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

MS. Bodl. 356

Summary Catalogue no.: 2716


Alexander Nequam, Commentary on the Song of Songs
Rubric: Exposicio super Cantica Canticorum in laudem ... Virginis Marie

Missing the first six leaves

Begins (in Book 2, Chapter 4) 'hominis deuotis amplexibus amplexaris'

Title from fol 52v. The author's name is on the back. Books 2-6 begin on fols 52v, 84, 122v, 168, 211v

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i + '7'-'257' leaves
Dimensions (binding): 14.125 × 10.25 in.


Mutilated, begins incomplete.


2 cols


Pächt and Alexander iii. 414, pl. XXXV

Fine initials


White parchment on boards, clasp etc. lost. English 14th century work, worn, one board broken. An offset on the last cover shows that two leaves of an 11th century (?) Latin missal have been removed.


Origin: 13th century, middle ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Benedictine abbey of St Edmund, King and Martyr

The Bury pressmark, 'A.162' (with a title) on the back of the manuscript, shows that it was was at Bury St Edmund's in the 14th century. It appears to be no. 13 in Leland's list of manuscripts seen there and no. 152 in Thomas James's list of manuscripts seen at Pembroke College, Cambridge, as part of the gift of William Smart in 1599

Apparently acquired between 1613 and 1620

Record Sources

Description adapted (March 2023) by Stewart J. Brookes from the Summary Catalogue (1922). Decoration, localization and date follow Pächt and Alexander (1973)

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2023-01-01: Description revised to incorporate all the information in the Summary Catalogue (1922)