DCL MS. A.I.14Hugh of St Cher, Postille in Proverbia, Ecclesiasten, Ecclesiasticum
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Hugh of St Cher, Postille in Proverbia, Ecclesiasten, Ecclesiasticum, written in England in the first half of the 13th century. The volume comprises two contemporary, matching sections - f.2-102 (the end of which, f.100-2, is an early 15th century restoration), and f.103-197 - plus flyleaves. That they were together from an early date is shown by the presence of a common early 13th century hand adding marginalia throughout the first part and lection schedules to the end of the second. A continuous series of difficult-to-date quire signatures runs through the volume as a whole. Details such as number of leaves, size of written area, line count, ruling implement, ruling pattern vary from quire to quire throughout the volume.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1m8w32r588v.html

Physical description of manuscript

Parchment: low quality; pronounced H/F contrast, edgecuts, flaws. Arranged: FH, HF.

Extent: ii+197+i f
Size: 304-320 mm x 165-215 mm


Modern pencil foliation.

Secundo folio: -nicas scripturas non recipit

flyleaf is a singleton, attached to the book via a modern guard slip, I6, II-III10, IV-V12, VI8, VII-IX12 X4, XI3 (a bifolium, f.100-1, followed by a singleton, f.102), XII12, XIII10, XIV-XVIII12, XIX14.

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords on quires I-II, IV, VI-IX, XII-XIII, and XV.
Signatures: Contemporary signatures (a letter; sometimes on first recto, sometimes on final verso, sometimes on both) running from ‘a’ on quireI to ‘r’ on quire XVII. There is nothing (preserved) on quires IX-XI; however, the first two quires had been allowed for in the system, while the third comprised replacement leaves.

Condition of manuscript The lower margin of f.86 and the outer margins of f.121 and f.122 have been excised. Localised damp damage to the bottom of many leaves.

Written area: 230-250 x 152-172 mm. Written above top line. Two columns (width: 68-78 mm). Lines: 46-61 (space, 4-5 mm; height, 2 mm). Predominantly 46 in quire I; 50 in quires II and VII; 53 in quires III, IX, and XIV; 55 in quires VI and VII; 56 in quire XII; 57 in quire IV, X. and XIII; 58 in quires XVI-XVIII; 59 in quires XV and XIX; 61 in quire VIII; and 39 on the replacement leaves, f.100-2 (quire XI).


Written in Textualis libraria, variable. The number of original text scribes is uncertain (continual changes in the scale of the script, resulting from differing written areas and line-counts, make it difficult to know how many hands were involved); however, there seem to be at least three. Certainly distinguishable from the main body of work are f.173r-197v (quires XVIII-XIX), written in a more formal textualis than the rest. Very probably also distinct are f.8r-27v (quires II-III), characterised by a heavier, bolder manner. Whether the remainder is by a single hand is an open question.
13th century annotating hand, responsible for marginalia on, e.g., f.4v, 12r, 71r, 72r, 75v, plus the lection schedules on f.198r-v
f.100r-101v (supply leaves). Anglicana


A red and blue initial, 10+ lines high, flourished in both colours, heads the start of the treatment of the biblical text proper within (a), f.3r. A blue initial, 4+ lines high, flourished in red marks the start of items (a) and (b), a red initial, 3 lines high, marks that of item (c).


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). Rust stains on f.2-3, 197-8 from the metalwork of an earlier binding (fixtures for a pair of clasps and (lower margin, front only) for a ?chain).

Manuscript history

Written in England, earlier 13th century.


Contents list, later 14th century, f.1v, in a hand not observed in other Durham books, attributing (a) to Nicholas de Lyra and (c) to Richard of Saint-Victor (in line with the later 14th century title added on f.103r). Both these entries were subsequently deleted, and “Est hugo de vihenna cardinalis ostiensis” was written beside the first. In the entry for (b), “Incipit summa Fratris Hugonis \de vienna/super ecclesiasten” - “de Vienna” was inserted in rasura, early 15th century; and “et Ecclesiasticum” was appended, 15th/16th century, by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham.
“L”, in a hand not observed in other Durham books, later 14th century, on both f.1v and 2r. Notes of content added beside and below both letters, earlier 15th century, in the first case in rasura: “Postille super prouerbia salomonis ecclesiasten et ecclesiasticum”. “liber sancti Cuthberti assignatus communi Armariol”, earlier 15th century, f.2r, upper margin.
“Hugo de uienna super prouerbia salamonis Ecclesiasten et Ecclesiasticum”, earlier 15th century, f.2r, top, to which was added “id est Postille” by the hand that added “Postille …” beside the “L”s on f.1v and 2r.
“l.” and “contenta / hugo de vienna super prouerbia Ecclesiasten et Ecclesiasticum”, 15th/16th century, by Thomas Swalwell., f.1v, beneath the earlier inscirpitons. Listed among Libri … de novo adquisiti ad commune armariolum in recompensationem librorum oxoniam missorum, initially according to the original list of content as Nicholas de Lira etc, then corrected to Hugo de Vienna.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.2r-76r
Original title: Postilla in Proverbia
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Cher, Cardinal, approximately 1200-1263
Incipit: Dicit ecclesiasticus, xxxix.b, occulta prouerbiorum exquiret sapiens et in absconditis parabolarum conuersabitur
Explicit: quod manifestum est cuilibet inspicere uolenti. Expliciunt expositiones parabolarum salomonis.
Rubric: Parabole salominis filii dauit regis Israel
Language: Latin

Lemmata underlined in brown or black ink. Paraphs and marginal numbering (Roman numerals) mark the start of the 31 biblical chapters; their number is also given as a running heading. Regular 13th century annotation.

Cited: Stegmüller, 3677
(b)     f.76r-101v
Original title: Postilla in Ecclesiasten
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Cher, Cardinal, approximately 1200-1263
Incipit: Beatus uir cuius est auxilium abs te
Explicit: Sive bonum sive malum sit, quod factum est supple.
Language: Latin

Lemmata underlined in brown or black ink (except in the replacement text on f.100r-101v, where they are unmarked). Paraphs and marginal numbering (Roman numerals) mark the start of the 12 biblical chapters; their number is often given as a running heading. The transition from the original stratum (f.99v) to the replacement (f.100r) occurs at ‘redeat ad eum qui dedit illum id est auferatur | a uobis ab illo qui dedit’ within chapter 12. Minimal annotation. Fol. 102r-v, blank.

Cited: Stegmüller, 3679
(c)     f.103r-197v
Original title: Postilla super Ecclesiasticum
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Cher, Cardinal, approximately 1200-1263
Incipit: Summi 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 (Roman) into 51 chapters, the numbers repeated as a running heading. Extensive annotation by a single hand, filling the lower margins of f.136v-145r, 174v, 176v-188r (i.e. for much of chapters 18-24, 38, and 39-44). Occasional marginalia by other hands throughout.

Cited: Stegmüller, 3686
(d)     f.197v-198v
Modern title: Additions including Impediments to Matrimony, Symbolism of the Chalice, and Lection Schedules
Language: Latin

17 pieces. The earliest additions, 13th century, were mainly written by a hand that contributed marginalia elsewhere. The other items were probably added around them, in the later 13th and 14th century.

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.I.14 - Hugh of St Cher, Postille in Proverbia, Ecclesiasten, Ecclesiasticum
Digitised February 2019 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]).

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

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