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

MS. Bodl. 916

Summary Catalogue no.: 2990


Reginald Pecock, The Donet
Incipit: In nomme patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Here bigynnyþ þe prolog.

The title is suggested in the prologue ('þe donet or key of goddis lawe, or [...] cristen religioun'), and the treatise, being in the form of a dialogue in two parts (see fol. 47), is intended to serve as an introduction to, and summary of, the author's Rule of Christian Religion

Incipit: (prol.) For as moche as the book ycallid the reule
Incipit: (text) Fadir. What is a man. Sone. A man is a quick body

At fol. 14 is a list of some works by Pecock, but there is no direct indication of the author

This appears to be the only extant manuscript of the treatise, but Elsie Vaughan Hitchcock notes that this is is certainly not the original manuscript, and was written out fair by the scribe, and then corrected by another hand (The Donet, EETS 156 [Oxford, 1921], p. xi)

Language(s): Middle English

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: iii + 109 leaves
Dimensions (binding): 9.75 × 6.5 in.


Catchwords are visible; see, for example, fols 10v and 20v


Two leaves are missing after fol. 76 and two after fol. 82


Originally, the first five folios of each gathering had quire 'signatures' at the extreme bottom right-hand corner, e.g. 'aj', 'aij', 'aiij', 'aiiij', 'av', 'bj', etc. In many cases, the whole or part of this 'signature' was cut off when the margins were cropped. With the second part, a new set of 'signatures' begins (Hitchcock, The Donet, EETS 156 (Oxford, 1921), p. xii)


A space is left at the beginning of chapters for an illuminated initial capital, and the corresponding guide letters are visible

Additions: There are several marginal notes, frequently erased, in a later (probably sixteenth-century) hand, seemingly by a critic. At the foot of fol. 1v is a sixteenth-century note: 'This booke was compiled by Reynolde pecocke, bisshope of Asaphensis and after Bysshopin of Cicestrensis, anno domini 1457'. (NB: this date is not correct.)


Origin: 15th century, second half ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

On fol. 64v, there is a copy of nearly all of a bond of April 13, 1589, between James Godson and John Walton, both tailors of York

'By me Jamys Ryllsey', 16th century (fol. 102)

'Tho. Allen D.[ono] D.[edit], 'in 1601

Record Sources

Description adapted (August 2023) by Stewart J. Brookes from the Summary Catalogue (1922) and Elsie Vaughan Hitchcock, The Donet, EETS 156 (Oxford, 1921)


Fol. 3v is the opening plate in Elsie Vaughan Hitchcock, The Donet, EETS 156 (Oxford, 1921)

Last Substantive Revision

2023-08-07: Description revised to incorporate all the information in the Summary Catalogue (1922)