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

Christ Church MS. 87

Missal, Use of Sarum; England (London), s. xvin


Language(s): Latin with a little Middle English (item 10)

Missal, Use of Sarum
1. Fols 1–6v

A calendar in black, red, and blue.

Includes ‘Richard [Wyche] episcopus [of Chichester] et confessor’ (3 April, in red, as is also his translation, 16 June); ‘Dedicacio ecclesie sancti botulphi extra aldgate’ (20 May, in blue); ‘sancti botulphi abbatis’ (17 June, in blue). Becket’s name has been expunged (5 January, 7 July and 29 December), as also the title ‘papa’ throughout.

2. Fols 7ra-118ra
Incipit: ||uero sicut in duplicibus alibi benedicitur et iiiª. cantata aspergitur more
Explicit: lux et origo Chorus respondeat Deo gracias Et sic missa et vespera simul finiantur

The temporale, Advent-Holy Saturday, ed. Francis H. Dickinson, Missale ad usum insignis et præclaræ ecclesiæ Sarum (Brantisland, 1861–83). The incipit, following a missing leaf, is in the blessing of salt and holy water (**32, note j); this section ends at Dickinson 358. The manuscript lacks a number of passages, owing to excised leaves: Dickinson, **40–580 (after fol. 7), 57–58 (after fol. 29), 80–87 (after fol. 35), 279–85 (after fol. 93); the feast of Becket expunged (fol. 33rb-vb); further removals of text by rewashing (fol. 35va, 106vaand 113rb). This manuscript is listed among other copies of the Sarum Missal, J. Wickham Legg, Tracts on the Mass, HBS 27 (1904), xiv.

3. Fols 118ra-31vb
Rubric: Oracio sancti Augustini dicenda a sacerdote in missa dum cantatur
Incipit: Officium et kyriel. . .
Incipit: Svmme sacerdos et uere pontifex qui te optulisti
Explicit: uel cantus de’ criste de’ lux et origo Ite missa est. Deo gracias

The ordinary and canon of the mass, ed. Dickinson, 565–610, 617–37. The missing materials fall between fols 124 (the last of the four-leaf quire 17) and 125. The latter is the original second leaf of quire 18, a replacement of s. xv, written in a much larger hand and bounded and ruled in purple ink. Fol. 131vhas a red catchword in a red box, ‘In die pasche’, which corresponds to the heading of what should be the next section.

4. Fol. 132ra-177vb
Incipit: ||Pollens laude eterna Amen Secundum Marcum xvi. In illo tempore Maria magdalene et maria iacobi
Explicit: Super que erant cherubyn glorie obumbrancia propici⟨atorium de⟩||

The temporale concluded, Easter-the Saturday in the September Rogation Days, ed. Dickinson, 359–550. Lacking, owing to excised leaves, are Dickinson, 359–61 (before fol. 132), 371–81 (after fol. 134), 410–14 (after fol. 144), 424–30 (after fol. 147), 449–58 (after fol. 152), and 502–9 (after fol. 166), 547–550 (after fo. 177).

5. Fols 178ra-180rb
Incipit: ||Et ipsi populus eius erunt et ipse deus cum eis erit eorum deus
Explicit: ab omni sorde uiciorum aliena tibi semper assistant deuota Per dominum nostrum

The mass for commemorating the dedication of a church, acephalous following an excised leaf; ed. Dickinson, 550–59. At fol. 180rb, text ends at l. 16 and rest of column is blank.

Fol. 180v: blank but ruled.

6. Fols 181ra-82ra
Rubric: In festo visitacionis beate marie ad missam
Incipit: Gaudeamus omnes [set to right Officium] in domino diem festum celebrantes sub honore marie virginis
Explicit: precepit ihesus cristus filius tuus dominus noster Qui tecum viuit regnat in vnitate spiritus sancti deus Per omnia

Includes instructions for the octave, for the Transfiguration, and for responses in the Saturday of the Lenten Rogation Days, the incipit at Dickinson, 793. This is a supplied bifolium, unique in being bounded and ruled in red ink; at the foot of fol. 181, a note, s. xv4/4, ‘for þe masse boke’. Richard W. Pfaff, New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970), points out (32, 47) that this mass was rarely celebrated in England before 1475.

Fol. 182rb-vb: blank but ruled.

7. Fols 183ra-234vb
Incipit: ||cathegorizet ecclesia Mitissimi sanctorum sanctissima extollendo merita Apostoli andree admiranda prefulgentis gracia
Explicit: ad palacia euangelium Simile est regnum celorum thesauro offertorium Filie regum Secretum||

The sanctorale, Andrew-Katherine, incomplete at both ends, owing to excised leaves; ed. Dickinson, 660–982, lacking, in the missing leaves, Dickinson, 701–4 (after fol. 189), 722–40 (after fol. 195), 778–81 (after fol. 202), 785–88 (after fol. 203), 814–18 (after fol. 207), 864–68 (after fol. 214), and 951–56 (after fol. 230). A passage removed, after the Break with Rome, by rewashing (fol. 206va).

Richard Pfaff, The Liturgy in Medieval England: a history(Cambridge, 2009), 493 notes the lack of a mass to St Botolph and surmises that this ‘probably means that a custom-written calendar was affixed to a stock, if rather fine, missal’.

8. Fols 235ra-49va
Incipit: ||fructum multum quia sine me nichil potestis facere Si quis in me non manserit mitteretur foras sicut palmes
Explicit: Communio Quinque prudentes Require ut supra in comuni unius uirginis

The commons of saints, ed. Dickinson, 658*-729*, acephalous, with the incipit having been on the verso of the leaf now lost after fol. 234.

9. Fols 249va-66va
Rubric: Ordinacio misse quotidie beate uirginis que dicitur
Incipit: Salue pulsato ad missam beate marie conueniant clerici
Explicit: temporaliter gerimus eorum precibus adiuti eternis gaudiis consequamur Per eundem

Votive masses, generally equivalent to those ed. Dickinson, *760-*67, *735-*51, *783-*827, with a good deal of reordering and omission.

10. Fols 266va-70va
Rubric: Ordo ad facienda sponsalia Statuantur uir et mulier ante ostium ecclesie coram deo sacerdote et populo
Final rubric: sic discedat sacerdos et dimittat eos in pace

The marriage service, ed. Dickinson, *830-*45, including English vows and exchange of rings (fol. 267). At fol. 269vb(and similarly below at fol. 274vb, 280va, 282vb), the reference to the pope has been effaced by blacking out.

11. Fols 270va-73ra
Rubric: Ordo ad seruicium peregrinorum faciendum In primis dicantur psalmi et preces sequentes super eos
Explicit: ab inicio creata Saluator mundi qui uiuis et regnis cum deo patre Tunc aspergatur aqua benedicta super carnes etc.

The service for pilgrims, ed. Dickinson, *850-*56.

12. Fols 273ra-74vb
Rubric: Benediccio carnis casei butiri ouorum siue pastilarum in pascha cum
Incipit: Dominus uobiscum et oremus oracio Domine deus omnipotens qui fecisti et creasti cunctis
Explicit: uentilet in ..... eius cum dicet In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti amen. Ordo ad uisitandum infirmum ut in manualibus continetur exequatur

Blessings for meat and cheese, for the shield and rod in a duel, and for the eyes, the last ascribed to William de Montibus (Sharpe no. 2129 [793–94]), ed. A. Jefferies Collins, Manuale ad vsum Percelebris Ecclesie Sarisburiensis, HBS 91 (1958), 65, 68–70.

13. Fols 274vb-83ra
Rubric: Sciendum est quod quotidie per aduentum domini quando chorus non regitur... [fol. 275ra] Ad missam pro defunctis officium
Incipit: Requiem eternam dona eis domine et lux perpetua
Explicit: intellectum ueram scienciam usque in finem per te ihesu criste saluator mundi rex glorie Qui cum deo patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat deus per omnia secula seculorum ⟨Amen⟩

The mass for the dead, ed. Dickinson, *859-*92.

Fol. 283rb-vb: blank, but bounded and ruled.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: KL Primus mandentem
Secundo Folio: uero sicut in (fol. 7)
Secundo Folio: dum chorus (fol. 8)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (FSOS)
Extent: Fols 283
Dimensions (leaf): 420 × 285 mm.


16(the calendar, as usual a separate quire) 28(-1, -3 [before and after fol. 7]) 3–4858(-2 [before fol. 30]) 68(-1 [before fol. 36]) 7–128138(-4, -5 [before fol. 94]) 14–168174188(-1 [before fol. 125]) 198(apparently with a singleton inserted before the quire [ie after fol. 131] but now removed, and -4, -5 [before fol. 135]) 208(-8 [before fol. 145]) 218(-4, -5 [before fol. 148]) 228(-3 to -5 [before fol. 153]) 238248(-4, -5 [before fol. 167]) 258264(-1 [before fol. 178]) [to fol. 180, a production unit] | 272[inserted later, providing item 6] | 288(-1 [before fol. 183]) 298(-1, -8 [before fol. 190 & 196]) 308(-8 [after fol. 202]) 3110(-1, -3, -8 [before fol. 203, 207, 208]) 328(-6 [before fol. 215]) 338348(-7 [before fol. 231]) 358(-4 [before fol. 235]) 36–408416(-6, a stub, probably blank [after fol. 283]). Regular catchwords under the inner column. All leaves in the first half of each quire probably originally signed with a red quire letter and a roughly-written roman numeral; in this system, quires 7–16, 20, 23, 30–32 = f-p, s, x, c-e, and similar later signatures in quire 40, signed d in a different sequence. In addition, there were signatures written in red in the intercolumnar space of the bottom margin on the leaves in the first half of each quire, nearly all cut away (see, eg, fol. 217–219).


In double columns, each column 300 × 83 mm. , with 17mm between columns, in 36 lines to the column.

Frequent signs of full pricking; bounded and ruled in brown ink, vertical borders and top horizontal extending to the edges of the page; lines do not extend into the central reservation.


Written in gothic textura quadrata by five scribes: A = fols 1ra-104vb; B = fols 105ra-124vb, 132ra-165ra; C = fols 165rb-180rb; D = fols 183ra-191rb; E = fols 191va-283ra. Their work has been supplemented by two later additions, each in its own textura (s. xv), to fill in gaps, fols 125–31 and fols 181–82.

Punctuation by point, puntus elevatus, punctus interrogativus, and (scribe E only) double point.

Musical Notation:

Some noted portions on a four-line stave in red.


Headings, liturgical directions, and notations for oral reading in red. Sections introduced by alternate two-line lombards, blue with red flourishing and gold leaf with purple flourishing (in both cases with marginal leafy extenders). Ochre-slashed capitals. A few linefillers in simple geometric blue and gold leaf. Scribe C enjoyed adding crowns to the top margin of several leaves (fol. 167v, 168, 172, 173v, 174, 174v, 176) and, on occasion drew faces, including a woman’s severed head, the neck dripping blood (fol. 172va, and cf. 177va).

The single surviving decorated page is fol. 220, for the Nativity of the Virgin: a vinet in gold leaf, blue and violet, a simple bar outline with floral sprays and knots; a painted (perhaps historiated?) initial has been excised. Nearly all the missing leaves probably reflect more thorough depredations, for surviving surrounding leaves routinely have offset from vinets and demivinets, e.g. fols 6v, 8, 30, 35v, 144v, 178, 180v, 190, 203, 204, 214v, 230v, 235. The removal of folios for their illumination also extended to scratching off the gold-leaf on some of the initials (eg fol. 106rb, 233ra).

While our manuscript does not appear in Kathleen L. Scott, Dated & Datable English Manuscript Borders c. 1395–1499 (London, 2002), her discussion suggests that the illumination (as now appears at fol. 220) was already old-fashioned by the middle of the first decade of the fifteenth century. See AT no. 406 (41).


White leather (shows red dye on the turnins) over unbevelled wooden boards, s. xv. Sewn on nine thongs, anchored straight into the board, as in Pollard’s Figure 5. Remains of green cloth ties, stubs with nails and one intact metal plate on the upper board; remains of the metal posts to which they were attached at the centre of the lower board. Marks from a ChCh chain staple in Watson’s position 5 (see Appendix I). No front pastedown, a ChCh bookplate inside the upper board, the rear pastedown waste parchment. No flyleaves.

Accompanying Material

Parchment finding tabs from another manuscript in textura (s. xiii?)


Origin: England (London); s. xvin

Provenance and Acquisition

The Calendar refers to ‘ecclesi[a] sancti botulphi extra aldgate’. As Ker MLGB, 221 notes, there are two London churches dedicated to St Botolph, one ‘extra Aldersgate’, the other ‘iuxta Aldgate’. Which of the two is an issue not just for our manuscript but also for London: Guildhall, MS 515. What is certain is that the two volumes cannot hail from the same church, as the date of dedication recorded in each calendar is different. In the manuscript now in the Guildhall, 4thOctober is given as the date of ‘dedicacio ecclesie sancti Botulphi extra Aldrichgate’; Ker, MMBL, 1:73–74 surmises that this is probably St Botolph’s-without-Aldersgate; if so, then our manuscript must presumably be from the church commonly called St Botolph without Aldgate.

This must be the volume donated by Thomas Edwardes, chancellor of John King, Bishop of London and former Dean, in 1614, and recorded in the Library Donors’ Register, MS LR 1, p. 25b: ‘Missale Man: Script: fol’. Edwardes, a Berkshire man, matriculated at All Souls in 1581; he was a fellow in 1577 and received his BCL and DCL in 1584 and 1590, respectively. He was subsequently an advocate in Doctors’ Commons (1595), prebendary of St Paul’s (1591–1605), and chancellor to the Bishop (AO, 450). With his bishop, John King, Edwards also gave Christ Church £46 13s 4d for book purchases in 1614, recorded at the Donors’ Register, pp. 14ª-17ª.

The book contains on the turn-in of the cover to the upper board, the old ChCh shelfmarks: that of the 1676 catalogue, ‘D.2’ (see Appendix I), cancelled, and the New Library’s ‘E.1’ (see Appendix IV).

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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