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

MS. Selden Supra 27

Summary Catalogue no.: 3415

Sequentiary and Proser, Troper, in Latin (with a few added words in German); south-east Germany (?Heidenheim), 10th century, second half or 11th century, first half


Language(s): Latin

(fol. ir–v)

Inserted notes signed and dated by ‘H.M.Bannister | Sep. 3. [18]98’, with initialled addenda and corrigenda by him dated August 1901 and September 1918.

(fol. 1r)

Added (13th century) verses for the procession of the Holy Innocents (cf. fol. 88v).

(fols. 1v-59v)

Sequentiary and Proser

The proses with the notation of the Alleluia sequences in the outer margins, mostly also with added interlinear neums.

(fols. 1v–2v)

Introductory letter of Notker Balbulus (imperfect at the end)

Rubric: (very faded) Incipit pro[ … ]
Incipit: Summę sanctitatis merito summi sacerdotii sublimato
Explicit: ego pudore retractus||
(fols. 3r-35r)

Temporale, from Christmas to the octave of Pentecost

Incipit: Natus ante secula dei filius inuisibilis interminus
Explicit: Sanctissime spiritus patris filiique

Including saints’ feasts in Christmastide, from St Stephen, and as late as St Agnes (26 Dec. – 21 Jan.); and with St Walburga (fols. 29r–30r), without notation, between the octave of Easter and Ascension.

(fols. 35v–54r)

Sanctorale, from St John the Baptist to St Winibald (24 June – 18 Dec.)

Rubric: In natalis sancti Iohannis. Iustus in palma
Incipit: Sancti baptiste Christi preconis
Explicit: benedicte ueni patris mei ac perenne posside regnum

Including St Willibald (fols. 37r–38v) and Winibald (fols. 53r–54r). The dedication of a church (fols. 47v–48v) is between the feasts of St Gall (16 Oct.) and All Saints (1 Nov.).

(fol. 54r–59r)

Common of saints

Rubric: In natale apostolorum
Incipit: Clare sanctorum senatus apostolorum princeps orbis terrarum
Explicit: ut saltim post facinora surgamus
(fol. 59r–v)

The Trinity

Rubric: De sancta trinitate
Incipit: Benedicta semper sancta trinitas
Explicit: (rewritten over erasure) modulemur organica cantica dulci melodia

Without marginal notation, and the added interlinear neumes in a more grey ink than the brown neumes added elsewhere.

(fols. 60r-90v)

Proper Tropes, mostly for introit and communion, with interlinear neumes.

(fols. 60r–72)

Temporale, from Christmas Eve to Pentecost (lacking the first leaf).

(fols. 72v–77v)

Sanctorale, from John the Baptist to Martin (24 June – 11 Nov.)

(fols. 77v–78r)

The Dedication of a church

(fols. 78r–80r)

Common of the saints. Many Saints is followed by St Gall, referring to him as ‘sanctissimi patroni nostri Galli’.

(fols. 80r–82r)

Alleluia prosula for St Willibald, Easter, and Sundays

(fols. 82r–90v)

Tropes for the Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie (fols. 82r–84v), Gloria (fols. 84v–89r), Sanctus (fols. 89r–90r) and Agnus dei (fol. 90r–v).

12th- & 13th-century additions:

(fol. 88v)

Holy Innocents (cf. fol. 1r)

(fols. 90v–91r)

St Bartholomew

(fol. 91v)

St John the Evangelist

(fol. 92r)

Ite missa est

There are occasional marginal variant readings and glosses in Latin and (apparently, fol. 58r) German, and a note in German on fol. 46v (see Provenance).

Language(s): Latin and Middle High German

The textual and musical contents of the volume are described and analysed in much greater detail in the introduction to a published facsimile: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Selden Supra 27: Prosaire-Tropaire de Heidenheim, Publications des manuscrits musicaux du moyen âge, 33, ed. Dujka Smoje (Ottawa: Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2006).

Fols. 3r-59r, 90v, 91v are inventoried by Calvin Bowers for the Cantus Database.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (19th cent. paper) + ii (paper) + 92 + ii (paper)
Dimensions (leaf): c. 170 × 145 mm.
Foliation: i–iii, 1–94 in 20th-century pencil. There are vestiges of a 19th-century pencil foliation in the lower right corner, often more or less thoroughly erased, and sometimes discrepant (e.g. fols. 70–71 were previously 69–70) and an altered 20th-century foliation (e.g. fol. 57r has ‘60’, erased, immediately adjacent to it). Bannister’s notes state ‘NB. ff. 92 not 91 – 69 is double’ (fol. ir); where he refers to ‘f. 79’ this has been corrected in pencil to ‘80’ (fol. i verso), and his ‘90v’ is corrected to ‘91v’.


The collation of fols. 1–7 is uncertain due to damage and later repair. Smoje suggested a bifolium followed by a quire of four leaves with an additional leaf inserted in the middle. At least one leaf is missing after fol. 2, and fol. 5 is a singleton. The simplest interpretation is that the first quire was regularly formed of 8 leaves, with the third leaf now missing, and it does appear that fols. 3–4 form the centre of a quire. 1(8–1) (fols. 1–7, 3 missing after fol. 2), 2–7(8) (fols. 8–55), 8(8–1) (5th leaf missing; fols. 56–62), 9(8) (fols. 63–70), [quire missing], 10(8) (fols. 71–78), [quire missing], 11(8) (fols. 79–86), 12(6) (the 3rd and 4th leaves are singletons; fols. 87–92)


Blind-ruled for 15 lines of text per page, allowing a wide fore-edge margin for music. The ruled area for the text is c. 115 × 80 mm. ; the ruled area including the space left for notation is 115 × 115 mm. (the dimensions in Smoje, p. 9, are incorrect).


Written in Caroline minuscule, said by Smoje to be very close to that of St Gall; she identifies three main scribes (fols. 1v-50r; fols. 50r5–59v; fols. 60r-62, 63r5–90v), three lesser ones, and additions by five more (Smoje, 2006, pp. 2, 10).

Musical Notation:

‘[N]otated in staffless neumes, which are based on the Saint-Gall tradition’ (Smoje, 2006, p. vii).


With enlarged foliated initials drawn in red ink for the feasts of Christmas (fols. 3r, 61v), Easter (fol. 19v, 70r), Ascension (fol. 30r), Pentecost (fols. 32v, 72v), and the Kyries and Glorias (fols. 82r, 84v).

Other 1-, 2-, and 3-line initials in plain red.


Sewn on three (medieval alum-tawed?) bands and bound in quarter vellum and marbled paper over pasteboards (not ‘en bois’ as stated by Smoje, 2006, p. 5), without pastedowns; 18th century (?). Rebacked; the former spine with the number ‘27’ twice, now stuck to the inner face of the front board.

Fol. 1r is far more worn than 1v, suggesting that the book existed without a binding for a significant length of time.


Origin: 10th century, second half, or 11th century, first half/middle ; Germany, (Franconia/Bavaria; Heidenheim?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Hartmut Hoffmann (reported in Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen Codices 484 & 381, ed. Wulf Arlt and Susan Rankin (1996) I.112) dated the manuscript 'at the latest the last quarter of the tenth century'. Smoje, p. 13 suggested the middle of the 11th century. Van Dijk, followed by Pächt and Alexander, earlier suggested the second half of the 11th century.

Apparently written for use in the diocese of Eichstätt, probably for St Wunibald's, Heidenheim, as suggested by the importance accorded to Sts Willibald, Winibald, and Walburga: Willibald was first bishop of Eichstätt; his brother Winibald founded the double monastery at Heidenheim (about 50km to the south-west of Eichstätt, and within its diocese) and was its first abbot; their sister Walburga was first abbess. The two main parts seem to have been copied from different (St Gall?) models, but as the second starts in the same quire as that in which the firsts ends, they were demonstrably written as a single volume. Smoje suggests that it was owned by a succession of cantors of Heidenheim; additions were made in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Inscribed in German ‘do hutt ich un(de) gotefrit’, 13th(?) century (fol. 46v, upper margin).

John Selden, 1584–1654

Acquired by the Bodleian in 1659 from his executors. Former Bodleian shelfmarks: ‘MS. Supra. Seld. 27.’ in 17th-/18th-century ink and ‘[kept as Arch. F.e.10]’ in 20th-century pencil (fol. iir). To judge by the various foliations, some leaves have been rearranged at least once since acquisition by the Library.

Record Sources

Summary description (March 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue (1922).


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Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-03-25: Revised description for Polonsky German digitization projecct.