sullenare non ualeat Quod sua clementia procul auertat qui super omnia deus uiuit dominatur et regnat Amen
EADMER OF CANTERBURY, Life of St Anselm (Sharpe, no. 247 [104–5]), ed. R. W. Southern, The Life of St Anselm (1962; corr. rept. Oxford, 1972), 1–151; our MS is described at xxi. Fols. 49–73 have marginal notes on contents, in anglicana s. xv2/4 or med. Fol. 74v was originally blank, now with three Latin proverbs, added s. xvii.
3. Fols. 76–129:
Incipit: Numqvam nimis vocetur avt scitur quod cum salutis dispendio tacetur et ignoratur […] [the text] Predicandum est pro quibus criminibus homines cum diabolo deputantur
Explicit: palmatis excusant annum centum solidi dati in elemosinam annum excusant
BARTHOLOMEW OF EXETER, Liber penitentialis (Sharpe, no. 148 [69–70]), ed. Adrian Morey, Bartholomew of Exeter (Cambridge, 1937), 175–300 (our MS mentioned 165). Preceded by a table of contents fols. 75–6, in double columns; fol. 129 is only one-third filled, the rest of the page and fols. 129v–30v blank but ruled.
4. Fols. 131–9:
Rubric: Dominica Ia. aduentas domini
Incipit: Missvs est angelvs gabriel a deo in ciuitatem nazaret ad uirginem
Explicit: iesus assumptus est in celum et sedet ad dexteram patris alleluia
Hymns for church use on Sundays and feast days with musical notation.

Fol. 139v is blank but partially ruled and fols. vi–viii are blank. Fols. 131–9, ?vi–viii are an extra quire added from another source. Writing area 160 × 87 mm. . In long lines, 12 (with red four-line staves) lines to the page. Prickings; bounded and ruled in lead. Written in caroline, s. xii1.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: tibi hec
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. v + 142 (numbered fols. 1–139, vi–viii) + iii (numbered fols. ix–xi).
Dimensions (leaf): 207 × 128 mm.
Dimensions (written): 155–60 × 89 mm.


1–28 38 (3 and 6 singles) 4–88 910 (3 and 8 singles) [fol. 74, a booklet boundary] | 10–128 138 (3 and 6 singles) 148 158 (3 and 6 singles) 168 [fol. 130, originally the end of the MS] | apparently 712+1 (+7; –13, an excised blank). No catchwords. Each quire signed at the foot of the first recto with a roman numeral in crayon; quires 1–16 = i–xvi. Fols. 131 and 137 are certainly single, and fol. vi is certainly the conjoint of fol. 134. But fols. vii–viii may be binding material, and three leaves may be excised at the end.


Written in long lines, 31 lines to the page. Frequent prickings; bounded and ruled in brown ink and crayon.


Written in protogothic bookhand by a number of scribes, often alternating after very brief stints. Punctuation most fully by point, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus, but often by point only.


In text portions, headings in red, alternate red and blue two- and three-line arabesque initials, a few with designs in the other colour (in text 1, the last example at fol. 43v, and some green initials).

In the musical portion, red headings, alternate red and green one-line arabesque initials.

See AT no. 141 (16).


A modern replacement. Sewn on four thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf (dated 1842), two modern paper flyleaves, and two medieval vellum leaves (a bifolium); at the rear, two modern paper flyleaves, and another marbled leaf (ix–xi).


Origin: s. xii ex. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Three notes from Augustine (fol. vv, textura, s. xiii).

A brief distinctio concerning occasions when fornication is a sin (fol. viiv, s. xiii).

‘Liber sancti marci Bristoll’ ex dono Sauarici de Lya presbiteri hac condicione quod si Exsecutores Roberti de Thornbir’ presbiteri eum iusto titulo exigant reddatur eis’ (fol. v, partly cut off at the top; s. xiii/xiv) (Ker, MLGB 13, 231).

A contents list (fol. vv, s. xvi/xvii).

Given to the college by John White and entered in the Benefactors’ Book, col. i as ‘Anselmi orationes et vita etc 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).
    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).
    Adrian Morey (ed.), Bartholomew of Exeter (Cambridge, 1937).
    Franciscus S. Schmitt (ed.), Sancti Anselmi Opera, 6 vols. (Edinburgh, 1946–61).
    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).
    R. W. Southern (ed.), The Life of St Anselm (1962; corr. rept. Oxford, 1972).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-08: First online publication

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