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

MS. Bodl. 297

Summary Catalogue no.: 2468


John of Worcester, Chronicle

As ed. R. R. Darlington and P. McGurk (Oxford Medieval Texts). Formerly attributed to 'Florence of Worcester', and forming a continuation to the Chronicon of Marianus Scotus.

Preceded (Darlington and McGurk, II, pp. xlvi-l) by lists and tables of Roman consuls, popes, English bishops and archbishops, genealogies of Anglo-Saxon royal dynasties, computistical texts and tables (pp. 48–65), a text of Bede, De locis sanctis (pp. 66–70), a text on the measurements of the cross (p. 71), and a genealogy of French kings and Norman dukes, as in Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS. 157, from which the present manuscript was copied.

Substantial contemporary marginal additions, and interpolations in the text, drawing on a range of sources (including extracts from Eadmer, Historia Novorum), some relating to Bury St. Edmunds Abbey: printed and discussed in Darlington and McGurk, II, appendix B, and III, appendix B. Additions on pp. 281–2 (Cuthbert's Epistola de obitu Bedae, including Bede's Death Song) and pp. 328–9 (Bury charter) include Old English.

Followed (p. 423b) by extracts from the Chronicle of Jocelyn of Brakelond, added early thirteenth century (pr. Darlington and McGurk, III, pp. 323–6).

Language(s): Latin including a very little Old English

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 426 pages
Dimensions (leaf): 376 × 285 mm.


1–10 cols. (typically 2), 42 lines, written space 285 × 200–10 mm.


Two main scribes (pp. 1–344, pp. 345–423a), with marginal and interlinear additions by several others (Darlington and McGurk, II, p. lii).


Fine miniature (unfinished drawing, retouched: Crucifixion, p. 71), good initials. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 167, pl. XVII)

Coloured initials, rubrics.


Oxford, late 16th or early 17th century (D. Pearson, Oxford Bookbinding 1500–1640) (2000), centrepiece xiv, pp. 78 and 111), rebacked.

Accompanying Material

In the binding are (1) a leaf of an early-fourteenth-century canon law manuscript; (2) fragments of a thirteenth-century treatise on roman law; (3) a fragment of a fourteenth-century gradual.


Origin: 1133 × 1143 (?); additions, early 13th century ; English, Bury St. Edmunds, Benedictine abbey

Provenance and Acquisition

Written at Bury St. Edmunds, as evidenced by the interpolations and additions, probably between 1133 and 1143 (Darlington and McGurk, II, p. liii).

Bury St. Edmunds ex libris, 12th century, p. 1: ‘Liber Sancti Ædmundi regis et m⟨artyris⟩ ’.

Bury St. Edmunds pressmark, 14th century, second half, p. 1: ‘C. 53’

Marginalia by Sir John Prise, 1502?-1555.

Given to the Bodleian by George Broome, esq. of Holton (p. i), probably in 1608.

Record Sources

Description adapted (2018) from the following sources, and from published literature cited in the description:
A. G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.435–1600 in Oxford Libraries (Oxford, 1984), no. 75 [physical description, origin, provenance]
Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford , III (1973), no. 167 [decoration]
Summary Catalogue (1922) [contents, binding leaves, acquisition]

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (4 images from 35mm slides)


Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile (Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2020), vol. 28: Bede Manuscripts


Last Substantive Revision

2018-11-12: Revised to incorporate all information in Watson, Pächt and Alexander, and SC, updated with reference to the description and edition by Darlington and McGurk.