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

MS. Bodl. 783

Summary Catalogue no.: 2610


Gregory the Great, De cura pastorali
Rubric: Incipit liber primus pastoralis curę editus a beato Gregorio papa Romano ad Iohannem Rauennatem episcopum

With the preface; the second book follows at fol. 44; and a list of chapters precedes the work.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii + 138 leaves
Dimensions (binding): 10.625 × 7.125 in.


Damaged by damp, particularly at the beginning and the end, as in many books from Exeter. Fols 1-8 and 124-136 are covered with a semitransparent substance


Damaged; related to the style of Hugo Pictor (Pächt and Alexander i. 442, pl. XXXVI). Compare also the decoration in Bodley 691, also an Exeter book (MLGB3)

C. R. Dodwell, The Canterbury School of Illumination, 1066-1200 (Cambridge University Press, 1954), p. 117, identifies MS. Bodl. 783 as one of a group of Exeter manuscripts from the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries which are illuminated in the 'Carilef' style that is associated with the Norman books given to Durham by William of St Carilef, e.g. the Carilef Bible (Durham Cathedral Library, MS. A. II. 4). The other manuscripts from Dodwell's group are from Dodwell's group are MS. Bodl. 301, MS. Bodl. 813 and MS. Bodl. 707 [NB: Dodwell lists MS. Bodl. 701 but must have intended MS. Bodl. 707]

Fine miniature (Fol. 3, a painting of Christ seated with a banner in his left hand; oval within a rectangular frame)

Historiated initial (Fol. 4v, St Gregory writing his book)

Other initials


Origin: 11th century, end ; France, Normandy

Provenance and Acquisition

Exeter, Devon, Cathedral church of St Peter: marginal marking in pencil as in other Exeter manuscripts, e.g. Bodley 289

Identifiable in the 1506 catalogue by second folio (one of two copies therein with this second folio, 'quod aliter')

Its size sugests that it, more probably than Bodley 708, is the '4to pastoral Care' mentioned in the Benefactors' Register (MLGB3)

On fol. 137v, a document has been added in which the prior and convent 'S. Nicholai Ex'' (St Nichòlas of Exeter) supplicate Bishop John (?Grandison) that John Taylere acolyte should be advanced to subdeacon

This appears to be a manuscript presented by William Harwood or Hayward, prebend of Winchester in 1611

Record Sources

Description adapted (January 2023) by Stewart J. Brookes from the Summary Catalogue (1922), with additional reference to published literature as cited. Decoration, localization and date follow Pächt and Alexander (1973)

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (7 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2023-01-30: Description revised to incorporate all the information in the Summary Catalogue (1922)