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

Christ Church MS. 341

Cartulary of Eynsham Abbey; Eynsham, 1196–97, with extensive additions, s.xiii-xv


Language(s): Latin, with some Anglo-Norman

1. Fol. 1–4

The added flyleaves are covered with text (s. xiiiex). The various lists and copies of deeds relating to Eynsham, provided in at least eight different scripts, are printed by H. E. Salter ed., Eynsham Cartulary, 2 vols, OHS 49 & 51 (Oxford, 1907–1908) as items I-XVI (1:1–17).

2. Fol. 5–6r
Rubric: Cartae et privilegiarum confirmaciones Eyneshamensis ecclesie

List of charters, arranged in four columns, with numbers in red corresponding with the following entries (from i to clxxiii); integral with the original portion that follows.

3. Fol. 6v

Originally blank. Provided with further texts – a record of an inquisition of c. 1221 (s. xiiiex), a verse (perhaps by same hand as preceding), an Anglo-Norman veterinary recipe (anglicana, s. xiv2/4); a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury from pope Innocent [III?] (again s. xiiiex), and, at the foot, an Anglo-Norman charm for sheep disease (s. xiv med.) – all edited by Salter, nos XVIII-XX (1:17–18 and nn.).

4. Fol. 7–45
Rubric: Carta Regis Æthelredi de fundatione huius Ecclesie [Chi/rho]
Incipit: Dominante per secula infinita omnium dominatore
Explicit: heredi suo contra omnes homines, sicut homini suo.
Cartulary of Eynsham Abbey

Edited by Salter, nos 1–173 (1:19–130). This original portion is listed by Watson DMO, no. 765 (126), with facsimiles in plate 92 (fols 10 and 11).

The work of this portion was shared between two scribes, leaving some leaves blank, but only fol. 20 now pristine. There are added texts (s. xiii) at fol. 19v, 21v-22, 36 (bottom margin), 37 (bottom margin), 42v-43 (bottom margin; s. xiiiex), which are edited by Salter as nos 40A, 44A&B, 124A, 131A and 159A respectively. In addition, a slip of parchment (83mm x 295mm) is stitched in at fol. 29v, providing Salter, no. 90A (in English; anglicana, s. xv). At the same time, one of the original charters (Salter, no. 146) has been lost, with consequent loss to other texts, by the cutting out of the bottom half of fol. 39, which could not have occurred earlier than the fourteenth century as there is an annotation of that date now cropped by the removal. The text at fol. 45 flows into the lower margin so as to end on that recto.

5. Fol. 45v-152 (the rear pastedown)

Added items to the cartulary.

All printed by Salter, nos 174–601 (130–409).

The items in these additional quires are provided with a numbering continuous for that in the original portion, first in Roman numerals and then, from charter 230, in Arabic numerals in a s. xvii script identified by Salter (1: 257) as that of Anthony Wood. As Salter explains, he wrote after the removal of fol. 86, not noticing the loss of text that had occurred. Wood stops at fol. 138, with item number 555.

There is a gradual chronological progression in both the texts transcribed and the aspect of the palaeography from mid-thirteenth to fourteenth century, but with some insertions of quires providing earlier charters (eg fol. 80 & 81, ie quire 12, and fol. 147 & 148, quire 19), and the addition in blank spaces of later ones (the latest being a note concerning anti-Irish legislation of 1413 and 1423: fol. 151v [Salter, no. 600 (1:408)]).

The whole manuscript is described Salter, 1:xxxii-iv, with facsimiles of fols 9 (facing 1:xxxii) and 24 (facing 1:xxxiii); it is catalogued as Davis no. 399 (81).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: In Cultura
Secundo Folio: Carte (fol. 6)
Secundo Folio: -mo commisit (fol. 8)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (original portions HSOS, some later quires do not follow Gregory’s rule).
Extent: Fols: iv (numbered fols 1–4) + 146 (numbered fols 5–152, including the rear pastedown and with fol. 86 now removed)
Foliation: A foliation (s. xvi) in Roman numerals in upper right corner throughout (this foliation, transposed into Arabic numerals, is followed below).


12 [fols 5–6] 2–68 [fol. 46, the end of the original] | 78 84 96 108 118 (-8, a stub [after fol. 79, no loss of text]) 122 138+1 (+7 [fol. 88] but also -5 [fol. 86]), 1412 1512 (-11 [after fol. 112], a stub) 16–1712 1812 (-4 [before fol. 141, with loss of text], -9 [after fol. 144] and -11 [after fol. 145], a stub) 192 (blank on the outer pages) 206 (-1, -5, both stubs; 6 = fol. 152, the rear pastedown). Occasional catchwords (fols 54v, 125v, the latter in the gutter) in the added portions. No signatures, but the original portion and the start of the following quire has been foliated in the top centre of each leaf, slightly erratically, in five-leaf increments, marked by the vowels, and preceded by a letter (a-h). Quire 19 (fols 148–49) is inferior heavy parchment, perhaps once a wrapper in some stage of volume’s development.


In the original portion (fol. 7–45), overall 263 × 175 mm. , with writing area 188 × 1055 mm. ; 30 long lines to the page.

In the later sections, similar but variable overall size, with blemishes (eg fol. 63, 77) and repaired tears (fol. 113) affecting text space which is highly changeable

Signs of full pricking in the original portion, and occasionally later; in the original portion, bounded and ruled in lead, with double vertical borders and some horizontal lines extending full length of page.


The original portion written in late protogothic bookhands by two scribes (for contrast, see fol. 14); before and after, additions of s. xiii-xv.

Punctuation by point and occasional punctus elevatus (throughout).


In the original portions: headings in red, as are large marginal roman numerals for the charters (to correspond to the index at the head). At the openings of the charters, alternate one- and two-line green and red lombards. Proper names frequently underlined in pencil, less often with red crayon. The remainder of the volume is undecorated, save for paraphs in the text ink at the head of entries. Exceptionally, fols 91v-98v (s. xiv in.) have had paraphs, and often the opening phrases, red-slashed, and headings and further paraphs have been provided in red.


Remains of a tan leather chemise over earlier whittawed leather on bevelled wooden boards (most of both leather covers gone from the lower board), s. xiv. Sewn on four thongs, taken straight into the board, as in Pollard’s Figure 3. A groove for a strap at centre of leading edge on the upper board, and a diamond-shaped seating for a clasp-pin at the centre of the lower board. The front pastedown a fragment of a bifolium from a service book, s. xiiiex: ‘Servitium Beate Marie in Adventu’, identified by Salter with Francis Proctor and Christopher Wordsworth, Breviarium ad usum insignis ecclesiae Sarum, 3 vols (Cambridge, 1882–86), 2:294–97, 288–89. The rear pastedown parchment, integral to the final quire. On the spine, a damaged label with the number ‘[2]6’; above it, another label with the number ‘4’.


Origin: England (Eynsham); 1196–97, with extensive additions, s. xiii-xv

Provenance and Acquisition

Produced by the monks of Eynsham to preserve the records of their holdings, it continued to attract accretions into the fifteenth century. Still later, its continuing presence and use at Eynsham is demonstrated by the regular interventions in the margins and as running headers (eg fol. 26v, 28, 29–31, 32v-36, 46, 53 etc) of the current anglicana cursive that, in the 1530s, provided the contents list and other additions to our D&C vi.a. 3 (= MS 342).

It is not clear what happened to the manuscript in the wake of the abbey’s surrender on 4th December 1538 (L&P 13.2, no. 989 (425) and cf. 14.2, no. 236 (73); Salter seems to be uncharacteristically in error when (1:xxxi) he dates the surrender to 1539). There is a patch at the top of fol. 7, whitened by scratching, where there was probably an ownership note. There is no such equivalent intervention in its companion, D&C vi.a.3, but we might legitimately wonder whether they travelled together, eventually arriving at Christ Church at the same time. As David Carpenter of the Anglo-Norman Royal Acta project kindly informs us, this manuscript circulated in antiquarian circles in the later sixteenth and early seventeenth century, extracts being taken by (among others) Robert Talbot (c. 1505–58), John Joscelyn (1529–1603) and Ralph Brooke (c. 1553–1625). Most notably, Richard James, librarian to Sir Robert Cotton, transcribed passages at BodL, MS James 8, pp. 6–23, noting the volume as ‘Re(gistr)orum moncii de Egnesham. MS in manibus magistri Philippi Kinge’; this must be the Auditor of ChCh, who was also involved in the arrival of the Oseney Cartulary, D&C vi.a.1 (=MS 343; on King, see also Introduction, ‘From Restauratio ’). It would seem, then, that this manuscript arrived during the same period as the Oseney Cartulary, that is, in the second or third decade of the seventeenth century. It, and D&C vi.a.3, were certainly in the ownership of the Dean and Chapter by the autumn 1644, when both were consulted by William Dugdale (1605–86): his notes from both survive in BodL, MS Dugdale 21, with his transcripts from this one opening the volume at fol. 1–10 (dated 5th September).

Both this manuscript and D&C vi.a.3 were later in that century borrowed by Anthony Wood. His interest in this volume is attested not only by his addition of the charter numbers in the later portions but also by his adding annotations in the original section (eg fol. 9, 12, 12v, 31v, 35, 66), and possibly the title at top right of fol. 7: ‘Eynsham iuxta Oxoniam’. The circumstances of his access to this volume and its companion are revealed by the note he wrote in our D&C vi.c.1 (= MS 340) p. 513, which records his borrowing of them from ChCh in 1659 and again in 1665. It thus served as a source for his “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), eg 2 (1890), 297–98.

At the time of Wood’s borrowing and in subsequent decades, this manuscript was held as part of the holdings of the Chapter House; it and the other Eynsham cartulary were recorded in the 1771 catalogue of their holdings as ‘Two Books or Registers of several Estates belonging to the Monastery of Eynsham’ and given the numbers 26 and 27 (with this one being identifiable by its spine label as the former): Christ Church Archives, D&C iv.a.1, fol. 13; see also the Headnote to the Chapter House Manuscripts.

The publication of Salter’s edition of this volume and its companion volume inspired interest in the Abbey, reflected in E. K. Chambers, Eynsham under the Monks (Oxford, 1936) and Eric Gordon, Eynsham Abbey (Chichester, 1990). More recently, the significance of the opening folio as a visual echo of the original foundation charter (now lost) has been discussed by Simon Keynes, ‘King Æthelred’s charter for Eynsham Abbey (1005)’ in Stephen Baxter et al. ed., Early Medieval Studies in Memory of Patrick Wormald (Farnham, 2009), 451 – 474, and the first folio has been reproduced as the cover image of Alan Hardy, Ælfric’s Abbey: excavations at Eynsham Abbey, Oxfordshire, 1989–1992 (Oxford, 2003).

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.