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

Christ Church MS. 343

Cartulary of Oseney Abbey; England (Oxford), s. xiiiex (perhaps 1280 × 1284), with additions s. xiiiex-s. xvi


Language(s): Latin with a little Middle English and Anglo-Norman

Fol. 9–343v
Rubric: [in upper margin] De fundacione Capelle sancti Georgii |
Incipit: Memorandum quod Robertus de Olleyo & Rogerus de Iuereyo frates iurati ... Carta Roberti de Olleyo primi de fundacione ecclesie sancti Georgii data Canonicis secularibus. Notum sit fidelibus
Explicit: aliorum multorum fidedignorum suggesti||
Cartulary of Oseney Abbey

Edited by H. E. Salter in the last three volumes of his Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, 6 vols [OHS 88–91, 97–98, 101] (Oxford, 1934–36). Catalogued as Davis no. 733 (148). The manuscript is described by Salter, 4:vii-ix, with facsimiles of fols 91 and 332 (s. xiii ex., facing and following 4:x). This cartulary is only the first volume of a two-volume set, never completed, and includes only deeds for properties outside Oxford; the other volume, now in fragmentary state, is BL, MS Cotton Vitellius E.xv, which is the other main source for Salter’s edition.

The volume is organised by bailiwick, with each of the abbey’s holdings within that bailiwick given an entry. It was originally constructed with copious blank (but bounded) leaves, most of which are now occupied by copies of further documents, added at various stages. A summary of the contents and these additions is as follows:

fol. 1–35r: Oseney, with additions at fol. 10v (Salter, no. 8 [4:10]), 23v-24v (dispute between the Abbey and the Mayor and City of Oxford, 1377, in French; s. xivex; Salter, no. 38 [4:58]), fol. 29 (s. xiv; Salter, no. 51 [4:82–83]), fol. 33v-35 (s. xv4/4; Salter, no. 66 [4:93–97]), but with loss of folio with consequent loss of text after fol. 13; fol. 35v: blank

fol. 36–40v: ‘Etona’ (ie Water Eaton), with addition at fol. 40v (s. xiv; Salter, no. 85 [4:114]); fol. 41–50: ‘Cudelintona’ (ie Kidlington), with additions at fol. 46r-v (various hands, s. xiii and xiv; Salter, nos 104–107 [4:140–42]), fol. 47v (two hands, s. xiv, second text ignoring bounding lines and extending into bottom margin; Salter, nos 109 & 110 [4;144–46]) and fol. 50r (s. xiv; Salter, no. 118 [4:151–52); fol. 50v: blank

fol. 51–75v: ‘Bartona’ (ie Steeple Barton), with additions at fol. 60v and 63v (one hand of s. xv1/2; Salter, nos 145 and 154 [4:194–95; 202–203]), fol. 65v (another hand of s. xv; Salter, no. 157 [4:209–10]), 66 (another s. xv, writing to very bottom of folio, now cropped; Salter, no. 159 [4:216–17]), 67v (s. xvmed; Salter, no. 161 [4:218]), 70v (s. xiv2; Salter, no. 174 [4:235–36]), 71v (s. xvmed, cropped at left; Salter, no. 177 (dated 1436) [4:239–40]), 73v (s. xvmed, cf. fol. 95; Salter, no. 183 (dated 1443) [4:246–48]), 75 (s. xiv2; Salter, no. 188), 75v (s. xiv; Salter, no. 189 [4:253–54])

fol. 76–103: ‘Hokenartona’ (ie Hook Norton), with additions at fol. 87r-v (s. xiiiex; Salter, no. 241 (dated 1285) [4:287–88]), 88 (s. xiv; Salter, no. 242 (dated 1332) [4:288–89]), 93r-v (s. xiv2?; Salter, no. 254 (dated 1311) [4:301–303]), 95 (s. xvmed, same hand as fol. 73v; Salter, no. 255 (dated 1436) [4:303–304]), 95v (s. xivmed; Salter, no. 276 (dated 1337) [4:322–23]), 102v (s.xiv1/2; Salter, no. 286 (dated 1315) [4:328–29]), and with fol. 88v-89, 100v and 103v blank

fol. 104–116v: ‘Forest hulle

fol. 117–126v: ‘Piria’ (ie Waterperry), with an addition at fol. 125v (s. xiiiex; Salter, no. 365 [4:403])

fol. 127–137v: ‘Watlintona’, with an addition of the list of witnesses (s. xv?) to the text of Salter, no. 375 [4:410] in bottom margin of fol. 128v, and further additions at fol. 133 (s. xv; Salter, no. 400 [4:427–28]), 136r-v (s. xiv2/2, a hand which also annotates fol. 135v; Salter, nos 408 (dated 1370) and 409 [4:439–40])

fol. 138–146: ‘Barok schyre’ (ie Berkshire); fol. 146v: blank

fol. 147–169v: ‘Burtona’, with additions at fol. 154v (s. xv1/2?; Salter, no. 465 [4:495]), 145 (s. xiv1/2; Salter, no. 466 [4:495–96]), 157v (s. xiv; Salter, no. 453 [4:488; cf. 4:502]), 162 (s. xv; Salter, no. 491), and with fol. 155v, 162v, 167v and 169 blank

fol. 170–183v: ‘Byburia’, with additions at fol. 172v (two hands, both s. xv; Salter, nos 520 & 521 [5:9–10 & 12–13]), 174v (s. xivex; Salter, no. 525 [5:19]), and with fol. 176v, 177v, most of fol. 183v (apart from top three lines in a current s. xiiiex hand) blank

fol. 184–190: ‘Turkedene’ (ie Turkdean); fol. 190v blank

fol. 191–201v: ‘Senestan’ (ie Shenston), ending in medias res, and with fol. 193v, 196v, 197v blank

fol. 202–205r: ‘Twycros’, with additions at fol. 204v-205 (s. xv; Salter, no. 606 (dated 1401) [5:118–19])

fol. 205v-208v: ‘Kyltevenan’ (ie Kilternan, Ireland), with additions at fol. 208 (s. xiiiex; Salter, no. 617 [5:135]), 208v (s. xv?; Salter, no. 618 [5:136])

fol. 209–227: ‘Stone’, with additions at fol. 216 (s. xiv; Salter, no. 648 [5:160]), 216v (s. xv; also Salter, no. 648), 225 (s. xiiiex; Salter, no. 682 [5:198]), 225v (two hands, s. xivex and s. xv; Salter, nos. 683 & 684 [5:198–99]), 227r-v (s. xiiiex; Salter, no. 689 [5:203–204])

fol. 228–239v: ‘Cleydone’, with addition at fol. 238 (s. xivex, noting the text is ‘in veteri libro cartarum fo. CCI’; Salter, no. 729 [5:237]), and with fol. 238v blank

fol. 239v-265v: ‘Stowa’, with additions at fol. 243r-v (s. xiv1/2; Salter, no. 742 (dated 1314) [5:253–54]), 246v (s. xv1/2; Salter, no. 749 [5:264–65]), 261r-v, an inserted leaf, with scribe re-writing last lines of Salter, no. 794 [5:314] (erased from top of fol. 262) as well as providing Salter, no. 315 (dated 1278) [5:315–16] (s. xiiiex) and with his intervention followed by copies of two grants in one hand (s. xiv1/4), also fol. 262v (s. xv1/2?; Salter, no. 800 (dated 1327) [5:318–19]), and with fol. 254v blank

fol. 266–282v: ‘Evera’ (ie Iver, Bucks), with additions at fol. 270r-v (s. xv2/4; Salter, no. 809 (dated 1435) [5:335–36]), 281 (s. xvin; Salter, no. 843 (dated 1386) [5:367–68]), 282v (two hands of s. xivex / xvin; Salter, no. 845–847 [5:369–71]), and with fol. 276v, 277v, 278v, 281v blank

fol. 283–285: ‘Balliva Camerarii’, with fol. 284v and most of fol. 285v blank

fol. 286–315: ‘Folewelle’ (ie Fulwell), with folios misplaced, as noted above, and additions at fol. 292v (two hands, first s. xiiiex, second s. xiv1/4; Salter, nos 866–868 [5:396–98]), 313v (s. xv; Salter, no. 918 [5:484–85]), and with fol. 293v, 301v, 314v and 315v blank

fol. 316–328: ‘Westona’, with additions at fol. 323v (two hands: s. xivin; Salter, nos. 951 & 952 [6:24–26]), 324v-26 (s. xvi, in English, followed by Latin definitions of sok, sac, dangeld etc; Salter, no. 954 [6:28; cf 2:477]), and with fol. 326v, 328v blank

fol. 329–343v: ‘Hempton Gay’, ending in media res, with addition at fol. 335v (bottom margin; s. xiiiex; Salter, no. 988 [6:81]).

Fol. 344–358: added texts

Edited by Salter, nos 1015–1036 [6:105–123]; a range of scripts, mainly s. xv.

Fol. 359–361: ‘Littere procuratorie’

A further set of texts which appear to be original to the cartulary, followed at fol. 361 by another addition (s. xv2/2). All edited by Salter, nos 1037–1045 [6:123–128].

Fol. 361v: blank

Fol. 362r-v: content list

Original to the cartulary, it is atelous, with two folios now lost and with the final leaf now being BL, MS Cotton Vitellius E.xv, fol. 275r; all edited by Salter, 4:x-xiii. The Vitellius folio is a mounted burnt fragment, at its most extensive 180 mm x 110 mm. It is now bound with the other Oseney cartulary. The originally blank verso of Vitellius fol. 275 now has fragments of three letters from bishops of Worcester to abbots of Oseney, in hands of ss. xiv in., xiv2, and xv1.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Henricus Rex (fol. 10)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (FSOS, later portions HSOS).
Extent: Fols: i (but assigned i, ii) + 353.
Dimensions (leaf): 295 × 198 mm.
Dimensions (written): 215/20 × 140/5 mm.
Foliation: A pencil foliation (s. xx) assigns the flyleaf the number ii with the frontispiece attached to it (see below) as fol. i; for the main body, two pen foliation in upper right corners, the chronologically earlier being that provided by Sir Walter Cope, and the second added by the time of binding for Robert Cotton (on both these collectors, see provenance). The earlier foliation runs fols 9–362, but with the last leaves, from fol. 355, having been originally 1–8; fol. 289–93 precede the folios Cope numbered 286–88, which the Cottonian foliation renumbers as 294–96, with the original 294–96 also renumbered 297–99; there are also errors, with fol. 197 repeated, 203 omitted and an unnumbered leaf after fol. 218.


112 (-6) 214 32 412+1 (with one added after tenth as fol. 46) 5–712 812 (-7) 94 (perhaps a pair of consecutive bifolia) 104 1114(-1) 1212 1312 (-10 to -12) 14–1512 1614 1714 (-1 and -14, and with 8 [fol. 182] removed and replaced) 184 (-4, probably a cancelled blank) 19–204 21–222 [missing materials before fol. 202] 234 (-4, a mere stub glued to fol. 205v) 244 (-4, a mere stub glued to fol. 208v) 2512 (-10, a stub glued to fol. 217v) 2612 274 (-3, a stub, a cancelled blank) 286 [missing materials before fol. 240] 292 3012 3112+1? (-12, +9, pasted in) 3212 (-12, probably blank) 3310 (-10, probably blank) 344+1 (+5) 356 3610 3714 (-5, a stub) 384 39–402 418 422+4 (+2 to +6, two intercalated consecutive bifolia) 43–442 456 468 (the outermost bifolium reversed; the original 2 to the original 4, now stubs with later numbered leaves pasted to them; the original 4th is now Vitellius E.xv, fol. 275).


Most leaves have water damage along the upper middle leading edge, after fol. 315 the full upper half of the leaves, generally without obscuring the text until the final twenty or so folios (fol. 360 in the main decayed and illegible, and fol. 361 now falling apart into fragments).


In long lines, 31–32 lines to the page.

Signs of full pricking very rare (eg fol. 176), bounded and ruled in black ink (one scribe reddish brown crayon), with extra horizontal tramlines at top and bottom for running headers and footers.


Written in several anglicana scripts, s. xiii2 or ex., with some blanks filled in by later hands, in the main of s. xiv (but, e.g., fols 34–35 intruded s. xv med.; fol. 71v filled s. xvi in.).

Punctuation by point, punctus elevatus, and virgula.


Headings in red. The decoration has been standardised through the volume (as has page format). At the opening of individual deeds, two-line alternate red and blue lombards. Frequent blue, and less frequently, alternate blue and red paraphs to introduce specific clauses and set off the headings. Red running titles, head and foot, the former for the manor (with the corresponding number in the tabula), the latter for the bailiwick.


Brown leather over millboards, s. xviiin. A defaced gold stamped armorial (Robert Cotton’s) in the centre of both boards; as Jane Eagan in her conservation report (11th March 2016) comments, it seems as if the gilding has been intentionally removed, and there are signs of red wax perhaps intended to cover the arms. Brass fittings with fragments of leather straps on the upper board, their clasps at the leading edge of the lower. Sewn on five thongs. At the head of the spine, the former Chapter House number ‘24’ in a paper lozenge (see provenance); in the upper spine compartment, in gilt on a red leather label, ‘Cartularium Osney’, gold floral stamps on the spine. Pastedowns old parchment; at rear of volume, on the first pastedown (of four, pasted together), there is a continuation of the table of contents, dated to 1689 and signed by ‘AW’, that is Anthony Wood. At the front, one parchment flyleaf with a pasted-on fragment of an engraved frontispiece (ii and i, respectively). Colin G. C. Tite, The Early Records of Sir Robert Cotton’s Library(London, 2003), 271 reproduces fol. i.


Origin: England (Oxford); s. xiiiex (perhaps 1280 × 1284), with additions s. xiiiex-s. xvi

Provenance and Acquisition

A note explaining the production: ‘Librum istum composuit et ordinauit bone Memorie Frater Will⟨elm⟩us ⟨de⟩ Suttona abbas Osen’ cum summa diligencia et Magno studio . . .’ (fol. 362; Salter, 4:x-xii). William was abbot 1267–84, and the volume includes charters from as late as 1280.

By the mid-1580s, in the library of Sir Walter Cope, where it was seen by Thomas James, who cited it (as Cope’s no. 200) in his Ecloga Oxonio-Cantabrigienses (London, 1600), 1:81; see Andrew G. Watson, ‘The Manuscript Collection of Sir Walter Cope (d. 1614)’, Bodleian Library Record, 12 (1987), 262–97 at 290 [reprinted as id., Medieval Manuscripts in the Post-medieval World (Aldershot, 2004), VIII]. Comparison with the plate provided by Watson (268) suggests that Cope is responsible for the first pen foliation. As Salter points out (OHS 89 [1929], x-xi), at least three sets of transcripts were made from the manuscript c. 1586, when Cope owned it: by Robert Glover, now in BodL, MS Tanner 12, fol. 72; by Robert Beale, now in BL, MS Additional 32100; and by James Strangman, now in BL, MS Sloane 1301.

While in Cope’s ownership, it was lent to ChCh. This is revealed by an entry recorded in the Disbursement Book for 1605; in the first term of that calendar year, under ‘Expenses extraordinary’, a payment of 16s is noted []: ‘To Mr Tho. James bibliothec. for his iorny to London for the ligier booke of osney for the college use the last yeare’ (ChCh Archives, xii.b.49, fol. 27; it is signed in a display script: ‘Ita est Tho James Bibliothecarius’).

It must, however, have returned to London and to Cope. Before Cope died in 1614, it passed to Robert Cotton, who was in a position to lend it to Arthur Agard in 1612: Tite, Early Records, lists 71.3 and 77.4 (55, 58). Cotton added his signature at the foot of both fols 9 and 362: ‘Ro: Cotton Bruceus’; he would seem also to be personally responsible for the second foliation and for the title added at top right of fol. 9: ‘Registrum Monasterij de Oseney per Willemum de Suttona Abbat. Ecclesiæ’ (two lines, bracketed with ‘Fol. 1’ written to right). After it returned to him, he exchanged it with ChCh for another monastic volume: ‘This 31 May I deliuered to Mr Phillip king Esquier Auditor of the Colledge of Christchurch in Oxford for the perpetuall vse of the sayd Howse and Society and had in a thankfull remembrance from them a Book called Annales Burtonensis Robert Cotton’ (fol. i, on a pasted-on fragment from the title-page of a printed book, reproduced at Tite, The Early Records, 271; Cotton’s). See Colin G. C. Tite, ‘“Lost or stolen or strayed”: a survey of manuscripts formerly in the Cotton library’ in C. J. Wright ed., Sir Robert Cotton as Collector (London, 1997), 262–306, at 267–68 and n39 (296–97), and Tite, Early Records, 241; Tite argues that the exchange probably occurred not long before 1621, and points out that the manuscript was at Christ Church (and in Philip King’s control) when Brian Twyne made transcripts from it in BodL, MS Twyne 22, p. 362 (part dated 1617). What Tite could not know is that two further entries in the Disbursement Books confirm his supposition. The first, from Hilary 1617, records a reward ‘To the messenger that carried our letters to Sir Robert Cotton…’; the subject-matter is unspecified but we might surmise that it relates to an early stage of the negotiations that resulted in the second entry, from Hilary 1620: ‘To the carrier for carringe up Burton booke to Mr auditor’ (ChCh Archives, xii.b.61 and 64, both unfoliated). The Burton Annals which passed into Cotton’s ownership are now the opening fascicules of BL, MS Cotton Vespasian E.iii. That manuscript provides no internal evidence for ChCh’s ownership, if, indeed, the institution owned it at all: a letter quoted by Colin Tite from BL, MS Cotton Julius C.iii, fol. 274, in which Richard Montague, later bishop of Norwich, asks Cotton for the loan of the Annals, mentions that he, Montague, had been led to be believe that they had been in the hands of the Oxford collector, Thomas Allen, and had passed to Cotton ‘in exchange’; if Montague was well informed, it would appear, then, that Allen assisted ChCh in gaining the Oseney cartulary by providing a manuscript for them to send to Cotton via their auditor, Philip King (on whom, see Hiscock, 7 and our Introduction, ‘From Restauratio ’).

The manuscript also shows evidence of later readership, with Anthony Wood not only completing the contents list at the rear pastedown but also adding his initials at fol. 9 and providing the foliation. Wood’s transcriptions from this volume form a large part of his discussion of the Abbey at “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), 188–228.

In Christ Church, this manuscript was held in the Chapter House, and was included in the 1771 Catalogue of the books kept there as number 24, ‘A Book containing a Register of the Estates belonging to the Monastery of Osney’ (with a later hand noting the Cotton association): Christ Church Archives, D&C iv.a.1, fol. 13.

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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