Durham University Library Mickleton and Spearman MS. 89Peter of Limoges, De oculo morali
Held by: Durham University Library: Mickleton and Spearman Manuscripts

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2ms1784m088.html

Physical description of manuscript

Parchment, hair and flesh sides little different in colour but flesh sides smoother, quires with flesh side outermost, some flaying flaws, with sewing-holes from repair in f.48 and 75. Outer and lower edges cropped (f.16v, 18r); all leaves stiff, as from wetting, with water-stains at various places throughout; f.1 torn, with blank modern parchment substituted for two pieces, including illuminated initial now missing; f.94v partly obscured by brown stains. Two18th century paper flyleaves at start and end; folowed at the start by two medieval parchment flyleaves.

Extent: iv+94+ii f
Size: 175 mm x 120 mm


i-iv, 1-96

Secundo folio: duo nerui (“ci” expunctuated and replaced by “ui”).

1-128 (12 wants 7-8 [blank?]).

Catchwords: Catchwords on quires 1-11, written in cursiva on quires 2-4 and, the alteration, quire 6, by the same hand as the guides for the rubrics (cp. f.32v and 52v).
Signatures: First four leaves of quire 12 numbered i-iiii in soft brown at the foot of the recto.

No evidence of pricking except for frame. Written space 120-124 x 74-76 mm; ruling in sharpish brown, with a pair of horizontal lines 4-5 mm apart across the full width of the lower margin of some leaves up to f.41. 26 long lines.


Written in a rounded gothic bookhand of academic type, competently, possibly by two hands, judging by 5 lines near the foot of f.6v, distinctly ruled where the main hand apparently left a space filled in a larger script. Correction on a considerable scale in two phases: the first by the main hand and near-contemporary hands, (some cursive like that supplying wording for rubrics and the catchwords), by expunctuation, interlineation, and marginal addition (e.g. f.22v); the later, 14th/15th century, in watery black, clumsily, by deletion (e.g. f.31v), over erasure, by marginal addition and, on f.68v, by insertion over erasure and in gap left in original text of wording different from that entered in the margin by the earlier corrector. A little early 14th century annotation; also by the 14th/15th century corrector.


Some text-capitals finely decorated in ink, e.g. f.16v, 63r-65v, 88v-90r (human profiles) and 94r-v, cf. the space-filler in ink, f.8v. Some others filled with red, e.g. f.9v, 80r and 90r (tongue and cheek of ink profile). Paraphs, alternately red or blue, with none on f.74r-79r or 87r-91v for instance, perhaps by oversight.
Initials: (i) 2-line, blue with red infilling and flourishing, or, generally alternately, red with grayish blue infilling and flourishing; (ii) 3-line, to f.1r, largely cut out or torn away, probably of gold, with offset on f.ivv, and part of bar extension down left-hand side of text in blue with gold blobs and white decoration.


Reversed calf, four bands 17th/18th century, with gilt number 89 at head of spine.

Manuscript history

Written in France ?, turn of the 13th/14th century.


Inscriptions: “Iste liber”, 14th century, f.1r. “illegible erasure Tractatus de oculo”, 15th century, f.ivv. “g”, 15th century (?), and “.9.V”, 15th century, probably in the same ink as the title added to item 2, f.1r top right, neither typical of Durham Cathedral Priory pressmarks. “liber sancti Cuthberti et dompni Henricy Thew monachi dunellm”, 15th/16th century, f.ivv; Thew was a Durham Priory monk c.1483-1526. The addition, f.ivv, is perhaps by the same hand as annotations in printed books belonging to William Wylom, monk of Durham 1513-39. Listed among James Mickleton's manuscripts 4-5 July 1720 by Humfrey Wanley as “Tractatus Moralis de Oculo membr. 8vo”, BL MS Additional 70484, no. 23.

Manuscript contents
(1)     f.ivv
Modern title: Title
Date: Added 15th/16th century
Language: Latin

“Tractatus de oculo | Qui exteriori oculo negligens vtitur iusto dei iudicio interiori cecatur .gregorius. | oculo quid nequius totam faciem lacrimare facit”

(2)     f.1r-94v
Original title: De oculo morali
Author: Peter, of Limoges, ?-1306
Incipit: Si diligenter uoluerimus in lege domini meditari
Explicit: ad illud regnum nos perducat qui sine fine uiuit AMEN. AMEN. AME.
Rubric: Incipit tractatus moralis de occulo
Language: Latin

Fragment only remains of 15th century heading, “... e lymochia”

(3)     f.94v
Modern title: Couplet
Date: Added 14th/15th century
Language: Latin

Sanis et non sanis est [sana refeccio panis] | set Christus panis non est [sanus nisi sanis]. Now partly obscured by staining.

Digitised material for Durham University Library Mickleton and Spearman MS. 89


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]).

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