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

MS. Holkham misc. 1

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

Bible; England, 13th century, second quarter (?)


Language(s): Latin


With 'modern' chapter divisions

The text is glossed throughout, heavily in some places, occupying, for example, almost the whole of fol. 1v; fol. 1r is blank. Numbers in round brackets preceded by 'S.' refer to the numbers of prefaces as in Stegmüller, Repertorium.

2. (fols. 2r-3v)

General prologues

(S. 284, 285)
3. (fol. 3v)
Versified summary of the books of the Bible (18 lines long)
Incipit: In hoc quinque libri retinentur codici moysi

Cf. MGH Poetae Latini I, 287, and III, 326.

4. (fols. 3v-5r)
Patristic extracts on the creation,

mainly from Augustine, Isidore, Gregory, and Bede

Incipit: Augustinus super genesim. Cum diuinos libros legimus in tanta multitudine uerorum intellectuum
5. (fols. 5v-111r)

Genesis - Deuteronomy


(S. 311)


(S. 314 in margin)


I-II Samuel

(S. 323)

I-II Kings

I-II Chronicles

(S. 328, 327), without the Prayer of Manasses at the end


(S. 330)



(S. 332)


(S. 335)


(S. 341+343)
6. (fols. 111r-155v)


(preceded by S. 344, 349; followed by S. 350)


with the ten-part divisions


(S. 457)


Song of Songs



('Multorum nobis ...' treated as a prologue), followed by the Prayer of Solomon
7. (fols. 155v-205v)

Major prophets

Isaiah (S. 482); Jeremiah (S. 487); Lamentations (starting 'Et factum est postquam ...'), followed by an explanation of the Hebrew letters ('Post interpretacionem elementorum intelligencie ordus dicendus est. Aleph. Beth. ...'); Baruch (S. 491); Ezekiel (S. 492); Daniel (S. 494).

8. (fols. 205v-216v)

Minor prophets

General prologue (S. 500); Hosea; Joel (S. 510); Amos (S. 512); Obadiah (S. 516); Jonah (S. 522); Micah (S. 525); Nahum (S. 527); Habakkuk (S. 529); Zephaniah (S. 532); Haggai (S. 535); Zechariah (S. 540); Malachi (S. 544).

9. (fols. 216v-233r)

I-II Maccabees

(S. 551)
10. (fols. 233r-272r)


Matthew (S. 595, 590/591; with 589 added in the lower margin); Mark (S. 607); Luke (S. 620); John (S. 624)

11. (fols. 272r-296v)

Pauline epistles

Romans (S. 669, divided at 'Epistolam sane ...'; followed by a series of eight short prefaces: 'Romani namque pleriquetam infirmi erant ...', 'Corinthiis ...', 'Galathe ...', 'Ephesii ...', 'Phillippenses ...', 'Thessalonicenses ...', 'Colosenses ...', 'Hebreis ...'; and S. 674, 677); I Corinthians (S. 685); II Corinthians (S. 699/700); Galatians (S. 707); Ephesians (S. 715); Philippians (S. 728); Colossians (S. 736); I Thessalonians (S. 747); II Thessalonians (S. 752); I Timothy (S. 765); II Timothy (S. 772); Titus (S. 780); Philemon (S. 783/784); Hebrews (S. 793/794).

12. (fols. 296v-307r)


(S. 640) .
13. (fols. 307r-312r)

Canonical epistles

General preface (S. 809); James (S. 807, 806); I-II Peter; I-III John; Jude.

14. (fols. 312r-317r)


(S. 834)
15. (fols. 317r-318r)
Verses (collection, mostly mnemonic, on the ten plagues, the seven mortal sins, the seven sacraments, the twelve articles of faith, the genaeology of Anne, etc.; the first consisting of didactic hexameters)
Incipit: Sit tibi potus aqua. cibus arida. aspera uestis

Also found in BL, Royal MS. 13 A.xiii, fol. 128r; see Warner and Gilson, Royal and Kings cat..

16. (fols. 318r-336v)
Classical and patristic extracts (an anthology of short extracts in verse and prose)

Arranged alphabetically by subject: from 'De amicitia uera uel falsa' to 'De uictoria', interrupted after the extract 'De constancia et inconstancia' by inserted leaves (fols. 320r-323r; fol. 323v blank) with extracts from 'De concordia uel discordia' to 'De nobilitate', and followed by a few extracts on subjects from 'De correptione uel correcione'(?) to one on 'diuicie'.

17. (fol. 337r-v)
Classical and patristic extracts (longer extracts)
Incipit: Virginitas priuiligiata est. cuius prerogatiuam
Incipit: Hec dicenda sunt ab agente in extremis. Suscipe me deus
Incipit: Hec sunt de quibus inquisicio facienda est
18. (fols. 337v-340v)
Robert Grosseteste, Sermon 15 (added by another scribe)
Incipit: Quoniam cogitacio hominis confitebitur tibi confitendum est
Explicit: et confitendi potenciam

For other MSS. see S. Harrison Thomson, The writings of Robert Grossesteste, bishop of Lincoln, 1235–1253 (Cambridge, 1940), 172.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: menta surgentes(fol. 3r, text)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment, rather poor quality, with very marked hair-flesh differences in many places.
Extent: iii (paper) + 340 + iii (paper) leaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 295 × 195 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 185–200 × 125–130 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i-iii, 1–343.


Mainly in quires of 12 leaves: I12+1 (first leaf added) (fols. 1–13), II-XXVI12 (fols. 14–313), XXVII12+4 (two bifolia added in the centre of the quire, fols. 320–323) (fols. 314–329), XXVIII12–1 (12th leaf cancelled) (fols. 330–340); catchwords occur throughout, in the first five quires they are very low and in ink by the main scribe, a second set has been added throughout the volume, higher up and in leadpoint or 'crayon', apparently still within the 13th century, suggesting an early re-binding.


Ruled in leadpoint (often becoming a brown 'crayon' colour), with 54–57 lines in two columns, the top and bottom lines extending the full width of the page (except after fol. 98, where an extra line has been ruled above the top line of writing, so that the 'top' line is thereafter the second line); with single vertical lines bounding each column and extending the full height of the page; further lines in the margins, e.g. to guide the running-titles.


Written in competant gothic script, apparently by three or more scribes; apparently written above top line throughout (except for the added Text 17), but then re-ruled with an extra top horizontal line, from fol. 98 onwards, effectively moving the first line of writing 'below top line'.


Headings in plain brown ink in larger script, crossed through in red.

Large red and blue 'puzzle' initials with red and blue penwork at the beginnings of books and prologues, not particularly well-executed; smaller initials alternately red with blue penwork or vice versa; one-line initials, letters of running-headers, numerals of chapters, etc., alternately red or blue; paraphs alternately in red or blue.


Standard Holkham binding. Sewing not visible, but apparently modern; bound in typical Holkham style in black straight-grained morocco over pasteboards, the upper cover stamped in gilt with the crest of the Earls of Leicester; gilt turn-ins; the spine lettered in gilt 'BIBLIA | SACRA' at the top, and 'MS. | SÆC. XII' at the bottom; the bottom edge of fols. 1–2 have rust-stains apparently from a chain-staple.


Origin: English ; 13th century, second quarter (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Written presumably in England (but the parchment is not unlike that from southern Europe) towards the middle of the 13th century, when the transition from 'above top line' to 'below top line' was occurring.

Annotated and glossed extensively within a short time of the writing, and perhaps rebound within the 13th century (see under Collation).

Perhaps in a chained library at some date (see under Binding).

Holkham Hall; formerly Norfolk, Holkham Hall, MS. 8; No. 8 in de Ricci's handlist: inscribed in pencil 'Holk Cat No. 8' (fol. ii recto).

Record Sources

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

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.