Cosin MS V.ii.1Bible. OT. Numbers, glossed
Held by: Durham University Library: Cosin Manuscripts

Bible, Old Testament: Numbers with Glossa ordinaria, later 12th century, probably one of the books given by Bishop Puiset to Durham Priory.


Physical description of manuscript

Membrane (0.19 mm., good, matt, hair and flesh sides difficult to distinguish, some flaying edges and flaws), outer pricking often cropped.

Extent: i+i+108+i f.
Size: 274 mm x 185 mm


Foliated 1-109, by R. A. B. Mynors, mid 20th century.

Secundo folio: Quinta

One (f.1), 1-28, 38 + two (f.24-25) after 6, 48, 510 (3 and 8 singletons), 6-138 (two stubs between f.19 and 20; one between f.37 and 38, one between f. 42 and 43).

Signatures: Quires 1-12 are numbered .I. - .XII. in the main ink at centre of lower margin of the last verso of each quire.

Pricking in upper and lower margins, and gutter as well as outer margins; those for verticals through several leaves are not all used for ruling. Written space 200 x 127 mm.; ruling sharp grey or brown. Two gloss columns, sometimes sub-divided, one on either side of text column; single text column (down to 9.5 mm. wide, f.51), or occasionally (e.g. f.15, 21-22) two text columns (inner 55 mm. wide, outer 60 mm.) with little or no gloss. Text column not commonly varying in width within one page; some unfilled spaces within ruled area. Width of columns varying recto-verso. Line-ruling from 41-44 lines for gloss; text on alternate or (e.g. f.49, 63) every third line ruled for gloss, sometimes even more widely spaced. First line of gloss and text both below the top ruled line.


Written in northern European proto gothic bookhand, in two sizes, employing a range of ad hoc signs in pairs leading the reader from the foot of one column to the head of the next; from f. 24v onwards the interlinear glosses are generally written in noticeably lighter ink.

Both Mynors (p.87, no.153) and De Hamel (p.30, n.19) associate the hand with that of Durham Cathedral Library A.IV.1 (Leviticus, with gloss), given by Bishop Hugh le Puiset (d. 1195), together with four other glossed Biblical texts, probably brought from France. The hand does appear to be the same as in DCL A.IV.1, in which however rubrics and initials (major painted and minor with penwork) are completed; in it chapter numbers are supplied marginally as here.


Decoration not executed. Blank spaces for (i) names of authorities, up to f.7v (subsequently given in ink of the text); (ii) initials, 6 line to prologue (f.2), and 8 line to text (f.3).

Corrections and annotation

Chapter numbers added in roman and arabic in the margins, and in arabic in the top outside corners of rectos, in grey or brown, probably at the same time as notes in the same medium, 13th or 14th century, which occur from f.55r on, and also, faintly, on f.107v and 108v. One lattice-pattern ink nota marking, later 16th century, f. 90v.


Full calf, 17th century, bound in Durham by Hugh Hutchinson with his roll A, tool no. 1 more heavily impressed, and roll D on edges of boards. Spine replaced in late 20th century, endpapers, bookplate, and clasp mid 19th century. Rust holes in f.1 (thin lifted pastedown) from a former clasp, with a corresponding single hole for a pin in f.108-109.

Manuscript history

Written in England or northern France, second half of 12th century.


Title Liber Numeri, f.1v, added by a thin leftwards-leaning charter-hand, early 13th century, such as in other Durham Cathedral Priory books; with .a. prefixed, in 14th century. .A., f.2r, below traces of an inscription cut off top of leaf, probably of same type as many in Priory books. In the catalogues of the Spendement collection in 1395 and 1416.
SwB (?), added in a 16th century hand, f.1v.
George Davenport. 1662 in window on front pastedown, also f.1v, with note of content in his hand.
Thomas Rud's ex-libris inscription and shelf-numbers at head of f.2r.
Expositio libri Numerij, f.2r, by similar pen and ink to Nota on f.90v, and Finis Leuitici at end of Durham Cathedral Library MS A.IV.1, f.89v, in a 16th/17th century hand.
dt at head of f.3r, in a 17th century hand.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.2-107
Modern title: Numbers, glossed
Original title: Liber Numerorum cum Glossa Ordinaria
Incipit: Locutus est dominus ad moysen
Explicit: in ecclesia scilicet catholica
Rubric: Divinis numeris. non omnes digni sunt
Language: Latin

No interlinear glosses for 28:26-33:10 (f.86v-99r). f.107v-109v blank except as below.

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.ii.1 - Numbers, glossed
Digitised December 2015 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]).

de Hamel, Christopher, Glossed books of the Bible and the origins of the Paris book trade   OCLC citation, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell Press, 1984)

Mynors, R., 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)

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

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