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

MS. Bodl. 178

Summary Catalogue no.: 2073

Medical texts; England, A c. 1570, B 15th century, second half

Physical Description

Composite: two parts
Extent: iii + '189' leaves, apparently wanting fols. 37–43
Dimensions (binding): 11.875 × 8.75 in.


Provenance and Acquisition

John Hall, physician, of Maidstone, 1529/30–1568/9 (see DNB): The name of 'John Halle' appears twice: ‘precium xxiiijs’: also on fol. ij 'John Capon' (or Caxton).

This appears to be the 'Book of Surgerie in English' presented by Thomas Twyne in 1612, but not referenced till about 1620–25.

MS. Bodl. 178 – Part 1 (fols. 1–36, 156 to end)

Collections of John Hall


(fol. 1)
Medical recipes with explanations in English
Incipit: Recipe myrrhe э viij
Language(s): Latin and English
(fol. 5)
Medical treatise
Rubric: A brefe instructyone conserning ... worthy medesines ... for the Chyrurgien
Incipit: The working of medycines. First it behovyth to digest
Language(s): English
(fol. 19)
Rubric: A treatis of the cure of the French poxe wryten in Latten by Benedictus Victorius and translatyd into Inglysh by John Hall chirurgien
Incipit: Sythe many before me
Language(s): English

Followed by another cure 'after Nicolaus Massa' similarly translated (fol. 28).

Language(s): English
(fol. 33v)
Rubric: Certayne conferences made bettwene mr William Cunningham doctor of physycke [of Coleman St., London] and mr John Hall chyrurgien [of Maidstone] touching ... the poxe

Copies of two letters, April 1565. The foliation would naturally indicate the loss of six pages, but there are erasures on foll. 32–6.

Language(s): English

(fol. 156). 'The Effect [i.e. substance] of Haywoddes letter to person Darell for Paryse of Inngelstone [Ingatestone?]', with a letter from 'doctor Coldwell' to John Hall, Sept. 29, 1566, and several recipes by 'goodwife Suttun', 'Benett of Islington', etc.

Language(s): English

Some later Latin recipes are on fol. 185v, but foll. 159–84 are blank.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper


Origin: c. 1570 ; English

MS. Bodl. 178 – Part 2 (fols. 44–154)


(fol. 44)

A manual of medicine in three books, i of man's body, ii (fol. 51v) of diseases in general, iii (fol. 140v) of diseases of women: the first chapter beg. 'It is to vnderstond that a man is made of foure elementis': at fol. 152 follows a long alphabetical 'exposyssion of names' of drugs, beg. 'Aloen. Aloe is hoote and dry in the seconde degre'.

Fols. 140v-151r comprise The Sekenesse of Wymmen, version 1, translated from Gilbert Anglicus, Compendium medicinae: M. H. Green, ‘Obstetrical and Gynaecological Texts in Middle English’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 14 (1992), 53–88, at 72–82, . Green identifies other components in the compendium (fols. 44–151) as a text on humors, elements, qualities, urines; a translation of Gilbertus Anglicus; a translation of Guy de Chauliac, Chirurgia on hematoscopy; and a translation of Guy de Chauliac on scarifying and cupping; followed by an alphabetical list of drugs.

Language(s): Middle English

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Origin: 15th century, second half ; English

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description adapted (May 2020) from the Summary Catalogue (1922) with additional reference to other published literature as cited.

Last Substantive Revision

2020-05-04: Description revised to incorporate all information in SC.