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

MS. Auct. D. 2. 6

Summary Catalogue no.: 3636

A-C: Calendar, Psalter and Anselm of Canterbury, Prayers and meditations; England (A: St Albans (?), B: Winchester), 12th century

Physical Description

Three units (fols. 1–8 || fols. 9–155 || fols. 156–200) probably all together by the thirteenth century.
Form: codex
Extent: 201 + modern parchment fly-leaves at the beginning and end.
Dimensions (leaf): c. 245 × 160 mm.
Foliation: Modern, in pencil; 1–16a + 16b–200.


(fols. 1–8) I (8−1) missing 2 after fol. 2; fol. 1 is a former pastedown conjoint with the first stub after fol. 8 | (fols. 9–14) II (8−2) missing 1 and 2 | (fols. 15–149) III– XIX (8) | (fols. 150–155) XX (8−2) missing 7 and 8, no loss of text | (fols. 156–162) XXI (8−1) missing 3 | (fols. 163–170) XXII (8) | (fols. 171–177) XXIII (8−1) missing 5 | (fols. 178–184) XXIV (8−1) missing 1 | (fols. 185–200) XXV–XXVI (8) fols. 199 and 200 are trimmed with some loss of text on 200r.


Modern binding, white leather over wood boards, rebound in the Bodleian in 2010. symmetrical holes on fol. 1 and four marks on 2r left by the fitting of a clasp.

The former binding: brown leather over pasteboard, 18th century. Blind fillet lines round the outer edge of both covers. Blind roll decoration forming a rectangle with floral corner-pieces on both covers. Blind roll decoration on the edges of covers. Rebacked in the 20th (?) century with the original spine relaid. Sewn on four cords. End-leaves of 18th-century laid paper. Fol. 1 (parchment), originally the second leaf of the first booklet, was used as the upper pastedown of an earlier binding: glue and fragments of dark pink textile with yellow patterning; fragments of blue textile, possibly the remains of two ties. Four


Provenance and Acquisition

Calendar and Psalter bound together before 1200: a 12th-century addition of Frideswide in the calendar and litany.

Adam Basset de Litlemore’ in clumsy 13th-century (?) capitals on fol. 155r.

Benedictine nunnery of Littlemore, Oxfordshire. Cautio note of the prioress of Littlemore, 14th century (?), fol. 1v: ‘Cauc(i)o Priorisse de lytelmor’ ja⟨cet⟩ p(ro) xl s’ & h(abe)t supp(lementum) p(er)foriu(m) [or possibly ‘por⟨ti⟩forium’] cu(m) uno signac(u)lo argenteo 2o fo(lio) incipiat(ur)’.

Conservation treatment carried out in the Bodleian Library in 2010 showed that there is only one set of sewing holes at three sewing stations and two kettle stitches for all three texts. There is no evidence to suggest that the three texts had previous or independent bindings. It is theoretically possible that one text was sewn independently, and later resewn to incorporate the other two texts using the same sewing positions, but this seems unlikely, as none of the holes are enlarged as one would expect had they been used more than once (Nicole Gilroy, Report of the treatment carried out on MS. Auct. D. 2. 6, 6th January 2011).

Richard Beswick or Bestwick, d. 1705 (Foster, 1891–92, p. 118; Boase, 1894, p. 118), Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford: ‘Liber Bibliothecae Bodleianae Ex dono Ric: Beswick Art: Mag: nuper Coll: Exon: Socii’ (fol. 2r).

Bodleian Library: donation of Richard Beswick, c. 1672. Former shelfmarks: ‘Cod. 170. Museo’ (fol. 2r); ‘170’ in ink on the fore-edge of leaves; ‘MS. e Mus. 118’ (fol. 2r). The manuscript was part of ‘in Musaeo’ collection (manuscripts kept in a cupboard in the Librarian’s study) which was formed from miscellaneous donations and acquisitions of the period c. 1647–83. The shelfmark was changed to ‘e Musaeo’ and the numeration altered in 1728. The shelfmark ‘Auctarium’ was given c. 1789, when books then considered most valuable in the Library were moved to the Auctarium (one of the schools in the Bodleian Library quadrangle) (see Summary catalogue, vol. 1, pp. xiv, xxxix–xl).

MS. Auct. D. 2. 6 – Part 1


Language(s): Latin

[Items 1–2 occupy quire 1]

1. (fols. 2v-7r)

Laid out one month per page, written in blue, green, red and brown, not graded, lacking February and March. Includes Alban (22 June) in green capitals and his inuentio (2 August) with octave, both in blue capitals, Alfheah (19 April) in red, Dunstan (19 May) in blue, Augustine of Canterbury (26 May in green and 28 August in blue), Eadburga (15 June) in blue, Botulph (17 June) in red, Etheldreda (23 June) in red, Swithin (2 July) in red, Grimbald (8 July) in blue capitals, translation of Benedict (11 July) in green with octave in blue and Edmund (20 November) in blue. ‘O Sapientia’ (16 December) with neums. Cecilia erased at 21 November and rewritten at 22 November. There are further erasures on fols. 2v, 3v and 6v. Frideswide (19 October) added in green. The months are headed by verses on the ‘Egyptian’ days which correspond to Hennig’s (1955) set III (see also Kidd, 2008, p. 65, on a variant in set III, found in calendars from St Albans), verses on the Signs of the Zodiac (a version is printed by Hennig (1955), p. 90) and notes on the number of days and nights in each month.

(fols. 7v-8r)

Easter table from 1064 to 1595, and a table of moveable feasts with the key to the Easter table. The Easter table was probably written in the lunar cycle 1140–1158 (key-letters filled in to 1159, then every 4th year as far as 1307) (Summary catalogue, vol. 2, part 2, p. 713).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: denus et undenus (fol. 3r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment


Ruled in hard point for 34 lines per page; written space c. 165 × 105 mm.


English Caroline minuscule; red, blue, green and brown ink. The scribe was identified by Thomson (1982, p. 29) with the scribe of Cambridge, University Library MS. Dd. 8. 6 (which was at St Albans in the 13th century), and part of Hereford Cathedral Library MS. O. I. 8.

Musical Notation:

‘O Sapientia’ (16 December) with neums.


Pächt and Alexander iii. 117, pl. XI: fine historiated initials and medallions.

Labours of the Months and the Signs of the Zodiac. The Labours form part of the KL monograms; the Signs are set in medallions on mid-right of each page. The initials are attributed by Pächt and Alexander to the Master of the Lambeth Bible, Lambeth Palace MS. 3 (Pächt, Dodwell and Wormald, 1960; Pächt and Alexander, 1966–73; Alexander and Temple, 1985); however, see Kauffmann (1975) and Thomson (1982, p. 31).

  • January: Janus, seated, with a bowl in one hand, and a round object in the other; Aquarius (fol. 2v).
  • April: man with foliate headgear, holding a spade (?) and a saw; Taurus (fol. 3r).
  • May: man in a cloak and cap, seated, with a hawk on his left wrist and a finger raised in a gesture of teaching; Gemini (fol. 3v).
  • June: seated man shearing a sheep; Cancer (fol. 4r).
  • July: seated man in a wide-brimmed hat and short tunic holding a scythe on his shoulder; Leo (fol. 4v).
  • August: seated man in a wide-brimmed hat and long tunic with a bundle of wheat over his shoulder; Virgo (winged figure in long robe, holding a branch) (fol. 5r).
  • September: seated man in a wide-brimmed hat and long tunic holding a bunch of grapes; Libra (fol. 5v).
  • October: man with a stick, knocking down acorns for a pig under a tree; Scorpio (fol. 6r).
  • November: man in a hooded tunic, slaughtering a pig; Sagittarius (fol. 6v).
  • December: man seated at table, with cover (?) and dishes, holding a bowl and a drinking horn; Capricorn (fol. 7r).

Titles in red; the script is the same size as that of the main text. Opening words of psalms in red, blue and green with larger decorated initials at liturgical divisions.


Origin: c. 1140–1150 (perhaps 1139 × 1158) ; English, St. Albans, Benedictine abbey (?)


Attributed to St Albans on grounds of liturgical evidence, the styles of script and decoration. For arguments for a date between 1139 and 1158 see Watson, Dated and Datable Oxford

MS. Auct. D. 2. 6 – Part 2 (fols. 9–155)


Language(s): Latin

[Items 1–4 occupy quires II-XX]

1. (fols. 9r-137r)

Psalms 1–150 in the biblical order, laid out with each verse starting on a new line, imperfect at the beginning because of the loss of two leaves (starting with ‘& in uia peccatorum’). The verso of the second missing leaf was probably occupied by a large Beatus-initial and the beginning of psalm 1 (see psalms 51, 101 and 109 under ‘Decoration’). The first lost leaf and the recto of the second may have contained prefatory materials which included the word ‘incipiatur’ (see cautio of the abbess of Littlemore under ‘Provenance’). Punctuated throughout with punctus elevatus, punctus interrogativus or punctus used to mark metrum and minor pauses, and punctus or punctus interrogativus used to mark the ends of verses.

Most psalms are preceded by numbers and titles which do not conform to any of Salmon’s series (1959). Many titles are short, such as ‘Psalmus David’ or ‘In finem psalmus David’, followed by a number in Roman numerals or spelled out as words. The titles of five psalms are quoted below:

  • 15 Tituli inscriptione psalmus Dauid qvintus decimus psalmus (fol. 16bv)
  • 30 In finem psalmus Dauid (fol. 30r)
  • 63 In finem psalmus Dauid (fol. 60r)
  • 115 Alleluia psalmus (fol. 111r)
  • 140 Psalmus Dauid (fol. 130v).

There are textual divisions at psalms 26, 38, 51, 68, 80, 101, 109 and 118 (see ‘Decoration’). Subdivisions within psalms are marked with 2-line initials at 9: 20 (fol. 14r), 17: 26 (fol. 19v), 36: 27 (fol. 38r), 67: 20 (fol. 63v), 68: 17 (fol. 65r), 77: 36 (fol. 75r), 88: 20 (fol. 85r), 103: 25 (fol. 98v), 104: 23 (fol. 99v), 105: 32 (fol. 102r), 106: 25 (104r), 138: 11 (Et dixi . . .) (fol. 129r), 143: 9 (fol. 133r) and 144: 10 (133v). Psalm 118 is subdivided into twenty-two 8-verse units.

2. (fols. 137v-144v)

Weekly canticles, with titles:

Rubric: Canticum ysaie

Confitebor tibi domine (Isaiah 12)

Rubric: Canticum regis ezechie

Ego dixi (Isaiah 38: 10–21)

Rubric: Canticum anne matris samuelis

Exultauit cor meum (1 Samuel 2: 1–11)

Rubric: Canticum moysi

Cantemus domino (Exodus 15: 1–20)

Rubric: Canticum abbacuc prophete

Domine audiui (Habakkuk 3)

Rubric: Canticum moysi

Audite celi (Deuteronomy 32: 1–44), with subdivision marked with a larger initial and the use of capitals for the first word of the verse at verse 22, ‘Ignis succensus . . .’ (fol. 143v).

3. (fols. 145r-150v)

Daily canticles, prayers and creeds, some with titles:

(fol. 145r)
Rubric: ymnus ad matutinos

Te deum laudamus

(fol. 145v)
Rubric: ymnus trium puerorvm

Benedicite omnia opera

(fol. 146v)
Rubric: Canticum zacharie

Benedictus dominus deus

(fol. 147r)
Rubric: ymnus sancte dei genitricis Marie


(fol. 147v)
Rubric: Canticum sancti senis symeonis

Nunc dimittis

(fol. 147v)

Pater noster

(fol. 148r)
Rubric: ymnus ad matutinos

Apostles’ Creed

(fol. 148r)

Gloria in excelsis

(fol. 148v)

Athanasian Creed

4. (fols. 150v-155r)

Litany, containing several Winchester saints, including Justus and Elphege among the martyrs; Birinus, Hedda, Swithun, Birstan, Elphege and Athelwold (all Winchester bishops), and Dunstan and Gaugeric among the confessors; Etheldreda and Eadburga among the virgins. Birinus and Swithun are invoked twice (fol. 151v). Frideswide is over an erasure. The litany is followed by petitions which mention ‘episcopum nostrum’, not ‘abbatem’, and collects (fols. 153r–155r):

Incipit: Deus cui proprium est misereri semper et parcere suscipe
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui facis mirabilia magna solus
Incipit: A domo tua quesumus domine spirituales nequitie repellantur et aeriarum discedat malignitas potestatum
Incipit: Ure igne sancti spiritus renes nostros et corda nostra .
Incipit: Pretende domine famulis et famulabus dexteram celestis auxilii
Incipit: Deus a quo sancta desideria recta consilia et iusta sunt
Incipit: Propitiare quesumus domine nobis famulis tuis per horum sanctorum tuorum
Incipit: Absolue domine animas famulorum tuorum fratrum nostrorum et omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omni uinculo
Incipit: Deus qui es sanctorum tuorum splendor mirabilis atque lapsorum subleuator
Incipit: Adesto domine supplicationibus nostris et uiam famulorum tuorum in salutis tue
Incipit: Ad te nos domine clamantes exaudi et aeris serenitatem nobis tribue
Incipit: Deus in quo uiuimus mouemur et sumus pluuiam nobis tribue congruentem ut presentibus
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus salus eterna credentium exaudi nos pro famulo

With plural endings.

Incipit: Ineffabilem misericordiam tuam nobis domine clementer ostende ut simul nos

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Multi dicunt (fol. 10r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment


Ruled in hard point for 23 lines per page; double vertical bounding lines extending the full height of page; 1st and 3rd horizontal from top and bottom ruled full width; prickings often survive; written above the top line; written space c. 155 × 100 mm.


Round English Caroline minuscule; titles in rustic capitals; brown ink.


Pächt and Alexander iii. 169, pl. XVIII: fine historiated and other initials.

Half-page historiated initials at the beginning of psalms 51, 101 and 109 similar in style to manuscripts associated with Winchester and St Albans (Kauffmann, 1975, pp. 107, 109; Oakeshott, 1980, p. 37; 1981, pp. 131–2; Thomson, 1982, pp. 31–6). There is a difference in style and colour between the initial of psalm 51 and the other two.

  • fol. 51v: Psalm 51 (initial Q(uid)) Coiled stems with acanthus-leaf designs; two dogs (?). The tail of Q is formed by the body of a dragon.
  • fol. 94v: Psalm 101 (initial D(omine)) Coiled stems with acanthus-leaf designs; nude man.
  • fol. 107v: Psalm 109 (initial D(ixit)) Coiled stems with acanthus-leaf designs; animal mask with two stems growing out of its mouth; two dogs (?). Vertical bar of D has a medallion with a bust portrait of a bearded man.

4-line plain red and blue initials at the beginning of psalms 26 (fol. 27r), 38 (fol. 39v), 68 (fol. 64v), 80 (fol. 79r), 118 (fol. 112v) 119 (fol. 121r), the first canticle (fol. 137v) and litany (fol. 150v).

3-line plain initials, alternately red or blue, at the beginning of other psalms, canticles and prayers.

1-line plain alternating red and blue initials at the beginnings of verses and periods.

No titles, but the opening words of chapters are in capitals, slightly bigger than the main text.


Origin: 12th century, middle or third quarter ; English, Winchester, Cathedral Priory (the Old Minster) (?)


Attributed to Winchester on liturgical evidence and evidence of decoration. Morgan (1981) attributes the litany to Winchester, but comments that it has ‘several errors and omissions’ (p. 135). Winchester provenance inferred from liturgical evidence (MLGB3).

MS. Auct. D. 2. 6 – Part 3 (fols. 156–200)


1. (fols. 156r-200v)
Anselm of Canterbury, Prayers and meditations

Without titles or rubrics. Imperfect owing to the loss of leaves after fols. 157, 174 and 177. Ends imperfectly with ‘admirabili depositione . est . cui mea fra . . .’ (prayer beginning ‘Quam magna domine deus . . .’, following a series of prayers after meditatio 2). This is the Bec-Canterbury recension of the text of Prayers and meditations (in the tradition of Verdun, Bibliothèque municipale MS. 70), as against the Matilda of Tuscany recension exemplified in Admont, Stiftsbibliothek MS. 289 (Pächt, 1956). According to Pächt (1956) it appears to combine the English programme of illumination with an addition of illustrations showing Countess Matilda of Tuscany, possibly derived from a Continental source.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: memor flagellorum (fol. 157r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment


Ruled in hard point for 29 lines per page; double vertical bounding lines extending the full height of page; 1st and 3rd horizontal from top and bottom ruled full width; written above the top line; written space c. 160 × 100 mm.


Formal early-Gothic book hand; brown ink.


Pächt and Alexander iii. 154, pl. XVI:

Fine miniatures and historiated initials.

Eighteen historiated initials and small miniatures at the beginning of prayers and meditations. A figure of a lady, kneeling and worshipping Christ and saints, which occurs on fols. 156r, 158v, 161r, 185v and 193v, is probably Countess Matilda of Tuscany, to whom Anselm sent his Prayers and meditations in 1104 (Pächt, 1956). The style of illumination is close to that of the St Albans Psalter (Kauffmann, 1975, p. 104). The titles and numbers of prayers are from Schmitt (1946–61).

  • fol. 156r: (Initial O) for ‘Orationes’ or ‘Obsecrationes’ (?), text left out by the scribe. Prologue St Anselm, seated, with mitre, crosier and pallium.
  • (miniature) Oratio ad Christum (oratio 2) Supplicant female figure before Christ, in mandorla, holding a book and blessing; stylized tree.
  • (Initial D(omine)) Coiled stems with floral and leaf designs.
  • fol. 158v (miniature) Oratio ad Sanctam Mariam (oratio 6) Supplicant female figure, holding a book, before the Virgin and Child, in mandorla, seated on the throne and blessing. The throne is decorated with birds’ heads and feet; stylized tree.
  • (Initial V(irgo)) Coiled stems with floral and leaf designs.
  • fol. 160r (initial S(ancta)) Oratio ad Sanctam Mariam (oratio 5) The Virgin Mary standing, holding a book, finger raised in a gesture of teaching.
  • fol. 161r (initial S(ingvlaris)) Singvlaris merito sola sine exemplo . . . Supplicant female figure before the Virgin Mary, standing and holding a book; stylized tree.
  • fol. 162v (initial M(aria)) Oratio ad Sanctam Mariam (oratio 7) The Virgin Mary seated, holding a book, finger raised in a gesture of teaching.
  • fol. 166v (miniature) Oratio ad sanctum Iohannem Baptistam (oratio 8) Herod’s feast in an architectural frame; Salome dancing upside down with swords.
  • (initial S(ancte)) Beheading of St John the Baptist; kneeling Salome giving his head on a charger to Herodias.
  • fol. 169r (miniature) Oratio ad sanctum Petrum (oratio 9) Seated Christ, with sheep at his feet, handing keys to tonsured St Peter; gold background; architectural frame; stylized trees.
  • (initial S(ancte)) St Peter receiving souls in heaven.
  • fol. 170v (miniature) Oratio ad sanctum Paulum (oratio 10) Conversion of St Paul. St Paul on the ground, holding a sword, assisted by two companions; in the sky a figure of Christ and flames coming out of a cloud; two stylized trees.
  • (initial S(ancte)) Sleeping St Paul instructed by an angel; St Paul, seated in bed, instructed by a saint.
  • fol. 176r (miniature) Oratio ad sanctum Iohannem Evangelistam (oratio 11) Four men carrying bier through open doors of a building; stylized tree.
  • (initial S(ancte)) Three-quarter figure of St John the Evangelist, watching the funeral with gestures of distress. Drusiana raised from the dead by St John the Evangelist.
  • fol. 180v (miniature) Oratio ad sanctum Nicolaum (oratio 14) Three supplicant figures before St Nicholas, with mitre, crosier and pallium; church and stylized tree in the background.
  • (initial (P(eccator)) St Nicholas, with crosier and pallium, appears to a sleeping man; architectural frame.
  • fol. 184r (miniature) Oratio episcopi vel abbatis ad sanctum sub cuius nomine regit ecclesiam (oratio 17) Kneeling white canon with crosier; church in the background.
  • (initial S(ancte)) St Peter, standing, holding keys and a book.
  • fol. 185v (initial S(ancte)) Oratio ad sanctum Benedictum (oratio 15), here addressed to St Augustine. Bishop with crosier, handing his book to a kneeling female figure. Abbot handing his book to two monks; stylized tree.
  • fol. 186v (miniature) Oratio ad sanctam Mariam Magdalenam (oratio 16) Christ and apostles seated at a table with food; Mary Magdalene anointing Christ’s head; gold background; architectural frame.
  • (initial S(ancta)) Noli me tangere. Christ with a standard; kneeling Mary Magdalene; stylized tree.
  • fol. 188v Oratio pro amicis (oratio 18) (initial D(ulcis)). Half-figure of Christ; coiled stems with floral and acanthus-leaf designs. The ascender is formed by a flying angel.
  • fol. 189v (miniature) Meditatio ad concitandum timorem (meditatio 1) Christ enthroned in mandorla, holding a book, finger raised in a gesture of teaching; a man and a woman stand before him; stylized tree.
  • (initial (T(erret)) Coiled stems with floral and acanthus-leaf designs; animal mask; two birds.
  • fol. 191v (miniature) Deploratio virginitatis male amissae (meditatio 2) Christ enthroned, blessing a kneeling couple within a church.
  • (initial A(nima)) Winged dragon; coiled stems with floral and acanthus-leaf designs.
  • fol. 193v (initial O(mnipotens)) Oratio ad deum (oratio 1) Female supplicant, holding a book, before Christ, enthroned, holding a book and blessing.
  • fol. 194r (initial D(vlcissime)) Dvlcissime et super omnia disederanda . . . Priest celebrating Mass; two women singing, one kneeling before an open book.
  • fol. 196v (initial M(itissime)) Altissime et mitissime amator hominum . . . Symmetrical composition with two winged dragons, coiled stems with floral and acanthus-leaf designs.
  • fol. 198v (initial Q(uam)) Quam magna domine deus . . . Gold initial with arabesque designs.


Origin: 12th century, middle ; English


Possibly written for the use in the Abbey of Arrouaisian Canons, Dorchester, Oxfordshire, dedicated to Sts Peter, Paul and Birinus (Bestul, 1978; Thomson, 1982, p. 137, n. 42): miniature on fol. 184r; Peter named and pictured as patron saint in prayer 17; prayer 15, usually addressed to Benedict, is addressed here to Augustine (Benedict is added between the lines in a later hand). In the same prayer ‘canonici’ is used instead of ‘monachi’ (‘monachi’ added between the lines in a later hand) (fols. 185v–186v).

Additional Information

Record Sources

Elizabeth Solopova, Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue (Oxford, 2013), pp. 19–30. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (40 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-07: Description fully revised from Solopova, Liturgical Psalters.