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

MS. Don. d. 85

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

Psalter, in Latin; with added Missal Extracts and other texts in Latin, Middle English, and French ('The Whetenal Psalter')


Psalter ('The Whetenal Psalter')
[Texts 1–5 occupy Quire I, added](fol. 2r)
The Verses of St. Bernard
Incipit: Illumina oculos meos ...

compared with the usual verses (cf. Buchanan Cat., MS. Buchanan e. 9, fols. 118v-119r for a numbered list) the present MS. has verses in the order i-iv, vi-vii, v, viii, and with an extra verse: 'Ecce mensurabiles ... est ante te.' [Ps. 38.6] after verse iv; the usual prayer: 'Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui ezechie regi iude ...', has been added, twice, by different hands, both using feminine forms; fol. 2v is not ruled, and has a full-page drawing of the Trinity.

Language(s): Latin
(fol. 3r-v)
Prayer to the Trinity
Incipit: Sancta trinitas et uera unitas omnipotens sempiterne deus spes vnica mundi qui fecisti celum et terram
Explicit: pedes meos in uiam rectam dirigat. Amen.
(Dekkers, Clavis Patrum Latinorum, no. 1762; also found in MS. Buchanan e. 2, fol. 169r-173r, see Buchanan Cat.).
Language(s): Latin
(fol. 3v)
Incipit: Christe qui lux es et dies noctis tenebras detegis lucis ...
(pr. Anal. Hymn., 51, p. 21; Chevalier 2934.
Language(s): Latin
(fol. 4r)
Incipit: Ueni creator spiritus mentes tuorum visita imple superna gracia que tu creasti pectora
(pr. Anal. Hymn., 50, p. 193, no. 144; Chevalier 21204) followed by:
Incipit: Deus cui omnium cor patet et omnis uoluntas loquitur

fol. 4v is blank.

Language(s): Latin
[Text 5 occupies Quire II] (fols. 5r-10v)

Calendar, Use of Sarum; major feasts in red; each month headed by a verse on the unlucky days in black (the most common series; cf. Hennig, 'Versus de Mensibus', Traditio 11 (1955), 65–90, at 84 no. III) and a note on the length of the calendar month and lunar month in red; each month followed by a note on the length of the night and day, also in red; the months marked with notes on the calculation of seasons and liturgical seasons, signs of the zodiac, etc., and the unlucky days and hours; generally close to the Calendar pr. by Procter & Wordsworth, Breviarium Sarum, iii-xiv, but the following feasts in the pr. ed. are not present in the MS.: Chadd (March 2; made obligatory in 1415), Edward (March 18), Erkenwald (April 30), John of Beverley (May 7; added to the Sarum Calendar in the province of Canterbury in 1416), the Visitation (July 2), the Transfiguration (Aug. 6), the Feast of the Holy Name (Aug. 7), Frideswide (Sept. 19), the Translation of Erkenwald (Nov. 14), and Osmund (Dec. 4); later additions to the Calendar, each by a different hand, include Anthony (Jan. 17; his name also added in the margin, and erased), Erasmus (June 3), Botulf (June 17), Francis (Oct. 4), and Winefred (Nov. 3; nine lessons); in the left margin next to dates from March 21 to April 18 have been added an alternative series of the Golden Numbers, written in 15th/16th-century arabic numerals (cf. Proctor & Wordsworth, Breviarium Sarum, signature A2, unpaginated).

Language(s): Latin
[Texts 6–8 occupy Quires III-XII](fols. 11r-81r)

Psalms, with antiphons; the eight-part divisions marked by historiated initials, and the first Gradual Psalm by an enlarged initial; Pss. 148–150 written continuously.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 81r-88r)

Canticles and Athanasian Creed; the ferial canticles, followed by the Te Deum, Benedicite, Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, and Quicumque vult.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 88r-90v)

Litany, Petitions, and Collects (substantially the same as pr. by Proctor & Wordsworth, Breviarium Sarum, II, cols. 250–4); the Litany with added marginal letters, a-d, supplied by a later reader to indicate a different order of four/five of the Apostles; St. George added in the margin next to St. Feliciane, later erased; St. Anne and St. Katherine added in the lower margin, after St. Geneviève, and St. Winefred added in the upper margin of the next page (fols. 89r-v); another hand subsequently added St. Constancia, St. Barbara, St. Ursula, St. Etheldreda, Eufemia, St. Cecilia in the lower margin below St. Katherine (fol. 89r); all now erased; in the Petitions, that mentioning '... dompnum apostolicum ...' erased; followed by three (of an original four or more) collects:

Incipit: Deus cui proprium est ...
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui facis mirabilia ...
Incipit: Deus qui caritatis dona ...

the collects ending imperfect, as shown by the catchword indicating the next one: 'Deus a quo || [sancta desideria recta ...]'; this text might have continued on the first leaf of the next quire, now missing.

Language(s): Latin
[Texts 9–16 occupy Quires XII-XIV](fols. 91r-98v)

Votive Masses:

(fols. 91r-92r)

Mass of the Trinity (pr. J. Wickham Legg, The Sarum Missal(Oxford, 1916), 384–5

(fols. 92r-93r)

Mass of the Holy Spirit (pr . Legg, 385–6)

(fols. 93r-v)

Mass of the Cross (pr. Legg, 386–7)

(fols. 94r-95r)

Mass of the Virgin for Advent (pr. Legg, 387–8)

(fols. 95r-96r)

Mass of the Virgin from Christmas to the Purification (pr . Legg, 388–9)

(fols. 96r-v rubric, 96v-97r)

Mass of the Virgin for the rest of the year, imperfect from the Versicle after the Grail, to the Secret (from '... in tua se clausit uiscera ||' to '[ob]||lacio nobis perficiat ...') due to the loss of a leaf after fol. 96 (pr. Legg, 389–1)

(fol. 97r-v)

Mass of Angels (pr. Legg, 459).

Masses (Introit, Secret, and Postcommunion only) for:

(fol. 98r-v)

The Incarnation

Rubric: memoria. de incarnatione domini. oratio.
(pr. C. J. Dickinson, Missale ad usuam ... Sarum(Burntisland, 1861) col. 825*)
(fol. 98r-v)

All Saints

Rubric: Commemoracio generalis de omnibus sanctis oratio
(pr. Legg, 394)
(fol. 98v)

The Universal Church

Rubric: Commemoracio pro uniuersali ecclesia oratio
(pr. Dickinson, col. 827*).
(fol. 99r-v)

Litany of the Virgin [masculine forms]

Incipit: Kyrieleyson ... Sancta maria eccellentissima regina celorum et hominum intercede pro me. ...
(cf. Lyell Cat., 67, citing present MS.).
Language(s): Latin
(fol. 99v-100r)

Two prayers to the Virgin:

(fols. 99v-100r)
Incipit: Sancta maria te laudo te glorifico te adoro laudo et adoro
Explicit: filium tuum et leticiam sempitertnam sine fine habere Amen
(pr. Barré, Prières anciennes, 276, nos. 61–2)
(fol. 100r)
Incipit: O domina dulcissima et pia ornamentum seculi Margarita celestissima
Explicit: Et numquam diuinitas [sic?] me famulum tuum .N. sine adiutorio tuo sed auxiliari ... filio tuo domino nostro ihesu christo omnipotente seculorum rege. Qui ...
(pr. Barré, Prières anciennes, 277, no. 64; the MS. has several additional lines at the end).
Language(s): Latin

Three prayers

(fol. 100v)
Incipit: Domine deus omnipotens qui elegisti locum istum ad seruiendum tibi
Explicit: impedimento deseruire consedas. Per ...
(cf. TCD Cat., 632, no. 92, and Barré, 273, n.9)
(fol. 100v)
Incipit: Gloria domini nostri ihesu christi passio sit omnium peccatorum nostrorum remissio
Explicit: nos perducat. Amen.
(fols. 100v-101r)
Incipit: Concede mihi queso misericors deus qui tibi placita
Explicit: in patria frui per gloriam. Amen
(cf. Wilmart, AS, 380 n.1, 584; also found in MS. Lat. liturg. g. 8, fols. 38v-40v, attributed there, and in other MSS., to Thomas Aquinas ).
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 101v-102v)

Mass against death (pr. Dickinson, cols. 886*-890*; the MS. without the final reading from John.)

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 102v-103v)

Mass of St. Winefred

Rubric: Missa de sancta Wenefrida. officium.
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 103v-104v)

Mass In festo corone domini. Officium. (pr. Dickinson, cols. 756*-759*; the text in this MS. discussed by Pfaff, New liturgical feasts, 93).

Language(s): Latin
[Texts 17–22 occupy Quire XV] (fol. 105r-v)

The Gloria and Nicene Creed

Incipit: Gloria in excelsis deo. ...Credo in unum deum. ...
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 106r-107v)

Mass Prefaces: 'De trinitate', 'De spiritu sancto', 'De sancta cruce', 'De sancta maria', and 'De corpore cristi', and the General Preface

Incipit: Per omnia secula seculorum ...Uere dignum et iustum est equum et salutare ...
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 108r-113v)

Canon of the Mass; the word 'papa' erased.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 114r-115r)

Mass of the Birth of The Virgin

Rubric: In natiuitate Marie. Officium
(pr. Legg, 319–20; the MS. ending with the the first Postcommunion only); fols. 115v-116r blank, except for partial ruling on fol. 115v.
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 116v-117v)


Incipit: In diebus illis. Venit angelus et locutus est mecum dicens
Explicit: scripti sunt in libro vite et agni

[cf. Revelation 21.9–27] (also found in Cambs., C.C.C., 146, p. 327, see James, C.C.C.C. Cat., p. 335).

Language(s): Latin
(fol. 117r-v)

Reading, in another hand

Rubric: lectio danielis prophete.
Incipit: In diebus illis. Congregati sunt babilonij ad regem
Explicit: de lacu leonum

fol. 118r blank.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 118v-119v)
Prayer to be said at the Elevation of the Host
Rubric: Oracio sancti Bernardi dicenda post eleuacionem corporis christi [the remainder of the rubric effaced]
Incipit: [I]n presencia corporis et sanguinis tui sacratissimi ihesu christi commendo tibi corporis et animam meam
Explicit: Per te ihesu christe saluator mundi. Qui ...
(similar to the version pr. by Wordsworth, HE, 71–2; cf. Lyell Cat., 384, no. 214); fol. 118r originally blank.
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 119v-122r)

The so-called Prayer of Richard III

Rubric: [H]anc oracionem composuit beatus Augustinus ...
Incipit: [O] dilectissime domine ihesu christe qui de sinu patris omnipotentis missus es in mundum .
(on the prayer, which usually begins 'O dulcissime ...', see A. F. Sutton, Livia Visser-Fuchs, The Hours of Richard III(Stroud, 1990), passim, but especially ch. 6, 'The "Prayer of Richard III"', the present MS. cited at 105 n. 226, and 106 n. 233.)
Language(s): Latin
(fol. 122v)

Three lessons for the Office of St. Hugh of Lincoln:

Rubric: In comemoratione sancti hugonis lectio prima.
Incipit: Sancte recordationis hugo quondam lincolnienis episcopus ...
(the first reading pr. by Wordsworth & Proctor, Breviarium Sarum, III, col. 1061) the final line followed by the rubric 'Lytherlad. Amen:-' (this has previously been interpreted as a reference to Lytherland, parish of Sefton, West Derby).
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 123r-124r)

Three sets of three lessons for the commemoration office of the Holy Trinity

Rubric: In comemoratione sancte trinitatis lectio prima
Incipit: Confitemur et credimus ...
(cf. that pr. by Wordsworth & Proctor, Breviarium Sarum, I, col. mlxviii), the 'Secunda comemoratio.', and '3a comemoratio', followed by the rubric 'finis'.
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 124v-125v)

Ferial Litany for Quadragesima: daily litanies from Tuesday to Saturday, (cf. Wordsworth & Proctor, Breviarium Sarum, II, cols. 255–260; very close to the pr. ed. but with 'Wlstane' for Wulfranne ; Kylian rather than Kyrian; and with Sytha, Wenefred, and Constancia inserted after Emerentiana; Radegund occurring only last among her group of Virgins; an extra entry is erased, after Gordianus); ending imperfect at the end of the Saturday Confessors (at '... Sancte Oswalde ora pro nobis ||'; St. Felix originally ommitted in error, and added by another hand in the margin of the Friday litany next to St. Audactus and St. Boniface; invocations to St. Hugh of Lincoln and St. William added in the bottom margin below St. Nicholas in the Thursday litany (fol. 125r).

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 126r-128r)
The Twenty-five Joys of the Virgin
Rubric: Aue benignissima ihesu mater dei. memento mei et Aue maria
Incipit: In ye worschep of ye Ioye yat ??ze had when yat ??ze conseyued goddys sone.
Explicit: and thankyn hym seyng. sine fine dicentes. Sanctus. Sanctus. [the remainder (fol. 128r) underlined in red:] Sanctus. Dominus deus sabaot. pleni sunt celi et terra maiestatis glorie tue. Amen. Wetenale:

the Joys numbered in lower-case Roman numerals in the outer margin in red; the third and fourth joys written in reverse order, corrected by marginal notation 'b' and 'a', and the numeral '.iiii.' altered to '.iii' by erasure (cited in Robbins, 1968).

Language(s): Middle English
(fol. 128r)
Verses on St. Winefred
Incipit: Nota quando beata Wenefrida fuit martirizata. | Post incarnatum uerbum de uirgine natum.
Explicit: Quadragintenos octogenos quasi plenos. | Annos expleuit quibus ipsa sepulta quieuit
Language(s): Latin
(fol. 128v)

Psalms with a heading in French

Rubric: Si home eu feme soit en ascune augorse ou tribulacion en countre lemounde eu encountre le diable dit cest quatre Psalmes ouesque la orisoun qunsuount[???] xxx foitz et sannz fail il serra hastiment deliuerre de cel angose ou tribulacioun car il choit bien prouue en la court de Rome par une clerk questoit iugge pur estre ...

followed by cues to Pss. 21, 34, 68, and 69, a versicle, and a prayer:

Incipit: Deus qui pro redempcione humani generis sanctam crucem ascendisti
Explicit: mihi donare digneris. Per dominus nostrum etcetera Amen. Wetanale.
(see under Provenance).
Language(s): Latin and Anglo-Norman

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (Added text, fol. 3r:) Sancta trinitas
Secundo Folio: (Calendar, fol. 6r) Primus mandentem
Secundo Folio: (Psalms, fol. 12r) ⟨Quo⟩niam tu domine
Form: codex
Support: Parchment, fairly thick, of good quality, with suede-like surfaces; one repaired hole, not within the text area (fol. 70).
Extent: ii (paper) + 130 + iii (paper).
Dimensions (leaf): 241–2 × 162–4 mm.
Dimensions (ruled):
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i-ii, 1–133 (the front endleaves refoliated since the publication of Scott, Later Gothic MSS..


I4(fols. 1–4) | II6(fols. 5–10) | III-XII8(fols. 11–90) | XIII8–2(outermost bifolium missing) (fols. 91–96), XIV8(fols. 97–104) | XV12+1(12th leaf, fol. 116, added, with a stub pasted to fol. 106r) (fols. 105–117) | XVI4–1(4th leaf ?cancelled, after fol. 122) (fols. 118–122) | XVII4–1(4th leaf missing, after fol. 125) (fols. 123–125) | XVIII4–1(4th leaf ?cancelled, after fol. 128) (fols. 126–128) | XIX2(fols. 129–130); note the tightness of the binding renders an accurate collation of quires XVI-XVIII difficult: the interpretation given here is partly dependant on evidence such as the pricking, ruling, writing and parchment quality of these leaves. Catchwords occur in Quires III-XII, towards the right of the lower margin; several are enclosed in more-or-less elaborate framings, including an arm in a sleeve, with pointing hand (fols. 26v, 66v, 82v) and a knot-like pattern (fol. 42v).


Ruled in ink, with 24 lines per page, with double vertical bounding line.


Written by several scribes, over the course of several decades, in a variety of gothic liturgical bookhands.


  • (fol. 1r) Coat of Arms (see under Provenance).
  • (fol. 1v) St. Christopher carrying the Christ-Child; drawn in brown ink, with touches of red ink on the lips of each figure, and red lines drawn on the Child's halo and cross-topped orb ( Pächt and Alexander, III, pl. LXXVI, 803a; Scott, Later Gothic MSS., I, ill. 171).
  • (fol. 2v) 'Gnadenstuhl' Trinity; the Father with his right hand raised in benediction, the Son dead, the Dove flying from Son to Father (Pächt and Alexander, III, pl. LXXVII, 803b; Bodleian Exh., Manuscripts at Oxford, fig. 49).
  • (fols. 129v-130r) Double-page miniature: ... kneeling, her dog on a leash, the crowned heads of her parents looking out over the battlements of a town in the background (fol. 129v); St. George on his horse, spearing the dragon (fol. 130r); George's costume and his horse painted predominantly in red, blue, and white, his lance and the inside of his sleeves purple; his helmet with a crest of feather plumes (fol. 130r: Bodleian Exh., MSS at Oxford, fig. 4; both pages: Pächt and Alexander, III, pls. LXXVI, 803d; LXXVII, 803e; Brussels Exh., English illuminated manuscripts 700–1500, no. 73, pls. 38a, b.)
  • each 7 lines high, ... each with four-sided borders of flowers, fruit, and foliage in gold and colours; most with sewing-holes along the top margin – presumably from protective cloth curtains – some with traces of green sewing thread still remaining.
  • (fol. 11r) Ps. 1. Initial B[eatus]. King David harping, enthroned, a youth kneeling before him, badly rubbed; the lower left corner of the border with a human face sprouting foliage from its mouth, the face rubbed; not by the same artist as the remaining historiated initials.
  • (fol. 21v) Ps. 26. Initial D[ominus]. King David kneeling at a prie-dieu with an open book, pointing to his eye, God looking down from heaven.
  • (fol. 29r) Ps. 38. Initial D[ixi]. King David in a landscape, pointing with one hand at the path he stands on, and with the other at his mouth (cf. text of verse 1), (? God in) heaven above (Pächt and Alexander, III, pl. LXXVI, 803c; Scott, Later Gothic MSS., ill. 169).
  • (fol. 35v) Ps. 52. Initial D[ixit]. King David seated; a hooded jester before him ( Scott, Later Gothic MSS., ill. 170).
  • (fol. 112v) Ps. 68. Initial S[aluum]. King David in water up to his chest, naked, appealing with upraised arms to (? smudged god in) heaven (very similar to the initial in Scott, Later Gothic MSS., ill. 166).
  • (fol. 50v) Ps. 80. Initial E[xultate]. King David seated, playing a carillon of four bells with two hammers.
  • (fol. 58r) Ps. 97. Initial C[antate]. Three tonsured clerics singing from an open choirbook on a lectern; wearing pink, red, and blue, respectively ( Scott, 'Design, Decoration', Book Production 1375–1475, Ill. 3a. (whole page), Scott, Later Gothic MSS., ill. 168 (detail)).
  • (fol. 65v) Ps. 109. Initial D[ixit]. God the Father and God the Son seated together, holding each other by the right hand; the Dove between them (cf. Scott, Later Gothic MSS., ill. 68).

One three-line painted and gilt decorated initial, with sprays of foliage extending up and down the outer margin, at the start of Psalm 119, the first Gradual Psalm (fol. 72v); 2-line initials in blue, with red penwork, to Psalms, the KL monograms in the Calendar; the internal penwork often forms foliate or flower designs, the external penwork gives an impression of ivy-leaves and -tendrils; 1-line initials alternately red with purple penwork, or blue with red penwork, to verses and other minor textual divisions; line-fillers in red and blue ...; occasional paraphs and run-over symols, in blue with red penwork; some catchwords with decorative penwork (see under Physical Description); occasional calligraphic doodles, e.g. a human profile on an ascender (fol. 82v)

The Masses with 7-line 'puzzle' initials in red and blue, with predominantly red (but also blue) penwork, the interior penwork forming foliate designs (fols. 91r, 92r, 93r, 94r, 95r, etc.).

One 5-line 'puzzle' initial in red and blue with reserved circlets, with red and purple penwork, to the aded Mass (fol. 101v); 3-line initials in blue with predominantly red penwork to the readings, etc. in this section.

One large 3-line initial in blue with extensive red penwork to the Canon (fol. 108r), the 3-line initial to the Per omnia and the 2-line initial to the Communicantes with a male and hooded female profile, respectively (fols. 107r, 108v); plain blue initials from 110r-113v, only two on fol. 112r-v with red penwork; a single 2-line red initial (fol. 113v).

A spray of blue foliate decoration extending from the final character of the text on fol. 125r .

The English text with plain 1-line red initials (fols. 126r-127v).

Pächt & Alexander, III, no. 803, dated all the decoration to the early 15th century, including the added drawings, but excepting the initial and border on fol. 11r, which they dated in the mid-century.

In the most recent and most detailed study to date, Scott, Later Gothic MSS., ascribes the original MS. to a group of Psalters, and a Wycliffite commentary on the Psalter, made under the influence of Johannes, the artist of MS. Bodley 264. In a detailed study of the style and iconography, she points out that the Calendar and main Psalter texts were decorated in one style, probably early in the second decade of the century, by her 'Hand B', whose other works she tentatively attributes to London; the initial and border on fol. 11r she dates c.1420–30 – partly on the basis of the costume worn by the kneeling youth – and compares the style to that of London, BL, Arundel MS. 302, which is of East Anglian origin - a localisation which would fit with a Norfolk (Whetenall) patron. The full-page miniatures she dates to c.1430–50.

As might be expected, one of the most worn and dirty pages in the volume is the start of the Canon of the Mass (fol. 108r), but since the facing page (fol. 107v) is very clean by comparison, it is likely that at least one further leaf, quite possibly with a Crucifixion miniature, was once present between these pages (cf. the Missals described by Scott, Later Gothic MSS.).


Sewn on five bands; no headband, presumably missing, the tailband (green, white, red) becoming detached; bound in brown leather over pasteboards, each cover framed by a single gilt fillet; with Michael Wodhull's arms in stamped gilt in the centre of the upper board (as ill. in Seymour de Ricci, English collectors of books & manuscripts (1530–1930) and their marks of ownership, 1930 (repr. 1969), pl. V); the spine divided by five gilt fillets, with the title in gilt in the second compartment: 'SALT.LAT[.] | MS. ANT. | IN MEMBRAN.'; the turn-ins tooled with a gilt roll with a daisy-like flower pattern; marbled pastedowns and conjoint flyleaves; the edges of the leaves yellow; the edges of the baords with a gilt fillet; rather bumped and damaged at the corners; rebacked, perhaps by Ron Harvey of the Bodleian Bindery, who characteristically wrote his initial and the date: 'H. 15.2.51[the final 1 altered from a 2]' in blue ink in the lower right corner of fol. 133r. The binding was attributed to Baumgarten by Quaritch in their 1886 description (see Provenance), and this has been repeated in subsequent catalogues, but another, perhaps more likely possibility, is that the binding is by Maria Wier; on each of these binders, see Ramsden, London bookbinders, 34–5, 150. The Bodleian printed book, Auct. 3 Q 5.39, bound for Wodhull almost exactly one year earlier, was almost certainly bound by the same binder: with the exception of the roll used for the turn-in, it is almost identical. In this case, Wodhull spent 10 shillings on binding a book which had cost him 1s 6d.


Origin: 15th century, early ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

A member of the Whetenhale family: with several marks of ownership: (i) a coat of arms (fol. 1r): vert, a cross ingrailed argent, with a crescent gules for difference, surmounted by a helm and crest consisting of a panache of blue, white and purple feathers, and a mantling whose outer face is vert, and inner face has a semée of crescents, gules; this page also bears the offset (in reverse) of a red 15th-century letter 'W', and there appears to be further erasure of red ink several cm. to the left of this; (ii) the heading on fol. 128r ends '... Amen. Wetenale.'; (iii) the prayer on fol. 128b ends 'Amen. Wetenale.', in red, followed by two red crescents, the first forming part of a circle (interpreted by A. I. Doyle, see Linguistic atlas, I, 147, as an initial 'O'), the second drawn more strongly than the first; these perhaps all indicate ownership by Oliver Whetenall (second son of Robert Warner, alias Whetenhale, of Besthorpe), who became vicar of Besthorpe, Norfolk, in 1445 (see Francis Blomefield, (continued by C. Parkin), An essay towards a topographical history of the County of Norfolk ... (Fersfield, 1736–75); repr. in 10 vols (London, 1805–10; index, vol. 11, King's Lynn, 1862), vol. 1, 1805, pp. 491, 497). It is variously stated in the literature that Oliver Whetenall was vicar of Besthorpe until 1469, presumably based on Blomefield; but in Blomefield's own annotated copy of his work, it is noted that Will Palmer, vicar, was buried at Besthorpe in 1469, so it is unlikely that Oliver was still vicar until then.

Unidentified owner(s): still in England in the 16th century, when references to popes and Thomas Becket were erased from the Calendar; inscriptions in 16th-century secretary script added sideways in outer margins: 'Ut pisces capiantur hamo sic voluptas', partly effaced, and underneath is written: 'homines voluptas malorum Capiantur, vt pisces hamo' (fol. 47r); and 'ne quid nimis | pl??? vigila semper noe' (fol. 52r).

Unidentified owner, after 1675, before 1729: inscribed (fol. 128v) with a long note on the 'Whetnall' families of Kent (arms: vert a bend ermine; cf. Burke, General armory, 1100, under 'Whetnall') and of Gloucester (arms: vert a cross engrailed ermine; cf. Burke, loc. cit., under 'Whetonhall'), but not mentioning the Norfolk family; an added note, by the same hand, refers to a pamphlet published in 1676. ? collection-number '18', written as 'j8' in the top left corner of fol. 5r. ? collection number: three erased characters in the top left corner of fol. 2r appear to have been '110'.

Francis Blomefield (1705–52), of Fersfield, the Norfolk antiquary and topographer (DNB, II, 688–690): presumably acquired by him because he recognised the Norfolk association; inscribed by him: 'Lib: Franci Blomefield: A.B. coll: Gonv: et Cajus | Cant: 1728.' (fol. 2r).

Thomas Martin (1697–1771), of Palgrave (DNB; see also John Fenn, 'Memoirs of the Life of Thomas Martin, Gent., F.A.S., of Palgrave in Suffolk; with an account of the disposal and dispersion of his large and valuable collections of manuscripts, printed books, papers, pictures, coins, and other curiosities', Original Papers Published under the Direction of the Committee of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, 15, pt. III, 1904, 233–66; and David Stoker, 'The ill-gotten library of 'Honest Tom' Martin', in Robin Myers and Michael Harris (eds.), Property of a Gentleman: The formation, organisation and dispersal of the private library 1620–1920 (Winchester, 1991), 91–111): signed by him 'Tho: Martin.' in the upper left corner of fol. 1r; after his death, Martin's executrix (probably his daughter, since his wife probably pre-deceased him) sold much of Martin's property for the benefit of his creditors: in 1772 she sold a large number of his books and manuscripts to John Worth; in the privately printed 1772 catalogue of Martin's Library the present MS. is probably no. 10 on p. 181, under MSS. Octavo: 'Psalmorum Liber cum kalendaris beatifully illuminated on vellum.'

John Worth, chemist of Diss, Norfolk: of the books bought from Thomas Martin' widow, Worth sold the greatest part of the printed books and many of the manuscripts to Messrs. Martin Booth and John Berry, Norwich booksellers; they in turn offered them for sale at fixed prices, in Norwich, 5 June [1773], and the following two months, in the catalogue of which the present manuscript was item 4491, priced £1 11s. 6d.; it was presumably unsold, or withdrawn and returned to Worth, since it was re-offered for sale by auction, with another group of Martin's manuscripts still in Worth's possession, by Baker & Leigh, 18 May 1774 and three following days, lot 249 (buyer and price unknown: no annotated copy of the catalogue is recorded by Munby and Coral, 1977).

George Lewis Scott (1708–80), Mathematician (on whom see DNB): his sale at Leigh, March 12–29 1781, lot 30, sold on 28 March (p. 98 of the catalogue; MSS. section) to Wodhull for 7 shillings (the extra tuppence mentioned in Wodhull's note, see below, was presumably a commission fee). inscribed with a ?pricecode: 'C - R - O' (?), at the top edge of fol. 130v, slightly trimmed, and therefore pre-dating Wodhull's ownership.

Michael Wodhull (1740–1816), (on whom see DNB; see also Frederick Clarke, in Bernard Quaritch, Contributions towards a dictionary of English book-collectors, pt. IX, the present MS. mentioned on p. 7 of the account): inscribed and signed by him on fol. ir with the source, in the upper left corner: 'Leigh's Auct: libr, | G: Scott Esqr'; and the details of price, binding, and date of acquisition to the right: 'with Illuminations & capital Letters color'd.=: 7: 2 binding=: 8: 6=: 15: 6 M: Wodhull Mar: 29th 1781', and lower down, on the left 'the Psalter, collat: & complet: many devotional pieces follow & among them the Athanasian Creed.' (for an example of Wodhull's typical annotations, see de Ricci, English collectors, p. 81). Annotated by him, e.g. '3 verses omitted, or transpos'd', alongside Ps. 143:11, though he seems to have confused the end of this verse with that of Ps. 143:8 (fol. 79r); other inscriptions (eg. fols. 81r, 87r); inscribed 'June 25th 1808.' (fol. 131r): the significance of the dates written by Wodhull facing the last page of text in many of his printed books and manuscripts is uncertain, but they perhaps record the date on which he finished reading the volume; such was also explicity the practice of, for example, Samuel Sewall the diarist and his son (see Roger E. Stoddard, Marks in books (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), 34, no. 53).

Mary Ingram (d. 1824), Wodhull's late wife's sister, to whom he bequeathed his library.

Samuel Amy Severne, to whom Mary Ingram left the library in 1824.

J. E. Severne, M.P. (1826–1899), to whom the library then passed: in his sale of the Wodhull library, at Sotheby's, 11 Jan. 1886, lot 2157 (mentioned on the first page of the Introduction to the catalogue); bought by Quaritch for £25.

Bernard Quaritch, Ltd.: offered for sale in their Rough list, no. 75 (' The Choicest Portion of the Wodhull Library ...'), Feb. 1886, item 305, for £50.

Howel Wills (1854-?1901) of Florence, author of Florentine heraldry: a supplement to the guide-books, (London [1901/2]); on whom see Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, IV, 1578): the top left corner of the upper pastedown with his square paper label, with perforated edges, printed in blue with a beaded circle and corner-filling motifs, the centre inscribed in black ink 'Aa. | II. | 60.' (cited in Krämer, 1976; cf. MS. Bywater 1, MS. Lyell 77, and MS. Lat. th. c. 34); in his sale at Sotheby's, 11–16 July 1894, lot 1462, bought by Quaritch for £48. Three other sales of Wills's property (paintings, prints, drawings, medieval and renaissance works of art, etc.), were held by Messrs. Christie's in Feb. of the same year.

Bernard Quaritch Ltd., offered for sale in their Rough list, no. 144 (A rough list of choice and valuable books...[f]rom the library of Howel Wills, Esq., of Florence, August 1894), item 243, priced £63; inscribed in pencil 'The Whetenhall Psalter about 1440'; re-offered in their Rough list, no. 149, item 27, for £72, and Rough list, no. 154, item 157 (£72); with their reference number in a box written obliquely in the lower left corner of fol. ir.

Unidentified sales: once as lot 170, with the catalogue description inserted inside the front cover; lot 846, with the catalogue description pasted to a sheet of paper attached inside the front cover.

Charles Fairfax Murray (1849–1919) (on whom see de Ricci, English collectors, esp. pp. 178–9): with his booklabel at the top of the upper pastedown 'FROM THE LIBRARY OF | CH: FAIRFAX MURRAY'; not found in his sale of illuminated manuscripts at Sotheby's, 7 and 18 July, 1919.

Sir R. Leicester Harmsworth: sold by the Harmsworth Trust at Sotheby's, (sixth portion) 15–16 October 1945, lot 2076.

Bought on behalf of the Bodleian at the Harmsworth sale by Quaritch for £210; bought from Quaritch by the Friends of the Bodleian, July 1946. This was the first manuscript acquired for the by Richard Hunt, who joined the Library on 1 Sept. 1945.

Record Sources

Description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (43 images from 35mm slides)


    Printed descriptions:

    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 2: Office Books (typescript, 1957), p. 114

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.