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

St John's College MS. 194



Language(s): Latin with some Greek and Old English

1. Fols. 4ra–20vb:
Rubric: [the rubric added s. xii med.] euangelia
Incipit: Liber generationis ihesu cristi fili\i/ dauid filii abraham Abraham genuit Isaac
Explicit: Et \ecce/ ego uobiscum sum omibus [sic for omnibus] diebus usque ad consummationem seculi
Final rubric: Explicit euangelium secundum matheum [this colophon repeated]

A few exegetical notes in the lower margins. The subsequent unnumbered leaf (fol. 20 bis) is blank.

2. Fols. 21ra–31va:
Rubric: Incipit euangelium secundum marcum
Incipit: Initium euangelii ihesu cristi fili dei sicut scriptum est in isaia
Explicit: ubique domino cooperante et sermonem confirmante sequentibus signis
Final rubric: Explicit euangelium secundum marcum

Fol. 31vb and the unnumbered fol. 31 bisrv are blank.

3. Fols. 32ra–51ra:
Rubric: Incipit euangelium secundum lucam
Incipit: Quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ordinare narrationem quae in nobis
Explicit: cum gaudio magno et erant semper in templo laudantes et benedicentes deum
Final rubric: Explicit euangelium secundum lucam

Below the explicit the notation ‘Iohannes aquila’.

4. Fols. 51rb–65ra:
Rubric: Incipit euangelium secundum iohannem
Incipit: In principio erat uerbum et uerbum erat apud deum
Explicit: nec ipsum arbitror mundum capere eos que scribendi sunt libros
Final rubric: explicit euangelium secundum iohannem

Below the text after the explicit, four lines of non-Latin script, the last two Greek, as well as an illegible line, and the verse ‘Sic scriptor fersus kalamum sub calle laboris’. The remainder was originally blank.

Added texts:

a. Fol. 2:

‘Anno dominice incarnationis dcccclxxix. Ego aegelredus rex gratia dei tocius britannie monarcha pro salute anime mee concedo ecclesie cristi in dorobernia terras uiris mei scilicet Sandwich et estree ad opus monachorum in eadem ecclesia deo seruientium liberas ab omni seculari seruitio et fiscali tributo exceptis expeditione pontium et castrorum constructione Quisquis hanc meam largifluam munificentiam uiolare presumpserit cum reprobis in die iudicii a sinistris cristi collocatis accipiat sententiam dampnationis cum diabolo et angelis eius’ (s. xiii ex.).

b. Fol. 2v:

‘Ic aegelreð ðurh \godes/ geue gealra eingla landes ane king ⁊ ealra ðere ylande þe ðerto beliggat for mire saule alisendnesse gean cristes chirichan inne chantƿareberi landas on mine gerihte ꝥ is to ƿittenne sandƿich ⁊ aestree […] (s. xii med.).

Text (a) in Old English translation, written in insular minuscule (including the letter wynn).

c. Fol. 65rb:
Incipit: Domine ihesu criste qui es caput .... et coronae omnium sanctorum respice qs’ infanciam huius famuli tui illius qui in tuo
Explicit: famulae tuae que celestium terrestrium donorum consortium
(in square minuscule, s. xi1 or an imitation).

Below this a note ‘Bonus monachus vix bonum clericum facit Augustinus xvj qu. legi’ (s. xv, secretary).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: mittetur
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. iii + 3 (numbered fols. 1–3) + 64 (numbered fols. 4–65, but unnumbered leaves after 20 and 31) + vii (numbered iii bis–ix).
Dimensions (leaf): 167 × 125 mm.


14(–4, a stub; probably all originally blank and included here as binding materials) 26+1(+7, pasted in) 38 48+1(+3 fol. 20 bis) 58+1(+6, fol. 31 bis) 6–88 98(–8, probably blank, a stub). No catchwords; each quire signed with a roman numeral on the final verso (quires 3–8 = ii–vii).


In double columns, each column 125 × 45 mm. , with 7–9 mm between columns, in 33 lines to the page. Some prickings; bounded and ruled in stylus.


Written in caroline (frequent use of insular a, occasionally insular g and s). Punctuation by point only.


Headings in text ink in uncial.

Initials at major divisions, the same size as those within text, usually marginally and in scribal ink.

Unusually, at the head of John, a 14-line high capital in text ink, outlined by and with simple interlace inside (a space left for a second on the page is unfilled).

Running titles to identify the Gospel in uncial, rustic capitals, occasionally (e.g. fols. 41v–2) in Greek.

Illustrations: on fol. 1v, in ink, with green, brown, and flesh-coloured wash for highlights, under a canopy John holding a pen and a copy of his Gospel, with a cross-bearing angel leaning down towards him. Francis Wormald, English Drawings of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (London, 1952), 23, 77 (no. 52), first identified this drawing as copied from BL, MS Cotton Tiberius A.ii (where it depicts Matthew), a Gospel book made at Lobbes and presented by Otto I to Athelstan, who is believed to have donated it to Christ Church, Canterbury.

On fol. 2 (probably s. xv): a crowned and robed king, perhaps Edward the Confessor, gesturing toward the ‘Ego’ of the inscription.

A few further drawings in the lower margins, e.g. a dog’s head (fol. 42v) or a simple floral interlace pattern (fol. 15v).

There are also the faint remains of drawings on fols. 20vb and 31vb.

See AT, no. 1 (3), for fol. 1v only, dated c.950 and Christ Church?, and plate i (fol. 1v, the evangelist identified as Matthew, not John); and AT, no. 508 (50) for fol. 2, dated s. xv med., an added drawing.

The drawings have often been reproduced; see ASIllum 7 and plate 5; Wormald, plate 40b (fol. 1v); Temple, no. 12 (41–2), and fig. 47 (fol. 1v). See Plate 7.


A modern replacement. Sewn on two thongs, but probably originally others at the top and foot, suggesting an s. xii binding; three thongs showed on the spine (now damaged). At the front, a marbled paper leaf and two modern paper flyleaves; at the rear, three vellum flyleaves, two modern paper flyleaves, and another marbled paper leaf (iii bis–ix).


Origin: s. ix ex. ; ? Brittany

Provenance and Acquisition

The illustration and the two deeds suggest Christ Church, Canterbury, as do the two pressmarks ‘GL’ (fol. 2, s. xi; fol. 4, s. xii); see further James, AL, Appendix D (527). Tentatively accepted as a Christ Church book by Ker, MLGB 39.

‘Ob prophetum multum crimen pertransit multum’ (fol. 65v, s. xv).

‘Nunc lege nunc ora nunc cum feruore labora | Sic erit hora breuis labor ille leuis’ (WIC 12951; fol. iii; s. xv, secretary).

The old cancelled shelfmark ‘Abac: ij. N. 40.’ (fol. 1v).

‘Liber Collegij Sancti Joannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex Legato Henrici Price Sacrae Theologiae Bachalaurei et hujus Collegij olim Socij qui obijt 20 Februarij Anno 1600’ (fol. 3, 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, Anglo-Saxon Illumination in Oxford Libraries. Bodleian Library Picture Book, special series 1 (Oxford, 1970).
    M. R. James, The Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover (Cambridge, 1903).
    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).
    Elźbieta Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, 900–1066 (London, 1976).
    Hans Walther, Initia carminum ac versuum Medii Aevi posterioris Latinorum, 2nd edn (Göttingen, 1969).
    Francis Wormald, English Drawings of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (London, 1952).

    Additional bibliography provided by St John's College staff:

    Peter Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography (Royal Historical Society, 1968) [discussing added texts (a) and (b); see also the online Electronic Sawyer, last accessed 14 September 2021].

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2021-09: First online publication

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