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

Christ Church MS. 105

Vulgate Bible; England (Oxford), s. xiiimed.


Language(s): Latin; addition in Middle English

1. Fols 1ra-356rb
Incipit: Frater ambrosius tua michi munuscula perferens
Incipit: [fol. 4ra] In principio creauit deus celum et terram
Incipit: [fol. 292va] Matheus ex iudea sicut ex ordine preposita
Incipit: [fol. 292vb] Liber generacionis ihesu cristi filii dauid ^filii^ abraham
Explicit: uenio cito amen veni domine ihesu Gracia domini nostri ihesu cristi cum omnibus uobis amen
Colophon: Explicit liber Te deum laudamus
Vulgate Bible with prologues

The book deviates from Ker’s ‘standard Bible’ (see Ker, MMBL, 1:96–97) by lacking III Ezra (fol. 146va) and having Ecclesiasticus (without the Prayer of Solomon) preceding Wisdom (fol. 189ra). Several of the standard set of prologues are absent, some prologues are substituted for the more usual ones (Job, Obadiah, Romans), and others are added to the ‘standard’ prologues (Deuteronomy, Tobit, Ezekiel, Daniel, many of the Minor Prophets, and Acts).

The result is a Bible ordered as follows: [fol. 1ra -3ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 284 followed immediately by Stegmüller, Bibl. 285, which opens with a four-line initial; fol. 3rb and fol. 3v are blank; [fol. 4ra-17vb] Genesis, [fol. 17vb-30ra] Exodus, [fol. 30ra-38va] Leviticus, [fol. 38va-50va] Numbers, [fol. 50va-51ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 6548 (Peter Comestor), [fol. 51ra-62ra] Deuteronomy, [fol. 62ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 311, [fol. 62rb-69vb] Joshua, [fol. 69rb-77rb] Judges, [fol. 77rb-78rb] Ruth, [fol. 78rb-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 323, [fol. 78rb-89ra] I Kings, [fol. 89ra-97va] II Kings, [fol. 97va-108ra] III Kings, [fol. 108ra-118rb] IV Kings, [fol. 118rb-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 328, [fol. 118vb-128ra] I Chronicles, [fol.128ra-138vb] II Chronicles (without prologue), [fol. 138vb] Prayer of Manasses, [fol. 138vb-139vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 330, [fol. 139vb-142ra] I Ezra, [fol. 142rb-146va] Nehemiah (II Ezra), [fol. 146va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 332 & ?8609, [fol. 146va-149va] Tobit, [fol. 149va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 335, [fol. 149va-153rb] Judith, [fol. 153rb-va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 341 and 343 with no break, [fol. 153va-157ra] Esther, [fol. 157ra-va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 344 and 350 (rather than 357), [fol. 157va-164rb] Job; [fol. 164v] added text (a); [fol. 165ra-179vb] Psalms, [fol. 180ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 457, [fol. 180ra-185va] Proverbs, [fol. 185vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 462, [fol. 185vb-187vb] Ecclesiastes, [fol. 188ra-189ra] Song of Songs, [fol. 189ra-200vb] Ecclesiasticus, [fol. 200vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 468 preceded by extra sentence (cf our MS. 107), [fol. 201ra-205rb] Wisdom, [fol. 205rb-va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 482, [fol. 205va-219ra] Isaiah, [fol. 219ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 487, [fol. 219rb-236va] Jeremiah, [fol. 236va-238ra] Lamentations, [fol. 238ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 491, [fol. 238ra-240rb] Baruch, [fol. 240rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 492 and 5203 (Isidore), [fol. 240rb-256rb] Ezekiel, [fol. 256rb-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 494 and 495, [fol. 256vb-263rb] Daniel, [fol. 263rb-va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 500 and 507, [fol. 263va-265va] Hosea, [fol. 265va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 510 (without 511), [fol. 265vb-266va] Joel, [fol. 266va-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 515 and 512 (without 513), [fol. 266va-268rb] Amos, [fol. 268rb-va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 519 and 516 (instead of 517), [fol. 268va-vb] Obadiah, [fol. 268vb-269ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 524 and 521, [fol. 269ra-va] Jonah, [fol. 269va-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 526 and 525, [fol. 269vb-271ra] Micah, [fol. 271ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 528 and 527, [fol. 271rb-vb] Nahum, [fol. 271vb-272rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 531 and 529, [fol. 272rb-273ra] Habakkuk, [fol. 273ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 534 (divided into two) and 532, [fol. 273rb-vb] Zephaniah, [fol. 273vb-274ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 538 (starting at ‘Moriente dario’; cf. our MS 107) and 535, [fol. 274ra-va] Haggai, [fol. 274va-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 539 and 540, [fol. 274vb-277ra] Zechariah, [fol. 277ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 543 and 545 [fol. 277rb-vb] Malachi, [fol. 277vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 551 (without 547 or 553), [fol. 278ra-287va] I Maccabees, [fol. 287va-292va] II Maccabees, [fol. 292va-vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 590 (without 589), [fol. 292vb-300va] Matthew, [fol. 300va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 607, [fol. 300va-305rb] Mark, [fol. 305rb-314rb] Luke (without prologue), [fol. 314rb-va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 624, [fol. 314va-321ra] John, [fol. 321ra] a prologue beginning ‘Q(u)oniam sunt in partibus italie hii preuenti . . .’ (instead of Stegmüller, Bibl. 677), [fol. 321ra-324rb] Romans, [fol. 324rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 685, [fol. 324rb-327rb] I Corinthians, [fol. 327rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 699, [fol. 327rb-329rb] II Corinthians, [fol. 329rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 707, [fol. 329rb-330rb] Galatians, [fol. 330rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 715, [fol. 330rb-331rb] Ephesians, [fol. 331rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 728, [fol. 331rb-332ra] Philippians, [fol. 332ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 736, [fol. 332ra-vb] Colossians, [fol. 332vb-333va] I Thessalonians, [fol. 333va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 752, [fol. 333va-334ra] II Thessalonians, [fol. 334ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 765 [fol. 334ra-vb] I Timothy, [fol. 334vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 772, [fol. 334vb-335va] II Timothy, [fol. 335va] Stegmüller, Bibl. 780, [fol. 335va-vb] Titus, [fol. 335vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 783, [fol. 336ra] Philemon, [fol. 336ra] Stegmüller, Bibl. 793, [fol. 336rb-338vb] Hebrews, [fol. 338vb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 640 and 631, [fol. 338vb-348ra] Acts, [fol. 348ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 809, [fol. 348rb-352ra] Catholic Epistles, [fol. 352ra-rb] Stegmüller, Bibl. 839, [fol. 352va-356rb] Apocalypse.

Fol. 356rb & v after end of Bible, most of the final column and the whole verso originally blank, much of the space now covered with text written in plummet (see added text [b]).

Through the manuscripts, there are occasional signs of a variety of notes in brown crayon and plummet in the margins, particularly heavy in the Apocalypse.

2. Fols 357ra-71vd
Incipit: Aaz apprehendens uel apprehensio Aad testimonium uel testificans Aadhar deprecacio
Explicit: Zu⟨t⟩idis consilium uel consiliatrix Zvzim consiliantes eos uel consiliatores eorum Expliciunt interpretaciones secundum Remigium
Stephen Langton, Interpretationes nominum Hebraicorum

Sharpe no. 1669 [624–30 at 628], here attributed to Remigius of Auxerre. It is provided in the long version, Stegmüller, Bibl. 7709, ed. Bedae Opera (Cologne, 1688), 3:371–480. It is presented in quadruple columns. There is a medial break, although apparently without textual loss (‘Saphan’ followed by ‘Sasabaisat’): fol. 369 is blank but ruled, and there are twelve blank lines at the top of fol. 369va. Fols 372–73v were originally blank.

Added texts:

a. Fol. 164v

A calendar in red, blue, and black. Added at the end of Job, on an originally blank page, s. xiii ex. Presented in four columns extending to fore-edge of page. Many of the dates recorded are for English saints, including both the feast and translation of Frideswide (19 October and 12 February, respectively, both in red) and Mildred (abbess of Minster-in-Thanet, her relics at St Augustine’s abbey, Canterbury, 13 July, in red). Two feasts of Egwin (bishop of Worcester and founder of Evesham abbey, 30 December, and the translation, dated here 10 September) and that of Anthony of Padua (‘antonii fratris’, 13 June) have all been added by one hand in black ink.

Fols 356rb-vb, 374rab
Incipit: heremita yu semest a fela ...... | .................. was he.. | but yu wit me al nyȝt
Incipit: [fol. 374ra] And you seeme welle...
Incipit: [fol. 374rb] So help me lorde Jesu
Explicit: .............d ye ..y. prince | For yis work as tu worth
The King and the Hermit

A version of ‘The king and the hermit’ (IMEV 1764; DIMEV 2918), ed. W. Carew Hazlitt, Remains of the Early Popular Poetry of England, 4 vols (London, 1864–66), 1:12–34 and, most recently, George Shuffleton, Ashmole 61: A Compilation of Popular Middle English Verse (Kalamazoo, MI, 2008), 401–13, 590–6, 627–8 (with our copy opening with a version of l. 285). Here presented as if a dramatic dialogue, apparently extending beyond the fragmentary conclusion of the sole previously available witness, BodL, MS Ashmole 61, from which it also widely diverges. Written in on blank leaves in plummet, partially washed and much faded, in anglicana, s. xivex. The incipit above corresponds to line 291 of the printed text (24); the text may begin on the virtually illegible fol. 374.

c. Fols 372ra-73vb
Incipit: || an sit agend’ indic’ officio ut notatur Capitulo de edis do(m)ini
Explicit: clericus non intellegitur quod ad hoc potenter laico nec cedens euattura racione afficitur||
Questions in canon law (?)

Apparently questions in canon law, incomplete at both ends. In double columns, each column 255 mm x 80–85 mm, with 12 mm between columns, in about 64 lines to the column. Written in academic gothic textura quadrata, s. xiv med.

d. Fol. 374

The opening of a list of the readings (epistle, lesson, gospel) for Sundays and feastdays; in gothic textura quadrata, s. xiii/xiv.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ecclesia
Secundo Folio: nongentorum (fol. 5)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (FSOS)
Extent: Fols: 373 + ii (numbered fols 374–75)
Dimensions (leaf): 300 × 210 mm.


112 (first and last now singles pasted in) 2–1412 1512 (lacking last) [to fol. 179, the end of the Psalter and, as frequently, a production boundary] | 16–2912 3012 (lacking tenth to last; first to third, fols 348–50, are all single, the ends folded under and all pasted) [to fol. 356, the end of the Bible, another frequent production boundary] | 318 3210 (lacking first, a stub, probably a cancel, with no text loss). No catchwords. There are frequent signs of leaf signatures written in crayon which, within each quire, designate the first verso and second recto by a letter, and the following versos and rectos with the letter and a roman numeral; these signatures, though written by one hand, do not supply one continuous or consistent series across the volume: so, eg, fol. 14 [quire ii, leaf 2] = a; fol. 14v & 15 = ai; fol. 37v [quire iv, leaf 1] = b; fol. 38v & 39 = bi (with also, in ink, a non-verbal symbol, the same for each of these pages); fol. 85v [quire viii, leaf 1] & 86 = a; fol. 89 = aiii; fol. 99 [quire ix, leaf 3] = di; fol. 138 [quire xii, leaf 6] = biiii; fol. 158v [quire xiii, leaf 2] and 159 = ci; fol. 169v [quire xv, leaf 1] & 171 [quire xv, leaf 3] both = g; fol. 181v [quire xvi, leaf 1] & 182 = Ii; fol. 194v [quire xvii, leaf 3] & 195 = kii; fol. 216v [quire xix, leaf 1] & 217 = l; fol. 240v [quire xx, leaf 1] & 241 = e; fol. 255v [quire xxi, leaf 4] & 256 = fiii; ... fol. 327v [quire xxviii, leaf 4] & 328 = fiii etc.


In double columns, each column 194 × 55 mm. , with 13 mm between columns, usually in 56 lines to the column.

No prickings visible; bounded and ruled in black ink (the Hebrew Names, in a different hand, in brown crayon).

Triple borders for first and last lines and double borders around line 30; vertical borders single but an extra line dividing the central reservation.


Written in gothic textura semiquadrata, below top line; item 2 is written in textura semiquadrata, s. xiiiex.

Punctuation by point, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus.


Blanks for headings unfilled. At the openings of the books, seven- to nine-line red and blue lombards with flourishing of the same, often with marginal extensions. At the openings of the chapters, one-line red and blue lombards, unflourished, marginal numbering in alternate red and blue lombards. Running titles in alternating red and blue lombards, placed at top centre, very many cropped or entirely cut. In Psalms, three-line alternate red and blue lombards with flourishing of the other colour (six-line in both colours with flourishing in both at the openings of the Nocturns); one-line alternate red and blue lombards for versals.

Fol. 4, at the opening of Genesis, has a full-page high I illustrating in seven lozenges the six days of the Creation, with gold leaf, above floral whirls at the foot, the text opening in gold leaf with blue and violet.

Fol. 3v has had a full-page illustration pasted on and then removed; only the bordering lines now remain.

The single piece of surviving illumination is ascribed to the early Oxford illuminator, William de Brailes. Nigel Morgan first made the identification, Early Gothic Manuscripts [I] 1190–1250 (London, 1982), 115, where he listed the manuscript among six previously unnoticed examples of de Brailes collaborating with other hands, apparently members of his workshop.

William de Brailes’s work was first collected from six manuscripts by Sydney C. Cockerell, The Work of W. de Brailes An English Illuminator of the Thirteenth Century, Roxburghe Club (Cambridge, 1930). To these MSS, Hans Swarzenski, ‘Unknown Bible Pictures by W. de Brailes and Some Notes on Early English Bible Illustration’, Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 1 (1938), 55–70, added a seventh, Baltimore, John Walters Art Gallery, MS 106. Graham Pollard, ‘William de Brailes’, Bodleian Library Record, 5 (1955), 202–9, identified de Brailes with an Oxford book-trade community in Catte Street. Claire Donovan, The de Brailes Hours (London, 1991), includes an extensive list of books produced in Oxford in the thirteenth century (de Brailes items are nos 15–21 [202–3]) but omits this volume. Other Bibles illuminated by de Brailes include BodL, MS Lat. bibl. e.7 ( olim Dyson Perrins); and Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, MS 350/567. There is, of course, a pleasing coincidence that a manuscript associated with William de Brailes should now reside in a library whose central south window overlooks the transept of what was once the priory of St Frideswide, for whose chapter house de Brailes may have designed the paintings on the vault: Margart Rickert, Painting in Britain. The Middle Ages,2nd ed. (Harmondsworth, 1965), 105. See AT no. 200 (22), dating 1230–60, and plate x (fol. 4).


Dark brown leather, s. xvi3/4 over millboards (the upper board presently adrift). Gold-stamped pattern of two rectangles, the inner one cornered with fleurs de lis without and cornerpieces within; a central lozenge, perhaps originally armorial, is now worn on both boards, and flanked by the initials ‘D L’ (for David Lewis, see provenance). Sewn on four thongs. Holes in both boards for two pairs of ribbon ties, their stubs under the front pastedown. Nail holes from a chain staple at both Watson’s position 4 and 5 (latter with verdigris stains). Both of these are likely to date from after the manuscript’s arrival in ChCh, with that at Watson 5 resulting from the re-organisation of the library in or after 1614, and that at Watson 4 being witness to earlier chaining practice (see Appendix I). Pastedowns modern paper; a ChCh bookplate on the front pastedown. Leaves gilt-edged. Fols 374–75 are a heavy parchment bifolium, probably associated with an earlier binding: the second bears signs of having been used as a pastedown, and has a thin strip absent near foot consonant with there having been an earlier chain-staple.


Origin: England (Oxford); s. xiiimed

Provenance and Acquisition

This Bible’s calendar is suggestive of its early use. As it lacks any reference to St Francis, we can assume it was not originally intended for Franciscan use, in contrast to BL, MS Harl. 2813, which Peter Kidd relates to de Brailes and to the Oxford convent: ‘A Franciscan Bible illuminated in the Style of William de Brailes’, Electronic British Library Journal, sn (2007), article 8, freely available on-line [last accessed 14th August 2012]. On the other hand, the early addition of the feast of St Anthony of Padua suggests it soon entered that ambit.

Our manuscript received early attention from readers, who left their mark both in annotations (heavy in Song of Songs and in John, as well as Apocalypse) and in drawings (a monstrous serpent in plummet at fol. 165, and human faces in pen at fol. 178 and 179. There are also later annotations, including a manicula (fol. 32, 33, 197; s. xv?) and, in the first folios especially, a set of fifteenth-century corrections (eg. fol. 5, 7 – 10, 12v, 43, 66, 88). None of these, though, hints at its ownership.

The earliest definite information is provided by the inscriptions ‘Willelmus Skipwyth’ in red (fol. 180, upper margin), s. xv3/4; ‘Will(el)mvs skipwith’ in red capitals above the incipit (fol. 4); he also signs (as ‘Armiger’) 14 lines below the explicit (fol. 356rb, covering two verses of added text (b)), as well as writing his surname in the outer margin at the opening of the Psalter (fol. 165). At least three William Skipwiths might have owned the book. One, from Habrough (Lincs.), was an MP for Norwich 1463–65 and died 1487; see Josiah C. Wedgwood and Anne D. Holt, History of Parliament: Biographies of Members of the Commons House 1439–1509 (London, 1936), 733. The second, from Calthorpe (Lincs.), was knighted 1447/51 and died 1483. The education of a third would explain how this Oxford book came into his hands: of York diocese, he was a BA of Oxford, there in 1446 but, the following year appointed a chaplain of Eton College (BRUO, 3:1711); there is, though, no sign of whether he was ‘armiger’. Three families of the name, their connection with these candidates unclear, were barons in the fifteenth century (Charles Kingsford sub Sir William Skipwith (fl. 1380) in old DNB).

Whichever Skipwith it was, he is perhaps responsible for a further addition: ‘Domine labia mea aperies et os meum a’ and more fully below ‘... meum annunciabit laudem tuam Deus in adiutorium meum in’ (fol. 356rb beneath the signature, s. xv).

The next indication of ownership represents the eventual donor to the College: ‘Liber Guilielmi Prichardi ex dono auunculi sui Dauidis Lewis Doctoris in iurisprudentia Admiralis curiæ supremi iudicis’ (fol. 1, upper margin). David Lewis, of Abergavenney, Monmouthshire, was educated at All Souls College, graduating BCL and DCL in 1540 and 1548, respectively; he was a fellow there from 1541. He was principal of New Inn Hall 1545–48 and the first principal of Jesus College 1571–72. A lawyer from 1548, he was (as the inscription indicates) judge of the High Court of the Admiralty, a post he held from 1558 to 1575 (thus providing the time limits within which his gift of this codex to Prichard must have occurred). Lewis died in 1584 (AO, 905; T. G. Watkin in Oxford DNB).

The inscription of donation, written in the same hand as the preceding note, reads: ‘Liber Ecclesiæ Christi ex dono Guilielmi Prichardi ibidem alumni et in artibus Magistrj’ (fol. 1, lower margin). Prichard, like his uncle a Monmouthshire man, matriculated at Jesus College in 1581, and was at Christ Church by 1585; he received the degree of MA in 1588 and was a Proctor in 1595. He was vicar of Abergavenny in 1589 and of Caerwent (Mons.) 1601, rector of Ewelme (Oxon.) 1606–29, and canon of Salisbury and St Paul’s from 1620. He died in 1629 aged about 66; most of his benefactions went to Jesus College (AO, 1211). The donation of this volume is datable to between 1600 and 1614: the terminus ante quem non is provided by the fact it does not appear in James, Ecloga, and the terminus post quem non by the evidence of its two chain-staples: (see binding).

The Library Donors’ Book for 1614, pp. 26b-27ª, records a later gift from Prichard, comprising £5 (with which the library bought five books) and two printed books. Both are in situ . One, recorded as a ‘Biblja Galljca. fol: 1565’ is NB.2.1 (Paris: Henri Estienne, 1565), with a note of Prichard’s donation, not in his hand. The other, recorded as ‘Durandus super sententias Parisijs Anno 1556 fol.’, must surely be the library’s G.3.3.10 – must surely because, despite a difference of date from that recorded in the Donors’ Book (the volume was published by Charlotte Guillard and Guillaume Desbois in 1550) and despite not having a note of Prichard’s donation, it does have on the title-page the inscription ‘Liber Davidis Lewes legum Doctoris Juris nautici in regno Angliae pro 7s comparatus’; it presumably, then, passed from Lewis to Prichard as did this manuscript. This volume has, at the front pastedown, two former ChCh shelfmarks, that of the 1676 Catalogue, ‘B.1’, cancelled (see Appendix I), followed by the New Library’s ‘E.9’ (see Appendix IV); the latter is repeated in the lower margin of fol. 1.

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna and David Rundle, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts, to c. 1600, in Christ Church, Oxford (Oxford, 2017).


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Christ Church Library.

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.

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