Cosin MS V.i.4Peter Lombard, On the Psalms
Held by: Durham University Library: Bishop Cosin's Library: Cosin Manuscripts

A manuscript from Northern France, written towards the end of the 12th century, containing Peter Lombard's commentary on the Psalms in which he mainly uses the glosses of Anselm of Laon and Gilbert of Poitiers. Their use of the three main authorities, Augustine, Cassiodorus and Jerome is indicated in rubric. Recorded as in Durham Priory Library in 1391 and 1416, it left there in unrecorded circumstances until it was acquired for Bishop Cosin's Library where it is recorded in 1663 and remains today.


Physical description of manuscript

Membrane of fine quality (0.18 mm.; hair and flesh-sides barely distinguishable, but quires probably with hair-side outermost; a few natural flaws and edges). Horizontal cut in the outer margin of f.42 stitched up and one in f.229 previously stitched up now repaired by overlay as for similar cuts to f.223-224 and 226-228.

Extent: 231 f
Size: 389 mm x 252-258 mm


[1] + 2 (membrane flyleaves; f.1 perhaps previously after f.229, with which it shares a matching hole, possibly from chaining) + 230 + [1]; foliated i, 1-229, repeating 19 and 127.

Secundo folio: materia

1-108, 1110, 12-288, 294.

Catchwords: Catchwords on quires 12-28, in red where following text is in red, see below.
Signatures: Quires 1-11 and, in a smaller style 15-18, numbered in roman on final verso at the centre of lower margin.

No evidence of pricking for horizontal ruling. Written space 240 or, quire 12, 243 x 153 (72.9.72) mm; ruled in soft greyish brown. Two columns. 48 lines, or, in quires 10-11, 47-51 lines; the first written line above the top ruled line.


Written in small proto-gothic minuscule, expertly, by one hand, with the text of the psalm-verses in red; varying somewhat in size, particularly between f.90v and f.91, the first leaf of quire 12, which has a final catchword, not a roman numeral (as for the remainder of the quires), and where the abbreviated names of the three authorites (Augustine, Cassiodorus and Jerome) are rubricated in the outer margins alongside specific glosses, instead of all three over each column as in the rest of the volume. The collation suggest that the scribe may have been at the end of his first stint or portion of exemplar in quire 11 and resumed inadvertently in the different style for quire 12, only to revert to the original style for the remainder. It is not clear that two scribes were involved, though there are more obtruding strokes of d, t and v at the beginning of lines in the latter part of the volume.


Paraphs, red or blue, to some psalm-verses.
Initials: (i) to psalm-verses, both text and first lemma, 1 line high, red or blue, mostly alternating;
(ii) to all but ten psalms, see (iii) and (iv), 3 lines high, red and blue, with infilling and a little flourishing in blue and/or red;
(iii) to prologue, 7 lines high, as (iv);
(iv) to Psalms 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101 and 109, between 9 and 11 lines high, in shaded grey, blue or orange, with zoomorphic elements in colours as central decoration, on grounds of blue, pink, orange or grey decorated with white stars and circles and framed in orange, or creamy yellow and/or grey, and filled with a second colour decorated with a wyvern (f.149) or with spirals and foliage, and palmates, animal and human (ff.79, 127*) heads, lions (ff.80, 170), or a hooded half-figure (f.101v), in blue or pink shaded with white, orange patterned with white and creamy yellow, followed by the first few letters in one row of 2 line high lombardic capitals in alternating red and blue, some with a little flourishing;
(v) B of Psalm 1, f.3r, 14 lines high, in blue and orange shaded with white, with gold panels, on a pink (flaking) ground decorated with white stars and circles and framed with gold, and each bowl filled with gold decorated with a spiral and foliage centred on a five-point palmate leaf, in blue shaded and patterned with white, orange and creamy yellow, the upper spiral supporting a small lion in creamy yellow, in the “Channel School” style, followed by capitals as (iv).

The major divisions marked by large initials are at Pss 1, 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101, and 109, as commonly. The text of each psalm-verse is differentiated from the rest of the text not by being placed separately or written in larger letters, but by being written entirely in red, and the lemmata underlined with red before the comments; an early example; for others and discussion, see De Hamel, p.22 and n.51.

Running-titles: in red, above each column, except in quire 12 (f.91-98), giving authorities “Aug cas Jer”, with marks over the respective names, intended to identify particular glosses.

Corrections and annotation

Seven and a half lines of original writing might have been erased at the end of the text - it is possible they are offset from f.228v. There are a very few early marginal corrections (e.g. f.13v). A contemporary, probably original note in small diplomatic script on f.106v. Early annotation in drypoint or soft grey, 13th century (?), f.9v, 19*r, 27v-28v, 29v, 33v, 97v-112v, but none thereafter.


Standard Tuckett binding, mid 19th century full brown calf over thick wooden boards (Charles Tuckett, binder to the British Museum, rebound most of the Cosin Manuscripts in the 19th century) re-using 2 decorated clasps (15th or 16th century). f.i is a somewhat shorter and narrower flyleaf with offsets of a mitred leather turn-in, before Davenport's time.

Manuscript history

Written in northern France, later 12th century.


Strip approx. 15 mm. deep cut roughly from top of f. 2, no doubt to remove ex libris of Durham Cathedral Priory; entered as BB in the Priory's catalogue of Spendement books, 1391 and 1416, Catalogi veteres, pp. 13 and 89. Psalms numbered (16th or 17th century) as in the English Bible. “Geo. Davenport. | 1663.”, “pret. xliis.”, on piece of paper (from the previous binding) stuck to f.1v; his explicit, f.229, and note referring to T. James's Catalogus [1600] on Oxford and Cambridge copies and to two in the Durham Cathedral Dean & Chapter Library, f.i.

Also cited Mynors, no. 129.

Manuscript contents
SECTION: (a)     f.2-229
Modern title: On the Psalms
Original title: Commentarium in Psalmos
Author: Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris,‏ ‎approximately 1100-1160
Date: [third or fourth quarter 12th century]
Incipit: Cum omnes prophetas spiritus sancti reuelatione: constet esse locutos
Explicit: Vite eterne uox est, Omnis spiritus laudet dominum.
Language: Latin
Edited: Peter Lombard, Commentarium in Psalmos (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010)

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 University Library. Cosin Manuscript V.i.4 - Peter Lombard, Commentary on the Psalms
Digitised October 2015 as part of the Durham Priory 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]).

de Hamel, Christopher, Glossed books of the Bible and the origins of the Paris book trade   OCLC citation, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell Press, 1984)

Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris, approximately 1100-1160, Commentarium in Psalmos   OCLC citation, Library of Latin Texts A (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010)

Mynors, R., 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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