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

MS. Auct. D. 4. 6

Summary Catalogue no.: 1879

Glossed portable psalter; England (Reading?), 12th century, third quarter


Language(s): Latin

1. (fol. v recto )
Incipit: Christe qui lux es et dies
Chevalier 2934

Added, 13th century. Fols. v verso–vi recto are ruled, but otherwise blank.

2. (fols. vi verso–vii recto)

Calendarial rules, mostly metrical.

3. (fols. vii recto–viii recto)
Religious verses
Rubric: De 3 Mariis

WIC 19420

Incipit: Est racio quod pars altaris dextera misse

WIC 5831; Chevalier 26203

Incipit: Qvid stacio dextra signet uel parte sinistra

WIC 15912

Incipit: Signant tres partes in christi corpore prima

WIC 18193

Incipit: Petrus romanis reserauit dona salutis

WIC 14064

Incipit: Est aliquando bono bene ne grauibus superetur

WIC 5568

4. (fols. viii verso–xi verso)
Gilbert de la Porrée, Gloss on the Psalms (prologue)

with marginal glosses on fol. viii verso partly trimmed off (ed. Fontana, 1930).

5. (fols. 1r–133v)
Psalter with gloss

Psalms 1–150 in the biblical order, without titles or numbers. There are textual divisions at psalms 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101 and 109 (see ‘Decoration’). Subdivisions within psalms are not indicated, apart from psalm 118, subdivided into twenty-two 8-verse units. Punctuated throughout with punctus used to mark the ends of verses, punctus elevatus used to mark metrum, and punctus or punctus elevatus used to mark minor pauses.

Marginal and interlinear glosses, an adaptation of the gloss by Gilbert de la Porrée.

Gilbert de la Porrée, Gloss on the Psalms (Media glosatura)
6. (fols. 133v–134r)
Pusillus eram

Without title or glosses.

7. (fols. 134r–142r)
Weekly canticles

Without titles, with glosses: 1) Confitebor tibi domine (Isaiah 12); (2) Ego dixi (Isaiah 38: 10–21); (3) Exultauit cor meum (1 Samuel 2: 1–11); (4) Cantemus domino (Exodus 15: 1–20); (5) Domine audiui (Habakkuk 3); (6) Audite celi (Deuteronomy 32: 1–44), subdivision marked with a larger initial at verse 22, ‘Ignis succensis ...’ (fol. 140v).

8. (fol. 142r–146v)
Daily canticles, prayers and creeds

Without titles or glosses: (1) Benedicite omnia opera (fol. 142r); (2) Benedictus dominus deus (fol. 143r); (3) Magnificat (fol. 143v); (4) Nunc dimittis (fol. 143v); (5) Te deum laudamus (fol. 143v); (6) Gloria in excelsis (fol. 144v); (7) Pater noster (fol. 144v); (8) Apostles’ Creed (Credo in deum ...) (fol. 145r); (9) Athanasian Creed (Quicumque uult ...) (fol. 145r).

9. (fols. 146v–150v)

For the use of New Minster, Winchester, containing the Virgin Mary and Peter in capitals (fol. 146v); Alban, Oswald and Edmund among the martyrs; Benedict (third), Bede, Swithun, Birstan (‘Brynstan’), Athelwold, Dunstan and Cuthbert among the confessors; and Frideswide and Edith among the virgins. Erasures in top lines on fols. 147v and 148r; reagent was probably used on fol. 147v. The litany is followed by collects (fols. 149r–150v):

Incipit: Deus cui proprium est misereri semper et parcere suscipe
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui facis mirabilia magna solus
Incipit: A domo tua quesumus domine spirituales nequitie repellantur et aeriarum discedat malignitas tempestatum
Incipit: Ure igne sancti spiritus renes nostros
Incipit: Pretende quesumus domine famulis et famulabus tuis dexteram celestis auxilii ut de toto corde
Incipit: Deus a quo sancta desideria recta consilia et iusta sunt
Incipit: Ad te nos domine clamantes exaudi et aeris serenitatem nobis tribue
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus salus eterna credentium exaudi nos pro famulo
Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus mestrorum consolatio laborantium fortitudo perueniant ad te preces de quacumque tribulatione
Incipit: Hostium nostrorum quesumus domine elide superbiam et dextere tue uirtute prosterne
Incipit: Absolue quaesumus domine animas famulorum famularumque tuarum ab omni uinculo delictorum
Incipit: Deus qui es sanctorum tuorum splendor mirabilis atque lapsorum subleuator
10. (fols. 150v–155v)

(contemporary and slightly later additions), including those to the Virgin Mary, Andrew, and John the Evangelist:

Incipit: Omnipotens sempiterne deus ego peccator famulus tuus ad tuam ineffabilem misericordiam confugiens
Incipit: Sancta et inter sanctos per dominum singulariter sancta Maria
Incipit: Uirgo mundo uenerabilis mater humano generi amabilis
Incipit: O sancte et piissime sanctorum omnium Andrea
(imperfect because of the loss of a leaf after fol. 152)
Incipit: O sancte Iohannes euuangelista et dilecte dei apostole quem dominus noster magister tuus
Incipit: Domine iesu christe summi patris unice. domine iesu christe fons misericordie ego ad te confugio
(added by a later scribe, initial not filled in)
11. (fols. 157v–158r)

Notes on Reading (the building of the chapel of St Mary, 1314; hailstorm on St Bartholomew’s Day, 1497). Fol. 156 is blank; fol. 157r is ruled but otherwise blank.

12. (fols. 158v, 160r–162r)

Miscellaneous theological, canon law and other notes:

quotation on the three reasons for the silence of Christ before Pilate with reference to fol. 50 of a copy of the Golden Legend (fol. 158v); sermon on sin and punishment (fol. 160r), both written in the same 16th-century hand

start of the Office of the Dead, from ‘⟨P⟩lacebo ...’ to the first lection in a late 12th- or early 13th-century hand (fol. 160v)

names of the five senses in Latin and English; seven mortal sins in Latin and English; an abbreviated version of the ten commandments in Latin (fol. 161r) in a 15th-century hand;

Language(s): Latin and Middle English

pen trials of various dates in Latin and a solution to a riddle in hexameters (‘Capra prius fertur ...’) (fol. 161v)

16th-century recipe in English (fol. 162r).

Language(s): English

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: in quem libet (religious verses, fol. vii recto)
Secundo Folio: Qui habitat (psalter, fol. 2r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 173 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 173 × 125 mm.
Foliation: modern, in pencil and ink; i–ix + 1–164.


(fol. i) paper; probably originally conjoint with the upper pastedown, now glued to fol. ii | (fols. ii–ix) I (6) of which the outer bifolium (fols. iv + ix) is artificial, formed from one blank (? later) leaf at fol. iv and one original leaf at fol. ix; fol. iv is conjoint with the first stub after fol. ix; fol. iii is a fly-leaf formed from a 15th-century manuscript, conjoint with the second stub after fol. ix; fol. ii is a former upper pastedown of an intermediate binding, made from a 14th-century manuscript, conjoint with the third stub (with writing) after fol. ix | (fols. 1–152) II–XX (8) stubs of a strengthening strip after fols. 25 and 31 (leaves 1 and 7 of quire V); trace of an early quire signature cut away at the foot near the centre on fol. 40 (last leaf of quire VI); repair parchment at the foot on fols. 81 and 88 (outer leaves of quire XII); repair stubs between fols. 100 and 101 (leaves 4 and 5 of quire XIV) | (fols. 153–163) XXI (10) stub conjoint with fol. 163 before fol. 153; fol. 163 is a former lower pastedown of an intermediate binding made from a 14th-century manuscript | (fol. 164) paper; conjoint with the lower pastedown.


The psalter is ruled in plummet with double vertical and single horizontal bounding lines extending the full height and width of page; separate ruling for the gloss in the outer margins (vertical ruling only to create a gloss column); 16 lines per page; written above the top line; written space: 133 × 75 mm.

After fol. 142v, ruled for 22–23 lines per page; written space: 130 × 80 mm.


Formal proto-Gothic book hand; black ink for the main text and brown ink for the gloss. Alexander (1978) considered the scribe of the text and the artist of the initial D on fol. 91r (Johannes?) to be the same person. This scribe also wrote Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College MS. 177/210, parts of Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Rawl. A. 416 and London, British Library, Cotton MS. Vitellius A. viii, all manuscripts from Reading Abbey (Coates, 1999).


Fine initials. Some painted initials are additions of 12th century, end. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 164, pl. XVI). Fol. 91, 'Johannes me fecit Rogerio'.

  • Gold Beatus-initial, occupying two-thirds of a page, with arabesque designs on pink background (rubbed), fol. 1r. The opening words are in 2-line red and green capitals.
  • 7-line gold, red, blue and green initial, decorated with coiled tendrils and acanthus leaves, with outline formed by bodies of two winged dragons biting each other’s tails, at the beginning of psalm 51 on fol. 47r (addition, 12th-century, end (?)).
  • 5-line gold initial in a square frame filled with blue, decorated with a winged dragon, animal heads, coiled tendrils and acanthus leaves at the beginning of psalm 52 on fol. 48r (addition, 12th century, end (?)).
  • 4- to 6-line initials with floral designs in red, blue and green at the beginnings of psalms 26 (fol. 21v), 38 (fol. 35r), 68 (fol. 59v), 80 (fol. 75r), 97 (fol. 89r), 101 (fol. 91r), 109 (fol. 104r), Pusillus eram (fol. 133v) and the first canticle (fol. 134r). Initial D(omine) of psalm 101 has the words ‘Ioh(an)es me fecit Rogerio’ against the coloured ground (one of the Penitential Psalms, beginning ‘Domine exaudi orationem meam ...’, psalm 101 was sometimes chosen to contain portraits of donors).
  • 2-line gold initials on coloured backgrounds with arabesque designs at the beginnings of psalms 46 (fol. 42r), 49 (fol. 44v), 50 (fol. 46r) and 53 (fol. 48v). 3-line gold initial M(agnus) with outline formed by the bodies of two winged dragons joined together by an animal mask at the beginning of psalm 47 (fol. 42v) (addition, 12th-century, end (?)).

2- to 3-line initials in red, blue and green, most with arabesque designs, at the beginning of psalms, canticles, litany and prayers.

1-line red, blue and green initials at the beginnings of verses and periods.

Profile head of a bearded man with leafy scrolls emerging from his mouth, added in the margin on fol. 82r, 15th century (?); faded arabesque designs added in the margins on fols. 96v, 99r and 101r.


Brown leather over pasteboard, 18th century, first half. Blind double fillet lines and blind roll arabesque border round the outer edge of both covers. Rebacked in the 20th century in the Bodleian with the original spine relaid. Sewn on four cords; four raised bands on spine. Gilt lettering on spine ‘NE . A . 3 . 7 .’ (see Summary catalogue, vol. 1, p. xii). Late 18th-century paper label on spine ‘D 4 6’. Fly-leaves made of 18th-century laid paper, no watermarks.


Origin: 12th century, third quarter (1158–1165?) ; English, Reading, Benedictine abbey (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

The volume may be one of the glossed psalters described on fol. 8v in the ‘Fingall Cartulary’ (London, British Library, Egerton MS. 3031), the earliest surviving list of books of the Benedictine Abbey of the Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist, Reading (see Sharpe, Carley, Thomson and Watson, 1996, p. 422; Coates, 1999, p. 25). Made for Roger, identified as either Roger Sigar, known to have given a glossed psalter to the Abbey, or as Roger, Reading’s fifth abbot (1158–65) (see Coates, 1999, p. 113). Includes a litany for the use of Winchester.

Presumably at Reading Abbey c. 1314 and c. 1497 (see fols. 157v–158r).

Bodleian Library: acquired between 1613 and 1620. The shelfmark ‘Auctarium’ was given c. 1789, when books then considered most valuable in the Library were moved to the Auctarium (one of the schools in the Bodleian Library quadrangle) (see Summary catalogue, vol. 1, pp. xiv, xxxix–xl). Former shelfmarks: ‘NE A. 3. 7’ (fol. ii verso) (see Summary catalogue, vol. 1, p. xii); ‘Bodl. 47’ (fol. i recto).

MS. Auct. D. 4.6 - endleaves (fols. ii, 163)


Canon law treatise (fragment)
Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Origin: 14th century

MS. Auct. D. 4.6 - endleaf (fol. iii)


Treatise on the virtues (fragment: book 3, chapters 18 and 19)
Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Origin: 15th century

Additional Information

Record Sources

Elizabeth Solopova, Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue (Oxford, 2013), pp. 43–8. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (9 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2020-03-23: New description from Solopova catalogue.