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

MS. Finch e. 25

Summary Catalogue no.: 46848 (brief notice only)


New Testament.
Language(s): Latin

Prefaces usually correspond very closely to, but not identically with, the incipits and explicits given by Stegmüller.

[Text 1 occupies quire I]
(fol. 1r)

Five hexameter lines on the Eusebian Canon (Stegmüller, Bibl. 850).

Incipit: Quatuor est primus primus tribus alter opimus
[Texts 2–5 occupy quires II-X]
(fols. 1v-3v)

Eusebian canon tables.

(fol. 4r-v)

Epistle of Jerome to Pope Damasus (Stegmüller, Bibl. 595).

(fols. 5r-59r)

Gospels, without prefaces: Matthew, Mark, Luke, preceded by an 8-line space, and John; each with the Ammonian sections marked in the margin (see Thomson, pl. 211).

(fols. 59v-76v)

Acts, with preface (Stegmüller, Bibl. 631).

[Texts 6–8 occupy quires XI-XVI]
(fols. 77r-84v)

Canonical Epistles, with prefaces: James, I-II Peter, I-III John, Jude (Stegmüller, Bibl. 807, 812, 818, 822, 823, 824, 825, respectively).

(fols. 84v-92r)

Apocalypse, with preface (Stegmüller, Bibl. 829); the bottom margin of fol. 89r with a diagram concerning the name and number of the Beast, referred to in the text above.

(fols. 92v-127r)

Pauline Epistles, with prefaces: Romans, with two prefaces (Stegmüller, Bibl. 651, 678, the first beginning at 'Omnis textus ...'), I-II Corinthians (Stegmüller, Bibl. 683, 701), Galatians (Stegmüller, Bibl. 706), Ephesians (Stegmüller, Bibl. 721), Philippians (Stegmüller, Bibl. 730), I-II Thessalonians (Stegmüller, Bibl. 747/748/749, 753), Colossians (Stegmüller, Bibl. 736), I-II Timothy (Stegmüller, Bibl. 766, 772+770), Titus (Stegmüller, Bibl. 780), Philemon (Stegmüller, Bibl. 783), Hebrews (Stegmüller, Bibl. 794); fols. 127v-128v originally blank except for a quire signature, the versos now with later pen-trials.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Canon secundus (Canon table, fol. 2r)
Secundo Folio: Incipit evangelium (text, fol. 5r)
Secundo Folio: Dico enim uobis (text, ignoring preface, fol. 6r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment; some leaves with large holes or other deficiencies patched with original repairs (e.g. fol. 98); some leaves (e.g. fols. 56, 58, 116) made up of two pieces of parchment pasted together vertically.
Extent: i (modern paper, probably added at the Bodleian) + i (modern laid paper, conjoint with the pastedown) + 129 + i (modern laid paper, conjoint with the pastedown) leaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 185 × 130 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 90 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencil, (19th? and) 20th-cent.: i-ii, 1–129.


I (four) (arrangement uncertain) (fols. 1–4) | II-X(8) (fols. 5–76) | XI-XIV(8) (fols. 77–108), XV-XVI(10) (fols. 109–128); the diagram of the arrangement of fols. 1–4 and related unfoliated stubs in Thomson, p. 104, is perhaps correct; quire signatures in capital roman numerals with fine flourished ornament occur in the centre of the bottom margin of quires II-XVI (see Thomson, pls. 209–10).


Ruled in leadpoint, with 42 lines in 2 columns; the 1st and 3rd, and the ante-penultimate and last lines, often extend the full width of the page; each column with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page in quires II-VIII, therafter with double vertical bounding lines in the outer margins; the ruled space c.140 × 90 mm., each column c. 42 mm. wide; prickings frequently survive at the fore- and lower edges, and sometimes at the top edges; the ante-penultimate line double-pricked. Written with 42 lines of text per page, above the top ruled line.


Small, neat, hand with many abbreviations (see Thomson, pl. 211); the top line of a page sometimes with calligraphic ascenders (e.g. fols. 27v-28r, 122v-123r.).


Pächt and Alexander iii. 284:

Good borders.

Good initials.

Major headings in alternating letters, words, or lines, of red and green; minor headings and running titles in red; the first few letters after a coloured inital touched with green.

4- to 6-line initials in gold, with simple red and blue penwork, at the start of the biblical books, that to Matthew with a reserved wavy line, that to John perhaps intended to be historiated, since it is formed of a simple eagle-headed hybrid (fol. 46v; there is a similar dog(?)-headed initial to James, fol. 77r, see Thomson, pl. 208). One 5-line initial in green and red with simple red penwork to the general preface (fol. 4r). 2-line initials (the letter 'I' larger) to chapter divisions, alternating between red, blue, and green; sometimes with reserved designs, flourishing, or penwork flourishing in the other colour, or a combination of these (e.g. fol. 31v); 1-line initials to verse divisions, in the same colours. Decorative run-over marks with elegant flourishing at the bottom of some pages (e.g. fols. 41r, 47v, 50v, etc.); similar flourishing occasionally in the outer margin (e.g. fol. 105r, 106r), and always on the quire signatures.

The Canon tables framed in green, black, white, and gold lines.


Sewn on four bands; without endbands; and bound in 18th-cent. plain parchment over pasteboards; the spine with four slightly raised bands and a red leather title-piece lettered in gilt 'NOVUM | TESTAM | LATINUM | MS.; the upper joint split; fols. 1–3 have rust stains and fol. 1 a hole, half-way down the fore-edge, caused by the clasp-fitting of a previous (original?) binding.

Accompanying Material

Strips of a 15th cent. English calendar bound into fols. 1–3: see below, Provenance


Origin: c. 1200 ; English, St. Albans (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably written at St. Albans, and certainly there by the first quarter of the 13th cent.: inscribed (c.1200–50 according to Thomson) in red ink in the lower margin of fol. 5r with an anathema: 'Hunc librum domnus Fabianus supprior beato Albano dedit. quem qui ei abstulerit aut titulum deleuerit vel ab eius ecclesia quacumque translationis specie alienaverit; anathema sit. amen.', Fabian entered the house perhaps before 1167, was sub-prior by 1214, and died in 1223.

In the 14th cent. modern chapter numbers were added in ink in the margins; there are 14th- and/or 15th-cent. pen-trials on fols. 127v, 128v.

Unidentified owner, 16th(?) cent.: inscribed (fol. 1r, largely erased) 'yow shall p[erceive?] | ye [... ...] yow | f...de ...ed | shall ... | yow call(?) ... | ...' and 'ye fowre evangelystys(?)'; perhaps re-bound for this owner, using strips of a 15th-cent. English secular calendar (with feasts graded up to 9 lessons, and duplex) as reinforcments in the first quire, bound after fols. ii, 1, and 3: they include parts of May and June on each side of strips cut vertically from a single leaf, whose feasts in red include St. Dunstan (19 May), St. Augustine (26 May), the translation of Edmund of Abingdon (9 June), the translation of Edward the martyr (20 June), and St. Alban (22 June); additions in a 15th(?)-cent. cursive hand include liturgical notes (e.g. 'cum regimine chori', facing fol. 4r).

Henry Yate (1756–1812) (on whom see Foster, Alumini Oxonienses 1715–1886, IV, 1625): the upper pastedown with an engraved bookplate with the crest, coat of arms, motto 'QUO VIRTUS VOCAT' of 'Henry Gorges Dobyns Yate | St. John's College | Oxon.'; signed and dated (fol. ii recto) 'H Yate e Coll Div: Ioh: Bapt: | Oxon: 1774.'; and inscribed (fol. ii verso) with a note, probably by him, stating that 'This work was dedicated to Pope Damasus [II] who was elected in the year 1048 ...' (cf. Text 3).

Unidentified French 19th-cent. owner: inscribed (fol. ii verso) in French below the Yate's inscription, with a corrective note that 'Ce fut Damase Iier (saint) pape de 366 à 384 ...'.

Robert Finch: the upper pastedown with an engraved bookplate bearing the motto 'NEC ARROGO NEC DUBITO'; inscribed (fol. ii verso), presumably by him, with a note dated 1904, giving Falconer Madan's opinion of the manuscript; the pastedown also inscribed in dark turquoise ink 'U [or V] 90.' (cf. MS. Finch g. 1); bequeathed to the University in 1830, and kept in the Taylor Institute; fol. ii recto with a booklabel printed in red ink 'TAYLOR INSTITUTION | BEQUEATHED | TO THE UNIVERSITY | BY | ROBERT FINCH, M.A. | OF BALLIOL COLLEGE.'

Transferred to the Bodleian in 1918.

Record Sources

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

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.