DCL MS. B.II.2Paul the Deacon, Homiliary
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Homilies of Paul the Deacon for Christmas to Easter, in a damaged state (start and end of manuscript now missing) which might have been one of the manuscripts given to Durham Priory by Bishop William of St Calais.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1m0c483j46v.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: i+92+i f
Size: 330 mm x 243 mm


Modern pencil foliation. Early modern ink pagination.

acephalus - lacks original secundo folio


A manuscript of two parts: (A) f.1-60; (B) f.61-91. I8, [lost leaves], II-III8, IV7 (8 with leaf 3 [after f.26] cancelled; no text lacking), V6 (8 lacking leaves 4+5, the centre bifolium [between 34 and 35]), VI-VII8, VIII7 (8 with leaf 8, blank [after f.60], cancelled), IX-X8, XI6 (=8 lacking leaves 1 and 8, the outer bifolium [after f.76 and 82]; XI10 (an original 8 [f.83-84, 87-92] into which the two leaves which should start the next quire have been intruded as f.85 and 86).

Condition of manuscriptDegraded and discoloured by damage from liquid and/or damp. Every leaf is extensively liquid-stained around all outer edges and often into the text block - increasingly so from f.50 to the end; in many cases the damage extends to perforation. The last six leaves are particularly severely affected, with areas of text illegible or even lost. Losses from f.87 include small areas of the text-block; most of the outer column and parts of the inner one are lost from f.92. The retracing of passage of text in a near-contemporary hand shows that some of this damage happened at an early date From f.70 onwards there is also increasing damp damage to the inner margin and the inside column of text as well. In addition, the margins of many leaves have been sliced off.

Two columns, 34 lines (A), 44 lines (B)


Written in late Caroline minuscule (Flemish?) by at least two hands, with rewriting of damaged areas by another hand (eg f.87-89) in the early 12th century.


Each homily headed by a 5+line initial, mainly in a single colour.


Standard Tuckett binding, mid 19th century full brown calf over thick wooden boards (Charles Tuckett, binder to the British Museum, rebound many Durham manuscripts in the 19th century)

Manuscript history

Written in Northern France or England, end 11th/early 12th century.


The beginning of the book, where inscriptions or shelfmarks would have been inscribed, is missing: this may have been the copy given by William of St Calais. Although DCL MS A.III.29 and this manuscript are complementary parts of Paul the Deacon’s collection, they are not a matching pair as they are different recensions of the text and are of different dates (DCL MS A.III.29 being older).

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1-86
Original title: Homiliae super Evangelia
Author: Paul, the Deacon, approximately 720-799?
Language: Latin

The Advent section is now lost from the front of the surviving manuscript, which now contains 86 homilies for the period from Christmas to Easter (Grégoire 1980: I.15-I.108)

Edited: Grégoire 1980, chapter 13

Microfilmed in 1985/86 by the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, St John's Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota. Copies held by them and Durham Cathedral Library.

Digitised material for Durham Cathedral Library MS. B.II.2 - Paul the Deacon, Homiliary
Digitised March 2015 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project


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]).

Grégoire, Réginald, Homéliaires liturgiques médiévaux: analyse de manuscrits   OCLC citation (Spoleto: Centro Italiano Di Studi Sull'alto Medioevo, 1980)

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)

Index terms