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

MS. Eng. misc. f. 36

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


Treatise on heraldry
Language(s): English, Latin and Anglo-Norman

Rules of blason, including notes on colours and metals (fol.4), and on differences (fol.10)

(fol. 4)
Incipit: Le Trespuissaunt et Tresnoble Roy Alexandre de Macedonie etc. Pour Exalter le nome et la vaillans
Explicit: de plusieurs couleurs et metaulx etc.
(fol. 10)
Incipit: Triplex est differentua

fols. 1r-3v were originally blank; fols. 8v-9v, 12v are blank.


Hypothetical problem in French, relating to the heraldic rights of eldest and youngest sons

Incipit: Le Comencement de Bentilnes
Language(s): Middle French

Note referring to ‘Bartholomeum de proprietatibus animalium’

Incipit: Vide bartholomeum de proprietatibus Animalium

Extracts headed ‘Barth(olus de Saxo Ferrato)’ and ‘Ffranciscus ⟨de Foveis?⟩’, ‘J. de Han⟨v⟩il et Barth’.’, probably taken from J. de Bado Aureo, Tract. de armis, ed. E. J. Jones, p.111

Honoré Bonet, L'arbre des batailles (extract)
Incipit: honorius boneti Ad honorem cuiusdam regis Francie Composuit librum quae nominauit Arborem bellorum
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 28v-29r)

Two very short unfinished(?) notes; fol. 29v is blank.

(fol. 30)
Thomas, duke of Clarence, Ordinances

Extract from the Latin version, of which the French is pr. in A. R. Wagner, Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1956, app. C, p.137.

Rubric: De Gubernacione et Reformacione officiariorum Armorum H.V.
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 32r-33r)

Miscellaneous short notes, in Latin and English; fols. 31r, 33v are blank.

(fol. 34)

Examples of charges, illustrated with forty-four shields, most of them coloured, two or four to a page, blazoned in English; fol. 42r-v is blank.

(fol. 43)

Methods of quartering arms, in trick.

(fol. 45)

Coloured shields with the blazons.

One hundred and forty-one shields. Some are identical with those in ‘Strangeway's book’, for which see H. S. London, 'Medieval treatises on English heraldry', Antiquaries Journal, XXXIII, 1953, fig.13, 14 and 17. On fol.81 are the royal arms as a banner.

Fols. 59r-v, 69v, 83r-v, 85r-88v are blank, except for Bodleian annotations on fol. 88v.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper; watermark hand, cf. Briquet 11370
Extent: i + 88 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 145 × 95 mm.
Dimensions (written): 122 × 85 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i, 1–88; an old ink foliation: 1–80 (fols. 4–84), probably by John Anstis (see under Provenance), has either (i) been crossed through in pencil, or (ii) is obscured by the modern pencil foliation.


Mostly in quires of four leaves: I(4)+1(pastedown and fols. 1–3; fol. i, modern, glued to fol. 1r) | II(4)+2(1st & 2nd leaves are probably all that remain of a preceding quire, signature [c]; fol. 6r has the quire signature 'd'; two stubs follow fol. 9) (fols. 4–9) | III(4)(fols. 10–13) | IV-VI(4)(fols. 14–25) | VII(4)(fols. 26–29) | VIII(4)(fols. 30–33) | IX-X(4)(fols. 34–41) | XI(4)-1(2nd leaf missing, after fol. 42) (fols. 42–44) | XII(4)-1(4th leaf excised, leaving a stub after fol. 47, perhaps now fol. 48) (fols. 45–47), XIII(4)+1–1(1st leaf added, perhaps originally the last leaf of the preceding quire; last leaf missing, after fol. 51, probably now bound as fol. 52) (fols. 48–51), XIV(4)+1(1st leaf added, fol. 52, with a stub after fol. 56; probably originally the last leaf of the preceding quire; fol. 53 has a quire signature 'Q') (fols. 52–56), XV-XX(4)(fols. 57–80) | XIX(4)+1(last leaf added, fol. 85, originally the first leaf of the suceeding quire; with trace of a quire signature) (fols. 81–85) | XXI(4)-1(1st leaf now bound as the last leaf of the preceding quire, fol. 85) (fols. 86–88 and pastedown); Catchwords at the ends of some quires (e.g. fol. 17v, 21v) Quire signatures survive on the first recto of many quires, most of the series d-Y (Quires II-XX) surviving, suggesting that 2 quires are missing at the start.


Not ruled; the scribe has often used the chain-lines to guide his writing. Variable number of lines per page. Single column.


Anglicana script


Headings not rubricated, but often in larger, more formal, script, using thicker penstrokes.

Decorated with circles containing the colours, metals, furs, etc., and with shields of a variety of shapes, often coloured.


Sewn on an uncertain number of bands, and bound in undecorated 18th century 'limp vellum'; the spine inscribed in ink: 'Blazon | Temp: | Regis | Hen:V.'


Origin: 15th century, late - 16th century, early ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

John Anstis, with his shelfmark ‘Q 25’ (fol. 1).

David Askew of Pallinsburn, Northumberland (cf. MS. Eng. misc. c. 97).

Matthew Mackey sale, Newcastle, 1920.

Record Sources

Typescript description by Bodleian Library staff, revised by Peter Kidd, late 1990s.

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.