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

MS. Lat. liturg. f. 23

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


Breviary (portable breviary), Use of Besançon (?)
Language(s): Latin

Calendar, in brown and red, most feasts graded with iii or ix lessons, or as duplex; duplex feasts in red include the dedication of St. Peter's, Joinville (21 Apr.); the dedication of St. John's, Besançon (5 May); Ferreolus and Ferrutio, principal patrons of Besançon (16 June); 'Nota quod dominica proxima ante festum sancti martini [10 Nov.] semper celebratur invencio sanctorum epyphani et ysidori', whose relics were at Besançon; and duplex feasts in brown include the invention of Ferreolus and Ferrutio (5 Sept.); Epiphanius and Isidorus (4 Aug.); and the dedication of St. Stephen's, Besançon (3 Oct.); the translation of Ferreolus and Ferrutio also appears, a nine-lesson feast (30 May).

Language(s): Latin
(fol.i) (fol.66)

Ferial psalter

Language(s): Latin

Te deum, Benedicite, Benedictus, and magnificat.

Language(s): Latin

Litany and collects: the Litany including Benignus, Ferreolus, Ferrutio, Antidius (Bishop of Besançon) (2–5) among 21 martyrs; and Walbert last among 14 confessors.

Language(s): Latin

General rubrics in the form of thirty five regulae

Incipit: Prima regula est quod adventus domini celebratur ubicumque dominica dies uenerit
Language(s): Latin

Office of Our Lady from Advent to Christmas, fol. 75r-v is ruled, otehrwise blank.

Language(s): Latin

Temporale, winter part, from Advent to Holy Saturday

Language(s): Latin

Sanctorale, from the feast of St. Andrew (30th Nov.) to the Annunciation (25th March)

Language(s): Latin

Temporale, summer part, from the vespers of Holy Saturday to the end

Language(s): Latin

Sanctorale, from the feast of St. Ambrose (4 April) to that of St. Linus (26 Nov.); including the feasts of the dedication of the church 'sancte matris' of Besançon, with octave (from fol. 243r); the translation of Ferreolus and Ferrutio (from fol. 247r); etc.; fol. 362v ruled, otherwise blank.

Language(s): Latin

Common of the saints; fols. 377r-378v ruled, otherwise originally blank.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (calendar)Martius habet
Secundo Folio: (text)tribulacionem.
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: vii + 376 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 155 × 110 mm.
Dimensions (written): 100 × 70–5 mm.


1(6), 2(8), 3(8), 4(10)(2 canc.)(or 8+1)(eighth leaf an inserted half-leaf, fol. 24), 5(8)–30(8), 31(12) (1, 3, 4, 8, 11 canc.), 32(8) (wants 1), 33(8)–44(8), 45(8) (wants 7 and 8), 46(10) (wants 1), 47(8), 48(8), catchwords present in most quires, becoming significantly smaller and lower from quire XXVIII onward (i.e. fol. 220v), but reverting to the former style with the change of script in the final two quires occasional traces of leaf signatures


Ruled in red ink, with 32 lines in two columns, the top pair and bottom pair ruled the full width of the page; the columns with single bounding lines extending the full height of the page. 31 lines of text.


Written in a small neat rather cursive gothic hand, by probably two scribes: the script becomes dramatically slanted in the second half of the volume, and it is very probable that a second scribe started at about quire XXVII (the second style of catchwords are present from quire XXVIII), at first emulating the first scribe closely, and then becoming progressively less like him; the first scribe is also responsible for the final two quires, containing the Common of saints. The first (or a third) scribe also appears to have (re-?)written the central bifolium of one of the second scribe's quires (fols. 246–247).


Headings in red, capitals touched with yellow.

Five-line 'puzzle' initials in red and blue at the start of Psalm 1 (fol. 1r) and the first lesson of Christmas Day (fol. 92r).

Similar 'puzzle' initials to the divisions of the Psalms, the first three three-line, the remainder four-line (fols. 10r, 16r, 22r, 28r, 35r, 41v, 49r).

One-, two- or three- or four-line initials alternately in plain red or blue; simple line-fillers in the Litany.


Sewn on four bands and tightly bound in rigid pasteboards (presumably replacing wood boards), covered with original French blind-stamped calf; traces of two clasps at the fore-edge of the upper board, with corresponding holes in the middle of lower board and pastedown; rebacked and repaired; the spine with an 18th(?)-cent. paper label inscribed 'Brev[i]a[ri]um Romanum | Man[u] Sc[r]iptum anno 1423'. The lower pastedown has an offset of an inscription of fol. i recto, and fol. i has worm holes, and a hole caused by the clasp-fitting, matching those in the lower pastedown, suggesting that fol. i was formerly at the back of the volume.


Origin: 15th century, last quarter ; French, Besançon (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Saints in the calendar, litany, sanctorale, and later owners, demonstrate that the book was made for use in Besançon.

In the calendar are the dedications ‘s. Petri Iunceville’ (Joinville, 22nd April), ‘s. Johannis Bis[untiae]’ (5 May), and ‘s. Stephani Bis[untiae]’ (3 Oct.).

'Anthonius Bercin canonicus Bisuntinus est huius libri dominus' (fol. i), 'Idem dono dedit Antonio Monrivello quarta mensis maij anno xvc xx iij' (fol. i), 'Monrivellus canonicus Bisuntinus' (fol. 376v)

'I.F.W.' booklabel printed in large type

Unidentified bookseller, perhaps Thorpe: the top right corner of the upper pastedown inscribed in pencil with a bookseller's price-code.

Bought by the Bodleian, 1931.

Record Sources

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


    Printed descriptions:

    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 2: Office Books (typescript, 1957), p. 292

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.