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

MS. Fr. c. 25

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


Chronicle of the Dukes of Normandy from the time of Pepin to the accession of Henry III
Incipit: ⟨C⟩ombien que les croniques Racontent que Rou fut premier duc de normandie Aulcunes autres escriptures nous racontent que eu temps du bon Roy pepin
(Hardy, Catalogue of MSS. relating to the early history of Great Britain, III, no.105), part pr. (up to 1174) in Recueil des historiens des Gaules XI. 320–343 and XIII. 221–256 from a MS. belonging to the Marquis d'Averne now MS. Rouen 186. For early printed texts see F. X. Michel, Les Chroniques de Normandie, Rouen, 1839, p.lxxxv. The MS. follows the Roman de Rou up to the surrender of Caen to Henry I in 1105, and thereafter William of Jumièges.
Language(s): Middle French

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ⟨L⟩e duc ausbert
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii (modern paper) + 206 + ii (modern paper) leaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 310 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 185–95 × 125–30 mm.
the ruled space 185–195 × 125–30 mm.;
Dimensions (written): 190 × 130 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i-iii, 1–57, 58a-b, 59–60, 62–208 (i.e. a leaf had been skipped after fol. 58, and a number skipped after fol. 60).


I4 (pastedown and fols. i-iii) | II-XI8 (fols. 1–80), XII14 (fols. 81–94), XIII10 (fols. 95–104), XIV-XVI8 (fols. 105–128), XVII6 (fols. 129–134), XVIII8 (fols. 135–142), XIX6 (fols. 142–148), XX-XXI8 (fols. 149–164), XXII10 (fols. 165–174), XXIII-XXVI8 (fols. 175–206); catchwords survive in most quires, within a frame; leaf signatures of the form aj-aiiij are present in the first several quires: a-f, and of the form 1–4 in some of the last few quires (quires 23–25).


Ruled in pale brown ink in two columns, with 26 lines, the top pair and bottom pair extending the full width of the page; each column with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page; 25 lines of text per page; prickings survive in the three outer margins.


Written in bâtarde script, often with very calligraphic ascenders on the top line (e.g. fol. 57r, 66r), occasionally incorporating human heads in profile (e.g. fol. 16r).


Clearly intended to be a very extensively illustrated volume, with about one miniature per leaf, but none of the spaces left for them by the scribe have been filled in; none of the decorative initials have been supplied either.


A large fragment of a contemporary blind-stamped brown leather cover is stuck to fol. 208v.

Formerly bound in 'old calf over oak boards, binding badly wormed' (Sotheby's, 1947); rebound in new plain brown leather '... by E. E. W. 5.11.1948' (inscribed in pencil, fol. 208r); pairs of holes and copper-stains in the first and last parchment leaves caused by former fastenings.


Origin: 15th century ; French

Provenance and Acquisition

Erased original(?) medieval ownership(?) calligraphic inscription on the upper pastedown 'Ex | ...'

Inscribed, 16th(?) cent.: 'historia gallica usque initium regnum(?) t'(?) H 3' (fol. i recto).

Sir John Savile the elder (1545–1607)

Sir Henry Savile (1549–1622), provost of Eton

Sir John Savile (1818–96), his sale, Sotheby's 6 Feb. 1861, lot 29, bought by Powis for £79

Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872), MS. 25028

Sotheby's 1 Dec. 1947, lot 102.

Record Sources

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


Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.