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

Christ Church MS. 340

Cartulary of St Frideswide’s; England (Oxford), s. xvin.


Language(s): Latin

1. Pp. iv-v, 1–6

All originally blank. Some of these opening flyleaves are now occupied as follows:

The full length of p. v, in one column, a contents list with page references, in the same hand as the pagination of the volume and identifiable as that of Anthony Wood.

At p. 1, four short texts, two petitions and their associated royal licences, dated 1373 and 1374, transcribed by Spencer R. Wigram, The Cartulary of the Monastery of St. Frideswide at Oxford, 2 vols, OHS 28, 31 (Oxford, 1895–96), Appendix, nos 1–4 (1:478–79), written in anglicana (s. xv).

At p. 3, two texts added at separate moments. At the top of the folio, a ‘littera fraternitatis’ receiving Nicholas Flynt and his wife into the Fraternity of the Convent, dated to 22nd December 1480 but, as Wigram notes, must be some years later (s. xvex). Below, the appointment of proctors to Convocation by the Prior and Convent, undated (s. xvex). Both are printed by Wigram as Appendix, nos 8 and 7 (1:481–82).

At p. 6, a bond of John Sprout to the Prior and Convent of St. Frideswide, dated to 20th March 1400 (s. xv2/4; cf. p. 505 below). Printed by Wigram as Appendix, no. 5 (1:479–80).

2. Pp. 7ª-502ª
Rubric: Incipit Registrum cartarum et munimentorum monasterii sancte Frideswyde Oxon’ de fundacione eiusdem loci combustione ac ipsius renovacione. Et de omnibus ecclesiis maneriis terris tenementis Iuribus libertatibus privilegijs consuetudinibus rusticorum servitutibus Redditibus porcionibus pensionibus et possessionibus quibuscumque ad dictum monasterium pertinentibus secundum ordinem inferius distinctum
Incipit: Notandum quod Didanus quondam Rex Oxenford
Explicit: quandam summam argenti pre manibus in Gersummam. In cuius rei testimonium &c.

Edited by Wigram, working from this manuscript and from Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS 160, as well as incorporating some original charters, combining his sources, re-arranging the information in chronological and his own subject order (the last charter recorded in our manuscript is Wigram’s no. 672 (1:465)). Our volume is catalogued as Davis no. 740 (149), and described, as ‘A’, by Wigram, 1:v-vi, with a facsimile of p. 461ª as the third plate at the rear of volume 1.

Cartulary of St Frideswide’s, Oxford

The cartulary is divided into sections:

  • pp. 7ª-54b: Foundation, agreements with the City and the University of Oxford, and Royal Confirmations;
  • pp. 55ª-61ª: Episcopal Confirmations;
  • p. 61b blank, p. 62 originally blank, with Wigram’s no. 89 (1:85–87) added in a cursive script, and pp. 63–64 blank;
  • pp. 66ª-72b: Papal Confirmations (with ‘paparum’ at each running header deleted);
  • pp.73–301: Charters relating to the monastery’s estates outside the City, the order reproduced by Wigram 2:18–367, but with the items relating to Elizabeth Lady Montacute’s donation of Stockwell Mead, in this manuscript all placed last in the series, preceding in Wigram’s edition at 2:1–17; p.74b blank, p. 88 originally blank, with Wigram’s no. 731 (2:39–41), a ‘Composicio de iurisdictione de Hedyngton & Merston’ added in another cursive script, pp. 100, 112b-116 blank, p. 128 originally blank, with Wigram’s no. 794 (2:97–98) added at p. 128ª, pp. 129–32 blank, p. 145 originally blank, with Wigram’s no. 828 (2:125–26) now added, pp.146–48 blank, p. 155b-158, 170, 180b-184, 189, 190b, 191b, 192, 198 blank, lower half of p. 202ª originally blank with a note from Domesday, Wigram’s 949 (2:207), added, pp. 202b, 205b, 206 blank, p. 214b originally blank with notes concerning estate of Milton added in anglicana, pp. 218 and 226b blank, p. 236 ending in medias res (Wigram 1058 (2:275) – ‘hic deficiunt duo folia’ but with no apparent irregularity to the quire), pp. 237–40, 252, 262, 267b-268, 285b-286, 291b-292 and 302 blank.
  • pp. 302–502ª: Charters relating to the monastery’s properties within the City, organised by parish, the order reproduced by Wigram 1:99–474; pp. 323b-324, 332b-336, 354b-356, 358b, 390b, 391b, 392, 393b, 394, 398, 404b-406 blank, p. 418 originally blank, with a royal letter in English (not in Wigram or L&P and, it seems, unpublished) to ‘our trusty and welbeloved the deane and Canons of our College callyd kynge henry the viijthe his College’, dated 12th December 1541 provided in long lines in secretary (s. xvimed), pp. 419–20, 435–36, 442b, 443–44, 452, 458, 470b, 471–72, 480b-481, 491b-492, 502b blank.

3. Pp. 503–514

All originally blank. Some of these leaves now occupied as follows:

At top of p. 505, ‘expositiones liberatatum’, two lines of ‘Sek et Sok’, a vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon legal terms (s. xv2/4, same hand as the bond of John Sprout at p. 6 above).

At top of p. 507, a memorandum of a lease, undated (s. xv3/4). Printed by Wigram as Appendix, no. 6 (1:480–81).

Pp. 508–511 are covered with acquittances, ranging in date from 1480 to 1513 and written in various scripts. Calendared by Wigram as Appendix, nos 12–31 (1:484–87). The series is interrupted at p. 510 by three documents, transcribed by Wigram as Appendix, nos 9–11 (1:483–84) and at top of p. 511 by a list of rents owing by Oxford colleges, printed by Wigram as Appendix 32 (1:487–88).

P. 512 has a summary of rents owing to the Convent, in various scripts (s. xvex), the first perhaps being that seen at p. 3 for the note of proctors to Convocation. Printed by Wigram as Appendix 33 (1:488–89).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sancte trinitatis (p. 9)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (FSOS), with some water damage to upper part of many fore-edges. Pastedowns and outer most flyleaves (two unnumbered stubs followed by fol. i-iii at front; at back, three folios, pp. 515–520, followed by two stubs) are paper added with binding, one stock (crowned chain, enclosing two small shields – arms of Navarre and France – and with pendant: ‘PMAVDVIT’; cf. Churchill, no. 308 but with different pendant); the rest of the flyleaves, ie four at front (i4 [-4] ii2 [-1]) and four at rear (probably a four-leaf quire), are medieval parchment.
Extent: Fols: ix (numbered fols -, -, i-iv, pp. 1–6) + 250 (numbered pp. 7–506) + ix (paginated as pp. 507–20, -, -)
Dimensions (leaf): 396 × 275 mm.


14 (parchment flyleaves: pp. iv & v, 1–6), 2–48 56 (wanting third before p. 59) 64 78 86 9–128 136 14–238 2410 25–268 272 286 298 (lacking last after p. 420) 308 3110 (wanting ninth and tenth, after p. 452) 32–3310 346 354 (with one added as last [pp. 513–514], originally pastedown). Occasional boxed catchwords, although most cut away. The first leaves of quires often marked with ‘x’ or ‘xx’ in brown crayon (see, eg, p. 407); rare signatures, some leaves in the first halves of quires marked with a letter or roman numeral; a very few quire numbers in brown crayon on the first rectos (at pp. 38–39, matching signatures ‘iij’ across the quire boundary; on p. 421, the head of quire 30, ‘.2. a j’).


In double columns, each column 318 × 100 mm. , with 18mm between columns, in about 45 lines to the column.

No signs of pricking; bounded in black and brown ink, but not ruled.


Written in anglicana formata, in the main a single hand (the latest document in the volume is dated 1411 [p. 58b]).

Punctuation by point only.


Headings in red. At the opening of individual entries, two-line alternate red and blue lombards, unflourished. Running titles identify the properties, in textura, introduced by red and blue paraphs. On p. 116, otherwise blank, near the foot in brown crayon, the rubricator’s count, ‘de litteris ij Cxxxviij. de parauis ij Cxxiij.’, in anglicana, s. xv1 (a similar but not fully legible note at p. 388).


Brown reversed calf over millboards, datable to 1683 (see below), with a central rectangle formed of a floral roll and with fleurons at the corners, both inside and outside the roll. Sewn on six thongs. In the top spine compartment, in gilt on red leather label ‘Cartularium S. Frideswidæ’; ‘Registrum de Oseney’ [sic] at the head of the spine in black ink (s. xviiex / s. xviiiin; same hand on spine of Archives, D&C vi.c.2 (= MS 338) etc. Attenuated remains of two pairs of blue ribbon ties. The binding of this manuscript is recorded in the Disbursement Book for 1683, ChCh Archives, xii.c.126, under third term, ‘Paper Wax and Parchment’: ‘Paid for binding {St Fridswist} Oseney booke in Calfe-skin pro bill – 4s’. It is signed by Richard Sedgley, a frequent binder for the House (the last payment to him is for binding an unspecified manuscript in 1719, the year of his death: xii.c.162, under first term). The confusion over which cartulary is meant echoes the ambivalence of the title on the spine, but it cannot be the Oseney Cartulary, D&C vi.c.1 (= MS 343), as that is still in its Cottonian binding.


Origin: England (Oxford); s. xvin

Provenance and Acquisition

The active use of this cartulary at St Frideswide’s before its dissolution is visible in both the inserted texts and the various accretions of marginalia through the volume. The addition of the letter at p. 418 from Henry VIII to ‘our College … within our universite of Oxforde’ – a letter alluding to ‘some contention [that] hathe growen lately amon yowe’ and resolving it by setting the stipend of the Dean to that previously enjoyed by John Higden, and by instructing that ‘to hable felowes’ should each year be elected Treasurer – strongly suggests that the cartulary did not move from its previous home and was on the college site. In other words, this is the sole manuscript from the days of the Priory which has remained in situ and been owned by the successor institutions. We might wonder why the other cartulary, now next door at Corpus, did not enjoy the same fate.

At p. 513, upside down in the gutter: ‘Borrowed of yᵉ D & Can: this book wth those of Ensham & & [sic] yt of Oseney octob: MDCLIX & againe in Aug: MDCLXV: A Woode’, i.e. Anthony Wood, the seventeenth-century historian of Oxford. He also adds not only the contents list at p. v but also some annotations (eg pp. 25, 73, 80, 126–27 etc). This volume, cited as ‘registrum magnum’ or ‘great book’, thus became one of the sources for Wood’s description of the Priory: “Survey of the Antiquities of the City of Oxford,” composed in 1661–6, by Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, 3 vols, OHS, 15, 17 & 37 (Oxford, 1889–99), 2 (1890), 141–78.

Held in the Chapter House, it was recorded in the 1771 Catalogue as number 8, and described as ‘A Register Book of Charters &c. of the Monastery of Saint Frydeswyde’: Christ Church Archives, D&C iv.a.1, fol. 12.

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.

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