DCL MS. A.III.2Old Testament, Leviticus and Numbers, glossed
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Old Testament, Leviticus and Numbers, glossed

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2m7w62f822h.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: ii+200+i f
Size: 355 mm x 230 mm


Modern pencil foliation of the main body of the book runs: 1, 1*, 2-24, 24*-198.

Secundo folio: Vocauit autem moysen

Bifolium, singleton glued on, (A) I-X8, XI6; (B) XII-XXV8

Signatures: (A): contemporary signatures (a Roman numeral flanked by dots, on the final verso, lower margin, centre) on all quires but the last: .I.-.X. (B) contemporary signatures (matching those in A) on all quires but the last: .I.-.XIII.

Number of columns varies in number (1-3) and width, page by page. 45 lines per page: the biblical text is written on every other line, up to a maximum of 22 lines per page. The gloss is written on every line, up to a maximum of 45 per page (i.e. starting above top line).


Written in Textualis semi-quadrata, upright and neat; more compressed in the gloss but still regular and clear by one scribe, who probably also wrote DCL A.III.17 and York Minster, XVI.Q.5. A contemporary correcting hand that noted corrected readings in the margins (some of which were indeed subsequently introduced to the main text by Scribe 1) and added expunctuation etc. to the main text. Also appears in the same capacity in DCL A.III.17, A.III.19, and A.III.24, plus York XVI.Q.5.


Channel-style decorated initials.


Reworked and rebacked by Tucketts in 1845, with the Romanesque blind-tooled covers (nearly complete for the front, partial for the back) laid onto the modern leather ones; protected by a decayed modern leather chemise, over wooden boards. The design on the blind-tooled front is dominated by a cruciform pattern formed from a central roundel surrounded by four half-roundels. The figural motifs are the Agnus Dei (at the centre of the central roundel), St Peter (repeated four times above, four times below the central roundel), and a horseman (repeated in a continuous line at both the top and the bottom of the panel as a whole). The figural motifs on the back are the Virgin and Child (central), David playing the harp (central, below the Virgin and Child), and a kneeling king (repeated in a continuous line towards both the top and the bottom). G. Hobson, English Binding before 1500 (Cambridge, 1929), no. XIII (the ‘Vich’ binder); F. A. Schmidt-Künsemüller, Die abendländischen romanischen Blindstempeleinbände (Stuttgart, 1985), no. 47 (gr. 4: said to be Paris 1170/75); de Hamel, Glossed Books, ch. 6, esp. p. 86.

Manuscript history

Written in Northern France, late 12th century. Two contemporary parts (A) f.2-86 (Leviticus), and (B) f.87-198 (Numbers) – that were made separately (each has its own series of quire signatures) but by the same scribe to the same specifications and which were brought together almost immediately. The probable date of the blind-stamped cover (see below) indicates that the whole volume was assembled very shortly after the two parts were written.


¶Liber Sancti Cuthberti de Dunelmo de dono Magistri Roberti de Adigton ¶Leuiticus Liber numeri, early 13th century, f.1r, top; all in one hand, probably the same as that making parallel entries in A.III.19 f.1r and A.IV.4 f.1v.

.C. , mid 14th century, f.2r, outer margin, top; C .C. , 14th/15th century, f.1r (inserted to the left of the Adington inscription); C leuiticus et numeri glosati De communi dunelm′ In le Spendment, early 15th century, f.2r, top. Spendement catalogue 1392: Levitici, Numeri, glo. ii fo, vocavit autem) and Spendement catalogue 1416.

Manuscript contents
SECTION: (A)    
(1)     f.2
Modern title: Preface to Leviticus
Language: Latin
(2)     f.3r-86r
Modern title: Leviticus, glossed
Language: Latin
SECTION: (B)    
(3)     f.879
Modern title: Preface to Numbers, glossed
Language: Latin
(4)     f.87v-198r
Modern title: Numbers, glossed
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 Cathedral Library MS. A.III.2 - Old Testament, Leviticus and Numbers, glossed
Digitised July 2016 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)

Hobson, G. English Binding before 1500 (Cambridge: CUP, 1929)

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)

Schmidt-Künsemüller, F. A., Die abendländischen romanischen Blindstempeleinbände   OCLC citation (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1985)

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