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

MS. Lat. liturg. e. 18

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


Manual for the provost of the Cistercian nunnery of St. Mary and St. Maurice, Medingen
(fol. i ra-i vb)

Fragment of a collectar, containing versicles and collects for the 15th to 22nd Saturdays and Sundays after Pentecost.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 1va-70va)
Rubric: Liber ordinarius

Written for the Cistercian nunnery of Medingen, following the use of Verden, with some prayers of Cistercian use (fol. 11 and 24. Cf. also fol. 29). There are vernacular refrains to several hymns (fol. 49v, 52v, 56v, 57v). At fols. 36v, 37 and 46 are figures illustrating the rubrics.

Language(s): Latin and Middle Low German
(fols. 73va-111vb)
Ritual for the Last Sacraments

Including burial service, fol. 82v, office of the dead, fol. 92v.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 112r-114r)
Rubric: Statuta et consuetudines fratrum et sororum in curia claustri Medingen
Language(s): Middle Low German
(fols. 114v-116r)
Rubric: Ordo in oblacione puellarum
Language(s): Latin

Fols. 116v-119 blank.

Text edited by Hascher-Burger and Lähnemann, pp. 195–374.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: deinde dominus
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 120 leaves (fol. i an integral part of the first quire), with one modern paper leaf, fol. ii, inserted between fols. i and 1, foliated i-ii, 1–119
Dimensions (leaf): 205 × 160 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 115–25 mm.


Collation is complex, because the current volume was produced by extensive alterations, involving the replacement of many leaves, to an earlier volume of seventeen quires (whose numbering partly survives). See below, provenance, and for a full reconstruction with diagrams see Hascher-Burger and Lähnemann, esp. pp. 159–171.
  • 1(14–3) (lacking 3 leaves before fol. i; fols. 1 and 6 are singletons; fol. 2 is a half-leaf; the final leaf (after fol. 9) is part of the binding) (fols. i, 1–9)
  • 2(14–1) (lacking a leaf after fol. 18 and a leaf after fol. 19; fols. 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 are singletons) (fols. 10–21, incorporating leaves from the original quires .x. and .xj.)
  • 3(8) (fols. 22–29)
  • 4(10) (fols. 30–39, original quire .xij.)
  • 5(10) (fols. 40–49; fols. 40–42 and 47–49 are singletons; the quire was created from the original quire .xiij. by replacing the final three leaves of the quire)
  • 6(8) (fols. 50- 57)
  • 7(10) (fols. 58–67)
  • 8(8) (fols. 68–75; fols. 68–70 and 73–75 are singletons, with 73–5 originally comprising the final three leaves of quire .xiij.)
  • 9(10+1) (with an added half-leaf, fol. 82, pasted on to fol. 81) (fols. 76–86; the original quire .xiiij. with an added leaf)
  • 10(10) (fols. 87–96, original quire .xv.)
  • 11(10) (fols. 97–106, original quire .xvj.)
  • 12(14)(14 canc.) (fols. fols. 107–119; originally a quire of 10 (quire .xvij.), with fols. 112–115 a later insertion)


Mostly 2 cols., 17 lines or six long lines and 6 staves of four lines


Three hands. Hand A, the hand of the original codex, textualis, fols. i r-v, 3r-4v, 6r-7v, 13r-v, 15r-16v, 30r-46v, 53r-54v, 73r-81v, 83r-111v.

Hand B, revisions to the original codex on added or replacement leaves, textualis, fols. 1r-2v, 5r-v, 8r-12v, 14r-v, 17r-29v, 47r-52v, 55r-72v, 82r-v, 114v-116r.

Hand C, bastarda, revisions to the original codex on added or replacement leaves, bastarda, fols. 112r-114r.

Musical Notation:

gothic notation, usually on staves of four black lines but at the end of pieces and for shorter phrases without staves.


Fleuronnée initials. (Pächt and Alexander i. list p. 72)

Three marginal drawings depict the pressing of beads of incense into the wax of the Easter candle (fol. 36v: for the rubric ‘hic pone incensum’); the lighting (fol. 37r) of the candle, and the blessing of the font by blowing on it in three consecutive movements (suffla in fontem ad hanc figuram).

one historiated red and blue puzzle initial: initial 'C'[um rex], with the Harrowing of Hell, in coloured inks and light washes (fol. 47v)

Puzzle initials in red and blue, with red and blue penwork (fols. 12r, 31v, etc.), or just blue penwork (fols. 1v), other initials in red with blue penwork, or vice versa; or plain red or blue.


Original binding (after 1484). Sewn on five double cords laced into oak(?) boards, fixed with square wood pegs, covered with brown leather blind-tooled with a variety of circular, lozenge, and rectangular stamps, including several sizes of rosette, and the names 'ihesus' (EBDB s008472) and 'maria' (EBDB s008497), with metal clasps (fastening from the lower to the upper board; one of the openwork catchplates missing) and corner-pieces; much of the spine-leather decayed.


Origin: 1467 × 1494 (c. 1478–9 (?)) ; German, Medingen, Cistercian nunnery

Provenance and Acquisition

Produced at Medingen in association with the reform of the convent, from 1479, under provost Tilemann von Bavenstedt (1467–94). Its origin is reconstructed as follows by Hascher-Burger and Lähnemann (esp. p. 126): in the 1470s a manual, based on the use of the diocese of Verden, and containing a collectar, blessings, and a ritual was written at Medingen for Bavenstedt. Soon after its creation it was revised by two hands, for the provost's use, in association with the reform of the convent: one hand was responsible for the statutes on fols. 112r-114r, the second, for other extensive alterations involving the addition, replacement and movement of leaves (ibid., pp. 126–73). The manuscript was used by Bavenstedt and after his death in 1494 came into the possession of the nunnery.

The Cisterican nunnery of St. Mary and St. Maurice, Medingen: ‘Ordinarius ecclesie sancte Marie uirginis et sancti Mauricii in Meding'’ (fol. 1r).

At Medingen until the second half of 18th century: seen there by Johann Lyßmann before 1769 (Hascher-Burger and Lähnemann, p. 184)

Edward Hailstone, of Walton Hall, Wakefield, Yorkshire (see DNB; his arms on the upper cover).

His sale at Sotheby's, 23 April 1891 and seven following days, lot 2075, bought by 'Butt' (auctioneer's scribal error for 'Bull'?), for £10 5s.

H. A. Wilson.

Bequeathed by him to the Bodleian, 1927.

Record Sources

Typescript description by Bodleian library staff, revised by Peter Kidd, late 1990s; further revised (contents, date, collation, provenance, binding) March 2019 with reference to Hascher-Burger and Lähnemann (2013).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2019-03: Revised with reference to Hascher-Burger and Lähnemann (2013)