MRJ number
College classmark

    Vellum, 11 x 7.5, ff. 180 + 6, 23 lines to a page.  13th cent., very finely written.

    Old brown leather with incised lines, over boards.  Clasps gone.

    Donor, T. C. S.   Priced xxS.

    Collation: a4, 16 28 36 (wants 4-6) 48 58 (wants 2, 7) 68 78 810 98 - 158 1610

178 - 228 2310 (wants 10), b2.


        Kalendar in red, blue and black   .         .         .         .         .         .        f. 1

        Prologue to the Psalms, glossed.  The gloss begins:           .         .           7

             Facies michi tentorium in introitu tabernaculi.

        The text of the prologue, Cum omnes prophete, is in larger script.

        Ends f. 17a: quia in eo cumulabantur dona spiritus sancti qui

             datus est ei non ad mensuram. 17b blank.

        Hours of the Virgin  (Use of Sarum)    .         .         .         .         .          18

        The Memoriae in Lauds include Andrew, Laurence, Edmund M.,

             Thomas of Canterbury, Martin, Nicholas, Magdalene, Katherine.

        Full-page paintings and frontispiece to Psalter    .         .         .         .      27

        Psalter, with interlinear gloss .         .         .         .         .         .         .      32

        Cantica                                  .         .         .         .         .         .         .      160

        Litany    .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         173

        Office of the Dead     .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         175


    In the Kalendar:

        Jan.  27.  Juliani Ep. in blue.

        Feb.  28.  Romani abb.

        Ap.   11.   Guthlaci.         19.  Aelphegi arch.          30.  Erkenwaldi Ep. C. in red.

        May    9.   Transl.  S. Andree et S. Nicholai in blue.

        June  17.   Botulfi  abb. in red.     

        July     8.   Grimbaldi sacerdotis.       13.  Mildrithe V.              29.  Olaui.

        Aug.  19.   Magni M.           31.   Paulini ep.

        Oct.     7.   Osithe V.           11.   Adhelburge V. in red.

        Nov.    6.   Leonardi C in red.             19.  Eadmundi R. in blue.

    In the Litany: Martyrs, Thomas, Edmund.  Confessors, Nicholae II,

Vedaste, Amande.  Virgins, Brigida, Eufrosia, Ethelburga, Radegundis, Concordia.

    These entries on the whole point strongly to London as the place where the book was produced.

    On f. ia, stuck to the cover, is some writing of the 15th cent.  The name Tomas Maksey occurs.

    On f. iia, erased, Psalterium Abbatis Roberti de l..d..ye glosatum.

    Mr S. C. Cockerell suggests that this should be read Roberti de Lindeseye, and points out that Robert de Lindsey, abbot of Peterborough (1214-1222), owned a Psalterium glossatum (this book) and a Psalterium non glossatum (now at the Society of Antiquaries).  See Gunton's Peterborough, p. 29.  This excellent suggestion adds greatly to the interest of the book1.

    On ivb : Compendium veteris testamenti. tractatus qui inc. cum omnes

prophetas. matutine de S. maria. psalterium glosatum.

    On flyleaf at end in red: a. d. mlo cccco xxxoiii ffrater Rogerus Birde monachus.

    The Kalendar is illustrated by a medallion of the sign for each month.  Frames alternately green and yellow, grounds alternately pink and blue.

           Jan.   Aquarius in blue cloak holds two vessels upside down.

          Feb.   Pisces.  Mar.  Aries (dark).  Ap.  Taurus.  May.  Gemini, two bodies and

two legs, holding a shield before them, and darts.   June.  Cancer (grotesque).

           July.  Leo.  Aug.  Virgo with flowers in each hand.  Sept.  Libra held by a man.

           Oct.  Scorpius, four legs, ridged back and long tail.  Nov.  Centaur shooting to L.

           Dec.  Capricorn, goat ending in cornu copiae.

    The Hours of the Virgin have a large initial with gold ground of the Virgin crowned, seated holding the Child on her knee, a flower in her R. hand.

    The full-page paintings are on one side of the leaf only.  There are two scenes on each page. Frames vermilion with blue transoms, or vice versa.

Grounds gold.

        1.  f. 27b.  Angel on L. addresses two shepherds seated on a hill, goat and sheep below them.

        2.  The three kings, with flat crowns, before Herod, who is throned on R. with sword.

        3.  f. 28b.  The kings offer their gifts to the Virgin and Child (fully draped) seated on R.  The gifts are two bottles and a ring-like object.

        4.  Five soldiers in mail shirts and hose slay children.  A mother sits on the ground on L.  Herod throned with sword on R.

        5.  f. 29b.  Joseph with basket of doves.  The Virgin holds the child over altar.  Symeon nimbed on R.

        6.  John baptizes Christ, who stands in a heap of green water with fishes in it.  Angel on R. holds the seamless robe.

        7.  f. 30b.  Christ rides into a gate in a wall, on a white ass.  A man spreads a garment.  Three apostles follow on L.  On the battlements are four people with branches. 

        8.  In C.  Judas kisses Christ.  Six men on L. with lanterns and weapons: one seizes Him.  Peter on 

R. with book.

        f. 31b is occupied by the frontispiece to the Psalter, which consists of a magnificent B of interlaced work on gold ground framed in pink, gold and other colours, and edged with green.  In the initial is a small David with harp.  At the angles are medallions.  At top two men playing fiddles of varying forms.  At bottom, two men seated speaking.

        Dominus illuminatio, (f. 50b).  Large initial.  David or Solomon in blue robe with broad pallium or laticlave of yellow stands holding staff between two men in mantles and long gowns, who place a crown on his head.

        Dixi custodiam, (f. 63).  Solomon throned on L.  Man with sword lays his hand on the head of a child held by a woman on R.       

        Quid gloriaris, (f. 74b).  Four men with swords massacre three tonsured men. 

        Dixit insipiens, (f. 75).   David seated holds up a harp: a man seated on the same seat holds up a fiddle.   In air between them is an object on a base, possibly meant for an altar.

        Salvum me fac, (f. 87).  Above, two men push Jonah out of a boat.  Below, he emerges from the fish's  mouth.  Tree on L.

        Exultate, (f. 102).  Above, Christ in vesica between angels with fiddle and trumpet.  Below on L. angel on ladder.  On R. angel wrestling with Jacob.

        Cantate, (f. 116).  Angel on L. with scroll addresses two shepherds.

        Domine exaudi, (f. 118).  A crowned man with orb and scroll (attendant or woman behind him) kneels to Christ standing on R.         

        Dixit dominus, (f. 132),  Christ throned on R. places crown on the head of a beardless king, seated by Him, with sceptre and orb.

    These paintings are not characteristically English in style, with the exception of the large B on 31b, which is by another artist.  I have an impression that they hail from Flanders.

    Each psalm and prayer has a handsome gold initial with filling in of green, brown, pink, etc.

    The line fillings are flourishes in blue or red.   


1  Both of Robert de Lindsey's Psalters were shown at the Burlington Fine Art Club Exhibition of Illuminated MSS. in 1908.  They were respectively nos. 34 and 37 in the Catalogue.     

Manuscript extra information

Thanks to generosity of a benefactor, this manuscript has now been digitized and may be accessed via the Cambridge Digital Library and through the viewer below.



Negative microfilm in St John's College Library.

The inscription at the beginning reads: 'compendiu ueteris testamenti (^tractatus q' incipit cu omnes pphas) matuctine de sta maria psal'.

G. Haseloff, Die Psalterillustration im 13 Jarhundert: Studien zur Geschichte der Buchmalerei in England, Frankreich und den Niederlanden (Kiel, 1938), pp. 14 and 16, states that there is a Psalter 'from the same workshop' at Berlin, Kupperstichkabinett 78 A 8.

For a comparison of D.6 and 78 A 8, P. Block, 'Bemerkungen zu zwei Psalterien in Berlin und Cambridge', Berliner Museen, new series 9:1 (1959), 6-12.

P. Brieger, English Art, 1216-1307 (Oxford, 1957), relates D.6 to the Berlin MS.

J. S. Golob, The glossed Psalter of Robert de Lindsey and related manuscripts (PhD thesis in Cambridge University Library).

Fol. 27b, O. E. Saunders, English Illumination (Florence and Paris, 1928), p. 66 and pl. 69.

Fol. 31b, the Beatus page, is reproduced in the illustrated catalogue of the Burlington Fine Art Club, Exhibition of illuminated manuscripts (London, 1908), no. 34, plate 33, and the Society of Antiquaries version in M. Rickert, Painting in Britain: the Middle Ages (London, 1954), pp. 100-1.

W. M. Milliken, 'A manuscript page of the thirteenth century', Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 33:7 (1946), 139-41.

N. J. Morgan, Early Gothic manuscripts, vol. 1, 1190-1250 (London, 1982).

Peterborough Abbey ed. K. Friis-Jensen and J.M.W. Willoughby (Corpus of British medieval library catalogues; 8) (London, 2001), 22-24.

Note: Robert de Lindsey's unglossed psalter is Society of Antiquaries, MS 59.