DCL MS. B.III.12Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Manuscript codex made up of two parts: (A) Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia (f.1-69) and (B) Tabula to (A) (f.70-82) - plus endleaves (f.83-85, plus 85’s unnumbered stub). Physically quite distinct but related by content, (A) and (B) were presumably brought together at an early date. The point at which f.83-5 were recycled to be used as their endleaves and pastedown is unclear.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2m4j03cz79d.html

Physical description of manuscript
Extent: ii+85+ii f
Size: 316 mm x 203 mm


Modern pencil foliation.

Secundo folio: In illo tempore Dixit

Condition of manuscriptA parchment tab inscribed with the number “7” is attached to the fore-edge of f.33. Wax blob on f.75v.

Bound in Durham in the 18th century by Waghorn, calf panelled binding. Traces of the pink turn-overs from an earlier binding are visible on the former paste-down f.85v; also a small green-stained hole from metal fittings, towards the bottom of the page.

Manuscript history

Inscription: .F Liber assignatus librarie monachorum Dunelm per magistrum Willelmum Ebchestre Priorem, f.1r, upper margin (William Ebchester, prior of Durham 1446-56).

Physical description of section of manuscript

Parchment: generally stout with occasional thinner leaves; even-toned. Arranged: FH, HF.

Extent: 69 f

I12, II3 (structure unclear), II-VI12, VII6


Text-block: 242 x 150 mm. Two columns (width: 70 mm). Lines: 52 (space, 4-5 mm; height of minims, 3 mm). Pricking: awl; survives in upper and lower margins only. Ruling: ink. Single verticals flank the both columns (two in total in the intercolumnar space); no horizontals extended; all horizontals run across the intercolumnar space.


Written in Textualis libraria; spacious, fere-Rotunda. Rubrics in the same hand. Corrections, including missing rubric (e.g. f.16v), by several hands, generally in informal cursive.


Decorated initial, 6 lines high, heads (b)2: the letter-shape is formed from pink and blue panels and tubes with white highlights, set against a gold ground. The lection for and the incipit proper of each homily are headed by blue initials, 2+ lines high, flourished in red. The running headings are written in blue capitals flourished in red. Each entry in both capitula lists ((a) and (b)1) are headed by a blue initial, 1 line high, embellished in red.

Corrections and annotation

Passages throughout flagged by pointing hands, and marginal lines that incorporate decorative motifs such as foliage (e.g. f.7v) and faces (e.g. f.30v). A dog’s head and a run of abbreviated forms for common words beginning with “q” were added to the margins of f.29v.

History of section of manuscript

Written in France or England, first half of 14th century.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1r
Modern title: Capitula list for Gregory the Great, Regula pastoralis
Incipit: Primus liber pastoralis continet capitula 24
Explicit: Ecce uir bone
Language: Latin

Continuous listing of 23 then 45 capitula, the numbering in red Arabic numerals.

(b)     f.1v-69v
Original title: Homiliae in Evangelia
Author: Gregory I, Pope, approximately 540-604
Incipit: Karissimo et sanctissimo fratro secundino coepiscopo Gregorius seruus seruorum dei
Explicit: per se in uestris mentibus loquatur. Qui uiuit et regnat in unitate spiritus sancti deus per omnia secula seculorum amen
Rubric: Incipit capitule primi codicis
Language: Latin

Capitula list (numbered in black Roman numerals, with a space but not a rubric between items xx and xxi; the relevant biblical chapter numbers added later beside eighteen of them) followed by Prefatory letter. Running headings throughout: “OML” on versos, the relevant homily number on rectos.

Edited: Peter Lombard, Commentarium in Psalmos

Physical description of section of manuscript

Parchment: relatively low quality; thin and papery with pronounced H/F contrasts (H sides generally yellow with clear follicle marks).

Extent: 13 f

I13 (12 + final singleton)


Text-block: 252 x 140 mm. Two columns: 65 mm. Lines: 51 (space, 5 mm; height of minims, 2 mm). Pricking: awl (preserved in upper and lower margins). Ruling: ink. Single verticals flank both columns (two in total in the intercolumnar space); a further vertical in the inner margin. First three and last two horizontals extended; all run across the intercolumnar space; two further horizontals in the upper margin (to support running headings), one in the lower margin.


The initial title/rubric written in Textualis, the main text in Anglicana.


The text is headed (f.70r) by a blue and red initial A, 3+ lines high, flourished in red and blue, with blue and red flourished extensions in the inner and across the upper margins. The first entry for each subsequent letter of the alphabet is headed by a blue capital, 3+ lines high, flourished in red. Each subsequent entry, and some of the homily references, are marked by a red paraph.

History of section of manuscript

Written in England, 14th/15th century.

Manuscript contents
(c)     f.70r-82v
Modern title: Tabula for Gregory, Homeliae in Evangelia
Incipit: ¶Abnegare quod habet minus est
Explicit: ut et iusti de munere retributionis sine fine gaudent et iniusti in ultione supplicii in perpetuum gemant
Rubric: tabula super omelias Evvang’ GG
Language: Latin

Extracts, alphabetically arranged (with full alphabeticisation) by key word. Reference is by Homily number plus a letter indicating the column within the homily. Running heading above each column gives the relevant letter(s) of the alphabet.

SECTION: (endleaves)
Physical description of section of manuscript


Extent: 3 f

A singleton followed by ?a bifolium, followed by an unnumbered counterstub for the singleton. Recycled at an uncertain date, all these leaves were evidently stuck together, and f.85v was pasted to the back board of a previous binding. It is not clear whether f.83 had any association with f.84-5 prior to their re-use in this context.


Text-block (f.84-5): approximately 140 x 195 mm. Lines (f.84-5): 16 (space, 15 mm; height of minims, 3 mm - planned for a four-line staff). Pricking: lost. Ruling: lead and ink; pattern unclear.


Written in various hands.

Manuscript contents
(d)     f.83r-v
Modern title: Recipes etc.
Date: 14th - 15th centuries
Language: Latin

The recto is blank bar one jotted note mentioning H de gandauo. The verso covered with recipes and notes:
1. Recipe sex vncias cinnamonii, quattuor de gingyuer, vnam de … aliam quartam de cardemonio, aliam quartam vncie de pipere longo.
2. Oleum de butero. Recipe butiri … postea deponantur ab igne et refrigeretur et erit oleum clarum optimum.
3. Hec sunt virtutes aquae vitae. Item aqua uita clarior et subtilior est et multo leuior …;
4. Si uis facere aquam ad de-?- ferrum, accipe unctam unam… et supradicta aqua benedictam.
5. Unguentum ad necandum vermes et scabrem in manibus, qui vocatur dert. Recipe ungentum [sic] album et misce cum sapone de yspana et … et transibit in brevi.
6. Preparationes ad custodiendum gyngeuer … Accipe folia petrofilli virid’ … optime custodiatur.
7. Preparatio gyngibrisad faciendum gingebras. Accipe gingiber … sufficiat.
8. Five sets of apothegms of two, four, three, two and three lines respectively, all damaged. The first ends, ‘per amare possis amari’; the last is, ‘[-?-]fueris qui vis si vis cognoscere quid scis, / [?-]spice mentem, respice mores, acta revolve, / [-?-]t in hiis et ab his poteris congoscere quid scis.
9-10. Prescriptions about weights of sulphur and salt.
11. Hic est differentia inter -?- et claretum. -?- fit de vino rubeo et melle, claretum de vino albo …
12. Draft document: … coram me rogo de tali loco rectore de tali loco nomine H de tali li [sic] loco… hunc testimento sigillum meum aposui.
13. Ad faciendum mede. Accipe mel …

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.III.12 - Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia
Digitised November 2019 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated Project
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