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

Arch. A f. 131, wrapper


Aldhelm, De virginitate

Bifolium of continuous text: p. 285 l. 13 ‘sanctae conuersacionis’ - p. 286 l. 16 ‘orbibus conspexit’ (front) and from p. 284 l. 7 ‘roderentur’ to p. 285 l. 13 ‘rigido’ in ed. Ehwald, M. G. H. Auct. Antiq. XV. One of several surviving fragments of the earliest manuscript of this work; the majority of the other leaves are in Yale, Beinecke Library, MSS. 401 and 401A. For a full list, and a reconstruction of the original volume, see S. Gwara, Aldhelmi Malmesbiriensis Prosa de virginitate cum glosa latina atque anglosaxonica (2001), pp. 87–90. The present fragment has occasional later glosses in Latin (dated to the first half of the eleventh century by Gwara) but does not contain Old English glosses.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: bifolium, cropped severely with some loss of text
Dimensions (fragment): 145 × 94 mm.


22 long lines.


Insular minuscule.

Gloss in Anglo-Caroline.


Minor decorated initial.


Origin: 8th century, late, or 9th century, early; glosses, 11th century, first half (?) ; English, perhaps Worcester or Canterbury (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

For the date and origin see the conspectus of earlier scholarship in Dieter Studer-Joho, A catalogue of manuscripts known to contain Old English dry-point glosses (2017), no. 24.

In the area of Kent by the second half of the tenth century, as shown by added Old English glosses in Kentish dialect on other leaves of the manuscript (Ker, Catalogue, no. 12).

Apparently broken up in Brighton in the early nineteenth century: see Gwara, op. cit., pp. 86–7, with details of the history of other leaves.

The present leaf acquired as the wrapper of W. Perkins, Satans sophistrie answered (1604) from Blackwells in 1965 (N. Ker, ‘Supplement to Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon’, Anglo-Saxon England 5 (1976), 122).

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford, March 2020.


Orderable through SOLO

Last Substantive Revision

2020-03-09: First online publication.

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