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

MS. Digby 227

Summary Catalogue no.: 1828


Missal ('The Abingdon Missal')

Benedictine Use, summer part. The winter part is Oxford, Trinity College, MS. 75.

Prayers of preparation Cum induit se abbas vestimentis episcopalibus (fol. 1); blessing of holy water (fol. 4v); kalendar with obits (fol. 7); temporale, beginning (fol. 13) with Easter Sunday; Gloria, Credo with their intonations; prefaces on music, canon (fol. 114); sanctorale, beginning (fol. 123) with the Annunciation of the Virgin; common of the saints (fol. 207v); votive masses (fol. 237). No rubrics.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 2 + 270 + 2 fol.
Dimensions (leaf): 355 × 243 mm.


22 (canon 15) lines, written space 232 × 145 mm.

Musical Notation:

Square notation on 7 staves of 4 red lines.


Miniature and historiated initials attributed by J. J. G. Alexander to William Abell (cf. P&A iii. 1065, pl. XCIX-C) but regarded by K. Scott (1996) as more sophisticated than Abell's work, and attributed by her to the so-called ‘Abingdon Missal master’. Illuminated initials and coloured borders on fol.13, 33v, (missing after fol.42), 105v, 111v, 113v, 114, 129v, 146v, 172v, 188, 201v, 237 (after 262 missing); a full-page crucifixion within borders at the beginning of the Canon (113v).

Fine miniature.

Fine border.

Fine historiated initials.

Fine other initials.


Origin: 1461 ; English, Oxford (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Border decoration similar to that in Merton College MSS. 59, 62, 64, 65, perhaps suggesting common production in a workshop based in Oxford (Scott, 1996).

Fol. 270v: 'Scriptori merita mater pia redde Maria | Annis millenus quadringenus tibi notus | ⟨E⟩t sexagenus primus tunc ecce repletus.

Fol. 11v, 'Dedicacio ecclesie Abendone'.

Arms of Abingdon Abbey and its abbot William Ashenden, fol. 113v.

Thomas Allen, Digby/Allen inventory number A. 5.

Kenelm Digby, 1603–1665

Donated by him to the Bodleian, 1634.

Record Sources

Adapted (2018) from S. J. P. Van Dijk, Handlist of the Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford Vol. 1: Mass Books; Watson; Pächt and Alexander; 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), and published sources cited in the description.


To ensure its availability to future readers, access to this item is restricted, and readers are asked to work from reproductions and published descriptions as far as possible. To apply to see the original, please send a message to specialcollections.enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, outlining the subject of your research, the importance of this item to that research, and the resources you have already consulted.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (29 images from 35mm slides)


    K. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390–1490 (1996), II, 280–1 (cat. 101)
    A. G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.435–1600 in Oxford Libraries (Oxford, 1984), no. 430
    Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford, III (1973), no. 1065

    Online resources:

Last Substantive Revision

2018-11-28: Updated attribution of decoration, and origin with reference to Scott 1996.