DCL MS. A.III.21Hugh of St Cher, Postills on Song of Songs, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus: Lamentations, glossed
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Manuscript codex made up of two distinct books, bound together in the17th or 18th century.
Part 1. Hugh of St Cher, Postills on Song of Songs, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, written in France before 1266. The notes of content on f.1v and 2r, plus the relevant Cloister catalogue entries, record that commentaries, [Hugh of St Cher] In Iob, In Proverbia Salomonis and In Ecclesiasten originally preceded the first surviving item.
Part 2. Lamentations, glossed, written in France early 13th century, Produced separately from but matching DCL MS A.III.20, this volume was evidently joined to that one by the 14th century (indicated by 1392 and 1416 catalogue entries); however, it had been separated from it again before the latter suffered its severe fire and water damage. The date at which the present volume was joined to A.III.21 part 1 is unclear, but the presence of its own ex libris on f.91r in Rud’s hand hints that it may have been only around the time he was compiling his catalogue.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1m4b29b620x.html

Physical description of manuscript
Extent: iii+88+47 f

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). Stains from the turnovers, and rust-ringed holes from the metal fixtures, of a lost earlier binding (of part 1) on f.1-2 and 90.

SECTION: (Part 1)
Physical description of section of manuscript

Parchment: modest quality (deteriorating from quire VII), thin, prominent follicle marks, some flaws. Arranged FH, HF. A tab was formerly attached to f.40.

Extent: iii+88 f
Size: 360 mm x 245 mm
(f.1-2 have been cut down to 210 x 224 mm, fol. 3 to 330 x 225 mm)


Medieval endpapers foliated as f.1-2; error in foliation, f.110 repeated as f.110*.

Secundo folio: [missing]

medieval flyleaves (f.1-2) now glued to the modern flyleaf; original structure uncertain, possibly a bifolium. I3 (f.3-5; the acephalus remains of a quire that was probably originally irregular (with one or more blank leaves at the end cancelled); the leaves are now glued to the modern flyleaf), II-VI10, VII12, VIII10, IX8, X5 (probably 6 with leaf 6, a blank, cancelled or lost)

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords on quires II-IX.
Signatures: Leaf numbering in the first half of quire VIII. Pecia notes: on the final verso of quire II, lower margin, the scribe wrote in red, “primum sapientie”; on quire III, in red “de sapientia” and in black “Iste totus quaternus eget bona emendacione, ut mihi uidetur”; on quire IV, in red, “ecclesiasticus”.

Text-block: 263 x 166 mm. Two columns (width: 78 mm). Lines: 70 (space, 4 mm; height of minims, 1.5 mm). Pricking: knife, generally survives in all three outer margins. Ruling: lead and ink. Single verticals flank both columns (two in total at the intercolumnar space); the top three and the bottom three horizontals are invariably extended into the outer margin (but not into the inner one); the middle three horizontals (35-37) were generally but not invariably extended into the outer margin (but not into the inner one).


Written in Textualis libraria, regular, compressed, by one scribe.


None. The spaces reserved at the start of (b) and (c) for enlarged initials, 12 and 8 lines high respectively, remained unfilled.

History of section of manuscript

Written in France ?, mid 13th century (before 1266).


Inscription: “¶Liber sancti Cuthberti ex dono Bertrami de middle[-lost area-]oris Dunelms’. ¶Iob, ¶Parabole salomonis, ¶Ecclesiastes, ¶Cantican canticorum, ¶Sapientie, ¶Ecclesiasticus.”, f.1v, top; late 13th century (Bernard of Middleton, monk of Durham c. 1213/1218-1266, prior 1244-58.
Pressmark and contents: “2i C Postille super Iob et super libros salomonis f”, start of 15th century, f.2r. To which Thomas Swalwell added, 15th/16th century: “super prouerbia salomonis, ecclesiasten, sapientiam. Item super [ecclesiasten – deleted] cantica canticorum. Item super ecclesiasticum”. Recorded in the Cloister catalogue.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.3r-5v
Original title: Postilla super Cantica Canticorum
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Cher, Cardinal, approximately 1200-1263
Incipit: ... iam matures, vel sicut ortus plenus malis punitis
Explicit: Montes aromatum sunt uiri sancti, mentes uirtutibus fingentes in quibus salit et transilit et discurrit
Language: Latin

Acephalus: begins within chapter 5, in the commentary on Cantica canticorum 4.13. Lemmata underlined in red. Running heading: “Cant’” plus chapter number

Cited: Stegmüller, 3682
(b)     f.6v-26v
Original title: Postilla super Librum Sapientie
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Cher, Cardinal, approximately 1200-1263
Incipit: Fili concupiscens sapientiam, conserua iustitiam et deus prebebit illam tibi
Explicit: et in omni loco assistens eis, liberans et saluans
Language: Latin

Chapters marked by a small paraph within the text-block and a roman numeral in the margin. Lemmata underlined in red. Occasional subsequent annotation. Running heading: “sa-pi”.

Cited: Stegmüller, 3684
(c)     f.26v-90v
Original title: Postilla super Ecclesiasticum
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Cher, Cardinal, approximately 1200-1263
Incipit: [S]ummi regis palatium in quattuor consummatur
Explicit: alia ancillla est ysaias quem post illum librum iuuante domino proponimus nos lecturos
Language: Latin

Divided by paraphs and marginal numbering into 51 chapters, themselves subdivided into numbered parts. Some marginalia, including distinctiones, copied as part of the original transcription. Occasional subsequent annotation. Running heading: “Ecca’-sticus”

Cited: Stegmüller, 3686

SECTION: (Part 2)
Physical description of section of manuscript

Parchment: stout. Noticeable H/F distinction. Arranged: FH, HF. Minor water damage to the bottom of the lower margin.

Extent: 47 f
Size: 345 mm x 250 mm

Secundo folio: cum illis est sponsus


Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords on quires I-V.
Signatures: Contemporary signatures (Roman numeral; final verso, lower margin, centre) on quires II-VI (‘.ii.’-‘.vi.’)

Text-block: 215 x 146 mm (biblical text and gloss invariably below top line). The columns vary in number (1-3) and width from one page to the next. Lines: the biblical text is written every other line up to a maximum of 21 (space, 5+ mm; height of minims, 5+ mm), the gloss every line up to a maximum of 43 (height of minims, 2+ mm). Pricking: knife. Preserved in upper and lower margins. Prickings were supplied for four pairs of verticals (flanking and subdividing the text-block) and for one further vertical in the outer margin. Pricked only in the outer margins for the horizontals. Ruling: lead with some ink. Planned for third phase /complex glossed book design – i.e. a solid text-block composed of the scriptural text written every other line in a column that varies in width from page to page, the gloss, written on every line, being integrated within and around it. Double verticals (guided by prickings) flank the text-block area as a whole; further pairs of verticals were inserted within the text-block to create columns as required (these were intermittently guided by the prickings in the lower margins, sometimes positioned independently of them); a single vertical (guided by prickings) in the outer margin. The horizontals irregularly overrun the verticals.

History of section of manuscript

Written in France, early 13th century.

Manuscript contents
(d)     f.91r-137v
Modern title: Lamentations, glossed
Incipit: Quomodo sedet sola ciuitas plena populo
Explicit: iratus es contra nos uehementer
Language: Latin

Prefaces; marginal and interlinear glosses; little subsequent annotation of the text.

Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.1
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.2
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.3
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.4
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.5
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.6
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.7
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.8
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.9
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.10
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.11
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.12
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.13
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.14
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.15
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.16
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.17
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.
Cited: Stegmüller, 11809.

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. A.III.21 - Hugh of St Cher, Postills on Song of Songs, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus: Lamentations, glossed
Digitised January 2020 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project. Foliation error: f.110 is repeated as 110*


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]).

Stegmüller, F., Repertorium biblicum medii aevi   OCLC citation, (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1950-1961)

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