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

MS. Bodl. 921

Summary Catalogue no.: 3027


1. (fols 1r-99v)
Psalter, English metrical version (Surtees Psalter)
Incipit: Beatus vir qui non […] Seli bern þat noght is gane | In þe rede of wicked mane
Explicit: …Loues him in chimbes of mirþe and blisse | Alkyn gast loue louerd þat isse

Psalms start with Latin first lines, followed by a translation into Middle English

DIMEV 4803
Language(s): Middle English
2. (fol. 101v)
Prognosticon Milonis Toletani de coniunctione facta anno Domini 1357
Incipit: As touz les bones cristiens en queu part quels soient Mestre Milles de Tollenty ouesques les autres mestres grace perpetuele
Language(s): Middle French

There is other writing and scribbling

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii + 101 leaves
Dimensions (binding): 10 × 6.875 in.


Pächt and Alexander iii. 696

Penwork border


Annie Sutherland notes that the first line of each psalm in Latin starts with an enlarged blue initial, decorated with flourishes that extend into the margin, followed by the Middle English translation. The first word of subsequent verses is also supplied in Latin (marked by alternating blue and red initials) prior to the English verse rendition (English Psalms in the Middle Ages, 1300-1450 [Oxford University Press, 2015], p. 250)

The text of the Psalter in this manuscript has much in common with that of MS. Bodl. 425. However, there are significant differences in the layout and design of the two manuscripts. In a detailed comparison of the two, Sutherland points out that the scribe of MS. Bodley 425 'makes a significantly more concerted effort to highlight the interactions' between the Middle English translation of Psalms and the Latin original. She argues that the 'more emphatic system of signposting' used in MS. Bodley 425 was more conducive to following along in the 'vernacular verse rendition while simultaneously listening to (or, conceivably, reading) the Latin original'. In particular, the verse incipits in MS. Bodl. 921 are minimal and somewhat sporadic compared to MS. Bodl. 425 (English Psalms in the Middle Ages, 1300-1450 [Oxford University Press, 2015], p. 254)


Origin: 14th century, end ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Wenlock, Shropshire, Cluniac priory of St Milburga. Bears an erased ex-libris inscription with a monastic anathema: 'Iste liber constat Hu[goni?] de Wolast[on?]. Quicunque alienauerit Anathema sit. Qui culpat carmen sit maledictus Amen' (16th century). There are three places called Wollaston not far from Wenlock of which that near Shrewsbury is closest and perhaps the one mentioned here (MLGB3)

'Thomas Palmerstoun', 16th century (fol 45)

'Gifte of the Lady Farmor', dame Mary Fermor of Easton Neston, to the Bodleian in 1601

Record Sources

Description adapted (April 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)


Last Substantive Revision

2023-02-02: Description revised to incorporate all the information in the Summary Catalogue (1922)