DCL Hunter 101Reginald of Durham, Libellus de admirandis beati Cuthberti virtutibus
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Reginald of Durham, Libellus de admirandis beati Cuthberti virtutibus, probably the author's copy written at Durham Priory in the later 12th century.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2m02870v94w.html

Physical description of manuscript

Parchment: modest to low quality with pronounced contrast between yellow, follicle-marked H sides and white F sides; some sheets very thin; holes, imperfections and edgecuts. Generally arranged HF, FH (exceptions include Q. III: HF, HF, FH, HF). The first and least leaves are additionally weathered, the first further imperfect owing to the irregular excision of its outer margin and the perforation of much of its inner margin by the copper-based pigment that was used for the opening initial. Areas of p.321 and 322 (centred on rubrics) have been obscured by reagent stains. Tab attached to p.19+20 (the start of the text proper).

Extent: vii+166+v f
Size: 152 mm x 106 mm


Modern pencil foliation of the paper preliminary leaves; 18th century ink pagination by Christopher Hunter (300 used three times resulting now in 300a, 300b, 300c).

Secundo folio: noticiam teneamus

I5 (p.1-10; original structure uncertain, possibly 8, now lacking leaves 1, 7 and 8, and with 5 and 6 made conjoint by a modern repair), II-III8, IV-VI10, VII8 (the first and last leaves, p.103+4 and 117+18, are half-sheets), VIII10, IX8, (the third and sixth leaves, p.143+4 and 149+50 are half-sheets), X9 (seemingly two bifolia [p.155+6 plus 165+6; and p.161+2 plus 163+4] with two singletons between their first halves [p.157+8, p.159+60] and followed by three singletons [p.167+8, 169+70, and 171+2]), XI-XII8, XIII10, XIV-XVI8, XVII6, XVIII13 (= 14 with leaf 3 cancelled), XIX6, XX5 (= 6 with leaf 6, probably blank, lost or cancelled)

Signatures: Subsequent signatures (15th century?), on the first page (lower margin, right) of quires II-XX: ‘b’-‘v’ (as the first leaf of quire I is imperfect and damaged, its ‘a’ may have been lost or obliterated).

Written area: 110-120 x 60-80 mm. Lines: variable from 26-34 (space, 3.5-4; height, 1 mm). Pricking: awl, often survives in all three outer margins. Ruling: generally lead or ink; occasionally (e.g. p.189ff.) hard point. Sometimes double verticals flank the text-block, other times there are double verticals at the inner edge but single at the outer; all the horizontals project irregularly into the margins.


The main text, including rubrics, was entirely written by a single scribe (possibly Reginald himself): Romanesque to Protogothic minuscule, variable, sometimes more akin to a bookhand, other times more rectilinear and fere-documentary.


Arabesque initials in red and green, 8 to 20 lines high for the general incipit, preface and Chapter 48 (p.1, 4, 108). Red initials, 3+ lines high, sometimes plain, sometimes embellished, head each chapter; guide letters beside them. Particularly large and/or elaborate examples include p.19 (incipit of text proper; chapter 12) and 273 (chapter 107). Sentence capitals stroked in red on p.103-116, 141-152, 293-315 and 321-330 - i.e. quires VII (bar the last leaf), IX (bar the outer bifolium), and the greater part of XVIII-XX.

Corrections and annotation

f.iv-vii + first two unnumbered paper endleaves. List of chapter rubrics, added 18th century. The rubrics from the main body of the book, copied out by Christopher Hunter (1675-1757), with page references.


18th century (reworked in early 19th century) incorporating older (medieval?) metal clasps (one with acorn motifs, one with circles). Pasteboard; 4 spine bands; 2 metal clasps; remounted brown leather from spine and both boards, with added gilt patterning on the turnovers, gilt title.

Manuscript history

Written in England, Durham, later 12th century.


Written in the Benedictine Priory of Durham Cathedral. Late 16th century, in an unidentified private collection (deleted notes, dated 1590 and ?1599, added informally to p.1 and 330). Purchased by Dr Christopher Hunter of Durham (1675-1757), physician and antiquary. Returned to Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral when purchased (with other parts of Hunter’s collection) from his executors in 1757 (ex libris on p.3, upper margin).

Manuscript contents
(a)     p.1-330
Original title: Libellus de admirandis beati Cuthberti virtutibus
Author: Reginald, of Durham, active 1165-1175
Incipit: Uenerandus confessor Cuthbertus non mortis dolore deuictus
Explicit: quemadmodum ille hostes plebis israelitice uidentes sed non aduertentes in medium samarie perduxit
Rubric: Incipit Epistola Reinaldi Dunelmensis Monachi, Ad Dominum Ætheldredum Abbatem ecclesise Rieuallensis directa
Language: Latin

Introductory letter of the author to Aelred of Rievaulx, prologue and text. The many contemporary alterations to the text show this to be an authorial copy as do the the irregular quire structures - hinting at the insertion/replacement of leaves. Subsequent annotation throughout, many of them belonging to one of three main strata: (1) 14th century, ‘Nota Bene’s and other notes (e.g. p.52, 69, 91, 122); (2) 15th century, chapter numbers in Roman numerals (sometimes overwriting Arabic numerals, e.g. p.108), crosses, hands pointing at rubrics, occasional corrections (e.g., p.95); (3) 16th century, ‘Nota’s and comments in italic (e.g. p.44, 45, 50, 62, 63, 188).

Edited: Reginaldi Monachi Dunelmensis
Cited: BHL 2032

Digitised material for Durham Cathedral Library MS. Hunter 101 - Reginald of Durham, Libellus de admirandis beati Cuthberti virtutibus
Digitised January 2020 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project Numbering is the same as the volume: Foliated: f.i – f.vii (including blank endpapers) Paginated: 1 – 330, [331] – [334] in square brackets, not numbered on manuscript Not numbered: blank endpapers, not numbered on manuscript There are 3 pages numbered 300, which have had a, b and c added on the manuscript. They have been foliated as 300a, 300b, and 300c. There is a tear on page 1 which causes part of the page to stick out in the image of page 3. There is no text underneath this. A number of pages have parchment stubs between them: 102 – 103: stub has been held back to the extent possible. Some text missing on 102. 116 – 117: stub cannot be held back, minor losses on 116, text on stub visible on 117. 142 – 143: stub not held back, no losses. 148 – 149: stub held back on 148, no losses. 164 – 165: two stubs, held back on 164, no losses. 1st stub: text on recto, just visible on 165, nothing on verso. 2nd Stub: nothing on recto, edges of letters on verso just visible on 164. 166 – 167: two stubs, not held back, no losses. 288 – 289: stub cannot be held back, some text missing on 288, but it can just be seen on 299.


Bibliotheca hagiographica Latina antiquae et medii aetatis   OCLC citation (Brussels, 1898-1901);Supplements (Brussels, 1911, 1986)

Catalogi veteres librorum Ecclesiae cathedralis dunelm. Catalogues of the library of Durham cathedral, at various periods, from the conquest to the dissolution, including catalogues of the library of the abbey of Hulne, and of the mss.   OCLC citation, Surtees Society 7, (London: J.B. Nichols and Son, [1838]).

Reginaldi Monachi Dunelmensis Libellus de admirandis Beati Cuthberti virtutibus quae novellis patratae sunt temporibus   OCLC citation, ed. J. Raine, (London: Nichols and Pickering, 1834)

Mynors, R.A.B., Durham Cathedral manuscripts to the end of the twelfth century. Ten plates in colour and forty-seven in monochrome. With an introduction [including a list of all known Durham manuscripts before 1200]   OCLC citation, (Durham: 1939)

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