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

MS. Hatton 42

Summary Catalogue no.: 4117

Canon law

Physical Description

Composite: fols. 8–142r || fols. 142v-188v || fols. 189–204v
Extent: iii + 207 leaves
Dimensions (binding): 12.25 × 8.75 in.


Fols. 56v, 79: good marginal drawings in pen and with a hard point, saec. x/xi. Between these on fol. 79 is the inscription 'Wulfrid cild'. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 29)


White leather on wooden boards, rebacked, possibly contemporary with the supply of fols. 1-7 in the late 10th or early 11th century: see C. Clarkson, 'Further studies in Anglo-Saxon and Norman bookbinding: board attachment methods re-examined', in Roger Powell. The Compleat Binder, ed. John L. Sharpe (1996), 154-214 at 163-5, comparing, following Graham Pollard, the binding of MS. Auct. F. 1. 15.


Provenance and Acquisition

In England by the late 10th or early 11th century when fols. 1-7 were supplied in English Caroline minuscule. A Glastonbury provenance was suggested in the Summary Catalogue, based mainly on an inscription on the former spine (now preserved on the lower pastedown) read as ‘Liber Sc Dunsani’ and understood as referring to St Dunstan. Bruce Barker-Benfield (https://doi.org/10.1093/nq/40-4-431) argued that the correct reading was ‘Liber S' Ƿufsani’, identified as Wulfstan II of Worcester (d. 1095).

A Canterbury (Christ Church) provenance for the volume has been suggested with reference to St Dunstan and also on palaeographical grounds based on the script of fols. 1-7 and of annotations on fols. 133v, 134r (Summary Catalogue; T. A. M. Bishop, 'Notes on Cambridge Manuscripts VI', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 3/5 (1963), 412-423 at 415).

The manuscript was certainly at Worcester Cathedral by the early 11th century, when annotated by Wulfstan I, and probably remained there until there at least 1623, when recorded by Patrick Young.

Christopher, lord Hatton: borrowed by him from Worcester.

Sold after Hatton's death to the London bookseller Robert Scot; sold by him to the Bodleian Library in 1671

MS. Hatton 42 – Part A (fols. 1-142)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r-130r)
Collectio canonum Hibernensis (recensio B)
Incipit: In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti amen. Sinodorum explarium innumerositatem conspiciens
Explicit: . Deinde sub iudice flamme relinquatur
Final rubric: Finit. Amen. Ego ago gratias deo
Ed. F. W. H. Wasserschleben, Die irische Kanonensammlung, second edition (Leipzig, 1885; repr. Aalen, 1966); edition of Recension A only, with some variants from this codex (siglum „8‟).

This is the longer, 69-book version of the Hibernensis. The first quire of this part of the codex (fols 1r–7v) is by a later, English hand (s. x or x/xi) and 'looks like the beginning of an attempt to replace the old and bad text‟ (Ker, 'Handwriting', 328 n. 1).

Glosses to item 1 in Latin and Breton (six glosses), the latter printed by Whitley Stokes in Old Breton Glosses (Calcutta, 1879), pp. 2, 16, and Revue Celtique, iv (1879), pp. 328, 341; there is an Old English word on fol. 49 according to the Summary Catalogue.

Language(s): Latin, Old Breton, Old English (?)
2. (fols. 130r-132v)
Excerpta de libris Romanorum et Francorum (version A)
Incipit: Si quis homicidium ex contentione conmiscerit
Explicit: quod si iterum peccauerit, dominus canis quod comederit ille reddat
Ed. and trans. L. Bieler, The Irish penitentials, with an appendix by D. A. Binchy, Scriptores latini Hiberniae 5 (Dublin, 1963), 136–48; this codex collated as 'H'.

This text, which has been dated roughly to between 550 and 650, was formely known as the 'Canones Wallici'. It has been shown by Ludwig Bieler, however, that these 'excerpta' are neither canons in any strict sense, nor are they particularly Welsh in character (they are only later taken up into the Leges Wallici). Rather, they share a great deal in common with Frankish law, especially the Lex Salica from which they seem to borrow. See L. Bieler, 'Towards an interpretation of the co-called "Canones Wallici"', in Medieval studies presented to Aubrey Gwynn, S. J., eds J. A. Watt, J. B. Morrall and F. X. Martin (Dublin, 1961), 387–92.

3. (fols. 132v–133v)
Canones Adomnani
Incipit: Marina animalia ad litora delata
Explicit: adipem tamen et pelles in ussus uarios habebimus
Ed. and trans. Bieler, Irish penitentials, 176–181; this codex collated as „H‟.
4. (fols. 133v–134r)
Collectio canonum Hibernensis Book 66.2–3, 6 and Book 32.21
Incipit: De modis III quibus neglegitur scriptura
Explicit: nutriendus, quod Christus infirmus fuit
Ed. Wasserschleben, Irische Kanonensammlung, Book 66.2–3, 6 and Book 32.21.

The final sentence of 66.3―here taken from Gregory's Homiliae in evangelia (ed. Étaix, I, 6, p. 44), not his Regula pastoralis as in Wasserschleben's edition―finishes incompletely (at 'aut recte iuste') and, without break, picks up in 66.6 (at 'qui contempsit pręcepta dei'). Further, 66.6 does not end with a comment on the Egyptians―as in Wasserchleben―but with an account of Jeremiah‟s testing of the fidelity of the Rechabites (Jer. 35:1–19). Neither change is shared by the corresponding canons found elsewhere in this codex (fols 65r and 128v–129r) as integral parts of the Hibernensis B, with which there are many further small, but significant, differences in readings.

5. (fol.134r-v)
Unidentified computus of weights and measures
Incipit: Talentum DCCC\C/XLIIII unciæ uel XII \milia/ CCCC scripulas habet assis \ases/ XII .
Explicit: duo gramla [sic for granula] in unchia pollicis ut calculus, uel III ut alii [scil. dicunt]. Finit.
6. (fol. 134v)
Unidentified text on the Macedonian names for the months of the year.
Incipit: Macedones menses enumerant, et haec nomina eorum: Dios, Appollonius, Admisius deus [sic for Audunaius], Feritius, Ditrius, Paraticus, Antimesius, Disius, Paruemus, Laus, Scorpeus, Eperpentius. Et ita interpreta\n/tur Nouember, Decimber, Ianuarius, Februarius, Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, Ivlius, Augustus, Septemper, October
Explicit: Is, id est uir, Ra, id est uidens, Hel, id est deum.

Bede mentions these names, among others, in his De temporum ratione (ed. C. W. Jones, c. 14). The final sentence is an explanation of the Hebrew etymology of „Israhel‟. The etymology given („uir uidens deum‟) is common in the works of Jerome, and can be found, for example, in his Liber interpretationis hebraicorum nominum (ed. P. de Lagarde).

7. (fols. 134v-138r)
Gaii institutionum epitome (Book 1 (complete), from Alaric's Breviarium (or Lex romana Visigothorum))
Incipit: De libertatibus seruorum. Omnes homines aut liberos esse aut seruos
Explicit: Qui uero euersores aut insani sunt, omni tempore uitæ suae sub curatores esse iubentur, quam substantiam suam rationabiliter gubernare non possunt
Ed. G. Hänel, Lex romana Visigothorum (Leipzig, 1849; repr. Aalen, 1962), 314–22.
8. (fol. 138r–138v)
Table of consanguinity

Six columns: auctor; mei generis; mihi pater; ego illi; filius; aut filia. Twenty-one entries, grouped into five rows: ⟨de patribus⟩; de patruis; de amitis; de aunculis; de materteris.

Followed by text:

Incipit: Scemata dicuntur ramosculi quos aduocati faciunt in genere
Explicit: sicut aetatibus mundi generatio et status hominis finitur, ita propinquitas generis tot gradibus terminaretur
9. (fol. 138v)
Chapters on murder from Lex romana Burgundionum and Alaric's Breviarium (or Lex romana Visigothorum)
Lex romana Burgundionum
Incipit: Homicidam ingenuum tam seruum, si extra ecclesiam inuenitur, morte damnetur ^uel ⟨damn⟩ari^
Explicit: pro carpentario XL solidus inferantur
Ed. L. R. von Salis, Leges Burgundionum, MGH, Leges nationum germanicarum 2.1 (Hanover, 1892), Title 2.1–6, pp. 125–27
Lex romana Visigothorum
Incipit: Si quis ad principem [principipem a. corr.] confugerit
Explicit: quod si uoluntarię conuictus fuerit homicidium commissise, c\vm/ atali [sic for fatali] sententia feriatur
Ed. G. Hänel, Lex romana Visigothorum (Leipzig, 1849; repr. Aalen, 1962), Novellae Valentiniani, Title 3.1, interpretatio (versio Epit. Aeg.), p. 276.

The text has been written out by a very sloppy later hand (s. x or xi), and fills the remainder of 138v, most of which was left blank by the main scribe. The chapter from Alaric‟s Breviarium is from an abbreviated version (Epitome Aegidii) of an interpretatio to a Valentinian novel (cf. Codex Theodosianus, Novellae, 19.1.4, interpretatio). This novel is in fact referenced by one of the Lex romana Burgundionum excerpts (Title 2.2) in this item; this probably explains why the Breviarium chapter was added at the end.

10. (fol. 139r)
Tree of consanguinity

The tree has been drawn on its side, the text within it written vertically, and fills the whole page. The diagram reckons up to seven degrees (counting 'canonically').

11. (fols. 139v–142r)
Incipit: Partes orationis in rethoricha arte IIII sunt
Explicit: regulam de clericorum tunsura aecclesiastica
Final rubric: Finit hoc opusculum in dei nomine

A compendious 'opusculum' concerning miscellaneous topics, including rhetoric, legal history and philosophy, scripture, measurement, and various matters concerning the church. Chapters are excerpted from Cassiodorus' Expositio psalmorum, Isidore's Etymologiae, Sententiae and De ecclesiasticis officiis, Jerome's Commentarii in IV epistulas Paulinas, Gregory I's Homiliae in evangelia, as well as other works. I have not been able to identify the sources for some chapters. The last complete chapter is the Apostles‟ Creed (old Roman type, with each phrase attributed to an apostle). This is followed by a rubricated initial (used to introduce chapters) and the words 'Hanc itaque credentibus tenendam statuunt regulam de clericorum tunsura aecclesiastica', followed by the colophon. Since no where else has the 'opsuculum' touched on the subject of tonusre, it seems that this last is an incomplete chapter. An erased line (beginning 'si quis') follows the colophon.

12. (fol. 142r)
Penitential canons on marriage and abortion
Incipit: N(?) \I/eremias propheta dicit: si dimiserit uir uxorem suam
Explicit: mulier perdens partum, si post[sic] XL dies conceptionis, annum peniteat; si uero post, III annos peniteat.

A quotation of Jer. 3:1, followed by five canon‟s from PTHD.700; see R. Flechner, 'The Making of the Canons of Theodore', Peritia 17 (2003), 121–43, at pp. 131–32.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Three hands: A fols. 1-7 , B fols. 8r-24r, C fols. 24v-130. Fols. 1-7 are a later supply of the late 10th or early 11th century by a scribe identified by Bishop with the scribe of British Library Harl. MS. 110 and Royal MS. 15 B. XIX part i.

Musical Notation:

Pen-trials of German neums, fol. 39r (Hartzell, no. 266 (a))

Pen-trial of Breton neums, fol. 101v (Hartzell, no. 266 (b))

Incipits of propers for the Common of the Saints, partly noted (fols. 133v-134r) (Hartzell, no. 266 (c))


Simple pen initials. (Pächt and Alexander i. 419)


Origin: 9th century, first third (?) ; French, Brittany (Bischoff, no. 3798) ; addition, late 10th or early 11th century ; England

MS. Hatton 42 – Part B (fols. 142-188)


13. (fols 142v–188v)
Collectio canonum Dionysio-Hadriana
Incipit: Incipiunt ecclesiasticę regulę sanctorum apostolorum prolatę per Clementem ecclesiae romanæ pontificem
Explicit: Et subscripserunt IIII diaconi qui in eodem concilio conuenerunt
Ed. J. Wendelstinus ('Cochlaeus'), Canones apostolorum. Veterum conciliorum constitutiones. Decreta pontificum antiquiora. De primatu romanae ecclesiae. Ex tribus uetustissimus exemplaribus transcripta omnia ... (Mainz, 1525).


fols 142v–149v: Canones Apostolorum

fols 149v–55r: Nicaea (with prefaces and creed)

fols 155r–60r: Ancyra

fols 160r–62r: Neocaesarea

fols 162r–66r: Gangra (with prologue; PL 84, cols 111A–112D)

fols 167v–73v: Antioch (register of titles on fols 163v–64r, between the prologue and canons of Gangra)

fols 173v–78v: Laodicea (register on fols 166r–67v, between the prologue and canons of Gangra; titles for canons 1–10 repeated on fols 173v–75r)

fols 178v–80v: Constantinople (with creed)

fols 180v–86r: Chalcedon (no register)

fols 186r–88v: Rome (721) (Pope Gregory II's Anathemata), with subscriptions (PL 67, cols 343B–46B)

Only canons from Greek councils are given; the African and Sardican canons are wanting. No decretals are included.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Good coloured initials. (Pächt and Alexander i. 417, pl. CIV)


Origin: 9th century, first half (after part A) ; French, North (?) (Bischoff, no. 3798)

MS. Hatton 42 – part C (fols. 188v-204)


Ansegisus, Collectio capitularium

Book 1, with additions from Book 2.21, 33, 41, 45 (and 34: see below)

Incipit: Sunt enim aliqui qui culpis exigentibus
Explicit: Vt ecclesię antiquitus constitutę nec decimis nec alia ulla possessione priuentur
Ed. G. Schmitz, Die Kapitulariensammlung des Ansegis, MGH, Leges, capitularia regum Francorum ns 1 (Hanover, 1996), 444–516 and 561–63.

fols 189r–195v: Admonitio generalis (789)

fols 195v–200r: Capitulare ecclesiasticum (818/819)

fols 200v–201r: Capitulare missorum in Theodonis villa datum (primum et secundum) (805)

fols 201r–202r: Capitulare missorum Niumagae datum (806)

fols 202r–202v: Capitula excerpta de canone (806)

fols 202v–203r: Capitulare legibus additum (803)

fol. 203r: Capitulare missorum (803)

fols 203r–204r: Capitula ecclesiastica (810 x 813)

fol. 204v: Tours (813), Arles (813)

This text has been heavily annotated by Archbishop Wulfstan; the substance of his notes shows that he was comparing Ansegis‟s collection against a copy of Admonitio generalis (789). Ansegis's Coll.cap. 1.157 has been lengthened with material from Coll.cap. 2.21, and Coll.cap. 1.158 has been replaced by Coll.cap. 2.33. The final chapter of Book 1 (c. 162) is lacking. To the end of Book 1, on fol. 204v, have been added two more canons from Book 2, namely Coll.cap. 2. 41 and 45, concerning the obstinately criminous, and the privileges of ancient churches. A later hand (not Wulfstan's, but rather one that is found making many corrections elsewhere in this codex, especially to items 2 and 13) added 'ita ut nouis oratorii tribua\n/tur' to the last of these, thinking it to be from Coll.cap. 2.34 (identical to 2.45, but for the fact that it lacks these final five words). Another, non-professional hand (the same that wrote item 9) has added an additional chapter after this: 'Vt spontanea profesione reus r\e/um non fatiat, neque illi de atero [sic] credatur, qui se criminosum esse confesus est', the source of which is the interpretatio to Book 9, Title 1.11 of Lex romana Visigothorum, ed. G. Hänel, (Leipzig, 1849; repr. Aalen, 1962), 172, but (as in item 9.2) from the Epitome Aegidii version.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Simple pen initials. (Pächt and Alexander i. 420)


Origin: 9th century, first half (after part B) ; French, North (?) (Bischoff, no. 3798)

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description of contents by Michael D. Elliot, February 2012, reused with permission. Other aspects of the description adapted (Dec. 2021) from the Summary Catalogue and Pächt and Alexander, with additional reference to published literature as cited.


To ensure its preservation, access to this item is restricted, and readers are asked to work from reproductions and published descriptions as far as possible. If you wish to apply to see the original, please click the request button above. When your request is received, you will be asked to contact the relevant curator outlining the subject of your research, the importance of this item to that research, and the resources you have already consulted.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image of binding from 35mm slides)


    Printed descriptions:

    Gneuss, Helmut, and Michael Lapidge. Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 241. Toronto, 2014 (no. 629)
    Hartzell, K. D. Catalogue of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1200 Containing Music. Woodbridge: Boydell Press in association with the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society, 2006 (no. 266)
    Bischoff, Bernhard. Katalog Der Festländischen Handschriften Des Neunten Jahrhunderts (Mit Ausnahme Der Wisigotischen), Teil 2, Laon-Paderborn. Bayerische Akademie Der Wissenschaften, Veröffentlichungen Der Kommission Für Die Herausgabe Der Mittelalterlichen Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands Und Der Schweiz. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2004 (no.3798)
    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 6: Fragments - Office Books, Rituals, Directories (typescript, 1957), p. 352

    Online resources:

Last Substantive Revision

2021-12: Matthew Holford: revised from Michael Elliot's description of contents and other published accounts; ms. not seen.