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

Christ Church MS. 95

Pauline epistles, glossed ; England, s. xiiin.


Language(s): Latin

Fols 1–161v
Incipit: (text) Pavlvs seruus ihesu cristi uocatus apostolus segregatus
Incipit: (gloss(interlinear)) Saluatoris Regis sacerdotis cui merito omnes serui predicandum
Incipit: (gloss(marginal)) Pro altercatione scribit apostolus Romanis confutans modo gentiles
Explicit: Salutant [glossed: in bapt’] uos de italia [glossed: nota a Roma scripsisse] ^fratres^ Gratia dei cum omnibus uobis Amen
Pauline Epistles, with gloss

Epistles all prefaced with Ker’s ‘standard prologues’ (MMBL, 1: 96–97; cf. MS. 105, item 1 below), excepting Romans which lacks any prologue; all prologues are written in majuscules. The epistles follow the usual order, dividing as follows: [fol. 1r-30r] Romans, [fol. 30v-59v] I Corinthians, [fol. 59v-78v] II Corinthians, [fol. 78v-88r] Galatians, [fol. 88r (prologue, text following at fol. 88v) -97v] Ephesians, [fol. 97v (prologue, text following at fol. 98r) -104v] Philippians, [fol. 104v -111r] Colossians, [fol. 111v- 117v] I Thessalonians, [fol. 117v (prologue, text following at fol. 118r) -121r] II Thessalonians, [fol. 121r (prologue, text following at fol. 121v) -129r] I Timothy, [fol. 129r-134v] II Timothy, [fol. 134v-137v] Titus, [fol. 138r-139r] Philemon, [fol. 139v (prologue, text following at fol. 140r) -161v] Hebrews.

The epistles are provided with the pre-Anselmian gloss that includes readings ascribed to ‘Lanfrancus’ (e.g. fol. 149) and ‘Berengarius’ (e.g. fol. 119), described by Beryl Smalley, ‘La Glossa Ordinaria. Quelques prédecesseurs d’Anselm de Laon’, Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale, 9 (1937), 365–400 (cf. Stegmüller RB, nos 9838–47 [6:408–10]).

Fol. 162r-v: blank but ruled.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: in uobis
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (HSOS)
Extent: Fols: i + 162. The flyleaf is a waste leaf from the book, ruled as the remainder.
Dimensions (leaf): 260 × 160 mm.


1–208 216? (only the first two present [fol. 161 and 162], with another, not conjoint with either a jagged-cut stub after fol. 162). No catchwords. Occasional signs of one set of quire signatures, placed at bottom centre of the first recto (sometimes cropped) in the script of the main text, written in roman numerals, with a punctus before and after (.I.-.XX.); there are rare signs of the concomitant quire signatures in the same position and style on the last verso (e.g. fol. 72v: .IX.; fol. 96v: .XII. [cropped]). More frequent are the signs of another set of quire signatures written in lead at bottom centre of the last verso. It is perhaps this hand which draws the face of a long-haired girl in the bottom margin of fol. 80.


Writing area: 173 × 65 mm. , a central text column, between gloss columns, the outer column 37mm wide and the inner 22mm.

In long lines, 19 lines of text to the page, written on alternate rules to allow interlinear glosses.

The gloss columns are only ruled when text is provided; the gloss is written in a script one-third the size of the text, allowing up to c. 61 lines to the page.

Ruled with double vertical borders for the central text column, and further single vertical borders marking the outer extent of the gloss columns, plus further horizontal lines ruled 10mm below both top and bottom line; there is also a further horizontal line above the top line – this alone is bound by the text-frame, while all borders extend to edges of the folio. All is ruled with a stylus.

There are frequent signs of full pricking at edge of outer border and prick-holes at top and bottom in line with the vertical borders.


Written in protogothic bookhand, s. xii in.

Punctuation by point, occasional punctus elevatus and punctus interrogativus (in both text and gloss).


At the opening of each epistle, large pen and ink capitals, occupying half the central text space and often extending into the upper or lower margin. They are designed with interlace pattern, vine-stems and grotesques, including a jester growing out of the foliage (fol. 1), a leopard in the process of gnawing and being gnawed (fol. 78v),an Amazonian warrior (fol. 88v), two leopards rampant with between them a disconcerted cow (fol. 140). The first two initials are ochre washed, the rest left plain. Each prologue written in majuscules with opening initial drawn only in outline. Initial three or four lines of each epistle in decorative uncial style capitals. No original chapter divisions; one-line capitals for verses in the text ink, a few ochre washed. Running titles to indicate the biblical book added s. xii ex. on most rectos. There is a brief description of the decoration, with a suggestion of possible connections with St Albans, at T. S. R. Boase, English Art 1100–1216 (Oxford, 1953), 99–100, fol. 88v reproduced as plate 33a; it does not, though, appear in Thomson. See also AT no. 36 (7), dating the illumination s. xii2/4, and plate iii (fol. 88v). The manuscript appears as Richard Gameson, The Manuscripts of Early Norman England (c. 1066–1130) (Oxford, 1999), no. 769 (142).


Leather, browned with age, over unbevelled wooden boards, s. xii, with padded half-moon shaped tabs at top and tail for withdrawing from a book-chest (most of the black and gold cloth covering remains on the lower tab). Sewn on three thongs taken through the side of the board, as in Pollard’s Figure 2. The spine has an inscription, written from bottom to top, identifying contents, s. xii: ‘Epistole Pauli glossate secundum Ansell’’ (i.e. Anselm of Laon). Graham Pollard published an image showing the inscription on the spine in his ‘The Construction of English Twelfth-century Bindings’, The Library, 5th ser., 17 (1962), 1–22 at plate ii facing 17. There is another inscription at top left of lower board, s. xv: ‘Epistole Pauli glosate’. The stub of a cloth strap, with three intact brass nails, at the middle of the upper board and a nail to fix it in the middle of the lower board. Chain staple marks in Watson’s positions 4 and 5, in the second case with intact nails; both probably date from after the manuscript’s arrival in ChCh (see Appendix I). Pastedowns medieval parchment. On the front pastedown, a ChCh bookplate.


Origin: England; s. xiiin

Provenance and Acquisition

There are two indications of medieval use, neither at all specific about the context: (a) ‘Epistole Pauli glosate glosa cum interlineari’ (the front pastedown; anglicana, s. xv in., same hand as inscription on lower board); (b) erased inscriptions of ownership (the front and rear pastedowns, fols i, 161v, 162), as also ‘Cum sumus in celo letemur pectore leto Ryght welbelo⟨ ⟩‘ (fol. i, s. xv).

In the late sixteenth century, the book belonged to Thomas Carpender: ‘Amicitia Mortui viuunt | Pariuntur voluptates pecunia’ (not in Walther), followed by an erased ownership note (‘Thomas Carpender me possidet’), above which he also writes ‘Kyngesham’ (the rear pastedown); and the erased ‘Thomas Carpender’, above a motto ‘Nil plus valet ad ponendum laborem’ (fol. i); he also signed between epistles: his name is still visible at fol. 78v and in the initial at fol. 134v; further erased instances are at fol. 30v, 59v and 161v. A longer version of the motto, ‘Nil plus valet ad ponendum laborem quam quid cognitum sit nil profici aut frustra si esse susceptum’ appears on fol. 162v. Carpender was the person on whom the manor and advowson of Kingsham, near Chichester, was settled in 1562: see VCH Sussex, 3:105. As he wrote the loconym on the end pastedown with his note of possession, Carpender may have come by this volume after that date, but, if so, he could not have enjoyed it for long. By the end of 1565 he was dead, for the following year his executors established a scholarship at his alma mater , Magdalen College, Oxford on 10th February 1566.

There are further unspecific indications of late sixteenth- or early seventeenth-century use: (a) ‘Robertus ......‘ (erased) with motto ‘Viue vt viuas’ (fol. i); (b) ‘Virtutis premium laus’ (the front pastedown).

Some of these may postdate the book’s donation to ChCh: ‘Liber ecclesiae Christi Oxon ex dono Johannis Howsoni Anno 1588º’ (fol. iv); the inscription is in the donor’s hand (cf. the inscription in, for example, the printed book B.1.1). Howson was born in London, and was at Christ Church in 1577. He received the degrees of BA in 1578 and MA in 1581/2 (incorporated at Cambridge, 1583). He was licensed to preach in 1597, a canon of Christ Church in 1601, BD and DD in 1601, vice-chancellor in 1602, prebendary of Hereford from 1587 and of Exeter from 1592, and vicar of several Oxfordshire parishes; in 1610, he was one of the first fellows of Matthew Sutcliffe’s short-lived King James’s College, Chelsea. Further promotion came in 1618, when he was named as bishop of Oxford, a see he held until 4 July 1628, when he was translated to Durham. He held that bishopric until his death on 6 February 1632 (AO, 757; Nicholas W. S. Cranfield in Oxford DNB). As vice-chancellor, Howson’s anti-puritan views involved him in sectarian controversy (HUO, 422). In addition to this codex, over his career, he donated a few printed books to ChCh: on 18th January 1587, Paolo Giovio, Vitae duodecim Vicecomitum Mediolani principum (Paris, 1549) [C.2.4.12]; on 18th May 1602, Panormitanus, super decretales, 4 vols ([Lyons], 1501) [B.1.1.1–4], and in 1614, Lorenzo Giustiniani, Opera ([Paris], 1524) [I.3.3.8]; the first two gifts are noted by Ker, ‘Provision of Books’, nos 1587.1 and 1602.1 (508, 511), and the last (the only one in which he does not write an inscription) is entered in the Library Donors’ Book (p. 22ª). The second and third of these printed volumes have manuscript pastedowns. He also assisted the Library on at least one other occasion: in the Disbursement Book for Hilary 1591, he signs for a payment of 18d ‘to the carryer for bringinge the B[ishop] of Welles his booke’ (on this, see Introduction).

Our manuscript was seen and catalogued by James, Ecloga, 52 as MS 2: ‘Glossa ordinaria et interlinearis in Epistolas Pauli’. The volume has the late seventeenth-century ChCh shelfmark ‘A.1’ (cancelled) at the front pastedown (see Appendix I); immediately below that and at the bottom centre of fol. 1, Edward Smallwell entered the New Library shelfmark of ‘F.17’ (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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