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

Christ Church MS. 115

Peter Damian, ‘Dominus vobiscum’; ps.-Augustine, ‘De libero arbitrio’; Bede, De tabernaculo; England (St Albans), s. xii1 (c.1120-40)


Language(s): Latin

Fol. 1-2r: blank

1. Fol. 2v

Table of contents for the whole volume.

Added in a hand of s. xii ex. which indexed half a dozen other St. Albans volumes: see Thomson, 112 and R. W. Hunt, ‘The Library of the Abbey of St Albans’ in M. B. Parkes and Andrew G. Watson ed., Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker (London, 1978), 251-77 at 258, n35.

2. Fols 3r-23v
Rubric: [in capitals] Incipiunt capitula Libri sequentis
Rubric: [fol. 3v, title in alternating lines of red and green] Petri Damiani hvmilis monachi Liber qvi appellatvr dominvs vobiscum incipit. i.
Incipit: Domno Leoni amore svperne
Incipit: (text)Non ignorat sanctitatis vestrae prudentia dilectissime pater quia te non qualem cunque complicem
Explicit: [fol. 20v] comprehenditur sacramentum
Rubric: [fol. 21] Peracti opusculi brevis epilogvs
Incipit: Verum his quae ab eruditis
Explicit: [fol. 22] aecclesiasticae sacramentum
Final rubric: Finis praefati opusculi. Incipit laus heremiticae vitae
Incipit: Sed inter haec libet
Explicit: [fol. 23v] palestra fortiter dimicantium luctatorum ubi spiritus spirat fortiter quodammodo
Final rubric: Finis præfati opuscula
Peter Damian, Dominus vobiscum

Ed. Kurt Reindel, Die Briefe des Petrus Damiani, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Die Briefe der Deustschen Kaiserzeit, iv/1 (Munich, 1983), 248-78 (ep. 28), citing this manuscript as ‘Ox 7’; the text provided in this manuscript ends in the edition at 274 (l. 1). The presentation here divides the work into chapters and with the ‘laus heremiticae vitae’ presented as an autonomous work (though it is not recorded as such in item 1). The text is preceded at fol. 3r-v with a table of chapters by ‘Scribe A’.

3. Fols 24-30v
Rubric: Tractatus sancti Avgvstini episcopi de libero arbitrio
Incipit: Necessaria valde res \est/ fratres dilectissimi ut suum quisque nouerit statum
Explicit: non carni sed spiritui iam non diabolo sed cristo cui sit laus in secula seculorum Amen
Final rubric: Explicit tractatvs sancti Avgvstini episcopi de libero arbitrio

Unidentified: noted without comment by Franz Römer, Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke des heiligen Augustinus, 2/ii, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Sitzungsberichte, 281 (Vienna, 1972), 286 but not Augustine, nor indeed in PL; a sermon, probably of the early twelfth century. The incipit, at least, resembles that of two later sermons, both on ‘Gratia dei’ (1 Cor. 15:10): (a) Peter of Poitiers (s. xiiex), sermon no. 18, inc. ‘Res valde necessaria est universis suam infirmitatem attendere’ (Schneyer, 4:720); the text in BodL, MS Laud misc. 269, fols 33va-35ra, reads near the opening like a paraphrase of the same source as that underlying the text here; (b) William Peraldus (s. xiiimed), sermon no. 210, inc. ‘Valde necessarium est homini ut seipsum congnoscat Bernardus noveris omnia’ (Schneyer 2:549); the text in BodL, MS Laud misc. 318, fols 25va-26rb, resembles our text only for a couple of sentences.

Fols 31-32r: blank.

4. Fols 32v-191
Rubric: [title in capitals, in alternating lines of red and green] Incipit expositio venerabilis Bedae presbiteri de tabernacvlo et uasis eivs ac vestibvs sacerdotvm. Incipiunt capitula libri primi
Incipit: . . . Locvtvri ivvante domino de figvra tabernacvli et vasorum atque utensilium eius primo situm loci et circumstantiam
Explicit: [fol. 190v] eos cognoscent illos quia isti sunt semen cui benedixit dominus [last word later, over erasure]
Rubric: Explicit liber \uel exposicio/ tercivs venerabilis Bedae [fol. 191] presbiteri de tabernacvlo et vasis eivs. ac vestibvs sacerdotvm
Bede, De tabernaculo

CPL 1345, ed. D. Hurst, CC 119A (1969), 3-139. Each book is preceded by a table of chapters, at fol. 32v placed between the heading and the text, at fol. 76v and 138 on the page preceding the opening of the book. Fol. 191 has only the two lines of colophon.

Fol. 191v-193v: blank, but bounded and ruled.

The manuscript appears as Richard Gameson, The Manuscripts of Early Norman England (Oxford, 1999), no. 770 (142).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: quod me (fol. 4)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (HSOS)
Extent: Fols: ii (numbered fols 1, 2) + 189 (numbered fols 3-191) + ii (numbered fols 192, 193). All flyleaves from the original production (pricked as the text leaves and fol. 2v ruled), at both front and rear a bifolium.
Dimensions (leaf): 250 × 165 mm.
Dimensions (written): 148-55 × 90 mm.


1-48 5-910 108 11-1910 2010 (last an unfoliated stub, presumably blank). No catchwords. All quires originally signed in one continuous series with a roman numeral at bottom centre of the final verso (probably not by the scribe but a contemporary), that at fol. 142v (quire 15) absent.


Written in long lines, 24-25 lines to the page.

Regular signs of full pricking in outer margin (c.10mm from leading edge); bounded and ruled in stylus.


Written in protogothic bookhand, one scribe for most of the texts, a second for the contents tables and some text openings.

Punctuation by point and punctus elevatus.

Thomson (23-24) associates the manuscript with a group of books produced at St. Albans during the abbacy of Geoffrey Gorron (1119-46). He finds particular affinities with two other MSS, probably of the 1120s: the two-volume Josephus, BL, MSS Royal 13 D.vi-vii, and Cambridge: King’s College, MS 19 (Bede on the Canticle). Indeed, the scribe who copied this MS is also the hand of King’s College 19, fols 22-125 (Thomson, 84). And the hand of the contents tables for individual items, here also writing textual openings so as to set a pattern for the scribe, is Thomson’s ‘master-scribe’ whom he designates ‘Scribe A’, probably the director of the abbey scriptorium and responsible for portions of several other codices. The manuscript is no. 58 in Thomson’s list of abbey books (111-12), and his study includes several reproductions: plates 32 (fol. 5), 33 (fol. 3), 56 (fol. 32v), 57 (fol. 77), 58 (fol. 138v).


Headings in red, in item 4 not all filled, sometimes a chapter number in red, sometimes blank. In the first two texts, five-line arabesque initials at the opening, two-line alternate red and green unflourished examples at the openings of the chapters. At the opening of text 3, a half-page high vine-form capital in ink with red and green decoration, (smaller but similar examples at the openings of the books on fols 77 and 138v, the latter with bird and humanoid figure). At the openings of chapters, two-line alternate red and green arabesque initials, some modestly flourished in the other colour. The texts are divided by one-line capitals in text ink, in item 4 set in the margin to form paragraphs. In item 4, running titles in the same hand as the running titles in our MS 97, to indicate book numbers. See AT no. 19 (5) and plate ii (fol. 138v).


Plain soiled white leather over unbevelled wood, s. xii, perhaps original, with heavy leather unstuffed half-moon shaped tabs at top and tail. Sewn on two thongs taken straight into the board, with additional head and tail thongs brought into the corners of the board obliquely, as depicted by Pollard, fig. 2. Our MS 97 has a very similar St Albans binding. Indentation and the marks of five nails from a strap seating at the centre of the leading edge of the upper board, a hole from its anchoring nail in the centre of the lower board. Marks from a chain staple in Watson’s position 5, like that on our MS 97, as noted by Hunt, ‘Library’, 261, and dating from soon after the manuscript’s arrival in ChCh (see Appendix I, and MS 97, binding). Pastedowns old parchment, a ChCh bookplate on the inner upper board. Christopher Clarkson studied the binding in June 2011; among his observations was that the ‘board-sheets have faint marks of envelope pockets, evidence of a chemise’ [copy of his report held in the library].


Origin: England (St Albans); s. xii1 (c. 1120-40)

Provenance and Acquisition

The book has the St Albans ex-libris: ‘Hic ⟨est⟩ liber sancti Albani quem qui ei abstulerit aut titulum dederit [ sic fordeleuerit] anathema sit amen’ (fol. 3, upper margin in red; s. xiii in.), partly erased, when the later inscription note below was cancelled. On this basis, associated with St Albans by MLGB3. Cf. Registrum 8-9, 256 (item 3) and 99, 257 (item 4).

There are a few interventions, the first chronologically being little more than a pentrial: (a) ‘howishe wordsy’ (fol. 191v; s. xv/xvi). Next in time: (b) ‘by ye grace of god kynge and que(n) of yngland france napuls Ierusarem and yerlande defender of ye faythe ?pri(n)cis of spayne and sicile archeduke of austrich duches of Milayne burgond and braband counteys of haspurge flanders and Tyroll of the ourlord’ (fol. 193v), the titles of Philip and Mary after his succession to the Habsburg kingdoms (and so datable to 1556-58), with its scribe also responsible for annotations to item 4 (fol. 24, 126v-127, 128, 137, 139, 143v). Then, (c), the title for the volume ‘Dominus Vobiscum’ added at fol. 2v, above the table of contents, in the hand that writes at the top of MS 97, fol. 1, ie John Beriman; it is also probably him who writes the price ‘xi d’ at the top right of fol. 3, just below a later inscription, discussed below.

From this evidence, it would appear that Beriman was not the first post-Dissolution owner of this volume. That someone else chose to read the book and to note Philip and Mary’s titles might suggest their affection for the old religion. Presumably, the manuscript remained in the vicinity of St Albans; certainly, Beriman was able to get hold of at least three volumes from the abbey, including our MS 97. Like that one it passed to Samuel Purchas, who writes a note at top of fol. 3 written below the St Albans anathema; it is now all cancelled and the first half also removed by rewashing leaving only the last three words legible through the crossing out: ‘...dedit Samueli Purchas’. This contrasts with MS 97, which Purchas bought.

At fol. 2, the note ‘Dedit Samuel Purchas’, in his hand. Purchas’s gift of this and other volumes to ChCh is recorded under the year 1617 in the Donors’ Register (see MS 97, provenance). The codex contains the remains of the shelfmark relating to the 1676 Catalogue (Appendix I): ‘A.⟨2⟩’ (number now hidden under bookplate), all cancelled at front pastedown; also, at top left of same pastedown, the New Library shelfmark of ‘F.18’, inserted by Edward Smallwell (see Appendix IV).

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.