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

Christ Church MS. 339

Statutes of Cardinal College, Oxford; England (Westminster), 1525


Language(s): Latin

Fol. ii-iv: blank, with added text (a) at fol. iir.

1. Fol. ivv-viii
Rubric: Tituli Statutorum

Contents list, with folio references, for the following Statutes.

Fol. viiiv-ix: blank

2. Fol. ixv-115
Rubric: Statuta Collegij Reuerendissimi in christo patris Thome Wulcy Cardinalis Eboracensis a latere legati vulgo nuncupati the Cardinall Colleage
Incipit: [fol. 1] In nomine sancte et Indiuidue trinitatis patris filii et spiritus sancti Nos Thomas miseratione diuina tituli sancte Cecilie sacrosancte Romane ecclesie presbiter . . . Cum in hoc Collegio nostro instituendo et erigendo quod felix faustumque deus esse concedat
Explicit: [fol. 114v] statutis nos obstantibus. In quorum omnium et singulorum premissorum fidem et testimonium sigillum nostrum presentibus apponi fecimus datus in palatio nostro prope Westmonasterium vicesimo die mensis decembris Anno domini | Millesimo quingentesimo vicesimo quinto
Statutes of Cardinal College, Oxford

Her Majesty’s Commissioners ed., Statutes of the Colleges of the University of Oxford, 3 vols (Oxford, 1853), 2: Cardinal, 11–143, from BL, MS Cotton Titus F.iii, which lacks Wolsey’s subscription at the end, as transcribed above. The title sits alone on its page, occupying the top third, with bottom 16 lines blank.

Added text:

a. fol. iir
Rubric: Hic textus insculpitur in prima petra Iacti fundamenti Collegii cardinalis oxon

With the text.

Written on the first ruled flyleaf in a script identifiable as that of James Morrell, Chapter Clerk from 1766 to 1807 (on whom see Headnote to Chapter House Manuscripts). The text repeats that of the opening the Statutes, adding the date 20th March 1525 [old style]. Morrell provides an indication of his source: ‘Extracted from the Register of Charles Booth Bishop of Hereford’. Booth was bishop 1516–35.

Text printed from Booth’s register, now Hereford: Herefordshire Records Office, AL19/13, at Arthur Thomas Bannister ed., Registrum Caroli Bothe, Episcopi Herefordensis [Canterbury and York Society, xxviii] (London, 1921), 183. A further copy of the text survives in Christ Church, in the hand of Morrell’s predecessor as Chapter Clerk, James Gilpin: Archives, DP i.a.16, fol. 86v (it does not include the attribution to Booth).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Forma Iuramenti (fol. v)
Secundo Folio: sed suis singula (fol. 2)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (HSOS and FSOS)
Extent: Fols: i + 123 (numbered fols ii-ix, 1–115) + iii (numbered fols 116–18). First and last flyleaves parchment; two others at the rear (fol. 116–117), paper (watermark ‘VI’, not resembling either example in Briquet, nos 9545–46, of 1573 × 1581, but identical with that in D&C vi.c.2 = MS 338 described above).
Dimensions (leaf): 370 × 255 mm.
Dimensions (written): 210 × 150 mm.
Foliation: An original foliation for fols 1–114.


12 (the folios blank but ruled and inverted) 24 32 4–56 6–134 146 156 (wanting last, probably a cancelled blank at the conclusion of a chapter) 16–204 21–226 23–274 286 292. No catchwords. From the second quire, all quires signed to the first leaf after the quire centre with a letter and arabic numeral; in this system, quires 2–29 = +, a-v, y-z, &, con, A-C. In addition, there are signs of a second system of signing, by a letter only at bottom right corner of the opening recto of each quire, fragmentary but running through the entire manuscript; in this system, quires 4–29 = a . . ., ending with ‘b’.


In long lines, between 26 and 28 lines to the page.

Frequent signs of pricking the length of the written space, often just the inner impression along the leading edge; bounded and ruled in violet ink, with single border on all sides except the bottom horizontal which is double; all border extend to the edge of the page; the lines ruled are slightly ragged, extending beyond the writing area.


Written in bastard secretary (anglicana d), with frequent display textura to introduce clauses, dated to 1525 (but not in Watson, DMO).

Punctuation by occasional point and punctus elevatus.


Headings and openings of clauses in formal textura, often with large swag capitals, but frequently just a large letter at the head of chapters. In the nine-line initial at the opening (fol. ixv), including a depiction in pen and ink of one of Wolsey’s heraldic badges: the Cardinal’s hat with tassels over a leopard’s head above a crown (cf MS 101).


The original rough brown cloth over pasteboards in a chemise binding, tawny velvet lined with violet silk, fixed to each board by five Tudor rose bosses, s. xvi2/4. Sewn on five thongs. Two blue-grey cloth straps with gold embroidery ending in brass buckles (upper with the initials ‘ihs’, lower with ‘maria’ monogram, both with floral diamond-shaped appendage and eye-loop), with brass seats and pegs to attach to the lower board. Red and gold-coloured cords stabbed through the gutter of all the folios at two points (35mm and 140mm from foot) to attach the plain metal case holding Wolsey’s seal: part of the seal is missing at top left and the rest is rubbed; pointed oval, 135x 85mm; St Peter and St Paul housed within twin arches, below the cardinal’s coat of arms; inscription: ‘SIGILLUM THOMA....EN. MISER·ATIONE DIVINA CARDI¦¦’; an image of the same design of seal is available at Peter Gwyn, The King’s Cardinal (London, 1990), ill. 20. Pages are gilt-edged. There are rewashed marks, inverted at the lower board, showing that the boards were swapped, presumably at the point the watermarked paper was added, that is, during the late seventeenth-century campaign of conservation in which Richard Sedgley was employed (see Headnote).


Origin: England (Westminster); 1525

Provenance and Acquisition

The internal evidence provided by this manuscript – its expensive original binding with seal still attached, the few signs of wear to the leaves themselves – suggest that the volume has been treasured without interruption by, first, the short-lived college whose governance is described in these Statutes and then by its successor foundations. It is listed in the 1771 catalogue of the volumes held in the Chapter House as number 11: ChCh Archives, D&C iv.a.1, fol. 12; see also the Headnote to the Chapter House Manuscripts. Erasures (by rewashing) at inside of both boards appear to provide superseded shelfmarks (‘H-6–5’?).

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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