Corpus juris canonici: Liber Sextus


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. 2Q 5.19

General Information

Date of Origin 14th century (first half)
Script, Hands

Northern Textualis. A compact English or Northern French gothic bookhand of the 14th century (first half) displaying the full range of fusions (including ho), restrained bifurcation on the ascenders, the ascenders of double l joined by a horizontal hairline and, most distinctive, a combination of double-bow a in initial position and a with a single bow in medial position in the word.

Original Condition

Number of Columns 2
Width of Columns at least 64 mm
Number of Lines at least 29

Current Condition

More about the Current Condition

The legibility of the recto of the pastedown is somewhat impaired by glue. There is also some staining. The remainder of the text, while stained and rubbed in various places, remains legible. 

Function in host volume: The first leaf of the bifolium was glued down to the upper board as a pastedown (now lifted), whereas the second leaf served as a flyleaf. A similar parchment bifolium, taken from a medieval source (but much thicker parchment), was used by the binder as an endleaf and pastedown at the back of the host volume, but these leaves are blank

Book Decoration and Musical Notation


None. Spaces left for initials are not filled in.


  • Content Item
    • Text Language Latin
    • Title Corpus juris canonici: Liber Sextus (Lib. 3)
    • Content Description

      A cutting from a bifolium, consisting of two originally consecutive leaves from book three (‘De vita et honestate clericorum’) of the Liber Sextus, promulgated by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298, folded so that what was originally the first leaf now comes second. About ten lines of text are missing at the top of each column, and about half of each outer column of text is also lost. Twenty parchment sewing guards employed throughout the host volume derive from four different manuscripts, one of which was a 15th-century Breviary written in a distinctive English Secretary hand.  

      (1ra) ‘|| [uel etiam] recipere a uolente verum quam rerum experiencia ... robo|re perdurare [:::]dem. | <Q>uamquam p[eda]giorum exactiones ... ecclesiasticas ad pedagia et gui(1rb)[dagia] [:::] rebus predictis talia exigat ... [trans]|gressione satisfecerint compe[tenter] | <P> erpetuo declaramus ... | salutares. bonifacius vi[ii] |

      <S>I ecclesiam pollui ... | ecclesia reputari polluta. n[e] [:::]||’

      (1va) ‘|| [:::] censura iudicij celesti [:::] [p]osuit. et si cunctos ... precipuis et specialibus [!] dispo(1vb)[nit] [:::] [no]dos obscura delucidat ... tempo|ribus solemniter celebrari. <A>lex(ander) .iiii9.||’

      Liber Sextus, Lib. III, tit. xx, cap. 3 - tit. xxi, cap. 1; Lib. III, tit. xxii, cap. 1; Corpus iuris canonici, ed. Friedberg, vol. 2, cols 1058-60.  

      (2ra) ‘|| [:::]  siue regula uel constitutiones quelibet interdicunt ... ordo ad alium uel conuentus (2rb) [:::] eiusdem uel alteri ecclesie ... | reputari.  innocencius. iiii9. | de cessibus et excessibus (brown ink)| <R>Omana et infra. Statui[imus] [:::] ... | de ipsis dyocesibus uisitare [:::]’

      (2va) ‘||[exhibe]ant ne animarum profectus [:::] Si uero maliciose ... [eg]ent  cum super hiis merito (2rb)[:::]  sua sunt uideat<ur> quer<er>e ... quamlibet penitus euitare. Sane autem uisitandi formam ab vniuersis ... et regularibus institutis. gregorius .x9. in consilio lugdunensi. | <E>xigit peruersorum audacia ... alioquin extunc patriarche. archiepiscopi ||’

      Liber Sextus, Lib. III, tit. xvii, cap. 1 - tit. xx, cap. 1; Lib. III, tit. xx, cap. 1-2; Corpus iuris canonici, ed. Friedberg, vol. 2, col. 1055-57.

    • Glosses and Additions The inscription ‘Crynes 919’ (18th century) in the lower margin of fol. 1r refers to Nathaniel Crynes, a later owner of the host volume (see under Provenance). A contemporary (?) inscription in a cursive hand in the lower margin of fol. 1v ‘de immunitate cemiteriorum ecclesiarum et locorum religiosorum’ indicates the title of Lib. 3, tit. 23.
    • Edition Corpus iuris canonici, ed. Friedberg, vol. 2, col. 1055-57.
    • Remarks

      Dimensions: c. 260 x 160 (estimated), now 199/203 x 136/140 mm (cropped). Text block: c. 200 x 140 mm (estimated), now 148/153 x 111/114 mm (cropped). Width of one column: 63 mm. Intercolumnar space 14 mm. Inner margin: 25 mm. Lower margin: 50 mm.

      Layout: Standard two-column layout for a canon-law manuscript of this period, with a broad lower margin.

      Ruling: Ruled in ink, the vertical ruled lines and the horizontal ruling for the last two lines of the page extend the full height and width of the leaf. Pricking in evidence.



The binding, on the evidence of the sewing guards, is undoubtedly English.


(Host volume)

1. John Maxsey (died before 1540). A monk of the Benedictine Thorney Abbey, Cambridgeshire. Inscriptions on sig. a1v of item 1: ‘Frater Johannes Maxsey’ and ‘Monachus de Thorney’ (crossed out). See Bod-Inc. vol. 6, p. 2892.

2. John Orton (sixteenth-century?), inscription on a1v and a2r of item 1. See Bod-Inc. vol. 6, p. 2900.

3. William Powell (died 1569). Perhaps to be identified with William Powell, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford; Bachelor of Canon Law 1542. See Bod-Inc. vol. 6, p. 2906. See BRUO 1501-1540, p. 461.

4. Nathaniel Crynes (1686-1745). Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford (1707). See Bod-Inc. vol. 6, p. 2857. 

5. Thomas Tanner (1674-1735). Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford 1697. See Bod-Inc. vol. 6, p. 2923.

6. Bodleian Library 1735 (Tanner bequest). 


Binding: Contemporary sheepskin over wooden boards. One central clasp now missing.

Host Volume

Title Auct. 2Q 5.19
Date of Origin/Publication Printed between 1477 and 1482.
Place of Origin/Publication Printed in Gouda and Louvain. Likely assembled as a Sammelband and bound in the 1480s or later fifteenth-century.
Shelfmark Auct. 2Q 5.19

Information on host volume from Bod-Inc. vol. 1, p. 180 (A-301) with additions. 

Two incunables in chancery quarto:

1. Burlaeus, Gualtherus [pseudo-], De vita et moribus philosophorum. Louvain: Johannes de Westfalia, 1477-83. 00 fols. (Bod-Inc. B‑613; ISTC ib01322000; GW 5788).

2. Annius, Johannes, De futuris Christianorum triumphis in Saracenos, seu glossa super Apocalypsin. Gouda: Gerard Leeu, between 1481 and 5 Sept. 1482. 00 fols. (Bod-Inc. A-301[2]; ISTC ia00752000l; GW 2019).


  • Alan Coates/Kristian Jensen, ‘The Bodleian Library’s acquisition of incunabula with English and Scottish medieval monastic provencances’, in: Books and Collectors 1200-1700: Essays presented to Andrew Watson, ed. James P. Carley and Colin G. C. Tite (London, 1997), pp. 237-59 (here pp. 249-50).

  • Bod-Inc. Alan Coates et al., A Catalogue of Books printed in the Fifteenth Century now in the Bodleian Library, 6 vols (Oxford, 2005), vol. 1, p. 180 (A-301[2]). 

  • Corpus iuris canonici. Editio Lipsiensis secunda, ed. by Aemilius Ludovicus (Emil Ludwig) Friedberg, 2 vols, Leipzig 1879-81.