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

Christ Church MS. 94

Hours of the Virgin, Use of Rome; France (north-east), s. xvex


Language(s): Latin and Middle French

Book of Hours, Use of Rome
1. Fols 1–6v

A calendar in French.

Not exceptionally full, but does include in red two north-eastern French saints, ‘Saint eloy’ (Eligius, bishop of Noyons, 1 December) and ‘saint nicaise’ (Nicasius, bishop of Rheims, 14 December), as well as Becket (‘Saint thomas martir’, 29 December); in addition, there are further unrubricated entries which corroborated the localisation: ‘Walri’ (Walaric, associated with St-Valéry-sur-Somme, 1 April), Bertin (5 September), Omer (9 September), ‘Fremin’ (bishop of Amiens, 25 September), but note also ‘Ernoul’ (16 August, so Armel, with Breton connexions).

2. Fols 7–70v
Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies et os meum annuntiabit | [fol. 7v] laudem tuam
Explicit: quia quem meruisti portare alla resurrexit sicut dixit alleluia ora pro nobis deum alleluia alleluia

The Hours of the Virgin, succeeded (fols 59–67v) by the ‘second office’ for Advent. In addition to the offices, at fol. 67v, ‘Ces v. antemes qui sensuit doit on dire as laudes et as vespres . . . O admirabile commercium . . . [fol. 68v] Mirabile mysterium declaratur . . . [fol. 69] Salue regina misericordie uita’, etc.; respectively HE 43; Huntington Library, MS 1162(7), described C. W. Dutschke, Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library, 2 vols (San Marino CA, 1989), 2:498; and HE 62–63 (Chevalier 18147).

3. Fols 71–90
Incipit: Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me neque in ira tua
Explicit: Exaudiat nos omnipotens et misericors dominus Amen

The Penitential Psalms and Litany. The latter includes, under martyrs, Adrian (a Palestinian martyr, c. 309, whose relics were at Ghent) and Quentin (buried at Saint Quentin); under confessors, Louis IX; under monks and hermits, Bernardino of Siena (for Bernard) and another Louis (presumably Louis of Anjou OFM, d. 1297).

4. Fols 90–93v
Rubric: Cy commencent les xv. psalmes
Incipit: psalmus dauid Ad dominum cum tribularer Leuaui oculos meos
Explicit: et que digne postulant consequi mereantur Per cristum dominum nostrum amen

The Gradual Psalms (mostly cues only).

5. Fols 94–131v
Rubric: Vigilie mortuorum Antiphona
Incipit: Placebo Dilexi quoniam exaudiet do| [fol. 94v] minus uocem orationis mee
Explicit: sic labori consonans consors sui corone Amen

The Office of the Dead, through to Compline. There are only two lines of text on fol. 131v.

6. Fols 132–34
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus da nobis Nam sancti spiritus graciam
Explicit: pia ratione dixi ut nos uisites inspiratione quod uiuamus iugiter celi regione amen

The Hours of the Holy Spirit, preceded by a prayer. Fols 134v-35v were originally all blank (see Added Text (a)) but are ruled; fol. 135v is very worn.

7. Fols 136–40v
Rubric: Orison a nostre dame
Incipit: Obsecro te domina sancta maria mater dei pietate plenissima
Rubric: [fol. 138v] orison a le virge marie
Incipit: O Intemerata et in eternum benedicta singularis atque incomparabilis uirgo dei genitrix

Leroquais 2:346–47; Wilmart 488–90, respectively.

8. Fols 140v-42v
Rubric: Secundum iohannem
Incipit: In principio erat uerbum
Rubric: [fol. 141v] Secundum lucam
Incipit: In illo tempore Missus est angelus gabriel a deo

Gospel pericopes.

9. Fols 142v-43v
Rubric: vij. vers seint bernart
Incipit: Illumina oculos meos ne unquam obdormiam in
Rubric: [fol. 143v] oratio
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui ezechie regi iude te cum lacrimis deprecauit

Leroquais 1:xxx, 32, etc; cf. our MS. 100, fol. 39.

10. Fols 144–48v
Rubric: de sancta trinitate
Incipit: Libera nos salua nos iustifica nos o beata trinitas
Explicit: eius exempla sequentes ad te pertingere mereamur Per cristum dominum nostrum amen

Suffrages, to the Trinity, Michael, Antony abbot, Sebastian, Nicholas, Francis, Catherine of Alexandria, Barbara, Mary Magdalen, and Margaret.

Added texts:

a. Fol. 135

An ‘Oraison matutinalle’, a Latin prayer, a French prayer ‘pour le couche’, and two lines of Latin verse, ‘Ihesus nazarenus titulus triumfalis’ (added s. xvi ex. or s. xvii in.).

b. Fols 149–51v
Incipit: Qvicumque uult saluus esse ante omnia opus est ut teneat catholicam fidem
Explicit: quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit saluus esse non poterit

The Athanasian creed, added s. xv ex.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: KL Mars a xxxi iours
Secundo Folio: dominus et (fol. 8)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (usually HSOS)
Extent: Fols ii + 153 (numbered fols 1–152, but an unnumbered leaf follows fol. 52) + i (also numbered fol. 152). Fols 38, 42, 46, and 55 are later replacements for illuminated leaves excised at the openings of Terce, Sext, None, and Compline, respectively, the text supplied in a French hand, s. xvii. All flyleaves parchment, those at front a bifolium, that at rear ruled like and conjoint with the pastedown.
Dimensions (leaf): 182 × 130 mm.
Dimensions (written): 110 × 75 mm.


16 28 (with one added as first [fol. 7]) 3–48 56 (wanting fourth, a stub, before fol. 35) 68 (wanting eighth, a stub, before fol. 44; second and sixth later supply for excised leaves [fol. 38 and 42]) 78 (wanting sixth before fol. 49; third later supply for an excised leaf [fol. 46]) 88 (sixth modern supply for an excised leaf, its stub in situ [fol. 55]) 912 (with one added at end [fol. 70]) [to fol. 70, a production unit] | 1010 (wanting last, a stub pasted to the ninth, fol. 79) 118 1210 (wanting third after fol. 89) 13–146 1512 (wanting first before fol. 109) 168 1712 (wanting second and eleventh, as well as central bifolium which has left substantial offset on fol. 131v) [to fol. 135, a production unit] | 186 192 [to fol. 143, a production unit] | 206 (wanting first) [to fol. 148, the original end of the MS] | 214 (wanting last, now a numbered stub, fol. 152; a quire added to include item [b]). No catchwords or signatures.


In long lines, 16 lines to the page (17 lines for items 7–9).

Occasional signs of prick-holes at very top of folios, in line with vertical borders; bounded and ruled in red and reddish brown ink, with bounding lines reaching to edges of the page.


Written in gothic textura quadrata (perhaps not French but Flemish?).

Punctuation by occasional point..


Headings in red. Champes at textual divisions: at the head (and head of each of the canonical hours) four-line blue and magenta with gold leaf infill and vine and bud pattern in green, blue, and red. At lesser divisions, two-line examples, typically alternate gold with blue, or gold with magenta, or gold with both colours. The texts are divided by alternate one-line lombards, gold leaf with navy flourishing and blue with red flourishing, as well as by a good many red-slashed capitals.

Originally, each of the hours was introduced by a full- page miniature, within a full flower and vine border, although many are now cut away and the leaves replaced with supplied modern leaves (fols 38, 42, 46, 55). The survivors are:

  • Fol. 7 (Matins): the Annunication
  • Fol. 24 (Lauds): the Visitation
  • Fol. 34 (Prime): the Nativity
  • Fol. 50 (Vespers): the flight into Egypt
  • Fol. 71 (the Penitential Psalms): Christ in majesty with angels and saints above the dead rising from their graves
  • Fol. 94 (the Office of the Dead): the raising of Lazarus

In addition, each of the suffrages is prefaced with a six-line illustration of the saint, one on each page, fols 144–48v.

See AT no. 815 (81), dating s. xv3/4. Otto Pächt, in 1943, left a more specific provenance in the Library’s copy of Kitchin’s catalogue: ‘NW French, prob. Tournai [sic]’.


Brown leather over millboards, goldstamped, s. xvi. Floral sprays in each corner and at the centre, stamped pictures within an oval: on the upper board, the Crucifixion with the Virgin and John; on the lower board, the Annunciation with ‘Ave gratia plena’. This design for the boards also to be found on British Library, c41e5, a printed Book of Hours (Paris, 1522), for images of which, and further examples and bibliography, see the British Library Database of Bookbindings [last accessed 14th December 2015]. Sewn on five thongs. Intact metal ‘straps’, clasps, and fittings. Pastedowns old parchment, the rear one a waste leaf in a format similar to, but not identical with, that of the manuscript itself; a ChCh bookplate on the front pastedown. Pages are gilt-edged.


Origin: France (north-east); s. xvex

Provenance and Acquisition

This manuscript clearly spent its early life in France, but no specific owner is presently identified for it. It reached ChCh from William Wake, as is noted by a pencil inscription (s. xix) at fol. 1: ‘From Abp. Wake’s Collection Roman Use’ (fol. i, s. xix). It appears in Wake’s autograph schedule (MS 352/8, fol. 1v) under quarto volumes as ‘an antient Ritual, illuminated’. Given Wake’s time in France, from June 1682 to September 1685, the possibility cannot be excluded that he bought the manuscript (and, equally, perhaps, MSS 93 and 100) there. On him and his bequest, see the Introduction (The Age of Catalogues).

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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