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

MS. Don. e. 248

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


(ff. 1)

Damaged leaf; prayers with parchment leaf glued over half the folio

(ff. 1v-13)

Graded calendar in red and black including William, bishop, in red, twelve lessons (10 January), Dorothy (4 February), translation of Maurice (25 February); Swidbertus, 12 lessons, in red (1 March); Gregory, in red, twelve lessons (12 March); Benedict, in red, twelve lessons (21 March); karissimus(?) pater noster obiit Johannes de Dasseldi, added (30 March); Robert of Molesme, in red, twelve lessons (29 April); Peter martyr, twelve lessons, possibly added (30 April); Godehard, bishop, in red, added (here 4 May, usually 5 May); Ivo, in black, but twelve lessons (19 May); Erasmus (3 June); Medard (8 June), Visitation, twelve lessons and procession (2 July), translation of Benedict, in red, twelve lessons (11 July); ‘domina margareta puffe⟨n⟩ abbatissa fidelissima ac precor dilectissima mater’ (added, 16 July); Anne, in red, twelve lessons (26 July); Dominic, twelve lessons (5 August), Bernard, in red (20 August); Secundus (26 August); Evurtius (7 September); Maurice, “gloriosi ducis,” in red (22 September); Francis, twelve lessons (4 October); Malachi, twelve lessons (5 November); Edmund, in red, twelve lessons (16 November); Elizabeth, twelve lessons (19 November); ‘Dydericus hopes pater meus amanti’ (Lähnemann 2016), in red (added, 15 December); Latin Month verses at the end of January-June and November.

Language(s): Latin
(ff. 13v-17)
Computational tables
(f. 13v-14r)

Table in red and black with instructions on f. 14

Incipit: Si vis scire inter vallum quod sint ebdommade a festo nativitatis christi vsque ad dominica carnis
(f. 14v)
Rubric: Tabula ad inveniens aureum numerum

[circular diagram]

Incipit: Si vis scire aureum numerorum istius anni depone ab annis domini m cccc lxii reliquis numerorum vsque ad anni presenti incipiente incipiendos a rubea curce sed post annos domini mille sexcentos incipiens a nigra cruce
(f. 15)
Rubric: Tabula ad inveniendum litteram dominicalem et anni bisextilem
Incipit: Si vis scire litteram dominicalem et anni bisextilem
(ff. 15v-16)
Rubric: Tabula signorum
Incipit: [f. 16] Scire volens motuum lune aliquao die in quot signo sunt
(f. 16v)
Rubric: Tabula ortis solis de mane post in nocte mediam
(f. 17)
Rubric: Tabula occassus sol post meridie
Language(s): Latin
(f. 17v)
Rubric: Psalterium de sancto Johanne

[followed by a prayer, now crossed out]

Language(s): Latin
(ff. 18–19v)
Intercessory prayer

Addition by another hand probably after 1526 (Lähnemann 2016).

Language(s): German
(f. 20r)


(ff. 20v-248v)

Biblical Psalter, with historiated initials marking the weekly Psalms for Matins following secular use (Psalms 1, 26, 38, 52, 68, 98, 101), and Sunday at Lauds (Ps. 109), with the addition of Psalm 51, and with gold initials at the beginning of the Psalms for Matins following monastic use (Psalms 20, 32, 45, 59, 73, 85), together with Psalm 117; pasted-in initials with pen decoration at Psalms 11, 27, 30, 42, 65, and 82; Psalms 148, 149, 150, on ff. 26v-248, are copied as one, with a large red initial at the beginning of Psalm 148 only.

Language(s): Latin
(ff. 249–268v)
Gallican Canticles

Concluding with the Te Deum, but here with the addition of Deuteronomy 32:22–43 (with the rubric “divisio”), following the “Audite celi.”

“Confitebor tibi domine” [Isaiah 12]; “Ego dixi in dimidio dierum” [Isaiah 38:10]; “Exultavit cor meum” [1 Kings 2:1]; “Cantemus domine gloriose” [Exodus 15:1]; “Domine audivi auditione” [Habakkuk 3]; and “Audite celi” [Deut. 32:1]; ff. 260v-263, Divisio, incipit, “Ignis succensus est in furore meo …” [Deut. 32:22–43]; Canticum trium puerum, incipit, “Benedicite ommia” [Daniel 3:57]; [lower margin in red, added early?” Ad completorium nunc dimittis]; “Benedictus dominus deus Israel” [Luke 1:68]; “Magnificat” [Luke 1:46]; “Nunc dimittis” [Luke 2:29]; and “Te deum”.

Language(s): Latin
(ff. 268v-272)
Incipit: Quicumque vult
Language(s): Latin
(ff. 272–275)

Including the martyrs Stephen, Clement, Lawrence, Maurice, Sebastian, Irenaeus and companions, John, Paul, and George; among the confessors, Benedict, Bernard, Robert, Francis, and Egidius, and among the virgins, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Agnes, and Scholastica; Maurice (the patron of Medingen), and Irenaeus are notable; feminine forms are used in the petitions (e.g., “Ab periculo mortis libera eam domin”; “A ministris tartareis libera eam domino”).

Language(s): Latin
(ff. 275–284v)
⟨Prayers for the dying and burial⟩
Incipit: Deus qui famulo tuo ezechie … donasti ira famulam tuam a lecto egritudinis
Incipit: Respice quesumus domine super famulam tuam infirmtate corporis sui
Incipit: Uirtutum celestium deus qui ab humanis corporibus omnem languorem … hinc famule tue ut fugatis
Rubric: Ad unctione
Incipit: Credo in vnum deum
(f. 279v)
Incipit: Clementissime domine qui pro nostra miseri

The text is noted.

Rubric: Post sepultra lega vii psalmos
Incipit: Satisfaciat tibi quesumus domine deus noster pro anima sororis nostre beastissime dei genitricis marie et sanctissimi confessoris tui benedicti omnique sanctorum tuorum oratio

[followed by ten prayers; final prayer, f. 284]

Incipit: Satisfaciat tibi deus pater pro animabus illis de quibus vtimur clem et pro quibus … et pro me misera peccatrice vni
Explicit: inmolacio et sancto||

The final prayer ends imperfectly and is partially obscured by a parchment strip reinforcing the back cover.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 284 folios
Dimensions (leaf): 105 × 78 mm.
Foliation: Modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, and occasional earlier foliation in ink.


Missing an undetermined number of leaves at the end, probably most of one quire. i(10) ii(8) [1, f. 11, and 8, f. 18, are singletons, stub probably for reinforcement following 1 and before 8, text is complete] iii(12+1) [f. 19, singleton added before 1] iv-xxiv(12) xxv(1) [single leaf glued to final pastedown, original structure uncertain, but some loss of text] Two pages cut out after f. 17 according to Lähnemann 2016. Quires are numbered with small roman numerals in the lower inner margin on the last leaf, quire two unnumbered.


f. 1 is worn, some discoloration throughout from damp but no damage to text.


Ruled in ink with the top, third, penultimate and bottom horizontal rules full across on some folios, single full-length vertical bounding lines. Written space 66 × 48–50 mm. Written below the top line in thirteen long lines.


Gothic bookhand written by the nun Margaret Hopes, identifiable by the calendar reference to ‘Dydericus hopes pater meus’ (Lähnemann 2016).

Musical Notation:

Hufnagel notation on black four-line staves on four folios.

Interlinear neumes added to some of the psalms (e.g., ff. 52, 60, 98).


Eight 4- to 8-line historiated initials on ff. 1, 55, 97, 98, 119, 169v, 173, 196. The style of the initials is particularly close to those in another Psalter copied at Medingen, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, MS theol. lat. oct. 189, in particular, f. 21v, Psalm 1, that also cites Bernard of Clairvaux as commentator for Psalm 1, and the Harrowing of Hell on f. 177. The figure of David is similar to the initial in another Psalter, Dombibliothek Hildesheim J 27, a model Psalter written in 1478 by Elisabeth of Winsen, which was also copied in Landesbibliothek Hannover Ms I 96, f. 21v.

  • f. 20v, Ps. 1, 8-line blue initial with white highlights depicting King David, seated, holding a harp, infilled and on a polished gold lobed ground, with a winding border of green vines extending from the initial in the inner and lower margin, with red, pink and blue flowers, birds, and a St Bernard (identified by Lähnemann 2016), holding a speech banderole: “Angeli psallentibus ad misceri solent. Bernardus super cantica canticorum” [cf. Bernard, Super cantica canticorum, sermo vii].
  • f. 55, Psalm 26, 5-line pink initial with white highlights infilled and on a lobed polished gold ground of the nativity, with a winding green vine extending from the initial and forming a threequarter U-shaped border, with the Annunciation in the lower margin (includes a speech banderole, “Aue maria gratia plena”), and with bird in the outer margin, with a speech banderole, “Hic iacet in presepio qui et sidera regit. Tamquam sponsus” [antiphon; Cantus Database no. 4048].
  • f. 77, Psalm 38, 5-line blue initial with white highlights of the baptism of Christ, infilled and on a lobed gold ground, with a winding green vine forming a U-shaped border, with the Circumcision of Christ in the lower margin, and a bird and speech banderole in the outer margin: “Cum inducerent puerum Iesum[?] parentes eius” [Luke 2:25]
  • f. 97, Psalm 51, 5-line gold initial with red pen decoration, depicting the Buffeting of Christ, with speech banderole, “Ave spina pene remedium servi decus regis ob[probrium]” [Cantus database 205845].
  • f. 98, Psalm 52, 5-line gold initial with red pen decoration depicting Christ, being crowned with thorns, with a speech banderole: “Exiit ihesus portans spineam coronam et purpureum vestimentum” [John 19:5].
  • f. 119, Psalm 68, 5-line “S” in the shape of winged-serpent on a square gold ground, with speech banderole, “Pie mentis iocundentur sollempnizant et ymnizent ac letentur”.
  • f. 169v, Psalm 97, 4-line pink initial with white highlights infilled and on a polished gold ground, of the Crucifixion, with a green vine extending from the initial forming a border in the inner margin, with speech banderoles, inner margin, “O crux gloriosa, O crux adoranda, O lignum presiosum et admirabile” [Cantus database 7238c], and lower margin, “Proprio filio suo non pepertit deus …” [Romans 8:32].
  • f. 173, Psalm. 101, 6-line pink initial with white highlighs infilled and on a polished gold lobed ground, depicting the entombment of Christ, with a winding green vine with flowers forming a U-shaped border, with the Harrowing of Hell in the lower margin, and with speech banderole in the outer margin: “Sepulto domino signaum est monumentum vol[ventes” [Cantus database 7640]”. (This text was to be sung after Vespers on Good Friday when the clergy adores the cross, according to the Medingen Manual for the Provost (Hascher-Burger, Lähnemann 2013).
  • f. 196, Psalm 109, 6-line blue initial with white highlights, infilled and on a lobed polished gold ground, depicting the Resurrection, with a winding green vine scattered with flowers, in the lower margin a figure with a harp (David with a halo?), with a speech banderole, “Dies quam fecit dominus”; full border, in the top and outer margin, a bird with a speech banderole: “Resurgentemque a morte adorate” [cf. Canus database 4858].

Approximately fifteen small ink drawings in the lower margin attached to a descender in the last line of text: f. 27v, hand holding an axe; f. 29, two-headed snake; f. 32, two opposing faces; f. 36v, baby labelled “anima”; f. 37v, snake ending in a red halo; f. 39, hand holding ropes; f. 39v, hand ending in a foot; f. 43v, hand holding a pen; f. 56, faces labelled “mater” and “pater”; f. 61, baby labelled “anima”; f. 67v, angel, f. 69, two heads labelled “pax”; f. 78, hell mouth.

Three- to eight-line gold initials with red pen decoration, ff. 46 (Psalm 20, with speech banderole: “Hec nox est de quam scriptum est in nox ut dies illumenabitur et nox illus”), f. 64 (Psalm 32), f. 88v (Psalm 45), f. 107 (Psalm 59), f. 129v (Psalm 73), f. 151 (Psalm 85), f. 202v (Psalm 117).

2- to 11-line red or blue initials with pen work in the contrasting color, all roughly cut from another manuscript (probably fifteenth-century, and copied at Medingen or somewhere in the same region) and glued in. Psalms 11, 27, 42, 65, and 82 (ff. 32v, 56v, 83v, 113v, and 148v), now begin with 2- to 11-line red or blue initials with contrasting pen decoration, all probably cut from the same manuscript and glued in; Psalm 30 on f. 60 begins with an 8-line blue, pink and gold initial.

1- to 2-line alternately red and blue initials.

Red rubrics, calendar with KL monograms in red and blue.

Charts and tables.


Bound in early (sixteenth-century?) blind-stamped brown leather over wooden boards, almost flush with the bookblock, tooled with four sets of broad fillets forming an outer frame with thistles and small quatrefoil stamps enclosed in diamonds and a rectangular center panel with filigree lattice work and the same quatrefoils in each compartment, back cover, outer frame with filigree and quatrefoil stamps, and a center panel with intersecting diagonal lines, spine with three raised bands, head and tail bands in red, white and black threads stitched to the spine lining in red thread at the top (tail band stitching no longer attached), two brass clasp and catch fasteners fastening back to front, spine worn and partially cracking at top and bottom, but in fairly good overall condition.

Tabs used to mark psalm tones added in the top outer corners (e.g., ff. 99v, octa, 115, sexta, 160, octa)

The binding included a bone plaque, added inside the front cover (Lähnemann, 2016, suggests this was done by a nineteenth-century dealer). A relief carving of a seated male figure and a standing attendant pouring water to wash his hands, set within an architectural frame, outer border with painted green foliage and red and blue flowers; this was removed at the time of the manuscript's sale in 2015, acquired separately by the Bodleian, and is now kept with the manuscript.


Origin: 15th century, last quarter (after 1462, before 1513) ; German, Medingen, Cistercian nunnery

Provenance and Acquisition

Copied at the Cistercian Abbey of Medingen in Northern Germany as indicated by the saints in the calendar and the style of the illumination; the inclusion of the feast of the Visitation in the calendar suggests a date after 1475 (the date this feast was observed by the Cistercians); the circular diagram on f. 14v to find the gold number includes instructions mentioning 1462. Moreover, like the Psalter from Medingen, Berlin, MS theol. lat. oct. 189, it is likely that this manuscript was associated with the reform of the convent under Provost Thielmann von Bavenstedt around 1478/1479. Petitions following the litany and prayers are copied for feminine use, and this Psalter was likely copied for use at Medingen itself.

The calendar includes a mention the abbess of Medingen, Margareta Puffe[n], added on July 16 (as the most faithful and dear mother); she was prioress from 1479, and then the first abbess after the reform of the convent until her death in 1513, good evidence that this manuscript was copied before her death – and that it was still at Medingen in the early sixteenth century – and the feast of the convent’s patron, St. Maurice (“gloriosi ducis”) in red on 22 September, and his translation on 25 February. Numerous Cistercian saints are included: William of Bourges (10 January), in red, twelve lessons; Robert of Molesme, in red, twelve lessons (29 April); Ivo, in black, but twelve lessons (19 May); Bernard, in red (20 August); Malachi, twelve lessons (5 November); and Edmund, in red, twelve lessons (16 November). The presence of the Visitation (2 July), marked for twelve lessons and a procession, suggests a date after 1476; Anne is included on the 26 July, in red, twelve lessons, observed with twelve lessons by the Cistercians beginning in 1454.

Additions to the calendar include: the death of “pater noster Johanne de dasseldi” recorded on 30 March, Godehard, bishop of Hildesheim, 4 May; Margareta Puffen, 16 July, and “Odydericus hopes[?] pater meus amanti,” on December 15, in red. Also typical of Medingen manuscripts are the protective silk veils over the initials, and the interlinear neumes added to some of the psalms (e.g., ff. 52, 60, 98); psalm tones were added in the top outer corners, many of these marked by tabs (e.g., ff. 99v, octa, 115, sexta, 160, octa). The use of Cistercian punctuation, including the punctus elevatus, is found occasionally in other manuscripts copied at Medingen.

Friedrich Gottlieb Julius von Bülow: formerly in the von Bülow library in Schloss Beyernaumburg in Saxony-Anhalt near Sangershausen (assembled from 1834–1836); the manuscripts were described in the third volume of the catalogue by Georg H. Schäffer, Bibliotheca Büloviana, d.i. [das ist] systematisches Verzeichnis der zum Nachlasse des verstorbenen Herrn Stiftsregierungsraths Friedr. Gottl. Jul. v. [Friedrich Gottlieb Julius von ] Bülow zu Beyernaumburg bei Sangerhausen gehörigen [...] Sammlung von Büchern und Handschriften ..., Sangerhausen, 1834–1836, this manuscript listed part 3 (1836), p. 48; note in ink, inside back cover by: “Fol. 284. d. 7 April/ Bibl. Bülow/ Beyern. G. H. Sch⟨äffe⟩r”; dealer’s note in pencil below.

Brockdorff family of Holstein: perhaps Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau (Lähnemann, 2016)

Koller Auctionen, Zurich, 21 Sept. 2013, lot 178.

Les Enluminures, Women and the Book, 24 Jan. - 21 Feb. 2015, cat. 8.

Purchased by the Bodleian.

Record Sources

Description by Les Enluminures, 2015, supplemented by information from H. Lähnemann, ‘The materiality of medieval manuscripts’, Oxford German Studies 45/2 (2016), 121–141.


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Last Substantive Revision

2018-12-10: Summary description replaced with full description from les Enluminures with supplementary information from Lähnemann 2016.