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

MS. Buchanan e. 5

Former shelfmark: MS. Lat. liturg. e. 26


Book of Hours, Use of Rome
Language(s): Latin
[Item 1 occupies quires I-II] (fols. 1r-12v)

Calendar, about one-quarter full; each month headed by a note on the length of the calendar and lunar month; major feasts (in red) include Amand (6 Feb.), the Translation of Eloi, at Noyon (25 June), Remi & Bavo (1 Oct.), Donatian (14 Oct.), Eloi (1 Dec.), Thomas Becket 'pontifex' (29 Dec.); feasts in plain brown ink include Cuthbert (28 Feb. and 15 Mar. [sic]), 'Riti episcopi' (14 Apr.) (perhaps an error for Richard, cf. James A. Corbett, 'A fifteenth-century Book of Hours from Salisbury', Ephemerides Liturgicae 71 fasc. iv-v (1957), 293–307, at 295), Alphege (19 Apr.), John (15 May), Dunstan (19 May), Aldhelm (25 May), Arnulf (15 July [sic]), Samson (31 July [sic]), Bertin (4 [recte 5] Sept.), Lambert (18 Sept. [sic]), Firmin (25 Sept.), Francis (6 Oct. [sic]), Gereon (10 Oct.), Translation of Wulfram (15 Oct.), Malo (15 Nov.), Edmund (20 Nov.).

[Items 2–7 occupy quires III-XII]

[fol.13r blank, fol. 13v with a miniature]

(fols. 14r-19v)

Hours of the Cross.

[fol. 20r blank, fol. 20v with a miniature]

(fols. 21r-26r)

Hours of the Holy Spirit; fol. 26v ruled, otherwise blank.

[fol. 27r blank, fol. 27v with a miniature]

(fols. 28r-32v)

Mass of the Virgin.

(fols. 33r-37r)

Gospel Pericopes (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 3; without the antiphon, versicle, response and prayer after John); fol. 37v ruled, otherwise blank.

[fol. 38r blank, fol. 38v with a miniature]

(fols. 39r-91v)

Hours of the Virgin, Use of Rome, '... Secundum consuetudinem romane ecclesie ...', with three lessons at Matins; fols. 58v, 73v, 78v, 86v ruled, otherwise blank; fols. 48r, 59r, 64r, 69r, 74r, 79r, 87r blank, each with a miniature on the verso.

(fols. 92r-99v)

Prayers to the Virgin

(fol. 92r-v)

The Salve Regina

Rubric: Salutacio ad mariam virginem
Incipit: Salue regina misericordie vita
(pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses , 62), followed (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 18, fols. 77v-78r) by the usual versicle, response and prayer
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui gloriose virginis
(pr. ibid., 63)
(fols. 93r-96r)
Rubric: Deuotissima oratio ad mariam
Incipit: Obsecro te

[masculine forms] (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 2)

(fols. 96v-98v)
Rubric: Alia oratio deuota ad mariam
Incipit: O intemerata ... orbis terrarum Inclina mater misericordie

[masculine forms] (pr. ibid., 67–8)

(fol. 99r-v)

The Five Joys of the Virgin

Incipit: Salutationes ad honorem beate marie Ave cuius conceptio solempni plena gaudio
Explicit: auxiliatricem sentiamus. Per ...
(Chevalier 1744).

[Items 8–10 occupy quires XIII-XIX]

[fol. 100r blank, fol. 100v with a miniature]

(fols. 101r-110v)

The Seven Penitential Psalms.

(fols. 111r-119v)

Litany and collects; the litany including Erasmus (7) and Lupus (18) among twenty-three martyrs; Louis, Donatian, Amand, Eloi, and Ghislain (4–8) among eight bishops; Amalberga (11) and Ursula (15) among twenty-four virgins; followed (fols. 118r-119v) by the usual ten collects (cf. MSS. Buchanan e. 7, f. 4, g. 1, and g. 3):

Incipit: Deus cui proprium est misereri semper et parcere suscipe deprecationem nostram
(Corpus orationum, no. 1143)
Incipit: Exaudi quesumus domine supplicum preces et confitentium tibi parce peccatis
(pr. ibid., no. 2541)
Incipit: Ineffabilem misericordiam tuam
(pr. ibid., no. 3129)
Incipit: Deus qui culpa offenderis
(pr. ibid., no. 1511)
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus. miserere famulo tuo ministro
(pr. ibid., no. 3859, with 'ministro' in place of 'illi')
Incipit: Deus a quo sancta desideria
(pr. ibid., no. 1088a)
Incipit: Ure igne sancti spiritus renes nostros
(pr. Bruylants, Oraisons , no. 1168)
Incipit: Fidelium deus omnium conditor et redemptor
(pr. Corpus orationum, no. 2684b)
Incipit: Actiones tuas quesumus domine
(pr. ibid., no. 74; Bruylants, op. cit., no. 18)
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus. qui viuorum dominaris simul et mortuorum
(pr. ibid., no. 4064), ending incomplete at '... corpore suscepit. intercedentibus||'.

[fol. 120r blank, fol. 120v with a miniature]

(fols. 121r-158v)

Office of the Dead, Use of Rome.

Physical Description

Secundo folio: (Calendar) 'KL Februarius habet'; (text, fol. 15) 'deus. per omnia'.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment, of fine, even quality.
Extent: i (marbled paper, conjoint with the pastedown) + 158 + i (marbled paper, conjoint with the pastedown).
Dimensions (leaf): 194–6 × 131–2 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 100–1 × 62–3 mm.
Dimensions (written): 98 × 62 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i, 1–159.


Mostly written on quires of 8 leaves, with miniatures on single inserted leaves: I-II6 (fols. 1–12) | III8+2 (1st & 8th leaves inserted, fols. 13 & 20) (fols. 13–22), IV8+1 (5th leaf inserted, fol. 27) (fols. 23–31), V8+1 (7th leaf inserted, fol. 38) (fols. 32–40), VI8+1 (8th leaf inserted, fol. 48) (fols. 41–49), VII8 (fols. 50–57), VIII8+2 (2nd & 7th leaves inserted, fols. 59 & 64) (fols. 58–67), IX8+2 (2nd & 7th leaves inserted, fols. 69 & 74) (fols. 68–77) X8+1 (2nd leaf inserted, fol. 79) (fols. 78–86), XI8+1 (1st leaf inserted, fol. 87) (fols. 87–95), XII4 (fols. 96–99) | XIII8+1 (1st leaf inserted, fol. 100) (fols. 100–108), XIV8 (fols. 109–116), XV8+1 (4th leaf inserted, fol. 120) (fols. 117–125), XVI-XVIII8 (fols. 126–149), XIX8+1 (9th leaf an original addition, fol. 158) (fols. 150–158); traces of CATCHWORDS survive on fols. 133v, 157v.


18 lines ruled in pale red ink, with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page, the top and bottom horizontal lines extending the full width of the page; no prickings visible. 17 lines of text per page


Written in a fine regular gothic bookhand


Headings in purplish red, not the same red as the pen-flourishing of initials; capitals touched with yellow wash.

Thirteen full-page miniatures, with gently arched tops, and gold and coloured framing; all inserted on unruled single leaves, blank on the recto; each with sewing holes clustered at the centre of the upper margin (presumably indicating the previous presence of protective textile veils), the sewing threads having caused indentations in the adjacent leaves. The subjects of the miniatures are:

  • (fol. 13v) Hours of the Cross. Crucifixion; John supporting the swooning Virgin to the left, soldiers to the right.
  • (fol. 20v) Hours of the Spirit. Pentecost; the Apostles surrounding the Virgin.
  • (fol. 27v) Mass of the Virgin. Virgin and Child; the Child reaching up to touch the Virgin's cheek; the Virgin holding a red berry(?); a rose(?)-garden in the background.
  • (fol. 38v) Hours of the Virgin, Matins. Annunciation; the Virgin at a prie-dieu beneath an architectural canopy.
  • (fol. 48v) Lauds. Visitation (Pächt & Alexander, 1, pl. XXVI).
  • (fol. 59v) Prime. Nativity; the Virgin and Joseph adoring the Child.
  • (fol. 64v) Terce. Annunciation to two Shepherds; their flock grazing.
  • (fol. 69v) Sext. Adoration of the Magi.
  • (fol. 74v) None. Presentation in the Temple.
  • (fol. 79v) Vespers. Massacre of the Innocents; a woman and her infant are siezed by a soldier, watched by Herod and his advisors.
  • (fol. 87v) Compline. Flight into Egypt.
  • (fol. 100v) Penitential Psalms. Last Judgement; Christ above the Virgin and John, arrows fall from an area of darkened sky on Christ's left, towards some of the figures rising from their graves.
  • (fol. 120v) Office of the Dead. A burial: in front of the porch of a church, a priest shovels earth onto a coffin in a grave, watched by a cleric with aspergill and aspersory, a taperer/crucifer, and mourners (pl. 000).

Offsets of colour on fol. 33r suggest that an inserted miniature may once have faced the start of the Gospel Pericopes, but there is no indentation in the upper margins of the adjacent leaves (see above).

Each miniature with a four-sided border of painted stylized and naturalistic floral and foliate decoration, with occasional birds, vases, etc., all within a gold framing line.; the facing pages each with a similar border and a five-line initial in blue with a red field, or vice versa, containing foliage on a gold ground; five-line initials in gold, on a red and blue ground, with delicate white tracery, at the start of the prayers on fols. 93r and 96v, each with partial painted and gilt borders; similar initials for the prayers on fol. 92r (three-line) and fol. 99r (four-line), with some painted and gilt foliate sprays, and for the KL monograms (three-line) in the calendar; similar two-line initials to psalms, prayers, etc.; one-line initals alternately gold with blue penwork, or red with blue penwork, to verses and other minor textual divisions; occasional line-fillers in blue, or blue and gold, especially in the litany.

Gregory Clark kindly informs me that the miniatures in the present MS. can probably be attributed to the Master of the Lee Hours. Named after a Book of Hours formerly in the collection of R. A. Lee, London (present location unknown), the artist was a follower of the Master of Wauquelin's Alexander. Closely related miniatures are found in three other Books of Hours: Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. 2; Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, Vit. 25–4; and Biblioteca Vaticana Apostolica, Barb. lat. 444.


Sewn on five cords, with endbands; bound in early 19th-century English(?) brown leather over pasteboards, with onlays of red leather dotted in gilt: semi-circular ones around the edges, and heart-shaped ones at the corners (the latter resembling strawberries), with gilt foliate decoration around their edges; the spine without raised bands, but divided into seven compartments, with gilt foliate ornament and a red title-piece lettered 'PRÆCES | PIÆ'; pale blue marbled endpapers conjoint with pastedowns; the edges of the leaves and boards gilt.


Origin: Flemish, Flanders/Hainault ; 15th century, third quarter, c.1460

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably made in Flanders/Hainault for export to England: several saints in the calendar are not identifiable in standard reference works, others are recognizable but are entered on the wrong days; Donatian in red is suggestive of Bruges, but the presence of both feasts of Eloi in red in the calendar, and of Ghislain in the litany, point to Hainault; the presence of Cuthbert, Dunstan, Aldhelm, etc., suggest that the English market was intended.

? Adolphe Labitte, 19th-century Paris bookseller: inscribed in brown ink 'obb' above 'Lss.', separated by a horizontal line, probably his pricecode, in the top right corner of fol. 159r (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 7, lower pastedown, and MS. Buchanan e. 14, fol. 72r).

Thomas Buchanan (d. 1864): bought in Paris in October 1857, with other books, for 800 francs; a partially erased pencil inscription at the top left of fol. i verso reads 'Tho Buchanan | Oct 1857' (only the numerals are absolutely clear, but a comparison with the inscription on the front flyleaf of [pr. bk] Buchanan e.136 (see next catalogue entry) leaves little room for doubt); with other semi-legible pencil markings; presumably bequeathed to his brother John Buchanan (see Introduction).

John Buchanan: inscribed in pencil, with the 'Descriptive list' number, '5', in the upper left corner of fol. i verso.

Rt. Hon. T. R. Buchanan (1846–1911)

Given to the Bodleian by his widow, Mrs. E. O. Buchanan, in 1939, when it was accessioned as MS. Lat. liturg. e. 26; re-referenced as MS. Buchanan e. 5 in 1941.

Record Sources

Adapted from Peter Kidd, Medieval Manuscripts from the Collection of T. R. Buchanan in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Oxford, 2001)

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (7 images from 35mm slides)


    Printed descriptions:

    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 4: Books of Hours (typescript, 1957), p. 290

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.