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

MS. Don. c. 13

Summary Catalogue no.: Not in SC (late accession)


1. (fols. 1r-162v)
Wycliffite sermons (ed. Hudson, 1983–96), etc., in a northern English dialect, in a unique 'expurgated' version (see Hudson, 1971)
(fols. 1r-68v)

Sermons on the Sunday Epistles and Gospels, beginning with the first Sunday in Advent

Rubric: Dominica .iª. in aduentu.
Incipit: Dcientes [sic for Scientes] quia hora est roª. 3º [Romans 3:11] We take als bileue ...
Final rubric: Expliciunt dominice tocius anni
(Bodleian Library, 1931, pl. I shows fol. 1r).
(fols. 68v-69r)

The eight-fold woes of the scribes and Pharisees

Rubric: Exposicio textus mathei xxiiiº cº de ve octiplici scribis phariseis ipocritis inprecato.
Incipit: Crist biddis vs bewar with þir flas prophetis
(fols. 69v-91r)

Sermons on the Gospels of the Propers of the Seasons and of the Saints

Rubric: In vigilia sancti andree.
Incipit: Stabat iohannis et duo ex discipulis iohannis. io primo [John 1:35] Thys gospel tellis in stori how crist gedird hys disciplis

Omitting that for Ascension day (fol. 80v).

(fols. 91r-93r)

Exposition of Matthew 24:1

Rubric: Exposicio euangelij .mt 24to
Incipit: Regressus ihesus de templo þis gospel tellis mykil wisdom; þat is hid to may men
(fols. 93r-138r)

Sermons on the ferial Gospels, starting with the first Wednesday in Advent:

Rubric: Tercia pars euangeliorum ferialium. Principium Euangelij, mr. primo
Incipit: As men suld trowe in crist; þt he is bath god & man
(fols. 138r-162v)

Sermons on the Gospels of the Common of Saints

Rubric: In vigilia apostolorum
Incipit: Ego sum uitis uera. io. 15º [John 15:1] As comune thingis better & bifore oþer thingis
Language(s): Middle English and Latin
Religious Poems

All described by Brown, 1932, and Bodleian Library, 1931:-

(fols. 162v-165v)
Lay Folks' Catechism
Incipit: Als þt a greyte clerke; shewis in his boke
Explicit: per omnia secula seculorum amen
Final rubric: Explicit sermo Gartrig

IMEV 406, citing the present manuscript.

(fol. 165v)
Incipit: I herd an harping on a hille; as I lay undir lynde | ...

IMEV 1320, citing the present manuscript as the unique source; Bodleian Library, 1931, pl. IV; pr. Bodleian Quarterly Record, 7 no. 73 (1932), 2–3.

(fols. 165v-166r)
Incipit: Ihesus Habide gode men and hald ȝou stil

IMEV 110, citing the present manuscript; Bodleian Library, 1931, pl. IV.

(fol. 166r)
Incipit: peccator Haile Ihesu my creatour; of sorou you ert medicyne

IMEV 1053, citing the present manuscript; Brown, 1932, pl. facing p. 1.

(fol. 166r)
Incipit: Jhesu my lefe Jhesu mu loue; Jhesu my couetynge | ...

Probably by Richard Rolle. IMEV 1733, citing the present manuscript as the unique source; pr. Brown, 1932, 4–5, with pl. facing p. 1.

(fol. 166r, second column)
Incipit: Swete jhesu crist to ye; a synful wreche I helde me

IMEV 3232, citing the present manuscript as the unique source; Brown, 1932, pl. facing p. 1.

(fol. 166v)
Incipit: Think man wharto you ert wroȝt

IMEV 3567, citing the present manuscript.

Language(s): Middle English
3. (fols. 166v-167r)
Richard Rolle, Commentary on the Lord's Prayer
Rubric: Exposicio super oracionem dominicam composita per Ricardum heremitam
Incipit: Pater noster qui es in celis. Hec oratio priuilegiata

See Allen, 1927, pp. 155–7; fols. 167v-168v ruled, otherwise originally left blank.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ye uertues
Form: codex
Support: Parchment, of mediocre quality, with numerous flaws, irregular edges, and pronounced hair-/flesh-side differences.
Extent: iii (modern card/paper) + ii (medieval parchment) + 168 + ii (medieval parchment).
Dimensions (leaf): 300–5 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 234–9 × 163–4 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil, i-v, 1–170 (a former foliation left fols. i-iii blank, and numbered fols. iv, and v as 'i' and 'ii'; this was altered, 5 Aug. 1997); a 15th-/16th-century hand foliated fols. 1–4 in ink in the centre of the top margin, in arabic numerals.


I-XIV12 (fols. 1–168); catchwords in all quires except the last, in the script of the main text, a little below the right-hand side of the right-hand column of text; no leaf signatures visible.


Ruled with 45 (Quires I-II, fols. 1–24) or 46 (Quires III-XIV, fols. 25–168) lines of text in 2 columns, in brown ink (Quires I-II), and in grey/brown 'pencil'/'crayon' (Quires III-XIV), each column with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page, the top and bottom horizontal lines extending the full width; fols. 162v-168r ruled with a considerably narrower inter-columnar space; each column 74–5 mm. wide.


Written in competant anglicana scripts: the main texts by a single(?) scribe; the added texts on fols. 162v-166v, and 166v-167r, by two further different hands.


Rubrics, underlinings and paraphs all in red; some capitals touched in red; a number of looped letters are also sporadically infilled in red, e.g. 'b', 'd', 'e', 'o', etc.


The original(?) binding. Sewn on five split leather straps, with endbands (all but the top endband now broken at the upper joint), which enter the wood boards from the outside, appear in a channel on the inside, before passing back out to form exterior channels, and finally back in again, the straps held with wood pegs in the first, interior, channel, and ferrous nails in the exterior channel; the endbands with wood pegs in both channels; the boards with bevelled edges, approximately flush with the edges of the leaves; with traces of two strap-fittings, each with a recessed channel with two nails at the fore-edge of the upper board, and corresponding (copper?) nails towards the middle of the lower board (from a strap and pin fastening); the lower board with the remains of a red leather covering, the boards and spine otherwise exposed. In a fitted half-bound green leather box, the spine with the gilt title: 'JOHN WYCLIFFE | SERMONS'.

Accompanying Material

The endleaves (fols. iv, 169–170) are waste leaves of a late 14th century Gradual, containing the text (but not music) of parts of the first three weeks of Advent.


Origin: 14th century, late or 15th century, early ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

Written in England, presumably in the North, c. 1400; marginal annotations at fol. 64r suggest an interest in Robert of Lincoln by an early owner.

John Cobdane, 15th century: inscribed in ink, fol. 170r: 'dominus Iohannes Cobdane est pos(essor istius libri?)'; the name is given as 'Coldane' in McIntosh et al., 1986.

John Savage (and descendents/relatives?), 16th century: inscribed in ink in three different scripts: 'John Savage', 'A S te(?) est posessor istius libri', and 'A. S. (?) est posessor istius libri' (fol. 168v).

Unidentified 16th-century owners: inscribed in black ink in large characters in the centre of fol. v recto: '52'; next to this are two erased inscriptions in ink, one of them beginning: 'This ...'; another on fol. 170r reads: 'Saynt batildis day the sunne enteryd into my hall at nonetyde'; there are also 16th-cent marginal annotations throughout.

The upper board with a paper label in lower left corner, printed 'M | 148', perhaps of the Tixall Library.

Sir F. A. T. Chichester Constable, Bt.; a paper label glued inside the box is perhaps inscribed by him, or is perhaps an exhibition label: 'GOSPELS AND EPISTLES. | Exposition of the Gospels and Epistles | for Sundays and Holydays. SÆC XIV'; sold at Sotheby's, 6 Nov. 1899, and the following day, lot 268 (with a cutting pasted inside the box), bought by Quaritch for £40 10s (this price inscribed in pencil, in Quaritch's 'King Alfred' price-code, in the top right corner of fol. 168r).; a letter from Quaritch, dated 13 Nov. 1899, is bound in as fol. iii, referring to 'the volume you have just secured'.

'Herbert Watney, M.D., Buckhold, Berks.', with a printed booklabel glued in the fitted box, with the 'No.' and 'Shelf' inscribed in ink: 'T 10' and 'II', respectively.

'Presented to the Bodleian by Herbert Watney M.D. Feb. 1931' (inscribed as such in ink on fol. v recto) through Miss. M. Watney.

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.