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

MS. Digby 177

Summary Catalogue no.: 1778


Language(s): Latin

(fols 1r–30r)
Philip of Oxford, Miracula sancte Frideswide
Rubric: Incipit prologus domni philippi prioris de miraculis sancte frideswide.
Incipit: Domini ac saluatoris nostri uirtus et sapientia tanto maioribus laudum preconiis attollitur⹎
Explicit: nobis in tante uirtutis testimonium ostenderunt;
BHL 3169

Two modern hands have numbered the sections implied by the drop capitals in ink and pencil as chapters 1–98. A contemporary hand indicates nine readings within the text, each of which ends with the annotation ‘Tu autem’ in the margin if it is not immediately followed by another lection. Lectio 1, fols 1vb–2ra, ch. 1, ‘Scripturus itaque … tuorum super omnia aromata’; 2, fols 2vb–3rb, chs. 5–6, ‘Cum igitur … remanerent uestigia’; 3, fols 3ra–4ra, ch. 8, ‘Erat in uico quodam … ipsa rerum experientia didicimus’; 4, fol. 4ra–va, chap. 9, ‘Per idem tempus … et tedio affecerat inmanitas’; 5, fols 6vb–7va, chap. 20, ‘Ad laudem insuper diuine pietatis … ubi munus curationis acceperat’; 6, fols 7vb–8rb, chap. 22, ‘Hoc quoque relatu … prorsus et inmunem’; 7, chap. 23, fols 8rb–9ra, ‘Sed et de hoc quod eodem die … reformante momentis’; 8, fols 9vb–10ra, ‘Puella quedam Emelina nomine … et corpore herens et affectu’ (opening indicator erased); 9, fols 15ra–va(?), ‘Nec uacat a laude uirginis … sue testimonio roborantes’ (no ‘Tu autem’).

(fol. 30v)

Acrostic on Frideswide


Iesus maria Iohannes.

Fontem/ in sicco fundo a domino impetrauit Regibus oxonie iter opturauit Iuuenem leprosum osculo mundauit Demonem in specie/ cristi superauit Edgarum regem Leyces lumine priuauit Securis manubrium a manu liberauit Visum dederit militibus/ quos prius excecauit Virgini Bamptonie lumen restaurauit In silua per triennium cum sponso ^id est cristo^ habitauit Dementem ligatum penitus liberauit Angelo ductore bamptonem nauigauit "
(fol. 30v)

Words relating to the miracles of Frideswide set in hexameter, set against the seven vices

  • Contra superbiam
    • Filia. Regalis. Iuris. Datur. Esse. Sodalis.
    • Venti. Venalis. Iacturam. Depulit. Alis.
  • Contra iram
    • Fons. Redit. Immemores. Ducunt. Exemplum. Sapores.
    • Vincunt. Vltores. Inuios. Dicentis. Amores.
  • Contra inuidiam
    • Fer. Ruit. Inuidie. Dampnabilis. Euse. Salutis.
    • Viscera. Virtutis. Iam. Dat. Amicicie.
  • Contra accidiam
    • Factoris. Recolens. Iusti. Deuocius. Egit.
    • Summa. Videre. Volens. Iuga. Dissuadentis. Abegit.
  • Contra auariciam
    • Fatales. Retum. Iactus. Despexit Egena.
    • Sorte. Virum. Verum. Iustum. Dilexit. Amena.
  • Contra Gulam
    • Fauces. Restrinxit. In Deliciis. Epularum.
    • Sic. Ventrem. Vincit. Ita. Dulcoratus. Amarum.
  • Contra luxuriam
    • Nos. Redolens. Iuit. Ductor. Enigma. Sequta.
    • Virgula. Vestiuit. Imbres. Dilexit Acuta.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii + 30 + ii leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 272–76 × 191–200 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil, 1–30.


a2, 1–38 (fols 1–24), 46–1+1 (fols 25–30; 3rd replaced), b2 The first leaf of each quire is lettered a–d at the foot, in 16th- or 17th-century ink.
Secundo Folio: ⟨deser⟩uire uiderentur


185 × 119 mm. Ruled in pencil and plummet; pricking on all edges of the page for frame and lines, spaced 5.5 mm apart. Horizontal rules occur from top to bottom (fol. 2r) at 33.5 | 39 | 44.5 | 21.75 | 207 | 212.75 | 273; vertical rules, from left to right, 20 | 24 | 79.5 | 84 | 88.5 | 142 | 146.5 | 191.5. Written above top line.


Protogothic script. At least three scribes.

Fols 28vb–30rb are written in a darker shade of ink, likely a slightly later addition. The same shade of ink is used to make numerous corrections to the text, particularly adding punctuation to assist oral reading (sometimes the additions are overpunctuated in comparison to the original text).


Text opens with an 8-line arabesque initial in red and green. Subsequent chapters open with 2-line initials, generally alternating between blue and red.

Along with letters added plummet to direct the rubricator, there are numbers whose function is unclear: iii in the margin of fol. 10rb; iii, fol. 17rb; iiii, fol. 17va; iii, fol. 18ra; iiii and viii, fol. 18rb.


Standard Digby binding (Delisle type I). Brass clasps.

Decorated with Digby’s arms, surrounded by wreath, with legend ‘INSIGNIA KENELMI DIGBY EQVITIS AVRATI ✠’.


Origin: St Frideswide’s Priory, Oxford (OSA); , with at least the manuscript’s first two quires (fols 1–16) written in 1180–1183. A modification of a passage of John the Scot, bishop-elect of St Andrews, to reflect his resignation of this position in June 1183 (ch. 1) establishes this date. A reference to Roger, the abbot of Abingdon, who died in 1185 (ch. 42) reinforces it. The manuscript includes what appear to be autograph revisions to the text rather than corrections from an exemplar, most notably in his account of the translation of Frideswide’s relics on fol. 2ra, and what appears to be an extended addition at the foot of fols 15v–16r. The text at fols 28vb–30rb appears to be a slightly later addition. The series of nine readings in the margins suggest extended liturgical use that would not likely have occurred outside of Oxford.

Provenance and Acquisition

Thomas Allen (MS fº 7); Allen/Digby inventory A 14: pressmarks and signature on fol. 1r. Many of Allen’s manuscripts were from Oxford.

Kenelm Digby (his motto, ‘Vindica te tibi’, and signature on fol. 1r).

Donated to the Bodleian, 1634.

Record Sources

Description by Andrew Dunning, January 2020. Previously described in the Quarto Catalogue (W. D. Macray, Bodleian Library Quarto Catalogues IX: Digby Manuscripts, repr. with addenda by R. W. Hunt and A. G. Watson, 1999).

Last Substantive Revision

2020-02-03: Andrew Dunning New description.