DCL MS. B.I.32Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum historiale (Books 17-32)
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum historiale (Books 17-32), written in England, 1448

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1mq524jn87m.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: ii+336+i f
Size: 425 mm x 285 mm


Modern pencil foliation of main book runs: 2-12, 12*-336. Parchment tab labeled 7 attached to f.160.

Secundo folio: divina ulceone

Flyleaf (singleton, glued at the gutter to f.2); I-XLII8

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords on all quires bar the last.
Signatures: Leaf numbering in the first half of quires.

Text-block: 304 x 182 mm. 75 lines in 2 columns (width 82 mm).


f.2-249v: written in textualis quadrata/semi-quadrata by a scribe called William (f.158r inscription: “... per manum Willelmi P.S.” ?for ‘perscriptum”).

f.249v-336v: written in textualis quadrata in a heavier hand.


Each book is headed by a decorated initial, 9+ lines high, comprising a burnished gold letter-shape set against a panel of blue and dusky pink articulated with white, with sprays sprouting green leaves, red and blue leaf curls, and golden balls. Each capitula list is headed with a 6-line-high initial in the same style.


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, 1448.


“Anno domini 1448 hunc librum fecit fieri Iohannes Est[-erased letter-]by uicarius de Bannebury. Anima cuius in pace christi requiescat Amen”, mid 15th century inscription, f.336v. Conceivably connected to the William Essby (Easby), documented as a monk of Durham from c. 1441-1416.

Inscription “N. Secunda pars historialis Vincencij 2o fo diuina Iste liber Assignatur Nouo Armariolo In Claustro Dunelm′ Ecclesie Per Venerabilem Patrem Magistrum Iohannem Auklande Priorem Eiusdem Ecclesie”, 1484x94, f.1v, top. Amplified early 16th century by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham, by the insertion after “Vincencii” of “cum tabula super 3m volumen et alia super 4m volumen in fine et continet libellos 16 qui additi eis in prima parte constituunt 3- [second numeral obliterated]”.

The companion volume with Books 1-16 is not known to survive (Swalwell’s addition to the note of content implies that Durham did have this).

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.2r-336v
Original title: Speculum historiale
Author: Vincent, of Beauvais, -1264
Language: Latin

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.I.32 - Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum historiale (Books 17-32)
Digitised May 2018 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project There are two f.12. There are many pages throughout the volume (particularly on the recto) with marginalia not visible in the image because they are too far into the gutter.
Index terms