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

MS. Hamilton 1

Summary Catalogue no.: 24431

New Testament without Gospels, Peter of Blois, Guillaume Durand, Odo of Cheriton, etc.; A-D Germany, 1439 and 15th century, middle


(upper board)
Incipit: Hora antequam dormiatis Potus vester sit ceruisia clara

Fifteenth century; on a slip of paper pasted to the inside of the upper board.

Language(s): Latin
(lower board)

Slip of paper pasted to the inside of the board with pen-trials (?), c. 1500 (?), including one in German.

Language(s): Latin and German

Physical Description

Composite: three sections.
Secundo Folio: ⟨in⟩sipientes in
Form: codex
Extent: i + 197 + i fols. (71 is double, 133-4 are one leaf)
Dimensions (leaf): 300 × 210 mm.


White leather on boards, damaged and repaired, 15th century; clasps lost; contemporary contents label, faded and fragmentary.


Provenance and Acquisition

Many of the place-names suggest that the volume was at least partly made and owned in eastern Germany near the border with Poland. Like other manuscripts in the Hamilton collection from this area, it may have belonged to the Cistercian abbey of Neuzelle, but there is no positive evidence to support the attribution.

Sir William Hamilton, 1788-1856

Presented to the Bodleian Library by his sons and received in 1857.

MS. Hamilton 1 - Part A (fols. 1-109)


(fols. 1r-109v)
New Testament (without Gospels)

In the 'usual' order; with the usual prologues, and additional prologues for Acts, Canonical Epistles (before the prologues to Acts) and Apocalypse. 'Modern' chapter divisions, with numbers irregularly given.

Stegmüller 677, Rom., Stegmüller 685, 1 Cor., Stegmüller 699, 2 Cor., Stegmüller 707, Gal., Stegmüller 715, Eph., Stegmüller 728, Phil., Stegmüller 736, Col., Stegmüller 747, 1 Thess., Stegmüller 752, 2 Thess., Stegmüller 765, 1 Tim., Stegmüller 772 , 2 Tim., Stegmüller 780, Tit., Stegmüller 783, Philem., Stegmüller 793, Hebr., (fol. 58r) Stegmüller 810, Stegmüller 640, Stegmüller 633, Acts, (fol. 88r) Stegmüller 809, James, 1 and 2 Petr., 1-3 John, Jude, (fol. 98v) Stegmüller 839, Stegmüller 834/835, Apoc.

Colophon: Explicit liber Apokalipsis sancti Iohannis apostoli et ewangeliste qui finis noui dicitur testamenti Per dominum georgium piscator(em) de Beskaw et fini(ui)t In die sancti Donati Sub anno Domini milesimo cccco tricentesimo\tricesimo/ et vicesimo nono Anno (et)c.
Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper. Watermarks often indistinct but include (fol. 25 etc.) bull's head with six-leafed flower (type Piccard xii.341-63) and (fols. 94 etc.) bull's head with six-pointed star (type Piccard vii.111-683, close to 561-2?)


Quires numbered on the first recto, top centre.


1 col., c. 28-32 lines; frame-ruled. Ruled space 180-90 × 120-30 mm.

Running heads (missing in places).


Cursiva by one scribe (George 'Piscator', see colophon)


4-7 line red or red-and-black initials at the beginning of books, with arabesque decoration and sometimes with elaborate penwork flourishing in black or black-and-red.

2-line red initials with modest arabesque decoration.

Spaces for initials mostly unfilled, and rubrication mostly lacking, from fol. 94r onwards (initial on fol. 95v added later).


Origin: 1439 (colophon, fol. 109v) ; German

MS. Hamilton 1 - Part B (fols. 110-193)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 110r-174r)
Peter of Blois, Letters
Rubric: In nomine et indiuidue trinitatis patris et filii et spiritus sancti amen. Epistole Petri Blesensis Bathoniensis Archidyaconi

PL 207.1-560, nos. 1-2, 86, 3-5 (ending 'timere velimus'), 6-11 (ending 'incipias cum non possis'), 14 (ending 'venenosus morsus iuuidie pertimescat'), 12-13, 15 (ending incomplete 'in tenebras et famam'), (fol. 125r) 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 136, 173, 162, 159, 26 (ending 'tempus vacationis impendo'), 156, 163, 153, 28, 30, 32-33, 154, 34-36, 37+41 ('Karissimo ... magistro Allexandro ... Promiseram vobis librum. Possitis ut curram in via mandatorum vestrorum et sis lucerna ... examine resoluator. Bene valete ... '), 42-6, 66 (ending 'dimidiet dies suos'), 47-55, 128, 56, 58-60, 57 (ending 'destruat Christi fundamenta'), 61-2, 65, 67-8, 71, 79, 90, 92-3, 91, 94, 73, 88, 84, 82, 80, 72 (ending 'fieri tristia posse puta'), 74-5, 81, 69, 150, 85, 78, 70, 77, 95.

A leaf is lost after fol. 124. Classified by L. Wahlgren, The letter collections of Peter of Blois: studies in the manuscript tradition (1993), 188-9 as a copy of the first edition of the collection. As noted by her, pp. 26, 31, 33, closely related to BnF, Lat. 2957 (as well as the shorter collection of 37 letters in Prague, UL, X. E. 20; Higgonet also compared Bamberg, SB, Msc. Theol. 127, ibid. 202). Comparison with the Paris manuscript suggests the end of letter 39, letters 38, 158, 39, 130, 155, 40 and the beginning of letter 41 were lost at an earlier stage in the transmission of the present collection.

2. (fols. 174r-176r)
Alexander III, Instructio fidei catholicae
Rubric: Soldanus persarum peciit per litteras suas et per venerabiles nuncios ad alexandro tercio papa ut mitteret et viros catholicos et prudentes qui eum erudirent in fide christi
Incipit: Alexander episcopus seruus seruorum dei Soldano persarum Virtutem agnoscere et agnitam custodire ex litteris tuis et nunciorum fideli relacione cognouimus quod in uotis habeas conuerti ad christum
Explicit: in nouam anime innocenciam et uite infantiam renascaris
PL 207.1071-1078, here as usually circulating as part of the letters of Peter of Blois.
3. (fols. 176r-177r)

Four letters, added by several hands in blank space, (imperfectly) adapted to serve as model letters. (a), fol. 176r, relating to an arbitration; rest of fol. 176r blank; (b) fol. 176v, congratulation on an ecclesiastical preferment and promise of good service; refers to S. bishop of Brandenburg (if a real person, then Stephan Bodecker sed. 1421–1459); (c) fol. 176v, thanks for hospitality shown to the writer's chaplain, and request for medicine against gallstones; to 'A(?). abbate in N.' from 'Hermannus ab⟨bas⟩ in ebra(?) vester precipuus exonerator' (Hermann III was abbot of Ebrach 1430-1437: A. Kaspar, Chronik der Abtei Ebrach (1971), 222); (d) fol. 177r, addressed to T. bishop of ?Lebus (Lubuen') (no such person), concerning the investigation of a robbery.

Fols. 177v-178r blank.

4. (fols. 178v-181v)
Sermones de dedicatione ecclesiae
(fols. 178v-179v)
Rubric: Sermo de dedicacione
Incipit: Facta est leticia magna Hec verba bene conueniunt festiuitati hodierne dedicacionis ecclesie, quia dedicacio prima in veteri lege facta est in ierusalem
Explicit: quartum corporum per ieiunia maceracio, quia sancta et salubria est cogitacio pro defunctis exorare etc.
(fols. 179v-180r)
Rubric: Item sermo de dedicacione
Incipit: Templum domini sanctum est quod estis vos Nota quod quadruplex est templum, scilicet, primum corpus christi
Explicit: pro omnibus perpetuatis peccatis et aperietur vobis ianua regni celestis eterni amen.
(fols. 180v-181v)
Rubric: Sermo de dedicacione templi
Incipit: Duo homines ascendebant in templum Hec verba tractat beatus Gregorius in quodam originali de illis duobus hominibus, qui duplicem statum ecclesie militantis significant
Explicit: Si quilibet capit hereditatem minu⟨i⟩tur hereditas. Rogemus dominum etc.
(fol. 181v)
Incipit: Terribilis est locus iste etc. Scilicet demonibus propter quattuor. Primo propter loci sanctificacionem que fit per tria, per aque aspersionem
Explicit: Quarto terribilis est propter diuinorum celebracionem per quam iusti in fide roborantur, defuncti a purgatorio liberantur, sancti in celo honorantur.

A later addition, probably by the same hand as the preceding. Seven lines; perhaps a short note rather than the beginning of a sermon. Rest of fol. 181v blank.

5. (fols. 182r-193v)
⟨Guillaume Durand the elder⟩, ⟨Rationale diuinorum officiorum⟩(extracts: 1.6-1.7 and 4.46.17-4.46.18)
Rubric: Dedicacio ecclesie
Incipit: Consecracio ecclesie ortum habuit primo. Secundo per quos. Tercio quare. Quarto qualiter ecclesia dedicetur. Et quid significet tam ipsa dedicacio
Explicit: (fol. 193r) Quidam utuntur simplicibus et lineis indumentis
Rubric: (fol. 193r) Et sic est dictum de dedicacione ecclesie et altaris nunc vero restat dicere de istis tribus crucibus que fiunt super calicem
Incipit: Tres cruces cum hosia super calicem facte significant fidem centurionis dicentis
Explicit: dictas etates omnibus hominibus flebat. Et sic est finis illius.
6. (fol. 193v)
Rubric: Sequitur littera petitoria heremitarum uariorum ad perficiendum semita etc.
Rubric: Forma Indulgenciarum
Incipit: Universis christi fidelibus ad quos presentes nostre littere peruenerint Johannes dei apostolice sedis gratia episcopus ecclesie caminen' Salutem et sinceram in domino caritatem. Pia mater ecclesia de christi fidelium animarum salute solicata
Explicit: legauerint dederint uel assignauerint||

Form letter of indulgence of John, bishop of Cammin (Kamien) (John II, 1386-94, or John III, 1394-8) for those contributing to the liturgical furnishings of the altar of N 'in ecclesia a uel in choro b opidi a'; imperfect.

Physical Description

Fols. 182-193 were treated as a separate codicological unit in the Summary Catalogue, perhaps because of the invocation 'assit ad inceptum sancta maria mecum' on fol. 182r; but fols. 181-193 appear to form a quire of fourteen leaves with the final leaf after fol. 193 excised.
Form: codex
Support: Paper. Watermarks not always clear but include bull's head with five(?)-leafed flower above (fol. 142 etc.; cf. WZIS DE4860-Ms1370_40), bull's head with seven-leafed flower above (fol. 176 etc.), type Piccard xiii.1-53.


1 col., c. 42-3 lines. Ruled space 215 × 145 mm.

Fols. 178v-181v: 1 col., c. 44 lines. Ruled space 220 × 140 mm.

Fols. 182-193v: 1 col., c. 40-1 lines. Ruled space 215 × 145 mm.


Three main hands:

Arts. 1-2, cursiva

Art. 4, cursiva/hybrida

Arts. 5-6, cursiva


7 line initial, unfilled, fol. 110r.

Arabesque red initial, fol. 178v.

4-line 'puzzle' initial in red and the ink of the text, fol. 182r.

2-4 line red initials with very simple decoration.


Origin: 15th century, middle ; German

MS. Hamilton 1 - Part C (fols. 194-197)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fol. 194r)
Incipit: Berbena inter ceteras virtutes quarum multas habere dicitur, si puluerisata fuerit et proiecta inter duos amantes statim fiet lis inter eos
Incipit: Item si qui Celidoniam cum corde Talponis secum habuerit de mane devincit omnes hostes

Addition, fifteenth century. Rest of fol. 194r blank; fol. 194v blank.

2. (fol. 195r-197v)
⟨Odo de Cheriton⟩, ⟨Parabolae⟩ (fragment)
Incipit: ||Pullus indomitus seipsum precipitat in aquam
Explicit: Et ipse iratus contra ipsos picauit et||
L. Hervieux, Les fabulistes latins IV (1896) 173-255, nos. xxxvii-xlii, lxiii-lxiv, lxv-lxvii, i (beg. 'Rane elegerunt sibi lignum'), i(c), ii, liv, lv, lvii (imperfect due to loss of leaves).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper (watermark on fol. 197 indistinct)


1 col., c. 40-42 lines, frame-ruled. Ruled space 220 × 140 mm.


Cursive by one hand.


2-3 line red initials with very simple decoration.


Origin: 15th century, middle ; German

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford (Sept. 2020). Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2020-09-18: Revised description of the structure of the manuscript and watermarks.