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

MS. Douce 228

Summary Catalogue no.: 21802


(fols. 1r-40v)
Richard Coeur de Lion

Imperfect at beginning and end; lines 269-6655/6 as printed by Karl Brunner, Der mittelenglische Versroman über Richard Löwenherz (1913), where this manuscript is partly collated as D and described on p. 7.

DIMEV 3231
Incipit: King Ric' cam owt ... valey
Explicit: for ne nede

Fol. 35 is misbound and should follow fol. 39.

Language(s): Middle English (dialect of Norfolk, LALME LP 4564)

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper, each sheet folded repeatedly in folio to produce tall and narrow leaves in 'holster book' format. Watermarks indistinct because of position and the condition of leaves, but three types are identifiable: (1) bull's head with 6-pointed star, type Piccard, Ochsenkopf, VII.501-640; (2) anchor, type Piccard, Anker, I.11-38 (?); (3) horn with double ribbon (cf. Piccard, Horn, VIII.73-5 = Piccard Online 119337-9, used 1458-1460)
Extent: v (later paper) + 40 + i (later paper)
Dimensions (leaf): c. 280 × 85 mm.
Foliation: ia, ib, ii-iv, 1-41 in 18th-century (?) ink (fols. 1-40) and later pencil.


Catchwords (fols. 10v, 22v, 34v) suggest quires of 12, the first quire lacking its first two leaves (approximately 180 lines).


Leaves damaged in places (edges with later repairs) with occasional loss of text.


1 col., c. 38-44 lines; frame-ruled in ink (with no vertical bounding line to the right of text) for a written area of approximately 235 × 70 mm.


Current anglicana with some secretary forms; one hand.


Occasional spaces for 2-line initials, not filled in; otherwise no decoration or rubrication.


18th-century (?) quarter leather and marbled pasteboard, the spine with floral motifts in gilt and the title.


Origin: 15th century, second half (script, watermarks) ; England, probably Norfolk

Provenance and Acquisition

Dialect and later provenance suggest that the manuscript was written and circulated in Norfolk.

Francis Blomefield, 1705-1752, the historian of Norfolk; bookplate, front pastedown

Thomas Martin of Palgrave, 1697-1771, (signature, front pastedown), who acquired Blomefield's manuscript collections from his widow in 1755.

‘R. Farmer’ (front pastedown); Richard Farmer, 1735-97; his sale, 1798, lot. 8056 (Bibliotheca Farmeriana, p. 368)

Francis Douce, 1757–1834

Bequeathed by him to the Bodleian in 1834

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford, March 2022. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue (1897).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2022-03-25: Description revised for publication on Digital Bodleian.