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 (leaf): 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): 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.