DCL MS. B.II.15Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos CI-CL
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Third volume of Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos (CI-CL). If the text was indeed copied from that of DCL MS B.II.14 by the team responsible for DCL MS B.II.20 etc., then the volume would seem to have been made in Oxford following an exemplar from Durham.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1mqv33rw806.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: ii+202+ii f
Size: 385 mm x 245 mm


Foliated in modern pencil.

Secundo folio: uror; Fortes sunt

I-XVI12, XVII10 (=12 with leaves 10-11, doubtless blank, cancelled)

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords, signatures, and leaf numbering.
Signatures: The signatures (on the lower outer corner of every recto in the first half of the quire) are accompanied by their own leaf numbering (‘ai’, ‘aii’, ‘aiii’ etc). They run: ‘a’-‘f’, ‘o’ [uniquely here, the number of ‘o’s also rises in step with the number of the leaf: so ‘o i’ – ‘oooooo vi’], ‘g’-‘q’. The leaf numbering (rectos, inner margin, towards the bottom), in a mixture of Roman and Arabic numerals, runs ‘I’, ‘ii’, ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘v’, ‘vi’, concluding with an ‘X’ on the first recto of the second half of the quire.

Condition of manuscriptModest quality parchment with noticeable H/F contrast; H sides often follicle marked. Arranged FH, HF. Parchment tab attached to f.94 (amid commentary on Psalm 120)

Text-block: 282 x 170 mm. Two columns (width: 78 mm). Lines: 47 (space, 6 mm; height of minims, 3+ mm). Pricking: awl. Ruling: lead. Single bounding lines flank both columns; a further pair bisecting the outer margin. Top horizontal extended. A pair of horizontals bisects both the upper and lower margins (the former used for the running heading.


Written in Textualis semi-quadrata. Possibly a single scribe, very close to that of DCL MS B.II.20, etc. Rubrics in the same hand and script; some corrections by also by the same hand, both via interlinear insertion (e.g. f.34v, f.61v, f.173v) and via re-working or retracing of letters (most noticeably on f.193r). Certain major corrections in rasura in a bolder Textualis semi-quadrata with a squarer matrix (e.g. f.84v, f.85r, f.88v, f.93r, f.119v), apparently by a different but contemporary hand.


Decorated initials, 5+ lines high, plus border bars for the incipits to the Commentaries on Psalms 101 (f.1r) and 109 (f.45v), and for the Preface and Incipit to that on Ps. 118 (both f.61v). The letter-forms and the bars (adorned with spiky leaves and occasional dragonesque forms), are predominantly pink and blue, with occasional details in orange and highlights in white, punctuated with zones and little balls of gold and silver. The style is akin to that of DCL MS B.II.20 etc. Other Commentary incipits marked by blue initials flourished in red, 2+ lines high, then vice versa. Initials in the same style and continuing the sequence of colour alternation, albeit often smaller in scale (1+ lines high), mark the start of the discussion on the first verse of a psalm. Sentence capitals stroked in red.


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

Written in England (?Oxford), early 14th century.

It has been suggested that DCL MS B.II.14 might have been the exemplar for the text. Pointing in this direction are parity of rubrics, identical or closely similar transliterated Greek - e.g. ‘cathartas/catharcas’ at Ps. 118 (B.II.14, f.92r: B.II.15, f.87r); ‘anabathinon’ at Ps. 119 (B.II.14, f.94v: B.II.15, f.89r) and ‘istoneona stoneon’ at Ps. 130 (B.II.14, f.127v: B.II.15, f.125r - and certain other details. (Thus the major error on f.84v of the present MS that required 8 lines of rewriting in rasura corresponds exactly with the disjunction from the bottom of column 1 to the top of column 2 in the text of B.II.14 (f.90r) – an obvious place for a copyist’s eye to skip). There are some minor differences in spelling (e.g. B.II.14, hymnus: B.II.15 hympnus) and in the forms of certain numbers (e.g. B.II.14 ‘xxviiii’: B.II.15 ‘xxix’), though these might be explained as reflecting personal preference.


Annotated earlier 14th century by Thomas Lund, monk of Durham (d. 1349/50), e.g. f.2v, f.26v.
Inscription: “.M.”, later 14th century, f.1r, outer margin. “M. Augustinus super terciam partem Psalterij De communi libraria monachorum dunelm”, start 15th century, f.1r, top.
Listed in cloister catalogue and DCD Misc.Ch.7144.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.7r-200v
Original title: Enarrationes in Psalmos CI-CL
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Ecce vnus pauper orat et non orat in silentio; licet ergo audire eum, et uidere quis nam sit
Explicit: Vos estis hec omnia, nichil hic uile, nichil transitorium, nihil lucidrum cogitetur. Et quia sapere secundum carnem mores est
Rubric: Aurelii Augustini egregii oratoris tractatus prior de Psalmo Centesimo Primo Incipit.
Language: Latin

Diples mark quotations. Running heading gives the incipit of the Psalm in question. Occasional broadly contemporary marginal notes in lead and ink (e.g. both on f.26v).

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.II.15 - Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos CI-CL
Digitised July 2018 as part of the Durham Priory Library 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]).

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