DCL MS. B.IV.18Collection of Canon Law Texts
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Collection of Canon Law Texts

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2mk930bx06r.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: i+103+i f
Size: 245 mm x 173 mm


Modern ink foliation

Secundo folio: tione eterna custodienda

flyleaf, I-IX8, X7 (= 8 lacks leaf 8 after f.79), XI-XII8, XIII7 (= 8 with final leaf probably blank, lost or cancelled)

Catchwords: Contemporary catchword f.64v (quire VIII).
Signatures: Contemporary signatures (small Roman numerals) on the first recto of each quire, lower margin, centre right.

32 lines


(a)-(f), (h), (i). Protogothic of Canterbury prickly type. Seemingly a single scribe, his hand slightly more compressed on fol. 97r (the end of (h) and the start of (i)) than elsewhere. Item (i) cannot have been written before March 1123.
(g) Protogothic, densely written but neat.
(j) Protogothic, small and light-weight.
(k)1-3 Textualis semi-quadrata, neat, compact. The writing is consistently placed midway between the horizontal rulings. The three texts were seemingly written as a single stint, no earlier than 1170.
(k)4 Documentary hand, neat.


(a) is headed by a 10-line embellished initial in green and red. Incipits and main subdivisions of (b) - (i) (including each entry in (f)) are marked by 3-7-line plain initials of Christ Church type, green, purple or red. Clauses in (a), subsections in (b), extracts in (h) and clauses in (i) are headed by a 2-line coloured capital, red, green or purple, of Christ Church type.


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 Christ Church, Canterbury, early 12th century, with additions made in Durham later that century.


The Durham interest of (k)2 suggests Durham provenance by late 12th century and the volume is likely to be either the "Excerpta canonum" or the "Exceptiones decretorum", items 10 and 11 of the late 12th century booklist.
Inscriptions: Excerpta decretorum, 14th century, f.iv, top. liber Sancti Cuthberti de dunelm' , 4th century, f.iv.
Pressmarks: T , later 14th century, f.1r, top centre; subsequently crossed through. Excerpta decretorum, 15th century, f.1r, top centre. 2a 8i K, 15th century, f.1r, top right.
Listed as Excerpta decretorum ii fo cione eterna in the 1392 and 1416 Spendement catalogues.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1r-45v
Original title: Collectio Lanfranci
Incipit: Petrus apostolus de elemente. Ipsi inquit trado a domino mihi traditam potestatem ligandi et solvendi
Explicit: Episcopus enim sacerdotibus ac ministris solus honorem dare potest, auferre solus non potest.
Language: Latin

Abridged version.

(b)     f.45v-67r
Original title: Registrum
Author: Gregory I, Pope, approximately 540-604
Incipit: Si monasterium sancti theodori fines de quibus causatio mota est, inconcussis quadraginta annis possedisse repereris
Explicit: Etenim ea que scabiem aut impetiginem habere videntur separantur a sanis, ne illorum morbo cetera damnentur vel pereant
Rubric: Ex libro primo registri Gregorii Pape Gregorius Petro subdiacano
Language: Latin


(c)     f.67r-67v
Modern title: Concordat of Worms
Incipit: In nomine sancte et individue trinitatis, ego henricus dei gratia romanorum imperator semper augustus pro amore dei et sancte romane ecclesie et domini pape calixti
Explicit: Do tibi ueram pacem et omnibus qui in parte tua sunt vel fuerunt tempore huius discordie
Rubric: Generale decretum henrici imperatoris
Language: Latin
(d)     f.67v-69r
Original title: Cena
Author: Pseudo-Cyprian, active 3rd century
Incipit: Cyprianus episcopus disposuit de cena nuptiarum filie regis
Explicit: Tunc iussit rex ut omnes qui fuerunt in convivio ducerentur in tormenta
Rubric: Cena sancti cypriani episcopi et martiris
Language: Latin


(e)     f.69v
Modern title: Paschal II to Emperor Henry V concerning Investiture
Author: Paschal II, Pope, -1118
Incipit: Paschalis episcopus seruus seruorum dei, karrisimo filio suo glorioso theutoniconum regi
Explicit: et in persona et in bonis, neque aliquid reddet sibi vel alicui persone. Vale
Language: Latin
(f)     f.70r-77r
Modern title: Papal privileges for Canterbury
Language: Latin

14 documents

(g)     f.77r-79v
Original title: De virtute orandi
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Victor, 1096?-1141
Incipit: Domino et patri thome, hugo, Munusculum hoc dilectionis mee ea uos precor benignitate suscipite
Explicit: compulsus sum exclamare et dicere
Language: Latin

Breaks off incomplete in chapter 8, owing to the loss of the final leaf of quire.

(h)     f.80r-97r
Original title: Sententiae
Incipit: Scriptum est in psalmo. Querite dominum et vivet anima vestra
Rubric: Sententiae de sancta trinitate ex libris magni augustini carptim sumpte, maxime ex eo qui inscribitur de sancta trinitate
Language: Latin

7 groups of texts, mainly by St Augustine of Hippo, also includes Ceolfrith’s letter to Nechtan, king of the Picts, concerning the celebration of Easter from Bede's Historia ecclesiastica.

(i)     f.97r-98r
Modern title: Lateran Council of 23 March 1123
Language: Latin

Clauses 1-12, 17 and 15.

(j)     f.98v-99v
Modern title: Council of Reims, 1148
Incipit: Qui ab episcopis suis anathematis sententia condempnantur, quoniam a communione ecclesiastica removentur, diabolice dinoscuntur subici potestati
Explicit: donec condigne satisfaciant, divina celebrari officia interdimimus
Language: Latin

18 clauses. Added mid-late 12th century.

(k)     f.99v-102r
Modern title: Bulls of Alexander III
Author: Alexander III, Pope, -1181
Language: Latin

4 documents

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.IV.18 - Canon Law Texts
Digitised November 2017 as part of the Durham Priory Library 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]).

Mynors, R.A.B., Durham Cathedral manuscripts to the end of the twelfth century. Ten plates in colour and forty-seven in monochrome. With an introduction [including a list of all known Durham manuscripts before 1200]   OCLC citation, (Durham: 1939)

Index terms