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

MS. Selden Supra 30

Summary Catalogue no.: 3418

Acts of the Apostles


The earliest biblical manuscript identifiable as having been produced in the British Isles south of the Humber.

Language(s): Latin

(pp. 1–107)
Acts of the Apostles (Vulgate translation)
Rubric: Actus apostolorum. (added in the 13th century)
Incipit: Primum quidem sermonem
Explicit: cum omni fiducia sine prohibitione
Final rubric: Explicit liber

Wanting one leaf between pp. 64 and 65, containing Acts 14.28-15.32, from after ‘hostium fidei’ to before ‘cum essent profetae’.

(p. 70)

Originally blank (between Acts 16.32 and 33). Two prayers added in a hand imitating uncials, using the female pronouns ‘indigna famula’:

Unidentified prayer:

"Domine deus omnipotens rex archangelorum et creator animarum et omnium creaturarum libera me de multitudine iniquitatum mearum et ne despice me indignam famulam tuam sed in numero electorum tuorum conputas me ante conspectu gloriae tuae et propter magnam misericordiam tuam remit⟨t⟩e mihi peccata mea que per ignorantiam feci in iuuentutis et ne me mineris delicta uerborum et neglegentiam senectutis meae sed propter gloriosum nomen tuum munda in me omnia antequam moriar et carnales amores abscide a corde meo et dilectionem tuam pone in cor meum et presta mihi ut non sit mors mea luctum angelorum et gaudia inimicorum sed adaucta me ut peruenire ualeam ad requiem perpetuam."

Prayer attributed in early printed sources to Ambrose:

"Lux uera mundi lumen meum luminis conditor doce me quid debeam agere quid loqui quid tacere da mihi prudentiam fortitu^di^nem iustitiam temperantiam da discretionem discernendi inter bonum et malum"

Following two leaves lost.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: iv (modern paper endleaves, paginated i–viii) + 54 (paginated 1–108) + 4 (modern paper endleaves, paginated 109–116) leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 175 mm.
Foliation: Modern pagination.


1–48 (pp. 1–64), 56–3 (pp. 65–70; 1st, 5th, 6th lost), 68 (pp. 71–86), 96 (pp. 87–98), 108–3 (pp. 99–108; 2nd, 4th, 5th cancelled with no loss of text). In gathering 5, text is lost between pp. 64 and 65 and from the additions on p. 70, which was originally blank, though there is no loss of the main text resulting from the last two leaves.


Ruled in dry point for 25 long lines, ruled space 180 × 130 mm.


Written in uncial script similar to that of other English examples from this period. The first hand, writing pp. 1–69, is more practised. CLA 2.193 compares the pointed bow of uncial A with London, British Library, Cotton MS Vespasian A. i.

The second hand begins at p. 71, also uncial, using an unusual form of capital A (for example, on p. 73).

Musical Notation: Adiastematic neumes added above ‘fecerunt Et tertia’ (p. 102): Acts 27.18–19, the account of Paul’s shipwreck.


Large opening initial decorated with knots (heavily worn), with enlarged letters on the first line coloured in red, blue, and yellow. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 2)


Limp parchment cover, 17th century.


Origin: 8th century, first half ; English, south

Provenance and Acquisition

Thanet, Kent, Minister Abbey: the name ‘Eadburg’ is inscribed on pp. 2 and 47 in dry point. This may refer to Eadburh, abbess of Thanet from at least 733 until her death in 748×61. The female pronouns in the added prayers on p. 70 indicate continued ownership at Minster-in-Thanet or in another community of nuns. See Jessica Hodgkinson and John Barrett, ‘ Women in the margins: Eadburg and Bodleian Library, MS. Selden Supra 30 ’ (November 2022).

Canterbury, Kent, Benedictine abbey of St Augustine (originally of St Peter and St Paul): 14th-century shelfmark, ‘Di. I. G. III’. Also recorded in the oldest catalogue of St Augustine’s. (MLGB3)

John Selden, 1584–1654. Bequeathed his manuscripts and printed books to the Bodleian:

Received by the library in 1659.

Record Sources

Description by Andrew Dunning (March 2023). Previously described in the Summary Catalogue:


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Last Substantive Revision

2023-03-07: Andrew Dunning Revised with consultation of original.