DCL MS. B.III.18Theological miscellany
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

A composite manuscript made up of two parts, written in France and Durham respectively and assembled before 1484. (A) Pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux, Meditationes; Lothario dei Segni/Innocent III, De contemptu mundi siue de miseria conditionis humanae; etc. (B) Ps.-Robert Grosseteste, De lingua, Sermones, etc.; Peter of Limoges, De oculi morali.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2m0k225b06d.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: ii+235+i f.


Main (?early modern) foliation in ink runs: 85-223, 223*-243, 245-319. A late medieval ink foliation of 1-125 on 245-318, 233-242, 85-125 indicates an earlier order in which the contents were once bound.

Secundo folio: bitare in me ipso

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

A composite volume of two parts: (A) f.85-127 and (B) f.128-319. The summary list of content of s. xv/xvi on ii verso implies, and the fuller one of xv/xvi-xviin demonstrates, that the sections of the book were then arranged as they are now. Once in their present order, fols. 223-319 suffered (?fire) damage in the lower margin at the spine; the damaged areas were carefully excised.


Inscription, after 1484: “Iste liber assignatur nono armariolo in claustro ecclesie Dunelm per venerabilem patrem Magistrum Iohannem Awkland Priorem eiusdem ecclesie”, f. iiv, a third of the way down (John Auckland, prior of Durham 1484-94).

Inscription, 15th-16th century: “G 8.” and “Meditaciones bernardi et tractatus lincolniensis de oculo morali secundo fo bitare”, f. iiv, top.

A fuller list of content (itemising everything in the volume in its current order) was then fitted in between this and the John Auckland inscription, 15th-17th century.

Physical description of section of manuscript


Extent: 43 f.
Size: 310 mm x 230 mm




I-III12, IV7 (10 with leaves 8-10 [blank] cancelled)

Signatures: Contemporary signatures o, p, q, r; contemporary leaf numbering.

Text-block: 193 x 135 mm. Two columns, 32 lines.


Written in bâtarde .


Written by a single scribe who also wrote the rubric.


Start of (a) and (b) indicated by 6-line initial, other two books of (b) with a 5-line initial. Chapters headed with 2-line initials.

History of section of manuscript

Written in France, late 14th - early 15th century.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.85r-99v
Original title: Meditationes
Author: Pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux
Incipit: Multi multa sciunt et se ipsos nesciunt suos inspiciunt et se ipsos deserunt
Explicit: eundemque dominum glorie, qui regnat per omnia secula seculorum, amen. Expliciunt meditationes beati Bernardi abbatis
Rubric: Incipiunt meditaciones beati bernardi abbatis
Language: Latin

In 22 chapters

Edited: Patrologia Latina 184, 485A-508B
(b)     f.100r-124r
Original title: De contemptu mundi sive de miseria conditionis humanae
Author: Innocent III, Pope, 1160 or 1161-1216
Incipit: Domino patri karissimo .P. portuensi episcopo, Lotharius indignus dyaconus Graciam
Explicit: nos ille qui est benedictus in secula seculorum Amen.
Rubric: Incipit liber de miserabili humane conditionis ingressu Editus a lothario dyacono Cardinali sanctorum sergy et uerei
Language: Latin
Edited: De miseria
(c)     f.124v-125v
Modern title: Short Moralising and Penitential Extracts from Augustine, Petrarch, Ps.-Callisthenes, Isidore, Gregory, John Chrysostom
Language: Latin

Physical description of section of manuscript


Extent: 192 f.
Size: 324 mm x 220 mm

I-VIII12, IX10, X11 (12 with leaf 12, blank, cancelled), XI-XVI12; XVII3 (probably 4 with leaf 4, blank, cancelled)

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords on most quires; leaf numbering in the first half of quires.

Text-block: 227-255 x 150-155 mm. Two columns, 47-57 lines.


Written in secretary with occasional textualis for emphasis


Written by a single scribe identified in the “E” of the Explicit on f.227v as Richard Bell (monk of Durham approximately1426-78, prior 1464-78, bishop of Carlisle 1478-95).


Start of (d) indicated by 5-line initial, the other works by a 4-line initial. Chapters headed with 2-line initials.

History of section of manuscript

Written in England, Durham, mid 15th century. This collection is very similar to that in DCL MS B.III.19, an earlier volume written by a Durham scribe; however, there are sufficient small differences of detail within the incipits and explicits of the individual texts to suggest that that manuscript is unlikely to have been the exemplar for this one.

Manuscript contents
(d)     f.128r-227v
Original title: De lingua
Author: Pseudo-Robert Grosseteste
Incipit: Lingua congruit in duo opera nature in gustum scilicet et locucionem
Explicit: misericors est et mater misericordie
Language: Latin
Cited: Thomson, Spuria no. 28
(e)     f.228r-231v
Original title: Tabula to (d)
Incipit: Abstrahi non debet quis ab ecclesia uel a beato
Explicit: et littere alphabeti docent in qua parte capituli inuenieres quod, queries
Rubric: Tabula super vener’ lincolnien’ de lingua
Language: Latin

The same index (with variant spellings etc.) appears in DCL MS B.III.19, f.142-146

(f)     f.233r-243r
Original title: De septem venenis
Author: Malachias Hibernicus
Incipit: Racio ueneni potissime conuenit peccato cum prioritate originis
Explicit: omnibus aliis pretermissis, et derelictis
Language: Latin

Attributed to Robert Grosseteste

Cited: Thomson, Spuria no. 64
Cited: Bloomfield, 5102
(g)     f.245r-256v
Original title: Sermones
Author: Grosseteste, Robert, 1175-1253
Language: Latin
Cited: Thomson, sermons 19, 13 and 14
(h)     f.257r-291v
Original title: De doctrina cordis
Incipit: Preparate corda vestra deo
Explicit: qui in eo et per eum habebunt etc.
Qui dedit expleri laudetur mente fideli
Language: Latin

Variously attributed to Robert Grosseteste, Hugh of Saint-Cher, Gérard de Liège, Guy of Rome. A chapter list at the end.

Cited: Thomson, Spuria no. 18
(i)     f.292r-319r
Original title: De oculo morali
Author: Peter, of Limoges, -1306
Incipit: Si diligenter uolumus in lege dominus meditari facilime perpendimus
Explicit: Ad illud regnum nos perducat qui sine fine uiuit et regnat
Language: Latin

Cited: Thomson, Spuria no. 37
Cited: Bloomfield, 5532

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

Digitised material for Durham Cathedral Library MS. B.III.18 - Theological texts
Digitised in April 2017 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project. There are no folio numbers 1-84, foliation starts at f.85r. Pages with marginalia not visible in the image because they are too far into the gutter: Recto: 102, 103, 114, 130-140, 142-159, 162, 170, 172-177, 182, 184-187, 189, 197, 211; Verso: 104, 136, 148, 197, 299, 301, 302, 306, 313. There are two f.223. The second is crossed on the manuscript and has had a cross (x) added to the foliator. There is no f.244. Foliation goes 243, 245.


S. Bernardi abbatis primi Claræ-Vallensis opera omnia: post Horstium denuo recognita, aucta et in meliorem digesta ordinem, necnon novis præfationibus, admonitionibus, notis et observationibus indicibusque copiosissimis locupletata tertiis curis Joannis Mabillon   OCLC citation, Patrologiae cursus completus. Series Latina, 182-185 (Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1854-1862)

Bloomfield, M.W., ed., Incipits of Latin works on the virtues and vices 1100-1500 AD including a section of incipits of works on the Pater Noster   OCLC citation (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1979)

Lotario dei Segni (Pope Innocent III), ed. R. T. Lewis, De miseria condicionis humane   OCLC citation (London: Scolar Press, 1980)

Thomson, S. H., The writings of Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln 1235-1253   OCLC citation (Cambridge: CUP, 1940)

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