Skip to main content


MRJ number
College classmark

Vellum, 12.675 x 9, ff. 96, single columns of 18 lines, double of 20.  Early 14th cent., in a very large fine hand: with many pictures.  Bound by Bowtell, of Cambridge.

Given with other books in 1631 by Edward Benlowes, Esq., Fellow Commoner.  A printed ticket in the cover has a long inscription, and apostrophe to him in Latin verse.

Collation :  a2, 16 212 – 412 512 (wants 6, 7) 612 – 812 9? (six): quires 2-8 are numbered on the last leaves xviii-xxiiii.



On f. 1a a small oval defaced armorial stamp.

The Office of the Holy Face in a hand of cent. xv              .               .         f.    1

1b, 2a blank.

Memorial verses (9) on finding Easter                  .               .               .               2b

A festo stelle numerando perfice lune, etc.

Kalendar in red, blue and black             .               .               .               .               3

At top of each month is a single word: making two memorial verses.

Argue Discordes Ad Lumen Coge Loquelam

Ollas Abbatum Cole Caulibus Excute Gallum.

Cantica dominicis diebus ab octauis epiphanie usque ad xl et ab

    octabis pentecostes usque ad aduentum domini           .               .               9

                    Domine miserere nostri te enim expactauimus.

Audite qui longe estis         .               .               .               .               9b

Miserere domine plebi tue.

In aduentu.                               Confortate manus.


                                                    Iurauit dominus.

In nat. dom.                               Populus qui ambulabat.

                                                    Letare ierusalem.

                                                    Urbs fortitudinis.

In quadragesima.                    Deducant oculi.

Recordare domine.

Tollam uos.

Dominicis diebus per totum pascha.   Quis est iste.

                                                    Uenite reuertamur.

                                                    Expecta me.

De apostolis et plurimorum mart. et plur. conf.

                                                    Uos sancti domini.

                                                    Fulgebunt iusti.

Reddet deus.

Unius M. et unius C.               Beatus uir qui in sapientia.

                                                    Benedictus uir.

                                                    Beatus uir qui inuentus.

Unius uirginis et plur. uirg.   Audite me diuini.

                                                    Gaudens gaudebo.

                                                    Non uocaberis ultra.

Hymns.   Incipit Ambrosianus               .               .               .               .               24b

                O lux beata trinitas.

Rubric.    A kal. Oct. immo ab inceptione historie de machabeis, etc.

                  ymnus dominicus noctibus ad nocturnum.

                               Primo dierum omnium


                                  Aurora iam spargit polum.

In aduentu.   Conditor alme    .               .               .               .               .               35b


In cena domini ad mandatum.  Tellus ac ether iubilent      .               .               45

        -qui nos redemit obitu.

Ici comence la passiun nostre seignur ihesu crist              .               .               45b

Ici apres est depeint coment les ieus uoleient lapider. I. C.

The text is in double columns and is a description of the accom-

    panying pictures, ending 66b.

Hymns continued: Ad primam ymnus  .               .               .               .               67

Te lucis auctor personent.

Easter to Pentecost: the last is

Impleta gaudent uiscera

        -carisma sancti spiritus.  Amen.

f. 73 blank.

Hymns for S. Augustine of Canterbury               .               .               .               74

                       Psallat chorus celestium.

                       Augustine par angelis.

                       O uere uirum beatum.

75b, 76a blank.

For S. John Baptist. Ut queant laxis      .               .               .               .               76b

                                    Antra deserti.

                                    O nimis felix.

f. 78 blank.

For S. Paul.     Aurea luce        .               .               .               .               .               79

79b, 80a blank.

For SS. Benedict, Mary Magdalene, Assumption, Michaelmas       .               80b

85b-87a blank.

All Saints.     Christe redemptor omnium              .               .               .               87b

                       Ihesu saluator seculi.

Apostles.      Omnium Christe pariter tuorum.

   Annue Christe.

   Eterna Christi munera.

   Exultet celum laudibus.

Martyrs.        Sanctorum meritis             .               .               .               .               91

                       Eterna Christi.

                       Rex gloriose.

                       Decus tuorum.

                       Martir dei.

Confessors.  Iste confessor   .               .               .               .               .               93

                       Ihesu redemptor.

Virgins.         Uirginis proles   .               .               .               .               .               94

                       Ihesu corona.

De S. Augustino.   Augustine fidelium                .               .               .               94b

De S. Joh. Bapt.     Baptista lucis.

De S. Mildretha.     Mildretha uirgo celebris        .               .               .               95

De S. Maria.  O uirgo mater iudicis.

In commem. S. Marie.   O Christe proles uirginis.

                                           Te credimus   .               .               .               .               95b

                                           Nate summe.

                                           Fili marie         .               .               .               .               96

f. 96b blank.


It seems to me most likely that the book as we have it is a portion of a Psalter, the text of the Psalms having occupied quires i-xvii (204 leaves).

The Kalendar is an interesting one and very evidently belongs to St Augustine’s, Canterbury.






















































































































Genovefa, in blue.

Symeonis monaci, red.

Adriani abb.  IIII, blue, with octave.   Brithwaldi C.

Brigide V., red.

Laurencii Ep. C., red.

Milburge V., red.

Ethelburge, red.


Depositio b. Ricardi ep. Cicestr., red.

Guthlaci C.

Ælphegi M., xii lect., blue.

Melliti Archiep. II, blue.

Memoria reliquiarum huius loci II, red.

Petri M.

Letardi Archiep. I, blue.  Johannis de beuerley added.

Transl. S. Nicholay added.

Transl. S. Mildrethe I, blue.     19.  Dunstan II, red.

Augustini Anglorum Apost. IIII, blue.       et bede, red.

Octave of Augustine, red.    8.  Transl. S. Ælphegi, red.

Transl. S. Eadmundi Arch.

Transl. S. Ricardi.     17.  Botulfi.

Alban, red.     23.  Etheldrethe.

Marcialis ep.

Swithin, blue.     3.  Commem. S. Marcialis Ap.


Transl. S. thome M. arc. Cant., originally in red, erased, rewritten in

    cent. xvi early.  The names of popes and the feast of S. Thomas

    in December are similarly treated.


Mildrethe V., IIII, red, with octave in red.

Deusdedit Archiep., red.

Tatwini Ep. C., red.

Oswald.   dominic in blue.

Iamberti Archiep. I, blue.


Bernardi Abb., red, added?


Eanswithe V. (Folkestone).

Ordinatio S. Gregorii II, red, with octave.

Bertini, in blue.

Transl. S. Augustini sociorumque eius IIII, blue.

Theodori Arch. II, blue.

Honorii Arch., red, I (altered to II).

Francisci C., added early in blue.

Ethelburge V., red.

Wilfridi C., blue.

Nothelmi Arch., red.    Ethelredi et Ethelberti.

Ordinatio S. Dunstani.

Crispini et Crispiniani, red.

Justi Arch. II, blue.

Liuini M.

Ordinatio S. Aug. Angl.  II, blue.    Eadmundi Arch., red.

Seruicium S. Eadmundi II.

Eadmundi R. M. II, red.

Oblatio S. Marie V., II, blue.

Concept. S. M. V., II, blue.

Anastasie, blue.

Thomas IIII, re-written in black, see on July 8.


There are two classes of illustrations in the book: first, the historiated initials to some of the Hymns: second, the pictures of the Passion.  The first are really very rough in execution, but have fine burnished gold grounds.  The second are in part far superior in drawing, but may still be described as rather dry and stiff.  A second artist appears at f. 50.  Both series are undoubtedly English.

There are also line-fillings in red and blue: the fish (as usual) is the commonest feature.

The initials shall be first enumerated.

1.   f. 9.   Domine miserere.  A monk in blue (for black) kneeling to Christ, who is beardless and holds book.     

2.   f. 24b.   O lux beata trinitas.  Italian Trinity.  The Father supporting before Him the crucified Son, over whose head is the Dove.  Its wings touch the mouth of the Father and of the Son.

3.   f. 35b.   Conditor alme.  Christ facing R. with hands raised towards the sky, in which are sun, moon, and four stars.

4.   f. 37b. Christe redemptor.  In front the swaddled Child, and heads of ox and ass.  Above, Mary reclines, head to L.  In C. stands full-face a woman (the midwife) with joined hands.  Joseph sits on R.

5.   f. 39.   Hostis herodes.  Adoration of the Magi: Virgin and Child seated on R.

6.   f. 39b.   Quod chorus natum.  Presentation.  Joseph on L. with doves.  Virgin supporting the Child in blue robe on altar: Symeon on R. with cloth over his hands.

7.   f. 40.   Summi largitor.  Christ stands on roof of church on L., with book: on R. below, the devil, dusky, with four wings, holding something up.  On R. behind him a crown and diadem.

8.   f. 43.   Vexilla regis.  Three men in pink, blue and scarlet, carry three flags, scarlet, red, and blue, to R.

9.   f. 81b.   Pie colamus.  Mary Magdalene facing R. (with two right hands!) holds up a round-bodied green vessel with a cover.

10.   f. 82b.   O quam glorifica.  The Virgin and Christ seated.  He crowns her.

11.   f. 84.   Tibi Christe splendor.  Michael. robed, with shield, thrusts spear into the mouth of a gaily-coloured dragon.


The pictures of the Passion have grounds alternately pink and blue, usually studded with circular groups of white dots, and sometimes with lozenges of burnished gold.  The frames are in colour, vermilion, green, etc., variously divided and patterned, with square patches of gold or silver at the corners.  Sometimes a small space at the bottom of a column is filled in with a panel of animals or decorative pattern.

The text, in French, is, as I have said, descriptive of the pictures.  The first five paragraphs begin Ici apres est depeint coment, etc.  After this the formula is simply Coment.

I will shortly indicate, without elaborate description, the subjects of the pictures.


f. 45b.     1.         Ruler on L., two Jews with stones, whom he addresses.  Christ and

                                apostles go through a door on R.

f. 46.        2.         Lazarus dead in bed, his sisters weep.  Three friends enter.

                3.         Lazarus borne to the tomb, and laid in the tomb.

                4.         Lazarus raised.  Mary is unbinding his feet.

f. 46b.     5.         Five Jews consulting.

                6.         Christ and apostles enter the city Ephraim.

f. 47.        7.         The supper at Bethany.  Mary wipes Christ’s feet with her hair.

                8.         Entry into Jerusalem.

f. 47b.     9.         Jew with wicked dark face gives money to Judas: other Jews on R.

                10.       The Last Supper.

f. 48.        11.       Jesus, girt with towel, washes Peter’s feet.

                12.       The sop given to Judas: a little devil flutters into his mouth.

f. 48b.     13, 14.      Jesus addresses the Apostles.  Two very similar pictures.

f. 49.        15.       He leads them to the gate of Gethsemane.

                16.       He leads the three Apostles: they sleep: He prays: angel above.

                17.       He finds them sleeping.

f. 49b.     18.       The Betrayal.  Malchus on L.

                19.       Jesus led away.  The Apostles on L. go.

                20.       Peter outside the house.  Jesus before Annas.  The wicked Jews have bluish faces.

                            Here two leaves are gone.  The text which remains in 49b shows that the first subject was

                                Peter questioned by the maid.

f. 50.        21.       Three men.  On R. Judas hangs on a tree and cuts open his stomach with a knife.

At this point begins the work of the better artist.  Hitherto the work has been by the

    painter of the initials.

                22.       Pilate sends Jesus away.  Jesus before Herod.

                23.       Narrow panel at bottom, with fox and cock.

f.50b.     24.       Herod and councillors.  Jesus in white robe before Pilate.

                25.       Narrow panel.  Peacock and hedgehog.

                26.       Jesus before Pilate (rejected in favour of Barabbas).

                27.       Barabbas brought out of prison (tower on L.).  Jews on R., pleased.

f. 51.        28.       Jesus scourged.  Pilate on R.

                29.       Jesus (standing) crowned with thorns and mocked.

                30.       Jesus smitten on the head.

f. 51b.     31.       Jesus stripped of the purple robe.  Jesus smitten by two men.

                32.       He is led to the Cross, which a mailed man raises from the ground.

                33.       He bears the Cross.  Two men lead Him: one, with winged headdress,

                                carrries the hammer.  Two men in mail follow: one has the nails.

                34.       He is on the Cross (green): one supports His body while another nails

                                His feet.  The thieves on T-shaped crosses, over which their arms

                                are bound.  A little devil crouches on the bad thief’s cross on R.

  f.52.          35.       This and the following pictures of the Crucifixion are taller.  Jesus and

                                the thieves on crosses.  Soldiers on L., Jews on R.: one with scroll,

    Vere fili dei erad este.

f. 52b.     36.       The same scene.  A man on a ladder nails the title I. N. R. I. upon the

                                Cross.  Below on L. soldiers, on R. a Jew speaks to Pilate, seated.

                37.       Similar.  Sun and moon in sky.  Soldiers cast lots with dice for the


f. 53.        38.       Similar.  The Virgin swoons, supported by John.  Two soldiers on R.

                39.       Similar.  The Virgin, John and another on L.  On R. the sponge is


f. 53b.     40.       Similar.  Longinus, robed on L., pierces the side.  Two men with

                                mallets break the legs of the thieves.

                41.       Jesus on the Cross.  On L. the Virgin sits, John consoles her.  On R.

                                Joseph speaks to Pilate, seated.

                42.       Deposition.  The Virgin on L. supports the arms: Joseph supports

                                 the body.

f. 54.        43.       The Entombment.  Joseph, Nicodemus, John and the Virgin.  Trees

                                behind.  The tomb is of dark marble with oval apertures in the side.

                44.       Joseph and Nicodemus lay the lid on the tomb.

                45.       The Harrowing of Hell.  A devil blows a horn.

f. 54b.     46.       Narrow panel with dragons.

                47.       Two Jews address Pilate.

                48.       The Resurrection.  Christ assisted from the tomb by the Divine Hand

                                in a cloud.  Three soldiers sleep in front.

f. 55.        49.       Angel seated on the tomb with palm addresses the three Maries.  On

                                R. they recline.  Four soldiers sleeping.

f.55b.     50.       Magdalene looks into the tomb.  On R. she addresses Peter and John.

                                Four soldiers sleeping.

                51.       Magdelene speaks to Peter and John.  On R. they consult.  Tomb, and

                                four sleeping soldiers in front.

                52.       Two angels on the ends of the tomb.  Magdalene in C. wrings her

    hands.  Four soldiers sleeping.

f. 56.        53.       Magdalene addresses Jesus.  Tomb and tree on L.

                54.       She kneels to Him.  He holds scroll, Noli me tangere.

f. 56b.     55.       She comes to the Apostles, who are seated in a house.

                56.       Christ (in C.) and the two disciples going to Emmaus: all have staves.

                57.       They address Him.  He stands on R. as meaning to leave them.

f. 57.        58.       They enter the house.  On R. the supper: each disciple holds a fragment

                                of the bread: Christ blesses.  Above, the feet of Christ ascending.

                59.       The two disciples enter to the Apostles seated in a house.

f. 57b.     60.       The three Maries.  Christ in C. appears and blesses them: on R. they


                61.       The Apostles seated: the three Maries enter on R.

f. 58.        62.       Jews seated: the four soldiers, excited, address them.

                63.       One of the Jews pours gold money out of a shallow dish into the surcoat

                                of the foremost of the soldiers, which he holds up for the purpose.

                64.       The soldiers on horseback in a gateway talk to Jews on R.  They are

                                spreading the report that Christ’s body was stolen.

f. 58b.     65.       In house with closed doors.  Christ appears to Apostles, seated.

                66.       Narrow panel of fine ornament.

f. 59.        67.       Same as 65.  Christ shows His hands to the Apostles.

                68.       Christ and Apostles at table: two Apostles on L. bring fish and


                69.       Christ breathes on the seated Apostles.

f. 59b.     70.       In the house.  Thomas speaks to the other Apostles.

                71.       Incredulity of Thomas.  Christ on L.

f. 60.        72.       Christ about to leave the house.  Thomas kneels.  Apostles on R.

                73.       Panel of ornament.

f. 60b.       74.       Christ on shore.  Peter wading.  Apostles in ship.

f. 61.        75.       Apostles in ship.  Peter on shore draws in net.  Christ on R.

                76.       At table.  Christ in C., Apostle with cup on L.  In front another cooks

                                two fish on a gridiron.

                77.       Christ on L.  Peter kneels.  Apostles on R.

f. 61b.     78.       Apostles kneel.  Christ on R.

                79.       Virgin in C.  Apostles R. and L.  Feet of ascending Christ above.

                80.       The Apostles seated.  The Dove in cloud above.

                81.       John leads the Virgin to R.  On R. under arch, an altar and hanging

                                lamp.  (He takes her to the temple.)

f. 62.        82.       Virgin seated in midst of Apostles.  On L. an angel with blank scroll.

                                (The Apostles are bidden to disperse and preach.)

                83.       John and Virgin seated under arch in C.  On R. and L. Apostles walk


f. 62b.     84.       On L. John and the Virgin worshipping before an altar.  On R.  they

                                visit some seated women (their relations).  “Mes bien creit hom ke

                                acune fiez ala ele od sient Johan uisiter acuns de ces parensz.”

                85.       On L. an angel gives a palm to the Virgin.  On R. she prays under

                                a tree.

f. 63.        86.       John and Virgin with palm meet the Apostles on R.

                87.       Christ between angels with candles meets the Apostles on R.

                88.       The Virgin in bed: two angels at her head.  Christ blesses her.

                                Apostles on R.

f. 63b.     89.       The Virgin in bed: two angels at her head.  Christ speaks to the

                                Apostles (commands her burial).

                90.       The Virgin in bed: two angels at her head.  One with censer.  Christ

                                holds her soul on His arm.  Apostles on R. weep.

f. 64.        91.       In front three women wash the body, laid on trestles.  Behind, the bier

                                with pall and Apostles reading over it.

                92.       The bier borne by Apostles.  Two Jews, one falls, one clings to the

                                bier.  Above, in a cloud, angel with sword.

f. 64b.     93.       The bier borne by Apostles.  A mitred priest clings to it.

                94.                                                       Two Jews kneel to Peter, who holds out

                                the palm to them.

                95.       Panel of ornament.

f. 65.        96.       The bier borne by Apostles: two Jews fall blinded.

                97.                                                      no other figures.

                98.       The bier set down: candles about it.  Apostles read and sing.

f.65b.     99.       The body laid in green marble tomb with quatrefoil on side.  Peter

                                sprinkles holy water.

                100.     The Apostles seated with books in front of the tomb.

                101.     The tomb in front.  Behind on L. Christ, attended by two angels,

                                meets the Apostles.

                102.     Panel of ornament.

f. 66.        103.     The tomb, the lid leaning against it.  The Virgin sits up and Christ

                                embraces her.  Angels and Apostles.

                104.     Christ and angel on L.  He blesses the Apostles.

                105.     Christ and the Virgin seated in a mandorla borne by four angels (two

                                above in clouds, two below).

f. 66b.     106.     Panel of ornament.

                107.     The Apostles return.  In a rocky landscape, two Apostles walk to R.

                                towards a city.

                108.     The Virgin crowned, seated, bows to Christ seated on R.

                109.     Occupies a column: in three compartments.  At top, six adoring

                                angels (facing L.) in clouds: below, two angels, seated, play bells

                                on a frame, and psaltery: at bottom, two angels, seated, play fiddle

                                and harp.


The last paragraph of text is:


    Coment apres ce ke nostre dame uint au ciel nostre seignor la corona

e les angles deu firent a la dame grant ioie.


My impression, derived from the position of this series of pictures, between the Maundy Thursday and Easter Hymns, is that it was meant for the owner of the book (an Abbot perhaps) to study during the long services of Good Friday and Easter Eve.

The book was shown at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1908: no. 49 in the Catalogue.  Mr S. C. Cockerell distinguishes the work of three artists in the pictures.

Manuscript extra information


Calendarium; Cantica; Hymni; la Papium nostre seignur Ihu Crist: ad usum Monastiem S. Augustini Cantuariensis.


La Papium comes in the middle of the Hymns after the Hymn 'in cœna Domini,' and consists of a series of pictures (103 in number) with descriptions in French.


Negative microfilm in St John's College Library.


Described, but not illustrated, in F. Harrison, English Manuscripts of the 14th Century (London, 1937), pp. 33-4.


Kalendar printed by F. Wormald, English Benedictine Kalendars after A. D. 1100 (London, 1939), p. 47.


E. K. Sass, 'Pilate and the title for Christ's Cross in medieval representations of Golgotha', Hafnia: Copenhagen papers in the History of Art (1972).  Copy in St John's College Library.


L. F. Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts 1285 - 1385 (Oxford, 1986).


K. A. Smith, Art, Identity and Devotion in Fourteenth-Century England: three Women and their Books of Hours (London, 2003). p. 288 n.5.


N. Morgan, 'The Hereford Map: art-historical aspects'. In P. D. A. Harvey (ed.) The Hereford World Map: medieval world maps and their context (London, 2006) pp. 125-126, fig. 9 (reproduces f.53v).


Exhibited (fols. 52v-53r) at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, from 26 July to 11 December 2005. See the exhibition catalogue: P. Binski and S. Panayotova (eds.), The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West (London: Harvey Miller, 2005) no. 76.


B. Windeatt 'Assumptions : the Virgin's ends in medieval English culture'. In Medieval and early modern religious cultures : essays honouring Vincent Gillespie on his sixty-fifth birthday, ed. L. Ashe & R. Hanna (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2019) (reproduces f.66r). 


1.  The tale occurs in MS. I. 2, in Latin.