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

MS. Ashmole 35

Summary Catalogue no.: 6916


(fols. 1r-182v)
John Gower, Confessio amantis
Incipit: ||So stant þe pes vn euen partid (Prol. 170)
Explicit: of his pleyenges (viii.3802*)||

First recension, unrevised. Begins at Prol. 170, missing two leaves (one blank) at the beginning. The following leaves are also missing: one leaf after fol. 2 (Prol. 541–725), one leaf after fol. 4 (i.1–168); one leaf after fol. 32 (ii.1749–1927); one leaf after fol. 91 (v.2199–2366), three leaves after fol. 181 (viii.2505–2893), one leaf after fol. 182.

The Latin verses are omitted (except at fol. 125r); the Latin glosses/summaries are omitted, but are often replaced by briefer English summaries, discussed by Echard, ‘Glossing Gower’.

Language(s): Middle English

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper, folded in quarto, watermarks often indistinct. (1) fols. 1–91, watermark Greek (Maltese) cross, c. 33 × 46 mm. , on a chainline, c. 48–50 mm. between chainlines. (2) fols. 91–182, lion rampant without mane (clearest on fol. 168), c. 70 × 42 mm. , on a chainline, c. 65 mm. between chainlines. Neither in Piccard or Briquet.
Extent: 182 + 1 (early parchment endleaf) with 17th-century paper padding before and after
Dimensions (leaf): 345–50 × 235–240 mm.
Foliation: 1–183


1(12–4)(missing 1–2 before fol. 1, 5 after fol. 2, 7 after fol. 4) (fols. 1–8); 2–3(12) (fol. 9–32); 9(12–1)(1 missing before fol. 33) (fol. 33–43); 5–8(12) (fols. 44–91); 9(12–1)(1 missing before fol. 92) (fols. 92–102); 10–13(12) (fols. 103–150); 14(10) (fols. 151–160)(but originally 12, with a bifolium cancelled, with no loss of text?: see Mooney, p. 33); 15(14) (fols. 161–174); 16(12–4)(missing 8–10 after fol. 181, 12 after fol. 182)(fols. 175–182). Catchwords by the scribe; quires numbered in roman numerals below or following the catchwords. Leaf numbering sometimes visible in the lower right corner of versos (e.g. fols. 115v-120v, vj - xij): see Mooney, p. 33.


Frame-ruled, top and bottom horizontal lines, and left vertical lines only of each column. 2 cols., c. 44–48 lines, written space c. 255–60 × 175–80 mm.


One scribe; secretary with some anglicana forms.


Spaces for 5–6 line initials at the beginning of books, not filled in; spaces for two-line initials, not filled in; one-line coloured initials (but added later?).

Speech-labels, rubrics and summaries in red; beginning of each line touched in red. Rubrication partly lacking in quire 14 (fols. 151–160) and fully lacking in quires 15–16 (fols. 161–182).


Fol. 183r, short accounts in red crayon, c. 1500

Fol. 183r, unfinished dialogue between M and B, late fifteenth or early sixteenth century: ‘M Whhat chere howe be yow | B all mery god thank yow | What chere with yow | M God gyue yow good deuen | yow be welcom to london | howe haue you done many a day | B all well god thanke yow ye beter | yat se(?) yowe in good helthe | M ’

Annotation, including running heads, 17th century, perhaps attributable to Ashmole.


Bound for Ashmole in 1676 (see Bodleian Quarterly Review 6 (1929–31), 194–5).


Origin: 15th century, middle or third quarter ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Aunsell’, fol. 139r, late fifteenth or early sixteenth century.

Mention of London, c. 1500, fol. 183r (see additions, above)

‘John Bewaters in Wylth(?)sey’, fol. 3r, 16th century: perhaps John Bewaters of Whittlesey St Mary, Cambridgeshire (for whom see Calendars of the Proceedings in Chancery, in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1827), p. 79)

‘Memorandum that John garton off norviche’, fol. 35r, 16th century

Robert Ha(?)ll’, c. 1600, fol. 183v (twice)

Elias Ashmole (signed, fol. 2r)

Bequeathed by him to the Ashmolean Museum; transferred to the Bodleian Library in 1860.

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford, October 2019. Previously described in the Quarto Catalogue (W. H. Black, A descriptive, analytical, and critical catalogue of the manuscripts bequeathed unto the University of Oxford by Elias Ashmole Esq...., Quarto Catalogues X, 1845).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


    Online resources:

    Printed descriptions:

    Linne Mooney and Derek Pearsall, ‘Descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts of the works of John Gower: MS. Ashmole 35’, John Gower Newsletter 34.2 (2015) 30–5.

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-29: Description revised for publication on Digital Bodleian.