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

MS. Dutch e. 2

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


Language(s): Middle Dutch

(fols. 1r-159r)
Lives of Saints

Starting imperfect. Fol. 159v blank.

Incipit: ||bloede. ende dauid vas sijn geboerte treckende wt der stat van bethleem
Explicit: Des gonne ons die heer die vader daer te lauen alle gader Amen
(fols. 160r-214r)
Birgitta of Sweden, Reuelationes (extracts in Dutch translation)
Rubric: Van enen wonderliken ende merckeliken gesicht van eenre zielen die geordelt was solde werden Ende van der wroeginge des duuels ...
Incipit: Een persoen waekende in hoeren gebede ende niet slapende sach in een geestelick gesichte
Explicit: Dese reuelacie is gespraken van iij vrouwen van den derde die noch leuende was ghinck in een cloester volbregende dat ouerloep oers leuens in groet heilicheit
(fol. 214v)
Rubric: Sunte bernardus seghet
Incipit: in synen gedachten Ist sake dattu segghest dit sijn harde reden ic en mach die werelt niet versmaen ende mijn vleysch haten

Ending imperfect at '...Waer is hoer houer die. hoer ||'.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper
Extent: ii (modern paper) + 212 + ii (modern paper) leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 215 × 140 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 145 × 95 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in 19th(?)-century pencil: i-ii, 1–163, '164–6', 167–216 (i.e. one leaf after fol. 163 is marked '164–6').


Mostly in quires of eight leaves, the structure of the first and last quires uncertain: I8–2 (8th and another leaf missing) (fols. 1–6), II-XIX8 (fols. 7–150), XX8+1 (9th leaf inserted) (fols. 151–159) | XXI-XXVI8 (fols. 160–209), XXVIIfive (fols. 210–214).


Ruled in brown 'crayon' in 2 columns with 25 lines, often extending the full width of the page; each column bounded by single vertical lines, extending the full height of the page

25 lines per page, above top line (some leaves, e.g. fols. 9r-v and 213r-v with 26 lines).


Gothic bookhand


Initials. (Pächt and Alexander i. 235)

Some words, phrases, or longer passages such as 'rubrics' written in plain brown ink and underlined in red; some rubrics written in red; capitals touched in red.

Five- or six-line initials in blue, with reserved designs, ornamented with foliage in two shades of green, and purplish (fols. 20v, 74r, 160r, 179v); similar two- to four-line line initials (fols. 72r, 78v, 174r, 175r, 185r, 190r); two similar three- to four-line initials, with red instead of blue and less purplish colour (fol. 192v, 194v); two initials in red (now oxidised to give a metallic appearance) with reserved designs, and penwork foliate flourishes (fols. 61v, 66r); two-line initials in plain red.


Sewn on four bands and bound with 15th-century panels of (?)Dutch stamped leather, originally with two clasps at the fore-edge; re-used on an 19th-century English polished leather binding over pasteboards (perhaps for Quaritch, see under Provenance); rebacked with the 19th-century spine laid on; the spine with a later 19th-century title piece lettered in gilt; 'LEGENDS | OF | SAINTS | MS.'; marbled endpapers; the edges of the leaves red.


Origin: 15th century, second half ; Dutch

Provenance and Acquisition

Bernard Quaritch, with their price-codes 'K/n/' (i.e. £1 3s) and 'K/Da/(?)' (i.e. £1 15s), perhaps the original cost, and cost including rebinding; and price '£3/3/' (fol. i verso); other bookseller's codes etc.: inscribed in pencil '257' (pehaps referring to a catalogue) (fol. 216r), the same number, erased, on fol. i verso; inscribed in pencil 'P.2.' and '281' (fol. i verso).

Gerard F. Leather with his 19th-century armorial bookplate, with the motto 'NIL NISI | QUOD | HONESTUM'; another manuscript from his collection was sold at Sotheby's, 20 June 1995, lot 117.

Acquired 1924.

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (2 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.