The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark B.5.5
Manuscript Title

Glossed Gospels

Alternative Title

Evangelia IV Glosata.

James Number 151
Century 12th13th
Physical Description

Text 32 lines, gloss 65 to a full column. Splendid writing and initials.


Given by Nevile. From Christ Church, Canterbury. On f.1 is the mark .ab. The book may possibly be one of S. Thomas

Second Folio Matthew ex iudea (f. 3r)
Religious House Canterbury, Kent, Benedictine Cathedral Priory (Christ Church)
Donor Neville [Nevile], Thomas (c. 1548–1615), College Head and Dean of Canterbury
Size (cm) 45 x 32
Folio 161 ff.
Material Parchment
Language Latin

18-68 72 | 88-218 (wants 8 blank).

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 05/02/2014


f.1 Prologue. Plures fuisse qui euangelia conscripserunt.
Initial with panelled gold stalk and foliage on the head.
f.2 Prol, to Matthew. Matheus ex iudea
Exceedingly good decorative initial, the M made out of dragons' bodies.
f.2 Capitula in smaller hand: no heading
Natiuitas christi · magorum munera.
Passio Ihesu et sepultura etc.
f.2b Text. Gloss. Matheus cum primo predicasset
Magnificent initial L. of decorative work on gold, framed in blue.
The characteristic feature of the ornament is a number of small white figures of animals. It contains five medallions in the stalk of the letter, viz. (1) Half-length of Christ with book, blessing, (2) Half-length angel with book, (3) Eagle with scroll, (4) winged Lion with scroll, (5) winged Ox with scroll. At the bottom are two men fighting: one (in blue) pulls the leg of the other who is nude. Also a medallion of a monkey reading a book.
f.51 Prol. to Mark. Marcus euangelista dei
Gloss. Marcus excelsus.
Initial, a man in red with shield and spear fights a lion standing on his hind legs.
Capitula. De Iohanne baptista et uictu etc.
Iudicium principum quo condempnant Ihesum. passio Ihesu et sepultura et resurrectio eius.
f.51b Text. Gloss. Marcus testimonia prophetarum premittit
Initial I: the length of the column: splendid decorative work like that to Matthew. Contains three medallions.
(1) Nude man wrestling with bear.
(2) Two men fighting, with shields and spears.
(3) A centaur-the human part dark red-shooting an arrow upwards.
f.78 Prol. to Luke. Lucas sirus natione
Initial: a man with sword and shield fights a lion.
f.78b Luke's Prologue with small initial
f.78b Capitula. i. Zacharias angelo non credens etc.
xxvii. Iudas tradidit dominum · passio Ihesu etc.
f.79 Luke's Prologue again, glossed, with larger initial of tonsured manwriting on ruled sheet of parchment on green desk, ink-horn ina hole in the desk
Gloss. Ambr. Uitulus sacerdotalis hostia.
f.79 Text with large initial: containing in the head, two men fighting; and medallions in the stalk, of a beast playing the fiddle, a lion, a bird, a dog, and a grotesque bird
f.130 Prol. to John. Hic est Iohannes euangelista
Good decorative initial.
f.130b Capitula. Phariseorum leuite interrogant iohannem
Allocutio pilati ad iudeos etc.
Gloss. lohannes interpretatus gratia...
Omnibus diuine pagine scripturis.
Text with initial, the length of the column containing medallions:
f.130b 1, 2. Half-lengths of bearded men (apostles)
3. Almond-shaped: Christ seated with book, blessing.
4. Archbishop blessing, half-length, with mitre, chasuble, pall and cross-staff.
5. Young man in blue cloak, half-length, with book.
Ends on f.160a: verso blank.


Jackson, D., Morgan, N. and Panayatova, S. (eds.), Illuminated Manuscripts in Cambridge : A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part 3, France, vol 1, c.1000-c.1250 (London, 2015), vol 1. no. 31.

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

Kauffmann, C. M., Romanesque Manuscripts 1066-1190, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles 3 (London, 1975), p. 27.

Dodwell, C. R., The Canterbury School of Illumination 1066-1200 (Cambridge, 1954), p. 107.

Camille, M., Image on the Edge: the Margins of Medieval Art, Essays in Art and Culture (London, 1992)

Backhouse, J., and C. de Hamel, The Becket Leaves (London, 1988)

Haney, K. E., The St Albans Psalter: an Anglo-Norman Song of Faith, Studies in the Humanities: Literature, Politics, Society 60 (New York, 2002)

Bauer, R., Thomas Becket in Vlaanderen: waarheid of legende? (Kortrijk, 2000)

Robinson, P., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts in Cambridge Libraries, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1988), no. 330, pl. 71 [datable between 1164 and 1170, made in France, probably Paris]

de Hamel, C., Glossed Books of the Bible and the Origins of the Paris Booktrade (Woodbridge, 1984), pp. 40-1, 43, 54 [given by Thomas Becket to Christ Church, Canterbury]

James, M. R., The Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover (Cambridge, 1903), pp. 510, 513.

Binski, P., Becket's Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England, 1170-1350, (New Haven, London, 2004)

Fingernagel, A., Romanik, Geschichte der Buchkultur 4/1-4/2 (Graz, 2007) 2 vol.

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