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

MS. Bodl. 34

Summary Catalogue no.: 1883


Language(s): Middle English, dialect localised to the south-west Midlands. Written in the so-called ‘AB’ language, found also in Cambridge, Corpus Christ College, MS. 402: see Black (1999).

1. (fols. 1r-18r)
Seinte Katerine Ed. S. R. T. O. D'Ardenne and E. J. Dobson, EETS SS 7 (1981).

Three leaves missing with loss of text between fols. 7 and 8.

2. (fols. 18r-36v)
Seinte Marherete Ed. Frances M. Mack, EETS OS 193 (1934, corr. 1958)
3. (fols. 36v-52r)
Seinte Iuliene Ed. S. R. T. O. D'Ardenne, EETS OS 248 (1961)

Missing one leaf between fols. 40 and 41, with loss of text.

4. (fols. 52r-71v)
Hali Meiðhad Ed. Bella Millett, EETS OS 284 (1982)
5. (fols. 72r-80v)
Sawles Warde Ed. R. M. Wilson (Kendal, 1938).

Missing two leaves, after fol. 80, with loss of text.

The whole manuscript also ed. S. T. R. O d'Ardenne, The Katherine group : edited from MS. Bodley 34 (1977) and E. R. Huber & E. A. Robertson, The Katherine Group MS Bodley 34 : religious writings for women in medieval England (2016).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: wrenchen hire
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (later paper) + 81 + i (later paper) folios, foliated i, 1–80; 20 is double (20b is an inserted slip of parchment containing replacement text).
Dimensions (leaf): c. 145–155 × 95–110 mm.
Cropped, with loss of marginal text e.g. on fols. 53r, 72r.


1(8)(missing 8, after fol. 7, with loss of text), 2(8)(missing 1 and 2, before fol. 8, with loss of text), 3(8)(with a slip of parchment inserted after fol. 20), 4(6), 5(8), 6(8)(missing 6, after fol. 40, with loss of text), 7(8)-10(8), 11(8)(missing 7 and 8, after fol. 80, with loss of text)


25 long lines. Pricked in the outer margins. Ruled in leadpoint; ruling often very faint, with double vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page, and the first, third, twenty-third and twenty-fifth horizontal lines extending the full width of the page (Muzerelle, formula 2–2/0/101–101/J). Written above top line. Written space c. 115–125 × 75–85 mm.


One scribe writing an early textualis. Fols. 18v-21v corrected by a contemporary scribe.



Initials, and line-fillers in red.

Many initials not filled in.


Fol. 75v: ‘ly þow me ner lemmon in þy narmus’, 14th century (?) (NIMEV 1871.5, DIMEV 3069)

Several mid-sixteenth-century pen trials and scribbles; see Provenance.

Fol. 52: late sixteenth-century verse paraphrase of St. Juliana, lines 775–9, signed ‘Quoth Maidwell’.


Late 16th or early 17th century binding.


Origin: 13th century, first half (c. 1240?) ; English, South-West Midlands, perhaps Hereford (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

For a date c. 1240, see M. Parkes as reported in the Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English. For the possible Hereford origin see Millett (2011).

Mid-sixteenth-century pen-trials and scribbles (all printed in Ker (1960) pp. xiii-xiv) refer to lesser Herefordshire gentry associated with Tedstone Delamere, Castle Frome, Much Cowarne, and Ledbury.

Thomas Twyne (d. 1613)

Presented by him in 1612.

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford, January 2019. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.


    Additional printed descriptions:

    N. R. Ker (ed.), Facsimile of Ms. Bodley 34 : St. Katherine, St. Margaret, St. Juliana, Hali Meiđhad, Sawles Warde, EETS OS 247 (1960)

Last Substantive Revision

2019-01-29: Description revised.