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

MS. Lat. liturg. d. 38

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

Secular psalter with antiphons


Language(s): Latin

(fols. ii recto–vii verso)

January missing, laid out one month per page, written in red and black, not graded. Contains saints venerated in Würzburg: obit of Richard in red (2 February, father of Walburga (?)), Burkard, bishop of Würzburg in red (14 October), Walburga (1 May in red and 25 February in black), Kylian (8 July in black with octave in red) and Gumbert in red (15 July). ‘Dedicatio huius ecclesie’ is on 21 September and ‘Recordatio fratrum’ is, as in St Kylian’s Cathedral, on 11 October. Benedict is in red on 21 March. The months are headed by verses on the ‘Egyptian’ days, which are similar though not identical to Hennig’s (1955) set I, and notes on the length of the solar and lunar month. Additions include Germanus of Auxerre (31 July) in a 12th-century hand (?), and Gallus (16 October, over an erasure), Elizabeth of Hungary (19 November), Catherine (15 November), the Conception of the Virgin Mary (8 December) and Thomas Becket (29 December) in 15th-century hands.

(fols. 1r–112v)
Psalms 1–150 in the biblical order

Written as prose, without numbers, with titles ‘Psalmus David’. Occasionally longer titles are used which do not correspond to any of Salmon’s series (1959), e.g. ‘Oratio pauperis cum anxius fuerit ad dominum’ (psalm 101, fol. 75r). Punctuated throughout with punctus, placed at medium height, used to mark the ends of verses, and punctus or punctus elevatus used to mark metrum and minor pauses. There are textual divisions at psalms appointed to be recited first at Matins (26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97) and Vespers (109, 114, 121, 126, 131, 137, 143) during the week in the secular use, and at the beginning of the ‘three fifties’ (51 and 101). The remains of slit-and-tab markers at textual divisions. Subdivisions within psalms are not indicated, apart from psalm 118, subdivided into eleven 16-line units (much of it is a later replacement). Psalms are accompanied by antiphons, versicles, responses, lections, prayers, hymns, etc. with rubrics referring to secular use.

(fol. 66r–v)

Added leaf, containing antiphons of Lauds for offices during the week (Friday and Saturday on fol. 66v) with music, in a 15th-century hand (the text on the recto is erased; the last word on the recto appears to be ‘Dominus’, the beginning of the first antiphon on the verso ‘… iudicabit fines terre’).

(fols. 91r–96v)

Added leaves, containing psalm 118 from verse 25 onwards in a 15th-century hand replacing the original text. Athanasian Creed (Quicumque uult …) is written out on fols. 91r–92r after 118.17.

(fols. 109v–110v)

Weekly canticles Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, Pater noster and the Apostles’ Creed (Credo in deum …).

(fols. 112v–118r)
Weekly canticles with titles,

each followed by antiphons, with further antiphons added in the margins in 15th-century hands.

(fol. 112v)
Rubric: Canticum ysaie prophete
Incipit: Confitebor tibi domine
Isaiah 12
(fols. 112v–113v)
Rubric: Canticum ezechie
Incipit: Ego dixi
Isaiah 38.10–21
(fols. 113v–114r)
Rubric: Canticum anne
Incipit: Exultauit cor meum
1 Samuel 2: 1–11
(fols. 114r–115r)
Rubric: Canticum moysi
Incipit: Cantemus domino
Exodus 15: 1–20
(fols. 115r–116r)
Rubric: Canticum abacuc
Incipit: Domine audiui
Habakkuk 3
(fols. 116r–118r)
Rubric: Canticum moysi
Incipit: Audite celi
Deuteronomy 32.1–44
(fols. 118r–120r)
Daily canticles, prayers and creeds, with titles
(fol. 118r–118v)
Rubric: Ymnus trium puerorum
Incipit: Benedicite omnia opera
(fol. 118v–119r)
Rubric: Canticum sancti zacharie patris sancti iohannis baptiste prophete
Incipit: Benedictus dominus deus
(fol. 119r–120r)
Rubric: Ymnus sanctorum ambrosii et augustini
Incipit: Te deum laudamus
(fols. 120r–124v)
Office of the Dead
Rubric: Incipiunt Vigilie Defunctorum

With responsories corresponding to nos. 14, 72, 24, 32, 57, 68, 28, 82, 38 in Ottosen (1993), found in one other source (MS. Canon. Liturg. 297) said by Ottosen to be from the Benedictine Abbey of St Felicity, Münsterschwarzach, Bavaria, about 30 kilometres east of Würzburg. The readings in the office, however, match Würzburg, rather than the Abbey of St Felicity (Ottosen, 1993, p. 356). Fol. 124r contains an added collect in a contemporary hand, initial not filled in: ‘[D]a nobis quesumus domine ut animam famuli tui et sacerdotis Cvonradi quam de huius seculi eduxisti laborioso certamine …’.

(fols. 124v–125v)
Incipit: Ego dixi domine miserere mei. Sana animam meam quia peccaui tibi
Explicit: Et clamor meus ad te ueniat

Followed by collects Exaudi quesumus domine supplicum preces et confitentium tibi parce peccatis ut pariter nobis indulgentiam tribuas benignus et pacem (rubric ‘Collecta pro Paccatis’) and Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui uiuorum dominaris simul et mortuorum (rubric ‘Collecta Generalis’).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (text, fol. 1r) errant corde
Secundo Folio: (fol. 2r) et pereatis
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (original? parchment) + 132 + i (original? parchment)
Dimensions (leaf): 285 × 205 mm.
Dimensions (written): 215 × 125 mm.
Foliation: Modern, in pencil, i–vii + 1–25 + 26a + 26b + 27–126.


Collation by Peter Kidd: 1(6), 2(8) (1 missing, 2 & 7 separate leaves on a guard, 1 & 8 on a guard) 3 (10) (3 canc.), 4(8) – 7(8), 8(10) (3, 6 canc.), 9(8), 10(12) (4 & 9 added; 3, 8, 9 canc.), 11(10) (4, 8 canc.), 12 (10) (3, 7 canc.), 13(10) (3–8 added, 4, 5, 8–10 canc.) 14(14) (4–6, 9–11 added, 1–3, 9–11 canc.), 15(8)–17(8)

Collation by Elizabeth Solopova: (fol. i) singleton, originally a pastedown | (fols. ii–vii) I (8−2) missing 1 and 8 (?) | (fols. 1–7) II (8−1) missing 1, fols. 1, 6 and 7 are singletons | (fols. 8–16) III (10−1) missing 3, no loss of text | (fols. 17–47) IV–VII (8) | (fols. 48–55) VIII (8) fols. 50 and 53 are singletons, no loss of text | (fols. 56–63) IX (8) | (fols. 64–72) X (8+1) fol. 66 is an added leaf; fols. 67 and 70 are singletons | (fols. 73–80) XI (8) fols. 75 and 78 are singletons | (fols. 81–88) XII (8) fols. 83 and 86 are singletons | (fols. 89–93) XIII all singletons, two original leaves (fols. 89–90) and three added single leaves (fols. 91–93) | (fols. 94–101) XIV original bifolium (fols. 97–98), three original single leaves (fol. 99) and three added single leaves (fols. 94–96) | (fols. 102–125) XV–XVII (8) | (fol. 126) singleton, originally a pastedown.


23 long lines, ruled in plummet; written above the top line. 213 × 125–130 mm.


Formal protogothic book hands, black and brown ink; smaller script used for antiphons, etc.; the work of several scribes.

Musical Notation:

Neums are added in a contemporary hand at fols. 49r, 55v, 61r, etc. Cues of the antiphons with music (Gothic notation on staves of four or five black lines) are added in the margins in a late 14th-century hand (fols. 1r, 8v, 12v, 15r, 20r, 27v, over erasure, etc.); further antiphons are added in a 15th-century hand (fols. 3v, 4r, 18v, 20r, 27v, etc.).


Fine historiated and other initials (damaged). (Pächt and Alexander i. 77, pl. VI) A large initial at the beginning of the psalter, and smaller ones to begin each day, some with human figures, in gold, red, brown, green and blue.

  • (fol. 1r) Ps. 1, initial B(eatus): Pink initial, occupying two thirds of the page, on gold and brown background, with King David (?), seated, holding psaltery (?) (badly rubbed). The opening lines of the psalm are written in alternating red and green capitals.
  • (fol. 8r) Romans 1, initial P(aulus): 3-line gold initial with a bust of St Paul holding a book.
  • (fol. 19v) Ps. 26, initial D(ominus): 4-line initial with a half-figure of a Benedictine nun (?) looking up at Christ, blessing.

4- to 7-line gold initials, decorated with coiled tendrils and zoomorphic designs, on green and blue background at the beginnings of psalms 38 (fol. 29r), 51 (fol. 37v), 52 (fol. 39r), 68 (fol. 49r), 80 (fol. 61v), 97 (fol. 74r), 101 (fol. 75v), 109 (fol. 86r), 114 (fol. 88v), 121 (98r), 126 (fol. 99v), 131 (fol. 100v), 137 (fol. 103v), 143 (fol. 107r) and of the Office of the Dead (fol. 120r). The opening words of psalms 101 and 109 are written in alternating red and green capitals.

Red KL monographs with simple penwork in the calendar.

2- to 3-line red initials, plain, or decorated with simple penwork, at the beginnings of psalms, canticles, prayers, etc.

1-line plain red initials at the beginnings of verses and periods.

rubrics in red ink, partly in rustic capitals.


German, 12th century (?). Sewn on three split alum-tawed bands, laced into oak boards with rounded edges covered with off-white leather, as visible on turn-ins, later stained brown. Indentations left by the fittings of five bosses in the corners and at the centre on both covers, and perhaps also a chain-staple. Fragments of the fittings of two clasps; evidence of an earlier double strip and pin fastening. Three sewing stations on each of the boards are currently filled with double strings (later replacement). The front board has tunnels containing strips of tawed leather for attaching endbands on the fore-edge, indicating reversal and reuse. A pattern of three squares cut into the upper board is for a game such as Mühle (‘Nine Men’s Morris’). Rebacked in the Bodleian with the original spine relaid. Three raised bands on spine. Parchment pastedowns (lifted) made from a 12th-century manuscript.


Origin: 12th century, middle ; German, made for a collegiate church in or near Würzburg. The calendar and the dedication date of the church are different from Würzburg Cathedral and Stift Haug, Würzburg (26 June); see Bünz (1998), pp. 275–95.

Provenance and Acquisition

Prayer for the soul of Cunradus, a priest (fol. 124r)

21 Sept. 'Dedicatio huius ecclesie' (fol. v verso), 11 Oct. 'Recordatio fratrum' (fol. vi, as at St. Kilian, Wurzburg); pastedowns from an obituary of Stift Haug, Würzburg, 12th century

Fragment of a paper label at the head of the spine, documented as formerly reading ‘72’ (18th/19th century).

Sold by James Tregaskis and Son: Caxton Head Catalogue 846 (November 1921), no. 169 (p. 37).

Given to the Bodleian by F. E. Norris, 1952.

(binding fragments)


Language(s): Latin

(fols. i and 126)

For 7–12 January and 28 September–3 October; with many 13th- and 14th- century additions, including obits and records of properties, such as vineyards, some with notes of vine yields.


Origin: 12th century, late ; German, from a monastery near Würzburg

Additional Information

Record Sources

Typescript description by Bodleian Library staff; revised by Peter Kidd, late 1990s; new description by Elizabeth Solopova, Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue (Oxford, 2013), pp. 421–4; revised by Andrew Dunning (December 2020).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2020-12-11: Andrew Dunning Revised with consultation of original.