Cosin MS V.iii.4Decretals of Pope Boniface VIII, etc.
Held by: Durham University Library: Bishop Cosin's Library: Cosin Manuscripts

Decretals of Boniface VIII, written in France or England in late 13th or early 14th century, with additions of related material.


Physical description of manuscript

Parchment, some natural flaws, repaired e.g. f.5 or 28 (stitches gone); hair and flesh sides indistinguishable. All edges cropped; both corners cut away, f.1-8, and lower corner, f.9-15, also most of the margins of f.1; Front leaves stained, soiled, distorted and brittle from damp.

Extent: ii+60+vi f.
Size: 248 mm x 179 mm


Foliated, ii, 1-62.

Secundo folio: puniendus

1-38, 4-612; 74 (1-2 stubs of cancels).

Catchwords: Catchwords on quires 1-5, in ink rectangles decorated with red lines and corner-blobs.

Little pricking remains except for vertical and top lines; on f.58-62, for alternate lines of the text. Written space 190 x 130 mm.; clearly ruled in soft brown. Two columns, 37 lines.

Running titles: (1) only - books, tituli and topics, added in ink in top margins and corners, in 14th century.


Written in textura, expertly, with only a few rubrics;
(2) in incipient anglicana of a documentary type;
(3) in anglicana.


Names of popes touched with red, f.19 and 41. // marks for paraphs in text, not implemented. Paraphs, f.59-60 to rules, in alternating blue and red.

Initials: (i) to tituli and capitula, 2-line, in alternating blue and red; (ii) to (1), top missing, 3-line, in blue and red, with red and blue infilling. 3-line initial space to (2) unfilled. One initial cut out from f.1.

Corrections and annotation

Corrections by the copyist, interlinear, e.g. f.4v, 36v; marginally f.20, 28-30, 54. A few slightly later corrections, e.g. f.11, 54ra (over erasure), 15th century. Considerable small neat early annotations, f.1-33v, in a script of notarial type, cf. (2); perhaps in the same hand as distinctive marginal signs (cc within four dots as cross), f.10-17v, 20v-24, 28r-v, 43v, 57v, etc., cropped at top. Marginal note, cropped, on f.38, 14th century, “De fratribus predicatoribus & minoribus”, corresponding with insertion in contents list on f.62.

Inscription: “Hoc scio pro Certo quod si cum Stercore Certo siue vinco siue vincor tamen ipse maculor”, 16th/17th century, f.34r top.


Brown calf, blind tooled with Hugh Hutchinson's rolls A, and D on board edges, 17th century; spine,mid 19th century, gilt title and shelf-numbers and 1 clasp.

Manuscript history

Written in France or England, late 13th or early 14th century.


(2) presumably copied in 14th century from a document in Durham Cathedral Priory archives; (4) added by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham (c. 1483-1539). Top of f.1 lost, taking any ex libris there; “Clementine”, f.1r foot, 15th century. “Th...”, f.62v, 15th century.

“Geo. Davenport. 1663.”, on older pastedown, hidden by later pastedown; his note of contents, f.iiv.

Ex-libris and shelf-numbers by Thomas Rud on f. iiv.

Manuscript contents
(1)     f.1-60
Original title: Liber sextus decretalium
Author: Boniface VIII, Pope, -1303
Language: Latin

Corpus Juris Canonici ii,933 1124; here, as often, V,xii,3 (CIC ii,1109 1121) is omitted. Two capitula are divided in two: I,xiv,4 (CIC ii,979) at “Cum autem delegatus” (f.16); II,xvi,1 (CIC ii,1053) at “Sane ut hoc salutare” (f. 39). The rubrics to the tituli are original.

(2)     f.60-61
Date: [added early 14th century]
(2a)     f.60r-60v
Original title: Constitucio inter Dunelmensem episcopum ac priorem et ecclesie de visitacionibus
Author: Boniface VIII, Pope, -1303
Date: 23 July 1302
Language: Latin

Presumably derived from the lost original with full anathema, which was Durham Cathedral Archive 3.2.Pap.8, copied in Durham Cathedral Archive Cartulary I f.17v-18v, Durham Cathedral Archive Cartulary III f.186-187, and Durham Cathedral Archive Misc. Ch. 7140.

Edited: Les registres de Boniface VIII, ed. G. Digard, M. Faucon, A. Thomas & R. Fawtier, (Bibliothèque des Ecoles Françaises d'Athènes et de Rome 2nd series 4; 1907-1934), iii,514-515, no. 4730 (without full anathema)
Edited: Extravagantes decretales communes I,vii,1, CIC ii,1243-1244.
Records of Antony Bek, ed. C. M. Fraser (Surtees Soc. 162) (Durham: Published for the Society by Andrews & Co., 1953), p.86-7 (English abstract)
Fraser, C.M. History of Antony Bek (Oxford:OUP, 1957), p.161-2
(2b)     f.60v
Incipit: Mundialis machine fabricator
Explicit: unum annum usque ad decennium de iniunctis sibi penitenciis misericorditer relaxamus
Language: Latin

Clauses of papal indulgence, not traced, with notes inserted by the scribe, “Lacuna” and “dorsa vertens” (60vb lines 4, 11); the latter indicates that the exemplar was written on both sides, and hence was not the original document.

(2c)     f.60v-61r
Original title: Constitucio de nullo loco ecclesiastico interdicto supponendo pro pecunario debito
Author: Boniface VIII, Pope, -1303
Date: 31 May 1302
Incipit: Prouide attendentes quod ut frequentius quamuis non sine causa
Explicit: patentes litteras apparente
Language: Latin

Edited: A. Potthast, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum, (Berlin; 1875), ii, no. 25155
Edited: Extravagantes decretales communes V,x,2, CIC ii,1310
Edited: Les registres de Boniface VIII, iii,654-655, no. 5019 (without final clauses)
(3)     f.61v-62r
Modern title: List of tituli to (1)
Date: [15th century]
Incipit: Primi titulus primus De summa trinitate et fide catholica
Explicit: 14 De regulis Iuris Expliciunt etc.
Language: Latin

(4)     f.2-229
Modern title: Alphabetic index to tituli of (1)
Date: [15th/16th century]
Incipit: Appellationibus 22 Baptismo
Explicit: Vsuris Verborum significacione
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 University Library.

Digitised material for Durham University Library. Cosin Manuscript V.iii.4 - Decretals of Boniface VIII
Digitised February 2017 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project


Les registres de Boniface VIII   OCLC citation, ed. G. Digard, M. Faucon, A. Thomas & R. Fawtier, (Bibliothèque des Ecoles Françaises d'Athènes et de Rome 2nd series 4; 1907-1934)

Corpus iuris canonici   OCLC citation (Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1879-81)

Records of Antony Bek   OCLC citation, ed. C. M. Fraser (Surtees Soc. 162) (Durham: Published for the Society by Andrews & Co., 1953)

Fraser, C.M. History of Antony Bek   OCLC citation (Oxford: OUP, 1957)

Index terms