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

Lincoln College MS. Lat. 119


Language(s): Middle English with Latin

Fols. i–iv are paper flyleaves. ‘Proposals for Printing by Subscription, the Holy Bible…Translated into English…by John Wickleffe’, by John Russell, 1712, pasted onto fols. ii recto–iv verso.

(fols. 1r–351r)
Old and New Testaments in the Later Version of the Wycliffite Bible

Old Testament books from Exodus to Ecclesiasticus and 1, 2 Maccabees are prefaced by their descriptions in the General Prologue; Isaiah and Baruch have their usual prologues. The openings of the sections on Tobit, Judith and Ecclesiasticus have been adjusted to remove doubts about canonicity (Dove, M., The first English Bible: the text and context of the Wycliffite versions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 96–7, 120, 262). At the start of Genesis: ‘Seke þou þe prolog of genesis at þe ende of machabeis þat is bitwixe þe olde lawe & newe’ (fol. 1r). Old Testament ends on fol. 279r with a rubric ‘þe olde testament endiþ here’ and is followed by chapters 1–3 of the General Prologue, as far as the end of the description of Genesis. The chapters begin ‘Fyue and twenty bookis of þe oolde testament…’ and end ‘…& in alle þingis don his wille’ (Dove, 2010, ll. 1–150). They are preceded by a rubric ‘Here bigynneþ a reule þat telliþ of þe bookis of þe oolde testament whiche ben of very feiþ & whiche ben not of feiþ. But alle þe bookis of þe newe testament ben of feiþ & of bileeue & also here bigynneþ þe prolog of genesis in þe ende’.

Final rubric: Here endiþ þe prolog of genesis (fol. 279v)

New Testament books have their usual the Later Version of the Wycliffite Bible prologues. Matthew has one prologue followed by a rubric ‘Ierom in his two prologis on matheu seiþ pleynly al þis’ (fol. 280r) (see Provenance). Lacks Job 9:18 to Psalms 17:38 because of the loss of a quire.

Running titles in red on both rectos and versos preceded by blue paraphs consisting of abbreviated titles of books only. Usual rubrics in red. Rubrics in red pointing out the differences between the Hebrew and Latin texts in Esther and Daniel. Chapter numbers as red Roman numerals. Added material within the text is underlined in red or faintly in black. Glosses in the margins. Indexing letters in the margins in New Testament only. Red and blue paraphs at the beginning of sections within the text. Corrections in the original or contemporary hands.

3-line blue initials with red penwork at the beginnings of psalms; 5-line initials and penwork borders at the beginning of psalms 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97 and 109. Psalms are laid out as prose with verses starting with 1-line alternating red or blue initials. Psalm titles in English in red. Latin incipits in red at the beginning of some psalms (mostly those at liturgical divisions) or added in the margins in a late 15th-century hand. Psalm 118 is subdivided into 22 sections with 2-line initials at the beginning of sections.

Many notes throughout in a late 15th-century hand in the margins citing or summarising the text.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment, paper flyleaves
Extent: 356 leaves, c.
Dimensions (leaf): 410 × 270 mm.
Foliation: modern in pencil: i–iv + 1–82 + unnumbered leaf + 83–351 + two unnumbered paper flyleaves at the end


(fols. i–iv) paper flyleaves | (fols. 1–191) I–XLIV (8) | two unnumbered paper flyleaves at the end; a quire is missing after fol. 151. Catchwords survive. Most quire signatures survive and appear to run consecutively. A new series starts on fol. 192. There is no catchword on fol. 279v where the Old Testament ends, but there is no break in quire signatures between Old Testament and New Testament.
Secundo Folio: ‘adam lyuyde’ (fol. 2r)


ruled for two columns with double vertical and single horizontal bounding lines extending the full height and width of page; a second set of single bounding lines in the outer margins; 66–9 lines per page; written space: c. 300 × 190 mm.


textura; probably shares a scribe with CUL MS. Kk 1. 8 (Dove, M., The first English Bible: the text and context of the Wycliffite versions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 263).


5- to 9-line red and blue ‘puzzle’ initials with red and blue penwork decoration, and penwork ‘saw-tooth’ borders at the beginnings of books. Penwork occasionally includes anthropomorphic designs.

3- to 4-line blue initials with red penwork at the beginnings of chapters and prologues.

Catchwords in frames with penwork decoration.

In the lower right corner on fol. 95v (end of a quire) is a flourisher’s account listing the numbers of ‘indented and flourished’ letters, ‘flourished’ letters, and paraphs. Fragmentary writing in the same place at the end of another quire, fol. 143v.

Rubrics in red ink.


Leather over thick pasteboard, 18th century. Border made of double blind fillet lines with floral corner-pieces round the outer edge of both covers.

Two holes in the upper right corner of the front cover. Ten raised bands on spine. Gilt decoration on the panels between the bands. Two red leather labels at the top of the spine with gilt decoration and lettering ‘BIBLIA’ and ‘IN | PERGAMENT’. Paper labels at the top and bottom of the spine with typewritten ‘15’ and ‘MS. | Linc. Coll. | Lat. 119’. Edges of textblock speckled red. Marbled paper pastedowns covered with laid paper. Laid paper flyleaves.


Origin: England ; 15th century, first quarter

Probably shares a scribe with CUL MS. Kk 1. 8. Textual similarities with MS. Kk 1. 8: both lack the same portion of chapter 10 of the General Prologue (Dove, M., The first English Bible: the text and context of the Wycliffite versions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 120 n. 80) and have a rubric at the beginning of Matthew suggesting that there should be two prologues, but only one is included (see Text).

Dialect survey:

  • ony(9)/oni(1), ech(10), fier(5)/fyer(5), ȝouun(4)/ȝouen(5)/ȝoue(1), lyf(4)/ lijf(6), lijk(5)/lyk(4)/liyk(1), myche(5)/miche(3)/moche(2), siȝ(2)/saiȝ(1)/say(4) (sg.), seien(1)/saien(2)/siȝen(4) (pl.), silf(10), such(1)/suche(3)/sich(1)/siche(5), þouȝ(8), þoruȝ(10)
  • -iþ(9)/-eþ(1) (pres.ind.3sg.), -en(10) (pres.ind.pl.), -ynge(10) (pres.part.), she(10) (3sg.fem.pronoun, nom.), þei(10) (3pl.pronoun, nom.), hem(10) (3pl.pronoun, oblique), here(8)/her(2) (3pl.pronoun, possessive)

Provenance and Acquisition

Late 15th-century owner who left many notes in the margins in English, most summarising the contents of the biblical text.

‘Ister lyber perteneth bere ye in mynd hade’, 16th century, fol. 351v.

Erased ownership inscription (?) in the upper margin of fol. 1r.

Lincoln College, Oxford: book plate on the upper pastedown.

Record Sources

Elizabeth Solopova, Manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible in the Bodleian and Oxford College Libraries, Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016), no. 55.


To ensure its availability to future readers, access to this item is restricted, and readers are asked to work from reproductions and published descriptions as far as possible. To apply to see the original, please send a message to specialcollections.enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, outlining the subject of your research, the importance of this item to that research, and the resources you have already consulted.


    Forshall, J. and Madden, F. (eds), The Holy Bible … in the earliest English versions made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and his followers, 4 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1850), vol. 1, p. lii; sigla G; δ – General Prologue.
    Coxe, H. O., Catalogus codicum mss. qui in collegiis aulisque Oxoniensibus hodie adservantur, 2 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1852), vol. 1, Catalogus codicum MSS. Collegii Lincolniensis, pp. 53–4.
    Hudson, A., Selections from English Wycliffite writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), pp. 166, 170.
    Lindberg, C. (ed.), The Middle English Bible, The Book of Judges (Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1989), pp. 69–70.
    Ogilvie-Thomson, S. J., Index of Middle English prose, 18 vols (Cambridge, 1984– ), Handlist VIII (1991), pp. 41, 109.
    Dove, M., The first English Bible: the text and context of the Wycliffite versions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 17, 74, 88, 96–8, 102, 106–7, 120, 123–4, 127, 152, 156, 242, 262–3, 302.

Last Substantive Revision

2023-03-24: Add Solopova description.