Office lectionary


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Arch. G e.5

Remarks by the Editor

Description by Ruth Mullett and Nigel F. Palmer (August 2017).

This description refers to Fragm. II, Arch. G e.5.

For Fragm. I, see F-owzq

Summary: Lessons 1 (the last two words only), 2‒8, and 9 (ending imperfectly) from an office lectionary with a set of nine readings for the Night Office on the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany according to the secular cursus, as practised in parish churches, the secular cathedrals, and houses of the Augustinian Canons and Friars: Gal 1:1‒24; 2:1‒10; Mt 13:24, followed by the gospel homily on this passage from Augustine, Quaestiones XVII in Matthaeum, XL (PL 35, col. 1367). 

General Information

Date of Origin c. 1300
Script, Hands
Northern Textualis, French c. 1300 (ex inf. R. Thomson). Noteworthy features of the script are the short ascenders (for example with ‘l’), the typically French angular ‘g’ with a short lower lobe, and the complicated form of ‘w’; punctus, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus. Red headings; majuscules rubricated.
General Remarks
The gospel homily from Augustine in lessons 8‒9 is identified in Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. I, p. 58 as a commentary on Gal 2:9.

Original Condition

Height of Written Area 165 mm
Width of Written Area 98 mm
Number of Columns 2
Width of Columns 46 – 47 mm
Number of Lines 41
Ruling None visible, but pricking in the outer margin.

Current Condition

More about the Current Condition

Easily legible, apart from the text on the lower part of the inner edge, which is so badly cockled that much of it is no longer visible. A large hole in the parchment has led to significant loss of text at the beginning of the third lesson.

Pastedown to lower board (raised), sewn into the bookblock by means of a hook, pasted to fol. 109r, with the last quire of the Sammelband.

Book Decoration and Musical Notation


None in evidence.


  • Content Item
    • Text Language Latin
    • Title Office lectionary with nine lessons, as in the secular cursus
    • Content Description

      Lessons 1 (the last two words only), 2‒8, and 9 (ending imperfectly) from an office lectionary with a set of nine readings for the Night Office on the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany according to the secular cursus, as practised in parish churches, the secular cathedrals, and houses of the Augustinian Canons and Friars: Gal 1:1‒24; 2:1‒10; Mt 13:24, followed by the gospel homily on this passage from Augustine, Quaestiones XVII in Matthaeum, XL (PL 35, col. 1367). The reading of Galatians in the Night Office during the period after Epiphany was widespread. Augustine’s homily on Mt 13:24, however, is more distinctive; it was read at lessons 7‒9 in the Roman rite, which was the standard liturgical use followed by the Franciscans; cf. Breviarium Romanum (1580), pp. 210‒11. The positioning of the subdivisions of the lessons for the third nocturn in the fragment is uncertain, because of loss of text in the lower part of col. b. For the differences between the secular rite for the Night Office and monastic practice, see Hughes, Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office (1982), pp. 54‒55.

      (Fragm. II recto col. a) [...ere ewangelium [3 letters expunged] [Gal 1:7]

      [red heading] [.. ij] [black] [Sed] licet nos aut angelus [...] celo ewangelizet nobis [...] quod ewangelizauimus ... [sed per re]uela[cionem] iesu christi [Gal 1:8‒12]

      [lectio iiia Audistis enim conuersac]io[nem meam] ... reuersus sum [damascum] [Gal 1:13‒17]

      [red heading] [lectio iva] [Deinde post] annos tres [ueni ad ieros]olimam uidere (col. b) [petrum] et mansi apud eum diebus quindecim. ... in me clarificabant deum. [Gal 1:18‒24]

      [red heading] lectio va [black] <D>einde post annos quatuordecim ... ewangeliipermaneat apud uos. [Gal 2:1‒5]

      [red heading] lectio via. [black] <A>b hiis autem qui uidebantur ... (verso col. a) sollicitus fui \hoc/ ipsum facere. [Gal 2:6‒10]

      [red heading] .7. [illegible red heading] [black ]<I>N illis temporibus Dixit iesus discipulis suis parabolam hanc. Simile est regnum celorum homini qui seminauit bonum semen in agro suo. Et reliqua. [Mt 13:24]

      [red heading] [... episcopus] [black] <C>um negligenter agerent prepositi ecclesie et. dormitacionem mortis ... (col. b) frumento radicemque [...]

      <I>N illa plane sagena ... Magis [...] spicis corrupt[...]res. sicut scriptu[...] autem corrumpe[...] uel paleis aris[...]

      <Q>uo enim al[tiores ...] superbio[...] leuioresque sun[...] ... [corpo]raliter separe[tur. Si enim falsa] de deo credi[t uel de aliqua par]te doctrine q[’.

      Offset from Fragm. II verso on the inner face of the lower board.

    • Glosses and Additions (Recto col. b) ‘lectio vi’ [at Gal 1:21]; ‘vsque huc tamen quinta’ [at the end of Gal 2:1]; ‘Deus personam hominis non decipit’ [Gal 2:6a, omitted in main text]; ‘econtrario’ [correction of ‘econtra’ Gal 2:7]; (verso col. a) ‘continua [s/o] [?]’ [at the end of the reading Gal 2:6‒10]’; ‘lectio vij’ [at Mt 12:34]; ‘lectio viij’ [at ‘Possunt enim dici mali filii etiam heretici’]. The marginal notes indicate a different positioning of the divisions into nine lessons from that employed in the main text.



(Host Volume)

1. John Grene OFM (fl.1483‒1521); ‘1483 Frater Johannes Grene emit hunc librum Oxon' elemosinis amicorum suorum’ (written in red on the front flyleaf), a distinctively Franciscan formulation. The colophon inscribed in red on the last page of item 1 is in the same hand. The friar John Grene, who was evidently the first person to have use of the bound volume containing all three items, is plausibly identifiable as the Franciscan John Grene of Bedford who at a much later date, in 1521 (when he was a doctor of theology), donated Bodleian MS. Laud Misc. 176 to his home community. Compare the similar ownership mark of John Grene, dated 1489, possibly in the same hand, and giving him the title ‘M(agister)’, in a printed copy of Boethius, De consolatione Philosophiae in Cambridge, Emmanuel College, MSS. 4.1.14 (listed in MLGB3). For a further book belonging to John Grene, see above under Binding. See also Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, p. 2871. For the book provision and libraries of the Franciscan convents in Bedford and Oxford, with which Grene may be presumed to have been associated, see Ker, MLGB (1964), pp. 8 and 141‒42; Ker, MLGB Supplement (1987), pp. 3 and 52; Humphreys, The Friars’ Libraries (1990), pp. 224‒29 (Oxford); Parkes, ‘The provision of books’ (1992); MLGB3 (see below), under ‘Bedford Franciscans’.

2. Henry Strachyn of Bedford (?) (15th/16th century); ‘Henricus Strachyn scripsit suum librum bedfordie’, the reading of the name uncertain (inscription on the front flyleaf recto). See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, p. 2921, where the name is given as ‘Strach[]’.

3. John Uncle (early 16th century). See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, p. 2927.

4. Robert Hontor (16th century); inscription on item 1, fol. 1v. See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, p. 2878.

5. Thomas Goldsmith and Henry Stave (16th century); ‘His Freind and Thomas G[ou]ldsmith having [s][?] unto you and [...] house per C [...] per me Henry Stave' (inscription on item 1, fol. 1r). See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, pp. 2870 and 2920.

6. Thomas Thomson (1768‒1852), at whose sale the volume was acquired for the Bodleian in 1866. See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, p. 2924. For further details of these owners, see Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. I, pp. 58‒59 (Bod-Inc. A-021 (3)). The early provenance history points to Oxford University in the period around, or shortly after, 1480 and to the specific interests of a friar whose home community was Bedford, but who went on to become an Oxford doctor. This is also the most likely context for the dismemberment of 13th-century manuscripts for use in a binding.

Host Volume

Title Arch. G e.5
Date of Origin/Publication Printed c.1476/1477‒83, bound c.1483.
Place of Origin/Publication Printed in Oxford and Louvain, bound in England (most likely Oxford or Bedford).
Shelfmark Arch. G e.5

Information on host volume from the description in Bod-Inc. vol. 1, pp. 58-59 (A-021) with additions.

Three incunable editions in chancery quarto, the first an elementary school text, the second a humanistically orientated educational treatise, the third a standard textbook on physics.

1. Publius Terentius Afer, Vulgaria. [English and Latin]. Oxford: Theodericus Rood, [not after 1483]. 32 fols. (Bod-Inc. T‑053 (3); ISTC: it00110900; GW M45617). The author of this elementary collection of phrases excerpted from the plays of Terence was John Anwykyll, from about 1481 headmaster of the grammar school attached to Magdalen College, Oxford (see Cobban, ‘Colleges and halls’ (1992), pp. 613‒14; Orme, ‘John Anwykyl’ (2004)).The date of printing ‘not after 1483’, as also for Rood’s edition of the Compendium totius gramatice, which is attributed to Anwykyll and has continuous quire signatures to the Terence, is based on John Grene’s ownership inscription in this copy (see below).

2. Petrus Paulus Vergerius, De ingenuis moribus ac liberalibus studiis. [Louvain]: Johannes de Westfalia, [between 8 Apr. 1476 and Nov. 1477]. 44 fols. (Bod-Inc. V‑065; ISTC iv00131000; GW M49630).

3. Adelardus Bathoniensis, Quaestiones naturales. [Louvain]: Johannes de Westfalia, [between 8 Apr. 1476 and Nov. 1477]. 42 fols. Wanting e11 and e12. (Bod-Inc. A-021 (3); ISTC ia00049000; GW 218).

The two imported editions, items 2 and 3, are illuminated with red initials and distinctive pen-flourishing, by a single hand. Item 2 contains marginal notes by two hands, not identical with that of John Grene’s colophon to item 1 (illustrated as figure 12.1 in Wakelin, ‘Humanism and Printing’ (2014), p. 232). Some of these notes mention schoolboys (‘juvenes’, fols 47r and 50r), suggesting that the glosses were either the work of, or intended for the use of a schoolmaster.

Binding: Contemporary English binding (c.1483), most likely Oxford or Bedford (see under Provenance); ruled calf over wooden boards (fillets on upper and lower board). It is suggested in MLGB3 (for which see below) that the binding may be from the same workshop as that of a copy of Albertus de Eyb, Margarita poetica (Paris: An Soufflet Vert, 1477), originally purchased by John Grene in Oxford, later at St Albans School, and now privately owned by Mr N. J. Barker of London.