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

St John's College MS 177

Monastic theology


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–16v:
Rubric: Incipit prologus PONTIJ diaconi CARTHAGINENSIS in librum de gestis et passione beati cypriani episcopi carthaginesis [sic for carthaginensis] et martyris
Incipit: Cyprianus religiosus antistes ac testis dei gloriosus etsi multa conscripsit […]
Rubric: [fol. 2v] Incipit liber
Incipit: Inter fidel sue rudimenta prima nihil aliud credidit cyprianus deo dignum
Explicit: macrobij candidiani iuxta piscinas cum voto et triumpho magno positum
Final rubric: Explicit liber de gestis [much as the introductory rubric]

The incipit is CPL 52, ed. Christine Mohrmann, A. A. R. Bastiaensen et al., Vita dei Santi iii (Milan, 1975), 4–48., But the text rather quickly switches to a life of Cyprian which has not been identified.

2. Fols. 16v–23v:
Rubric: Hic subsequuntur annotamenta quedam valde necessaria ei qui volueril proficere in uirtutibus iuxta votum sue professionis autore DIONISIO CARTUSIANO |[fol. 17] De modo dicendi pater noster
Incipit: Cum dicimus Pater noster Attendat cor nostrum quam summa et ineffabilis sit charitas
Explicit: diligentia mutuo sibi ac cristo in hora illa ministrent deo gratias
Dionysius Cartusianus, Three excerpts from ‘De fructuosa temporis deductione’ (the incipit Bloomfield, no. 8130), arts. 4, 7, and 6 respectively, ed. Opera omnia 40 (Tournai, 1911), 59b C6–61a C1, 63b C4–64a C4, and 62b B9–63a B10 respectively. The incipits of the concluding pair of excerpts are:

(a) ‘De precibus deuote persoluendis necnon et aljs horis ex ordine debitis tam in ecclesia quam in celia reuerenter deo reddendis Hoc sit precipuus noster conatus et summa affectio vt ea que ex ordine obligamur quotidie […] (fol. 19).

(b) ‘De consideracione habenda ante missam Antequam celebremus diligentissime attendamus quatuor illa que in omni sacrificio sunt pensanda […] (fol. 21v).

3. Fols. 24–37v:
Rubric: Sanctus pater CLIMACUS
Incipit: In veritate dominum nostrum iesum cristum diligens eumque in corde et corpore portans […] [fol. 24v] solicitari quod non potest nobis in hora mortis prodesse hec ille|
Rubric: [fol. 25] De abrenuntiane [sic for abrenuntiatione] temporalium
Incipit: Certissime noueris o monachalis vite professor eremiticeque institucionis amator nil vtique tibi patrocinari
Explicit: [fol. 37] pro modulo tuo pre oculis tibi statuas in verbis factis|et cogitacionibus Finis

A series of extremely brief excerpts, probably from JOHN CLIMACUS, Scala paradisi, since the incipit is a bit from ‘gradus 2’. The text was translated by ANGELO CLARENO, and ed., with Dionysius’s commentary in Dionysius’s Opera omnia 28 (1905), 46–7.

4. Fols. 37v–104:
Rubric: Incipit prologus cuius deuotissimi patris scribentis ad inclusos de ipsorum vocatione sancta
Incipit: sancta Pulsatus nuper precibus charitatis ad scribendum aliquid istud apostoli 1. corinthiorum primi Videte vocacionem vestram qualiter inclusi viuerent […] [fol. 38v] Videte vocacionem uestram O dulcissimi vos inclusi et ut uos tam operando
Explicit: uobiscum misericorditer vocare dignetur ad videndum suam gloriam sine fine Amen
Final rubric: Explicit speculatiuum clausorum
Speculum Inclusorum

Ed. Livarius Oliger, ‘Speculum Inclusorum Auctore Anonymo Anglico Saeculi XIV’, Lateranum NS 4, i (1938), 63–141, with a description of our MS at 19–22; Oliger’s plate 2 reproduces fols. 37v–8.

Fol. 104v was originally blank, now with an added text, s. xvi in.: (a) ‘Wherifor cam I out of my mothres uome to se ye ye [trauell] Labour and trauell ye Dolowre and sham of yis myserable world […] ’, breaking off at the page foot.

Language(s): English

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -lium quod et
Form: codex
Support: Paper: folded in quarto, but the quires appear formed from odd half-sheets. There are two different watermarks:

A: Main/Hand: the mark resembles Piccard XVII, nos. 1306, 1318, and 1350–70, a type generally in use 1517 × 1536;

B: Main/Hand: a mark of the type Piccard XVII, nos. 1476–82, recorded from the 1540s (no. 1481 a stock recorded in London); this appears unambiguously only on the two leaves fols. 72 and 78.

Extent: Fols. iii + 104 + iii (numbered fols. iv–vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 195 × 140 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 90 mm.
(although variable)


Uncertain: stab-bound and without signs of any production data. Catchwords, which appear at fols. 71v, 73v–9v, 81v–95v, 97v–103v, most often join pages, not quires. No coherent sequence of water-marks emerges, although the first quire might be a 12 and the second a 16. There is a note pointing out a missing folio at the foot of fol. 14v (italic, s. xvi ex.).


In long lines, 15–24 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded in stylus, no rules.


Written in secretary of varying degrees of formality, and with varying anglicana forms, ranging from totally informal up to bastard, probably not a single hand. Punctuation by point only.


Headings in more formal versions of the text hand; a few swag capitals, but generally spaces left blank.


Plain brown leather over millboards; original may be s. xvii ex. now rebacked, with a modest stamped fillet. Sewn on five thongs. Gold ‘177’ at the head of the spine, in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns and endleaves marbled paper, a College bookplate on the front pastedown. At the front, the marbled leaf and two modern paper flyleaves; at the rear, two modern paper flyleaves and another marbled leaf (iv–vi).


Origin: s. xvi in. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Sir this is to let you vnderstand that your daughtre is in good heith and all thinges ar well god be prased and this is to let you vnderstand […] ’ (fol. 47v, upside down, lower margin, s. xvi med.); further notes and pen-trials on fols. 34 and 48, margin, s. xvi ex.

A variety of s. xvi notes, mostly English (on regimen?) (fols. 64v–5, the margins).

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.


For an extensive facsimile, see James Hogg, ‘The Speculum Inclusorum, volume 2: the St John’s College Oxford MS 177’, Analecta Cartusiana 69 (1981).


    Morton W. Bloomfield et al., Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100–1500 A.D., Including a Section of Incipits of Works on the Pater Noster (Cambridge Mass., 1979).
    Eligius Dekkers and Aemilius Gaar, Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn. (Turnhout, 1995).
    Doctoris ecstatici D. Dionysii Cartusiani Opera omnia 28 (Tournai, 1905).
    Doctoris ecstatici D. Dionysii Cartusiani Opera omnia 40 (Tournai, 1911).
    James Hogg, ‘The Speculum Inclusorum, volume 2: the St John’s College Oxford MS 177’, Analecta Cartusiana 69 (1981).
    Christine Mohrmann, A. A. R. Bastiaensen et al. (eds.), Vita dei Santi iii (Milan, 1975).
    Livarius Oliger, ‘Speculum Inclusorum Auctore Anonymo Anglico Saeculi XIV’, Lateranum NS 4, i (1938), 63–141.
    Gerhard Piccard, Die Wasserzeichenkartei Piccard im Hauptstadts-archiv Stuttgart: Findbuch, currently 17 vols. (Stuttgard, 1961– ).

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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