The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark B.5.3
Manuscript Title

Glossed Gospels

Alternative Title

Evangelia IV Glosata

James Number 149
Century 13th
Physical Description

Text 28, 29 lines, gloss 58 lines. In a fine hand, arranged in two main columns on a page, which are often subdivided into many smaller ones. The decorative work is magnificent.


Given by Nevile. On f.2b at top, in red, is Hic est liber S. Albani, quem qui ei abstulerit aut titulum deleuerit anathema sit. Amen.

Religious House St Albans, Hertfordshire, Benedictine Abbey
Donor Neville [Nevile], Thomas (c. 1548–1615), College Head and Dean of Canterbury
Size (cm) 47 x 35
Folio 236 ff.
Binding Binding xvi, stamped leather over boards, clasps gone
Material Parchment
Language Latin

i8-xxix8 xxx4. The quire numbers from quire xvii onwards are beautifully flourished in ink.

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 25/04/2014


f.1a blank.
f.1 The Eusebian Canons in frames, occupying 10 and 9 columns on the two pages
The columns separating the numerals are sometimes plain gold, others imitate marble, and others have patterns.
f.2b Prol. Ieronimi. Plures fuisse
Ieronimus ad Damasum. Beato pape.
f.3 Ieronimus damaso. Sciendum eciam ne quem
f.3 Capitula in euang. sec. Matheum
i liber generationis. Genealogia et natiuitas xpī etc.
xxviii Tunc milites. Passio et sepultura etc.
Capp. euang. sec. Marcum.
i Inicium euangelii. De ioh. baptista etc.
x Erat autem pasc. De unguento super caput etc.
Capp. euang. sec. Lucam.
i Quoniam quidem. Zacharias ommutescit etc.
xxi Erat autem mari. Resurgit xpc etc.
f.3b Capp. euang. sec. Iohannem
In principio. De uerbo etc.
xiii Adducunt ergo. Ihs ad pilatum ductus.
f.3b Argumentum. Matheus ex iudea
f.4 Gloss. Nomen libri euangelium grece
f.4b Matheus. Text
A splendid initial: the stem of the L. has two branches enclosing vesicae with foliage. At the base on a fine gold ground is a seated figure in dark-blue mantle over pink: a winged man with beautiful beardless face. His L. arm, across his body, holds out a blank scroll to R. His R. hand holding pen rests on a writing-board on his lap. This board is oblong with rounded ends: the middle part of it is covered with green cloth, and at the ends are various holes and receptacles for ink, knife, etc. The figure has seemingly three heads springing from the back of his own: Lion on L. Eagle in C. Ox (red) on R.: all are winged. The seat is richly coloured and has a scarlet cushion.
f.68b Argumentum. Marcus euangelista dei
Ieron. Marcum pene intactum.
The argument has a fine decorative initial with bird-forms, on gold ground: outside is a ground of dull pink, edged with green.
f.69b Text
Initial I. A band of foliage down the centre, on gold, edged by pink, with dark blue border outside this. Four medallions.
a. At top: circular: winged lion with blank scroll.
b. Lozenge. Eagle stretching his head upwards: blue insides to wings.
c. Lozenge. Winged man in blue, half-length, holding book.
d. Circular. Winged ox with blank scroll.
Dotted nimbi: gold ground.
f.111 Argumentum. Lucas antiochenus
Small decorative initial with gold fish: pink ground.
f.111b Text. The Prologue Quoniam quidem has only a flourished initial.
Initial F. On gold ground a red ox winged, head to R.: a white scroll between his feet. Behind his head, three others: man's on L., eagle's in C; lion on R.
At the bottom of the tail of the F is a medallion of a bearded man, his head half covered by a blue mantle, seated on a heap of stones: a tree on L.: outside on R., below, is an owl among beautiful foliage work.
f.186b Argumentum. Hic est Iohannes
Fine decorative initial, with interlacing branch-work.
f.187 Gloss. Omnibus diuine scripture paginis.
f.187b Text
Initial: band of lozenges each containing a flower, on gold: edged with pink: dark blue outside. At top and bottom, squares of dull pink edged with green. Four medallions.
a. Top quatrefoil. Eagle with scroll between feet.
b. Circular. Half-length winged man, full face, in light blue, with scarlet mantle, holding book. An exceedingly fine painting about one inch in diameter.
c. Circular. Head, shoulders and wing of the ox. His head turned vertically up; he is lowing.
d. Quatrefoil. Winged lion with scroll between feet.
Text and gloss end f.235b per hyperbolem.
f.236b is a waste leaf of the same gloss; and has exactly the same words as f.235b. Only the verso is written.


Ker, N. R., Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 3, 2nd edn (London, 1964), St Albans

Morgan, N., Early Gothic Manuscripts I: 1190-1250, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles 4.1 (London, 1982), no. 3, pp. 12, 24, 26, 30, 50, 51, 52, 87, 95, 132, ill. 15, 16

James, Catalogue, pl. XIII

McKitterick, R., and L. Lopes Cardozo, ed., Lasting Letters (Cambridge, 1992)

Ayres, L. M., 'A Tanner Manuscript in the Bodleian Library and some notes on English Painting of the Late Twelfth Century', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 32 (1969), 41-54

de Hamel, C., Glossed Books of the Bible and the Origins of the Paris Booktrade (Woodbridge, 1984), p. 56

Thomson, R. M., Manuscripts from St Albans Abbey, 1066-1235, 2 vols. (Woodbridge, 1982), pp. 54, 61-2, 140 n. 74, no. 12, pll. F, 214-15, 222-4, 231-2

Morgan, N and B. Stocks, ed., The Medieval Imagination : Illuminated Manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand (South Yarra, Vic., 2008)


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