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

Christ Church MS. 150

Homilies, Book of Common Prayer, and Psalms for use in Anglican Services; England, 1561-?62, with additions of c. 1580


Language(s): English

1. Fol. 1

Title-page to item 2.

Elegantly drawn pen-and-ink border, dominated by the two descending bunches of fruit and vegetables, each side of the central panel, and placed with a roundel above and below. In each roundel, a royal symbol (clockwise from top left: Tudor rose, pomegranate, fleur-de-lys, and portcullis). The central panel has a rounded rectangle on which is written the title of the work in capitals: ‘HOMELYES APPOYNTED TO BE RED BY THE MYNSTER VPON THE SONDAIES AND OTHER HOLY DAYS THROUGH OUT THE YEARE’, beneath which is drawn a leaf motif. The panel has, outside the rectangle and at is four corners, small squares, each with a letter, which read (top then bottom, left to right) ‘TYAS’. Above the panel is a small cartouche in which is written in italics: ‘Anno Verbi Incarnati: 1561’. Below the panel is another cartouche in which is written the verse (Sapientia 3:15): ‘BONORVM LABORVM gloriosus est fructus’. Above the decoration, at very top of folio, in the same hand, ‘Nº. 63.’ At very bottom, a quire signature, cropped.

Fol. 1v: blank

2. Fol. 2–91v
Rubric: [in upper margin:] The Preface
Incipit: CONSYDERynge how necessary it is
Explicit: [fol. 3] his pretious bloude hathe bought us all, to whome with the father and the holye Ghoste be all honoure & glorye for euer and euer AMEN
Rubric: [blank line] A FRVCTEFUL EXHORtation to the readyng & knowledge of holy Scriptures. [blank line]
Incipit: VNTO a Christen man there can be nothinge
Explicit: [fol. 91v] Wee may glorifie God the father of oure lorde Jesus Christe to whome be all honour & glorie nowe & euer AMEN
⟨Thomas Cranmer⟩, Certayne sermons appoynted by the Quenes Maiestie to be declared and read, by all persones, vycars, and curates, euery Sonday and holy daye, in theyr Churches

A copy of the preface and text (London, 1559) [STC 13648, with STC 13649 being the reprint of 1560]. The twelve sermons are distributed as follows:

[1] fol. 3–8: ‘A Fructeful Exhortation’, first part ending at foot of fol. 5, and the second starting at top of fol. 5v

[2] fol. 8–13: ‘A Sermon, of the mysery of mankynde, & of hys condemnation to deathe euerlasting by his owne synne’, the two parts breaking at fol. 10v

[3] fol. 13–20v: ‘A Sermon of the saluation of mankynde, only by Christe oure sauioure, frome syn & deathe euerlastygne.’, the first part ending at foot of fol. 15, the second starting at top of fol. 15v, and the second and third breaking at fol. 18

[4] fol. 21–28v: ‘A Short Declaracion of the true, lyuely, & Christian faythe’, the first two parts breaking at fol. 23, the second ending at foot of fol. 26, and the third starting at top of fol. 26v

[5] fol. 28v-37v: ‘A Sermon of Good works annexed to faythe’, the first two parts breaking at fol. 30v, and the second and third breaking at fol. 34

[6] fol. 37v-42: ‘Of Chrystian Love and Charitye’, the two parts breaking at fol. 40

[7] fol. 42–47v: ‘Agaynste Swering and periurye’, the two parts breaking at fol. 45

[8] fol. 48–54: ‘A Sermon how dangerous a thynge it is to fall frome God’, the two parts breaking at fol. 50v

[9] fol. 54v-63v: ‘An Exhortation agaynste the feare of Deathe’, the first two parts breaking at fol. 57, the second ending at foot of fol. 59v, and third opening at top of fol. 60

[10] fol. 64–71v: ‘An Exhortation to goode order, & obedience to rulers, & magistrates’, the first two parts breaking at fol. 66, and the second and third breaking at fol. 69v

[11] fol. 72–82v: ‘A Sermon agaynste whoredom & vnclennes’ (the running header re-titles it ‘the Sermon againste Adultrie’), the first two parts breaking at fol. 74v, the second ending at foot of fol. 78 and the third opening at top of fol. 78v

[12] fol. 83–91v: ‘A Sermon agaynste brawlynge & contentyon’, the first two parts breaking at fol. 86, and the second and third breaking at fol. 89

The bottom half of fol. 91v is blank.

Fol. 92–94v: blank

3. Fol. 95

Contents page for item 4

Fol. 95v: blank

4. Fol. 96–309v
Rubric: [in upper border] AN ACTE FOR THE vniformitie of Common praier & seruice in the Church & thadmynistration of the sacramentes
Incipit: WHERE at the death of oure late souereigne
Book of Common Prayer

A copy of the Book of Common Prayer, as printed in 1559 etc, closest to STC 16293 but not identical. It divides the work as follows:

[1] fol. 96–99: ‘An Acte of the Vniformitie’

[2] fol. 99v-100v: ‘The Preface’

[3] fol. 101–102: ‘Of Ceremonies why some be abolished & some retayned’

fol. 102v: blank

[4] fol. 103: ‘The Ordre how the psalter is apoynted to be readde’

[5] fol. 103v: ‘The Ordre how how [sic] the rest of holy scripture (beside the psalter) is appointed to be Read’

[6] fol. 104–106: ‘Propre Lessons to red for the firste Lessons, both at Mornyng & Euenyng prayer on the Sondayes throughoute the yeare…’, arranged in a table of three columns

[7] fol. 106v: ‘To Fynde Ester for ever’, presented as table of eight columns, with explanatory text beneath

[8] fol. 107: ‘The Almanack’, this folio is of more than a double breadth (220mm), folded over twice so that it fits the usual page-size, and with the inner fold strengthened with a reinforcing strip. The information is presented as a table in ten columns, with the first column listing the years from 1561 to 1590.

fol. 107v: blank

[9] fol. 108: ‘These to be observed for the holydays & none other.’, presented in a table of two columns

[10] fol. 108v: ‘The Table for the for the [sic] order of the psalms to be saide at mornynge & euenyng praier throughoute the whole yeare.’, presented in a table of two columns

[11] fol. 109–114v: untitled, a calendar recording the lessons to be read, arranged with a month to a page, in a table of nine columns (golden number, dominical letter, Latin date, feast, Psalm, first lesson morning, second lesson morning, first lesson evening, second lesson evening).

fol. 115–116v: blank

[12] fol. 117–133: ‘The Ordre where Mornynge & euenynge praier shalbe vsed and saide’, with the divide between morning prayer and Sunday litany falling at fol. 125v and that between Sunday litany and evening prayer at fol. 131

[13] fol. 133–260: ‘The Collectes Epistels & Gospels, to be vsed at the celebration of the lordes supper and holy communion throughoute the yeare’, with the bottom third of fol. 260 blank

[14] fol. 260v-276: ‘The Order for the administration of the Lordes Supper’.

[15] fol. 276v-282: ‘The Order of Pvbliqve Baptisme to be vsed in the Churche.’

[16] fol. 282–284v: ‘Of them that be baptysed, in pryvate houses, in the tyme of necessity’

[17] fol. 284v-289: ‘Confyrmation wherin is conteyned a Cathechysme for Chyldren as followeth’, with the Catechism appearing at fol. 285v-287v

[18] fol. 289–295v: ‘The Forme of Solemnyzatyon of Matrimony’

[19] fol. 295v-299: ‘The Ordre for the Visitation of the sicke persons’

[20] fol. 299–300v: ‘The Communion of the Sycke’

[21] fol. 300v-304v: ‘An Ordre for the buryall of the deade’

[22] fol. 304v-305: ‘The Thankes geuynge of women after child byrthe commonly called churchynge of women’

[23] fol. 305–309v: ‘A Commynatyon agaynste sinners with certeyne prayers to be vsed diuerse tymes in the yeare’, with the lower half of fol. 309v blank

Fol. 310r-v: blank

5. Fol. 311–411v
Rubric: [in upper border] The Psalmes of David. I.
Incipit: BLESSED is the manne that hath not walked in the councell of the vngodly
Explicit: Let euerie thinge that hat breath praise the lorde
Final rubric: THE ENDE OF the Psalmes of Dauid
Psalms in English

A copy of the Psalms in the English translation of the 1539 Great Bible, probably transcribed from The Psalter or Psalmes of David(London: William Seres, 1559) [STC 16293], as it repeats the marginalia identifying morning and evening prayer, as well as the Latin incipits for the Psalms as they appear in the printing.

Fol. 412r-v: blank

6. Fol. 413–502v
Rubric: PSALMES OF DAVID IN English meter by Thomas Sternehold and others
Rubric: [fol. 413v] A SHORT INTRODUCTION INto the science of musick, made for suche as are desirous to haue the knowledge therof for the singing of these Psalmes. For that the rude and ignorant
Incipit: [fol. 417] Psalme I. Tho Sterneholde
Explicit: [fol. 502v] his sainctes shall obteyne
Psalms in English

A partial copy of the Psalms with musical settings by Thomas Sternhold (d. 1549), John Hopkins (d. 1570) and others, for which the scribe appears to have had before him both the printing attributed to John Day of 1560 [STC 2427] and the edition entitled The Whole Booke of Psalmes printed by John Day in 1562 [STC 2430], from which it takes its ‘Short Introduction to the science of musick’ (fol. 413v-17). In its notation, it follows the 1562 edition but it largely follows the 1560 edition in its original selection of the Psalms to include. This is complicated by the fact that, at another sitting, the scribe returned and inserted further sections, taken from an edition of The Whole Booke no earlier that 1578 [STC 2450]: fol. 444v-447, providing Psalms 35 and 36 (with fol. 447v and fol. 448r-v blank) and fol. 451–454v, providing Psalms 38–40 (with bottom two-thirds of fol. 454v blank). Thus, the complete series (with ‘n’ marking presence of notation and ‘+’ marking addition): 1n, 2, 3n, 4–13, 14n, 15–17, 18n, 19–20, 21n, 22–24, 25n, 26–29, 30n, 31–34, +35–36, 37, +38–40, 41n, 42–43, 44n, 49, 50n, 51n, 52n, 63–67, 68n, 69n, 70–71, 72n, 73–75, 78n, 79, 82, 100n, 103n, 114, 115n, 119n, 120n, 121n, 123, 124n, 125, 127–129, 130n, 133, 137n, 146, 148n, 149.

Item 8 below, though separated by a folio, is in the same layout as the original sections of this item and is presumably a supplement to it added close in time. Some of the complexities of the relationship of this with the following items are discussed on the on-line ChCh Music Catalogue under the entry for this item; for a discussion of the genesis and many editions of The Whole Booke, see Beth Quitslund, The Reformation in Rhyme. Sternhold, Hopkins and the English Metrical Psalter, 1547–1603 (Aldershot, 2008), 193–251.

7. fol. 503r-v
Rubric: [in upper border] Psalme 149. Syng this as the 145 Psalm. N.
Incipit: Syng ye unto the Lord oure God
Explicit: agre with one accorde

Text of Psalms 149 and 150 as they appear in the 1564 edition of The Whole Booke [STC 2432], 411–13.

This item is part of the additions (distinguished by the script and the lack of rubricated ruling found in items 6 and 8), the main part of which is item 9.

The bottom third of fol. 503v is blank.

8. Fol. 504r
Rubric: [in upper border:] Psalm of David. 117 Psalm. 117. [rubricated:] T. Beacon.
Incipit: He exhorteth the Gentiles
Explicit: Now and at euery season

This returns to the script and layout of item 6. It provides settings by Thomas Becon (1512/13–67) to Psalms 117 and 134 (neither with music transcribed), as they appear in the 1564 edition of The Whole Booke [STC 2432], 366–67, but each introduced with the preface as given in the translation of the Geneva Bible.

In the margin, for each, a cross-reference: ‘An other of this page [sic]’ and ‘An other of this in the later parte.’

Fol. 504v: blank

9. Fol. 505–558
Rubric: [in upper border] Psalm. 45
Incipit: Salomon his maiestie
Explicit: praise ye the Lorde alone

The script and layout as in item 7. This campaign provides a supplement to the item 6, and, like the additions to that item, has as its source the 1578 edition of The Whole Booke [STC 2450]. It provides (‘n’ following the number signifies presence of notation) Psalms 45, 46n, 47–48, 53–58, 59n, 60, 76, 77n, 80, 81n, 83–102, 104n, 105–110, 111, 112, 113n, 116–118, 122n, 125n, 126n, 129, 131, 132n, 134n, 135n, 136n (setting by ‘N’), 136 (translation by ‘T.C.’), 138–40, 141n, 142–144, 145n, 147n.

Fol. 558v: blank

10. Fol. 559–577
Incipit: [with notation:] COME holie Ghoste eternall God
Explicit: to the be praise worlde without ende.

A set of religious songs, for liturgical use, all but two with notation. Such songs appear in the various editions of The Whole Booke but it appears that scribe is not transcribing from a single edition. The order is as follows:

fol. 559–560: ‘Veni Creator spiritus’

fol. 560r-v: ‘A prier vnto the holy ghost to be songe before the Sermon.’

fol. 560v-561v: ‘The Songe of S. Ambrose called Te deum.’

fol. 561v-562v: ‘The Songe of Zacharias called Benedictus’

fol. 562v-563v: ‘The Songe of blessed Mary called Magnificat’

fol. 563v-564: ‘The Songe of Simeon called Nunc dimittis’

fol. 564–566v: ‘The Simbolde or crede of Athanasius called. Quicumque vult’

fol. 566v-567v: ‘The lamentation of a Synner.’

fol. 567v-568v: ‘The complaynte of a sinner, who crauithe of Christe to be forgeuen, & to be kepte vnder his mercy’

fol. 568v-570v: ‘The lordes praier. Pater noster’ – two settings, the second (starting at top of fol. 569v) by ‘D. Cox’

fol. 570v-571v: ‘The 12 articles of the Christiane faith’

fol. 571v-573v: ‘The x Commaundementes’ – two settings, the second (starting at middle of fol. 573) by ‘W. White’

fol. 573v-574: ‘A praier Added’, opening ‘The spirit of grace graunte vs o lorde…’, without notation

fol. 574–575v: ‘A thankes geuinge after the receuyng of the Lordes Supper’, without notation

fol. 575v-576: ‘Da pacem Domine’ – three sections, each with notation, the second (starting at middle of fol. 576) by ‘R. Wisoon’, but the third (starting at middle of fol. 576v) anonymous.

11. Fol. 577v-578v
Rubric: [title, centred at very top of page:] A prayer for the good Estate of the Queenes maiestie, against all kind of Casualties in this temporall Lyef
Incipit: We yelde the most humble and harty thankes, o heavenly father, generally
Explicit: ouer one Gode worlde without ende. Amen.

A text, added without ruling, which is not to be found in any of the printed books which are the sources for the earlier items. All but the two top lines of fol. 578v are blank.

Fol. 579–587v: blank

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: may pray (fol. 3)
Secundo Folio: one substance
Form: codex
Support: Paper (watermark only partially visible: crown?).
Extent: Fols: xiii + 587. First opening flyleaf (fol. i) and flyleaf at back (fol. 587) are parchment, in each case conjoint with the originally blank pastedown.
Dimensions (leaf): 151 × 104 mm.


Quires of 4: 1–214, 222, 23–244 | (from fol. 95) 25–264 276 (with fifth, fol. 107, being double width) 288 | (from fol. 117) 29–1034 | (from fol. 413) 104–1074 1056 1064 1074+4 with third to sixth added as fol. 445–448, 1084 an inserted quire (fol. 451–54), 109–1214 1228 originally, perhaps, a bifolium (fol. 157r ruled in the style of earlier quires) which is now the second and seventh of the quire as added, 123–1334 | (from fol. 559) 134–1394 1408 all of this final quire being blank flyleaves. Quire signatures and catchwords differ from item to item. In item 2 there are horizontal catchwords to each page; quire signatures (1–24) at bottom centre, preceded by pattern of three stars. In the opening sections of item 4 (up to fol. 116), there are quire signatures (1–4) at bottom centre, without decoration; for the rest of the item, quire signatures (A-Z, Aa-Zz, Aaa-Zzz, A.aaa-E.eee) at bottom centre, without decoration; catchwords intermittently on each verso and a few rectos. Items 6–10 share a single set of quire signatures (1–37), placed at centre or centre-right below the rectangle; horizontal catchwords only at the last verso of each quire.


The mise-en-page alters between items, with the consistent features of the text being formed of long lines which are not ruled, always placed within a ruled border. As a result of these factors, the number of lines varies, sometimes substantially within an item. In the first main text, item 2, the written space is 121/24 × 65mm, marked by a set of binding lines extending to the edges of the pages and supplemented by an outer border, creating margins of 13/16mm, and there are 37–38 lines. In the next main text, item 4, the text-block is marked by binding lines forming a rectangle but the size changes: in the opening sections (up to fol. 103), it is 121/23 × 73mm, providing 44 lines; after that point, it is 113 × 53mm and 33 lines. This last layout continues in item 5. For items 6 and 8, the text-block is marked by a red rectangle measuring 119 × 73mm, with an extra binding line added within the rectangle 3mm from the left to create a column in which to place stanza numbers; there are 48–49 lines to a page. Item 7 and 9 are distinguished from items 4 and 6 by the rectangle and extra binding line being in the gray-black ink used for the text; the rectangle is c. 123 × 69mm, and the number of lines varies between 46 and 56. Item 10 has its rectangle in red, measuring 123 × 82mm, with one extra binding line, placed within the rectangle 20mm from the right to allow annotations; there are 40 lines.


Written throughout by one scribe, who is identifiable as Robert Tyas (see provenance). His script varies through the manuscript but is persistently tiny, usually slightly slanted and italic-influenced.

Musical Notation:

Staves with black notation on red lines


The mise-en-page, setting the text within a rectangle, has been described above. In addition, there are running headers in all items. The scribe also adds, as well as the opening title-page (item 1), some initials, mainly concentrated in items 2 and 4. The preface to item 2 opens at fol. 2 with a 10-line initial, including a grotesque, in red, yellow and blue. Through this item and the next, there are two types of initials, the first providing foliage around letter, imitating printed initials; they occur at fol. 3 (9 lines), 8v (8 lines), 83 (9 lines, in red, with short border), 96 (10 lines), 117 (4 lines, with gold and red, and short border), 118 (4 lines, gold, with red used for half-border), 118v (likewise, with border including Tudor rose), 119 (likewise, but 5 lines), 119v (5 lines, letter in black and gold), 120v (5 lines), 122v (likewise), 260v (9 lines), 276v (likewise), 277 (8 lines). The other style involves grisaille historiated initials, occurring at fol. 95 (10 lines, all’antica vase and foliage), 99v (grapes and acorn), 101 (with red outlining), 119v (5 lines, turkey with red throat, a notably early depiction, given that William Strickland’s grant of arms including the bird he had imported from the New World occurred in 1550), 120 (5 lines, acorn, with nut in red and letter in gold), 123 (5 lines, artichoke), 124 (4 lines, fruit and flower) 125v (6 lines, grotesque), 133 (8 lines), 134v (6 lines, Tudor rose and pomengrate in the compartments of ‘B’, on the stem the letters ‘RO’ and ‘RT’), 136v (5 lines, bird, branch and fruit), 137 (6 lines, knotted letter ‘A’). Item 5 opens, at fol. 311, with an initial of 9 lines in which the letter grows leaves, with sections painted in blue and gold, and grisaille. In item 6, there is also an historiated initial, at fol. 417, the letter ‘T’ formed by a bird and cornucopia with a roll reading ‘cantate domino nouum’ (Psalm 98); the initial is the height of two staves, which, in this item and item 10, have black notation on red lines. In addition, in this item and item 8, the first letter of each Psalm is rubricated, as is the name of the composer. In item 9, the notation is written on black lines.


Cream leather over wooden boards, sewn on five thongs, s. xvii in?. Gilded ornamentation: diamond-shaped centrepiece, in between the initials ‘M’ and ‘S’, placed within a simple rectangle with four acorn-motif cornerpieces, all within another rectangle at very edge of boards; a stamp of leaves in each compartment of the spine. The centrepiece is closest to but decidedly distinct from fig.4(i) in David Pearson, ‘English Centre-piece Bookbindings 1560–1640’ in Mirjam M. Foot ed., Eloquent Witnesses. Bookbindings and their History (London, 2004), 106–26. Two large, broad metal strips, clasps and clips in situ.


Origin: England ; 1561-?62, with additions of c. 1580

Provenance and Acquisition

The scribe gives his surname as Tyas at fol. 1, and, at fol. 134v, provides, in the initial, clues to his Christian name being Robert. In addition, at fol. 114v, he draws a manicula pointing to 14 December and, in outer margin, a drawing of two hands joined with, above, the date ‘1573’. From these snippets of information, it is possible to identify him as the Robert Tyas who married Millisent Browne in 1573: London Marriage Licences 1521–1869, ed. Joseph Foster (London, 1887), col. 1372, licence provided on 8 December. He was a servant to the Royal Wardrobe, eventually being its Clerk in the 1590s and first years of the seventeenth century: CSP Elizabeth, 24:96 (505); CSP James I, 3:88 and 93 (42 and 55). It is perhaps Robert himself (since the script is of the late sixteenth century) who adds in secretary script a note at the top of fol. 579: ‘A quiet life who list to lead | let him vouchsafe these lines to read | & redding print them in his mind | a quiet life then shall he find’.

It would appear that the volume descended within the family, since it was another Tyas who gave it to Christ Church. It is recorded in the Donors’ Register (MS LR 1), under the year 1675, at p. 174a:

Ornatissimus Vir Thomas Tyas Art. Magr hujus Ecclesiae Alumnus


A Manuscript in English containing the book of common praier & the Homilies appointed to be read on sundaies & holy-daies. 8º.

Born in Middlesex 1610 or 1611, Thomas Tyas or Tias, went up to Christ Church 24 February 1631/2 and received his BA 20 October 1632 and MA 4 June 1635; he was ordained deacon on 22 December 1639 (AO; CCED). His later career is not fully clear but he was still in residence at ChCh in 1648 when he crossed with the Parliamentarian Visitors (The Register of the Visitors of the University of Oxford from A.D. 1647 to A.D. 1658, ed. Montagu Burrows, Camden Society (London, 1881), 30 and 130).

The one complicating factor is the presence of the letters ‘MS’ on both boards of the binding. Though these might simply signify this is a manuscript, it would be more customary for them to stand for a person’s initials. If so, there is one relative of Thomas Tyas for whom they would be appropriate: the scribe, Robert, had a daughter who was christened Margaret and who in 1600 married Thomas (b. 1568; fl. 1634), one of the sons of Edwin Sandys, archbishop of York (E. S. Sandys, History of the family of Sandys, 2 vols (Barrow-in-Furness, 1930), 2: pedigree C). Her married initials were thus ‘MS’ and so perhaps she inherited this volume and it was bound for her. If so, it was patently returned later to the family of her birth.

This manuscript arrived just in time to appear in the 1676 catalogue (Appendix I, [15]) but the shelfmark recorded there does not appear in the book itself. The only shelfmark at the inside of its upper board is written by Edward Smallwell and is the New Library ‘G.13’.

Within the manuscript is kept evidence of later interest in the volume: a two-page typed letter from the hymnologist and Vicar of Deddington, Maurice Frost (1888–1961), dated 16 February 1940, is stuck to fol. iv, while a typescript description of items 6 to 10 (undated) by the English scholar, W[illiam A.] Ringler (1912–87) is kept loose with it; there is also a twentieth-century pencil note by ‘TYP’ at fol. 587. All those concentrate their attention on the metrical Psalms with notation; their comments are summarised in the on-line ChCh Music Catalogue.

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.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.