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

MS. Buchanan g. 3


Language(s): Latin

Psalter (ferial)

[Items 1–2 occupy quire I]

(fols. 1r-6v)


about half-full; graded with commemorations, feasts of twelve lessons, and duplex maius or minus feasts, but no feasts of three or nine lessons; January headed by a note on the number of months, weeks, and days in the year, in red; each month headed by a note on the length of the calendar and lunar month, in red; the Golden Numbers given in arabic numerals; major feasts (in red) include: Benedict ('Sanctissimi patris nostri Benedicti ... duplex maius') (21 Mar.), Placidus and his companions, 'duplex maius' (5 Oct.), Justina, 'duplex maius' (7 Oct.), Ambrose 'duplex minus' (7 Dec.); feasts of twelve lessons in ordinary ink include Simeon (26 July), Dominic (5 Aug.), Cyprian & Justina (26 Sept.), Columban (21 Nov.); vigils are written as: 'Vigilia de precepto'; numerous erasures, regradings, and additions in January-June; contemporary additions include George, Felix, Fortunatus, and Achilleus (23 Apr., twelve lessons); regradings include some of three lessons, and others of twelve divided into eight and four lessons.

(fols. 7r-10v)

Tables of the antiphons before Christmas (pr. S. J. P. van Dijk, ed., Sources of the modern Roman liturgy: the ordinals of Haymo of Faversham and related documents (1243–1307) (Studia et Documenta Franciscana: 2 vols., Leiden, 1963), II, 401–8).

[Items 3–6 occupy quires II-XII]

(fols. 11r-92r)

Ferial Psalter

beginning imperfect in Ps. 6:9 (at '|| operamini iniquitatem ...'), due to the loss of a leaf before fol. 11; with Benedictine divisions (except Ps. 32; see under Decoration), and sub-divisions of psalms marked (e.g. Pss. 9:20, 17:26, 67:20, 103:25, fols. 13r, 16v, 46v, 68v, respectively).

(fols. 92r-97r)

Canticles for Advent, Christmas, Quadragesima, and Easter; and (fols. 95v-97r) for the Common of Saints.

(fols. 97r-111r)


including hymns for major feasts of the Temporale, the Dedication of the Church, Sts. Benedict and (fols. 107v-108v) Justina, and the Common of Saints.

(fols. 111r-113v)

Litany and collects

The litany including Placidus and his companions, sixth among twelve martyrs; Benedict ('Sancte pater Benedicte') first among ten monks and hermits; and Justina second among fourteen virgins; followed (fol. 112r-v) by petitions including:

Incipit: Ut omnes nauigantes ad portum salutis perducere digneris

and (fol. 113r-v) by the usual ten collects (see MS. Buchanan e. 5, where they are listed); the fifth mentioning '... famulo tuo presidenti nostro ...'; the tenth ending imperfect (at '... omniumque misere||[ris]'), due to the loss of a bifolium after fol. 113; fols. 114r-115v, ruled, otherwise blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (Calendar, fol. 2r)KL Martius
Secundo Folio: (tables, fol. 8r) Ad laudes
Secundo Folio: (text, fol. 11r) operamini iniquitatem
Secundo Folio: (text, fol. 12r) deducat Exurge
Form: codex
Support: Parchment, rather water-stained at beginning and end; offsets indicate that the bifolium was already missing after fol. 113 when the water-damage occured.
Extent: ii (paper, the first marbled and conjoint with the pastedown) + 115 + ii (paper, the second marbled and conjoint with the pastedown).
Dimensions (leaf): 73–5 × 104–5 mm.; the decoration cropped in all three outer margins. mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 76–7 × 54–5 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i-ii, 1–117.


In quires of 10 leaves, with some losses: I10 (fols. 1–10) | II10–1 (1st leaf excised, leaving a stub before fol. 11) (fols. 11–19), III-XI10 (fols. 20–109), XII10–4 (5rd and 6th leaves, a bifolium, missing, 9th and 10th leaves excised) (fols. 110–115) CATCHWORDS survive at the end of every quire except the first and last, written in the same script as the main text, horizontally in the lower margin, between the ruled vertical intercolumnar bounding lines, about two lines' height below the bottom line of text, surrounded in a saltire pattern by four designs in paler ink, each like a cross of St. Andrew on a quatrefoil.


33 lines ruled in very pale brown ink, in two columns, each column between single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page; the inter-columnar space c.6 mm.; single PRICKINGS survive in the upper fore-edge margin, 4–5 mm. above the top ruled line. 32 lines of text per page; the written space of each column 74–6 × 23–4 mm.


Written in a neat rounded gothic bookhand


Headings in red.

One eight-line initial in gold and colours, with a bar-extender running the whole height of the page, to Ps. 109 (fol. 83r; pl. 000); a similar six-line initial and extender to Ps. 101 (fol. 66v); a seven-line foliate initial on a gold ground, with foliate sprays and gold balls extending half the height of the page and into or towards the upper and lower margins, at the start of the hymnal (fol. 97r); similar four- to six-line initials, their extensions ranging from half to full height, to Pss. 20, 45, 59, 73, 85 (fols. 18v, 38r, 44v, 52r, 60r), the start of the canticles for Advent and Christmas (fols. 92r, 93r), the Common of Saints (fols. 95v, 96v), hymns for major feasts of the Sanctorale (fols. 97v, 98v, 101v, 103r, 104r, 108v), the Common of Saints (fols. 109r, 109v, 111r), and the litany (fol. 111r); four-line initial in red with purple penwork, the penwork extending almost the full height of the page, to Ps. 26 (fol. 21v); similar three-line initials alternately in red with purple penwork, or blue with red penwork, with similar penwork extenders, to psalms, canticles, etc. up to fol. 44r, thereafter two-line; one-line initials alternately in red or blue, to verses and other minor divisions; guide letters for coloured initials are visible throughout; paraphs in blue; simple red and blue line-fillers in the litany (fols. 111v-112v).


Sewn on three(?) cords (not clearly visible); bound in Italian 18th(?)-century mottled brown leather over pasteboards; rebacked, the old spine laid on, with gilt foliate ornament and a pale brown leather title-piece lettered: 'OFFIC | DELLA | B.V.M', slightly damaged along the side of the upper joint; marbled pastedowns and conjoint flyleaves; the edges of the leaves coloured red, later than the date of the binding, since the red also affects underlying corners of the pasteboards which are exposed by damage.


Origin: Italian, Northeast, Venice (?); 15th century, third quarter

Provenance and Acquisition

Made for a Benedictine House (as evidenced by the grading of feasts with twelve lessons in the calendar, the Benedictine divisions and sub-divisions of the psalms, and the wording of the 21 March feast of Benedict) of the Congregation of Sta. Giustina (as evidenced by the emphasis on St. Justina in the calendar, litany, and hymnal; the emphasis on St. Placidus in the calendar and litany; the wording of vigils 'de precepto'; and the collect mentioning 'presidenti nostro'); the petition for sailors might hint at a coastal origin, since it occurs also in manuscripts of the Congregation written for S. Giorgio Maggiore, Venice (e.g. MSS. Canon. Liturg. 204 and 210), but not in the Breviary of the Congregation printed in 1484; yet it also occurs in a breviary written for nuns of the Congregation in the diocese of Brescia (MS. Canon. Liturg. 164).

? Monastery of SS. Felice e Fortunata, Vicenza (on which see Cottineau, Répertoire topo-bibliographique, II, col. 3360): according to van Dijk, and accepted by Pächt & Alexander, the added feast of these two saints in the calendar may point to the monastery dedicated to them; it was incorporated into the Congregation of S. Giustina in 1462. The fact that the feast is graded with twelve lessons, however, rather than as a duplex, casts some doubt on this.

Unidentified 18th/19th-century owner; inscribed (fol. ii recto): 'Horae diurne'.

Unidentified 19th-century owner: inscribed in pencil: 'LB13[?] V15+[?]' at the top left of fol. i verso.

Raguin, Paris bookseller, by 1875 (see Introduction, and below); inscribed in pencil: 'Bu.or'(?) in the top left corner of fol. 117r.

Rt. Hon. T. R. Buchanan (1846–1911), 1875: fol. ii recto with a slip of paper glued in vertically, inscribed in ink by Buchanan '[Ho]ræ B.V.M. MS. of 15th century. | Bought from Raguin Nov. 1875 -' (cf. especially MS. Buchanan d. 2, and the printed books, Buchanan e.65 and e.136)

Given to the Bodleian by his widow, Mrs. E. O. Buchanan, in 1941; traces of a rectangular paper label with at least one perforated edge in the lower left corner of the upper board are probably the remains of a Bodleian shelf-mark label.

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 (1 image from 35mm slides)


    Printed descriptions:

    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 2: Office Books (typescript, 1957), p. 97

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.