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

MS. Bodl. 408

Summary Catalogue no.: 2301

Conrad Holtnicker, Sermons, etc.; Germany (lower Rhine?), late 13th or early 14th century


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r-2v)

Part of a Florilegium; perhaps moved from the end of the volume; see below, art. 8, fol. 201v.

2. (fols. 3r–124v)
Conrad Holtnicker, Sermones (Temporale for the whole year)
Rubric: Dominica prima in adventu domini
Incipit: Hora est iam nos de sompno surgere etc. Ro. xiii⟨:11⟩. Surgite ergo peccatores a sompno peccati. Surgite inquam propter vigilem excitantem
Explicit: divina virtute se ab eo expellendum cognoscit
Schneyer, Repertorium, i, pp. 748–64 nos. 3, 4, 12, 14, 24, 25, 34, 36, 40, 43, 44, etc., the last three are nos. 249, 253, and 254. Schneyer cites MS. Laud Misc. 408, probably in error for the present MS.
3. (margins of fols. 108v, 109v–110r, 111r, 112r–v)
Added Sermon
Incipit: Querite. In hiis verbis pius ac sapiens magister de seipso dicit Jo.xiiij ⟨13:13⟩ Vos vocatis me magister
Schneyer, v, pp. 637–38 no. 96, attributed to Thomas de Lisle, bishop of Ely, who died at Avignon in 1361.

Added in margins next to the beginnings of the sermons for Dominica XV–XVIII. The same scribe added a note next to the sermon for St. Michael (fol. 176).

4. (fols. 124v–125r)

Items added on pages originally left unwritten:

(fol. 124v)
A Creed, in German
Incipit: Ich gelaube in got fater almehtigen der ein schotffer ist hiemelrichz
Explicit: ich geleybe nach diesen leben daz ewyge leben
Language(s): Middle High German (Eastern Alemannic)
(fol. 125r)

A list of things and people (to pray for, during the Western Schism?)

‘Item pro ecclesia sancta katholika, Item pro domino papa, Item pro uniuersis ordinibus, Item pro reparatore, Item pro kathecuminis, Item pro quacumque tribulacione, Item pro hereticis et scismaci, Item pro Iudeyis, Item pro paganis’

Rest of rol. 125r blank. Fol. 125v ruled, otherwise blank; fol. 126 is the start of a new quire.

5. (fols. 126r–185v)
Conrad Holtnicker, Sermones (Sanctorale)
Rubric: Andree
Incipit: Elegit suspendium anima mea Iob vii⟨:15⟩ Quando beatus Andreas dixit O bona crux
Explicit: in canticum gratiarum actionis

From St. Andrew to St. Katherine (30 Nov. – 25 Nov.)

Schneyer, i, pp. 765–70 nos. 258, 259, 261, 264, etc., ending with nos. 353–355.
6. (fols. 185v–190v)
Conrad Holtnicker, Sermones (Commone sanctorum)
Rubric: De apostolis
Incipit: Si replete fuerint nubes […] Eccl. xi⟨:3⟩ Quomodo apostoli fuerunt sicut nubes repleti humido
Explicit: non peccatum dimittitur nisi rest⟨it⟩uatur ablatum
Schneyer, i, pp. 771–76 C2–C11

Continuing straight on from the Sanctorale; eight for an apostle, nine for a martyr, two for the dedication of a church.

7. (fols. 190v–201r)
Sermons for the Sanctorale
Rubric: In nat. sancte Marie
Incipit: Fecit deus duo luminaria magna. luminare maius id est Christum ut preesset diei
Explicit: hodie consoletur in tribulatione sua, et perducat ad gaudia eterna. Amen.

For the Nativity of the Virgin, Assumption, St Mark, and All Souls. The first is like Schneyer, vii, p. 637 no. 352 (from Munich, BSB, Clm 5528); that for St Mark is like Schneyer, v, p. 595 no. 208, by Thomas Aquinas.

8. (fols. 201v–208v)
Florilegium, mainly from the Fathers and St. Bernard
Rubric: De incarnatione
Incipit: ⟨G⟩regorius super ultimam partem Ezech. omelia .iiij. loquens de filio dei ait Caro fratres est ut nos spirituales faceret
Explicit: sed ut tedio careat interpellantis et rem perdit et meritum

Apparently continuing on fols. 1r–2v:

Incipit: Gregorius. Frustra ad[sic] manus erigit ad deum qui eas pro posse ad pauperes non extendit
Explicit: et si ad edificationem aliquo intellectu intendit. domini sunt verba que dicit

A considerably longer 13th-century copy (with 99 chapters occupying 90 leaves) is Leiden, University Library, MS. d’Ablaing 36 (see P. C. Boeren, Catalogue des manuscrits des collections d’Ablaing et Meijers (Leiden, 1970), pp. 136–41); a copy was perhaps also in the library of The Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1472, if ‘Gregorius super ultimam partem Ezechielis’ in the catalogue was the incipit, rather than the title as proposed by P. D. Clarke, The university and college libraries of Cambridge, Corpus of British medieval library catalogues, 10 (London, 2002), p. 576 no. 146. The Leiden MS. ends with the same compotus material and annals as in the present MS., suggesting that the latter may be copied from the former.

From the sources used in the Leiden MS. (including Anselm, Bernard, Hugh and Richard of St-Victor, and Richard of Saint-Laurent) the compilation can be dated after c.1240 (perhaps c. 1254, the date mentioned in the compotus material, or during the 19-year Metonic cycle following; see below), and attributed to a Cistercian milieu (to judge by the importance given to Bernard here and in the annals), in Germany (to judge by the spelling ‘Bernhardus’ and the emphasis on Germany in the annals).

9. (fol. 209r)
Compotus material and annals

Four columns at the left give the ‘littere pascales’, ‘b.’–‘v.’ and ‘.a’–‘.q’, representing 22 March – 25 April; and the corresponding ‘littere dominicales’, a–g; ‘ebdomade’ of the year, vi–xi; and ‘dies’, i–vi, with spaces blank in place of ‘vii’.


Eight-line verse:

Incipit: Rex furit elatus oculum claudendo beatus / Luce kaos terret hilarem gentis, quatit edem
Explicit: / Unum sena quadrans duo septem quinque tribus dant
WIC 16726; cf. eTK 1360F.

Note on the table called ‘fnugo’

Incipit: Notandum quod computus qui fnugo dicitur currit per duo alfabeta
Explicit: et fit computatio descendo
On the ‘tabula fnugonis’ see Le nombre d’or: étude de chronologie technique, suivie du texte de la Massa compoti d’Alexandre de Villedieu, ed. W.E. van Wijk (The Hague, 1936), pp. 81–2, 127.

Note on the verses above

‘Nota quod anno domini mº.ccº.lº.iiiiº. inceperunt versus. Rex furit &c in radice digiti auricularis.’

Brief annals from 1146 (?) to 1213
Incipit: Anno domini .mº.c.vii.[sic] predicavit beatus Bernhardus abbas Clarevallensis
Explicit: Anno domini .mº.cc.xiij. iniciatus est locus in Steiga

The other annals record the drowning of Emperor Frederick (Barbarossa) in 1190; the killing of King Philip (of Swabia) in ‘Babenberg’ in 1208; the arrival of Emperor Frederick (II) in Germany and the Children’s Crusade, in 1212 (but written as ‘.mº.c.xi.’).

Discussed by Jean-Philippe Meyer, ‘La fondation d’Obersteigen en 1213 d’après le fragment annalistique d’Oxford’, Pays d’Alsace, 207 (2004), 61–64.

The Leiden MS. cited above also has the date 1107 for the first annal, but it is perhaps an error and should refer to Bernard preaching the Second Crusade in 1146.


Added in the lower margin:

‘Augustinus O cherubin o seraphin o angeli o archangeli dimisso wltu et inclinat⟨o capite⟩ …’

Fol. 209v ruled, otherwise blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (paper) + i (parchment) + 209 + i (parchment) + i (paper)
Dimensions (leaf): 280 × 205 mm.
Foliation: i–ii, 1–211


Uncertain; too tightly bound. Most of the first section (fols. 3-125) with catchwords, the surviving catchwords indicating quires of 12 leaves. Fol. 89 is a half-leaf (inserted (?)).


Ruled in ink for 2 columns of 27 lines. Ruled space 200 × 140 mm. , with 13-14 mm. between columns.


Gothic textura; fols. 1r-2v, 201v-208v in another hand; fol. 209r a third hand (?).


Initials in plain red.


Post-medieval. Sewn on four bands laced into pasteboards covered with speckled brown polished leather, each cover framed by a single blind filet. The unrounded spine with gilt former shelmark ‘NE.E.4.9’, and ‘408’ in white paint.


Origin: 13th century, late, or 14th century, early ; Germany, lower Rhine (Alsace) (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Perhaps owned by the Augustinian monastery at Obersteigen, Alsace, to judge by the record of its foundation among the annals (fol. 209r).

Early reader(s): annotations in faint ‘crayon’ throughout.

Rev. Clement Burdett (d. after 1577?), inscribed with his name, 16th century (fol. 1r), on whom see Alan Coates, English Medieval Books: The Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal (Oxford, 1999), pp.131–33, 136–41, citing the present MS. at 139; thence to his nephew:

William Burdett, of Sonning, Berkshire:

presented as part of a group of 34 MSS in 1608 to the Bodleian Library. Former Bodleian shelfmarks: ‘T(?).5.11.9’ (fol. ii verso); ‘Th | J 7.10’, cancelled by encircling; and ‘NE.E.4.9’ (fol. ii verso, cf. 1r and spine).

Record Sources

Description (May 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford; information on the dialect of the German text contributed by Nigel Palmer. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue (1922).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-05-19: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.