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

MS. Douce 136

Summary Catalogue no.: 21710

Institutes and statutes of the Gilbertine order, 13th century-early 16th century


Language(s): Latin

Fols. i-ii contain notes on the manuscript by Douce. Fols. iii-vi are medieval endleaves, see below.

(fols. vii recto - 87v)
Institutiones beati Gilberti
Pr. from this (the only) manuscript, Monasticon VI/2 pp. xix*-lviii*. Fols. vii r-xii r are capitula; text begins fol. xii v.

Fols. 88r-114v contain copies (mostly contemporary) of later statutes often on separate quires or bifolia.

(fols. 88r-94v)

Statutes of Ottobuono, 1267, fifty-eight chapters, "followed by the seventeen last canons of the 1268 Council of London, ‘concerning monks, canons and nuns’, and concludes (though in a different hand) with just the chapter headings of a further five statutes which appear to form part of the same visitation" (B. Golding, 'Keeping Nuns in Order: Enforcement of the Rules in Thirteenth-Century Sempringham', Journal of Ecclesiastical History 59/4 (2008), 657-679 at 670, and see 669-679 for discussion of the unprinted statutes)

(fol. 94v)

Part of an act of a general chapter, Weds., vigil of Ascension, 1287, an inspeximus of a letter of magister Roger [of Bolingbroke, sed. 1283-98]. The lower part of the leaf is excised.

(fols. 95r-97v)

Acts of a general chapter at Sempringham, 9 kal. June 1304.

(fols. 97v-98v)

Acts of a general chapter at Sempringham, the first day of Rogation, 1347 ('Constitutiones magistri Roberti de Nauenby').

(fol. 99r)
Rubric: De esu carnium

Not dated; script is probably mid-14th century.

(fol. 99v)

Letter of R. magister relating to the general chapter at Sempringham, Fri. in Pentecost week, 1298.

(fols. 100r-v)

'Statuta' from a visitation of Sixhills [in 1238] by the abbot of Warden acting by authority of the legate Otto; 20 chapters; dated '1200' in the text. Discussed Golding, op. cit., 659-661.

(fol. 101r)

Blank except for notes in leadpoint.

(fol. 101v)

Note on statutes 'de equitatura magistri' (late 13th century (?))

(fol. 102r-v)


(fols. 103r-105v)

Letter of magister P[hilip of Barton, sed. 1298-1332], following the general chapter of 3 non. July 1300, ordering the enforcement of articles from Gilbert's Insitutes and from legatine visitations.

(fol. 105v)
Rubric: Const(itutiones) phil(ippi)

Not dated, but presumably relating to the preceding item; hand is 14th century.

(fols. 106r-107r)

Letter of magister James [Burton, sed. c. 1491-1501] communicating acts of the chapter held at St Katherine's by Lincoln on the feast of S. Jerome, 1501; dated at Watton, 20 Sept.

(fols. 107v-109v)

Letter of magister Thomas [Hurtsky, sed. c. 1508-1512 or 1535] communicating acts of the chapter held at St Katherine's by Lincoln on 22 March 1508/9

(fols. 110r-111r)

Letter of magister Thomas [Hurtsky, sed. c. 1508-1512 or 1535], dated at Watton, 10 Nov. 1511, communicating acts of the chapter held at Sempringham, 19 April 1509 and (?) 17 Oct. 1511.

Fol. 111v blank.

(fol. 112r)

Undated ordinances (one relating to disputes between Watton and St Andrew's York), followed by notes of acts in general chapter at Sempringham, ⟨13⟩25 [not 1525, as in Summary Catalogue].

Fol. 112v, blank.

(fol. 114v-113v, upside down)

Letter of magister William [de Beverley, sed. 1391-5] reporting acts of a chapter at Sempringham, 4 id May 1393.

(fol. 113v-r, upside down)

Statutes of magister Nicholas [Rerysby, sed. c. 1438-63].

Fols. 115-6 are endleaves; see provenance.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii (modern paper endleaves) + IV (medieval parchment endleaves of manuscript waste) + 120 + II (medieval parchment endleaves)
Dimensions (leaf): 240 × 170 mm.
Foliation: i-xii, 1-116 in early modern pen supplemented by modern pencil.


Fols. vi r - 87v: 27 long lines; ruled in leadpoint; ruled space 155 × 95 mm. ; above top line. Elsewhere variable.


Fols. vi r-87v: early textualis


Fleuronnée initials on fols. 1–87. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 401)


Early 16th-century (?) binding: bevelled wooden boards, covered in velvet for Douce in 1834 (Douce Legacy, no. 215).


Origin: 13th century, first half, with additions to c. 1511 ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Dominus Christopherus Persons Persons[sic] rector ecclesiarum Scladburne et Bottyll. Memorandum quod hic fuit qondam[sic] R. W. supprior domus istius. Et in tempore dicti R. fuit quidam versepellis homo hospitans ibidem dictus Christopherus qui fuit valde assiduus in omnibus materiis, ita quod multe diuisiones fiebant inter canonicos fraude et subtilitate illius Christopheri, quia ex quo cepit ipse regnare, magis cupiebant canonici sibi placere quam suo priori. Immo et clientes prioris antedicti eodem modo regebantur, tam plane quod multi ciuitatis sussurabant multique palani[sic] loquebantur dicentes ipsum Christopherum fore priorem. Hoc scripsit quem Christopherus antedictus odio nimis habuit habuit[sic]. A. Ideo caueant religiosi tales hospites qui magis diligunt discordiam quam virtutem et sic per gratiam dei conuertetur turbacio eius super ipsum. Amen. Et hoc tibi denuncio(?) qui futurus es supprior post me.’. For Christopher Parsons (fl. 1474-1508) see Fasti Parochiales IV (Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 133, 1971), p. 115.

Evidently belonged to an unidentified Gilbertine house: perhaps St Andrew's, York (cf. fol. 112r and the heading 'Saynt Andrew' on fol. 107v, which does not appear to relate to the text).

'Cottam' (?), fol. iii r, 16th century.

'Thomas Bates' (16th cent., fol. 115r)

'Ric: Reade' (early 17th cent., fol. 115r). Early modern notes, fol. 115r, 116r.

Sir 'Roger Twysden, 1620', who writes notes on fol. 115v, cf. 87v; for whom see R. Ovenden, 'Sir Roger Twysden' in W. Baker (ed), Pre-19th century British book collectors (1999), 350-6; sold around 1715 by with Twysden's library by his grandson to:

Sir Thomas Sebright (1692-1736) of Beechwood, Hertfordshire; number 15 in the catalogue of the Sebright library by Thomas Carte (MS. Carte 108, fol. 388r, '15 De institutione monialium et regula', cf. '15' on fol. iii r of the present manuscript); by descent to

Sir John Sebright (1767-1846): his sale, April 1807, lot 1141; bought for 13s. 6d. by:

Francis Douce, 1757–1834 (Douce Legacy, no. 215).

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1834

MS. Douce 136, endleaves (fols. iii-vi)


Language(s): Latin

(fols. iii-vi, upside down)
Huguccio, Liber derivationum

Four leaves from an index: ciada-febris, fecutina-litus, litigare-perendinare, peregrinus-sodalis.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Origin: 13th century

Additional Information

Record Sources

Preliminary description by Matthew Holford (March 2024). Previously described in the Summary Catalogue (1897).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2018-10-14: Mitch Fraas Provenance and acquisition information added using https://github.com/littlegustv/oxfordupdates/blob/master/test_case_for_oxford_prov.rb in collaboration with the Mapping Manuscript Migrations project.