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

MS. Canon. Liturg. 237

Summary Catalogue no.: 19343


Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


14th century ?, Italian (as MS.): a worked brass frame, fitting the shaped parchment leaves which were written to be read with the frame held upside down; with a movable metal loop to fit on a girdle. The covers, of limp red leather with parchment lining, are later replacements, added probably at different times: neither is original, since they hide but do not share severe wear to the textblock at both ends. Height from top of metal fitting (discounting the loop) c. 139 mm.; width of MS. 59–62 mm. (28 mm. at top); thickness at fore-edge c. 70–71 mm. Cf. MS. Canon. Liturg. 8 (also from Le Vergini).


Origin: 14th century (after 1327) ; Italy, Venice, Santa Maria delle Vergini, Venice

Provenance and Acquisition

The manuscript’s calendar (fol. 2v) includes ‘Consecratio ecclesie nostre ix l’’ in red at 20 June. An identical rubric occurs in another very similar girdle book at Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 10479, likely from the same community. Whilst formerly attributed to Verona by Leroquais, Les bréviaires, iii, 1934, 192–5, the Paris manuscript is now ascribed to the important Augustinian nunnery of Santa Maria delle Vergini, Venice, where the church was dedicated on 20 June 1327 (K. J. P. Lowe, Nuns’ Chronicles and Convent Culture in Renaissance and Counter-Reformation Italy, Cambridge, 2003, pp. 267–8). It seems likely that both these girdle-books were made and used there in the 14th century, probably quite soon after 1327. The former dating of the Paris manuscript still earlier, in the 13th century, derived from its inclusion of an Easter table which seems to start from 1284, though damaged.

Record Sources

Summary description abbreviated from the Summary Catalogue (1897), dating and localization revised by Bruce Barker-Benfield, 2020, with reference to published literature as cited in the description. Binding: B. C. Barker-Benfield, Bookbindings of Canonici manuscripts : a survey of early and non-standard bindings, mostly Italian, in the Canonici collection of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (Oxford, privately printed, 2020).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (2 images from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2020-08-20: Binding description added.