Bath, cathedral priory [B1_1.A, B1_1.B, B1_1.C]: Further Manuscript Context Notes

Catalogue of Relic Lists: All Lists
Catalogue of Relic Lists: Before 1300

Manuscript Notes

Three relic lists appear in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 111. B1_1.A: Begins p. 7, incipit ‘Ðis is se haligdom þe ælsige abb[od]...’ B1_1.B: Begins p. 7, incipit ‘Ðis is se haligdom þe wulwine on readingon...’, B1_1.C: Begins p. 6, incipit ‘De Sancta Lucia’ MS 111 has picked up the nickname 'The Bath Cartulary', but it should be noted that the manuscript in toto is not precisely a cartulary, but rather a large miscellany containing quite a wide variety of material, much of it antiquarian in nature. A significant portion of it is in the hand of Robert Talbot, an antiquarian, like Archbishop Matthew Parker and his secretary John Joscelyn, known for his interest in Old English materials. This manuscript is paginated on rectos and versos, thus reference to single leaves requires two page numbers. The leaf on which two of the relic lists appear (pp. 7 and 8), as well as another leaf in the manuscript (pp. 55 and 56) are noted by Neil Ker and M. R. James to have originally been a part of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 140, The Bath Old English Gospels, and almost surely came from the same quire (Ker 1957:48–49; James 1912:236–237). MS 111 is notable for significant responsive reading and use activity. Someone, very likely Joscelyn, used the 'Parkerian crayon' to annotate and underline many areas of the manuscript, particularly material having to do with the history of the English church. A reasonably large scribal sample of this crayoning hand can be found on p. 134. This user (presumably) also paginated the manuscript, including the inserted leaves from MS 140, and did so in a consecutive manner. Judging by collation of MS 111's contents against the appropriate entry in one of the available Parker Registers (e.g., Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 575, p. 109), it can be clearly seen that both leaves from MS 140 were already kept bound together with the material making up MS 111 by the time the Parker Registers were created. This fact suggests that the evulsed leaves were moved by Matthew Parker, someone in his immediate circle, or a prior user or owner.

It should be noted that James' catalogue entry for MS 111 contains an extremely infelicitous error on p. 236: his diagram of a nonstandard quire with singletons inserted in it is mislabelled. This diagram is meant to show quire four, which contains five leaves. Quire four does indeed include a leaf from 'cent. xi.' as a singleton bound in as the fifth leaf. However, that singleton is not 'pp. 7, 8' as James' diagram states, but rather 'pp. 55, 56'!


This relic list appears on p. 7, the recto of a leaf. Notably, the leaf is ruled in drypoint, but the scribe ignores the lines to write the relic list, which is in a substantially more compact script that what would fit on the ruling. in It has been dated to the eleventh century by James and more closely by Ker to the second half of the eleventh century. The list is written in inline format. It claims that it is a recording of the relics that were found in the shrine when Abbot Ælsige and the brethren opened it, and its entries are partly in Old English and partly in Latin. Additionally, there appears to be a sublist contained in it, stating 'Ðis is se haligdóm þe heorstan hæfð begiten into [sancte] petres mynstr[e] /on baðon\'...' ('This is the relic(s) that Heorstan gave over to S. Peter's minster in Bath'). This 'sublist', however, is directly inline with the rest of the list and seems to be part of the same scribal stint. Rather than a new list proper, this is more likely a recording of a label on a reliquary container that was inside the larger shrine (see below for a patently clear example of this tendency). The relics which follow this segment are fairly commonplace Holy Land relics (Holy Sepulchre, clothing of Mother Mary, relic of the True Cross) and would sensibly have been obtained together, as well as donated together and presumably stored in the same container together by their original custodian, Heorstan. Another opening formula, 'Iste sunt reliqui[e]', sets off another group of relics (e.g. Laurence, Dionysus, Maurice, Pancras, Benedict, Martin, Gregory), and is probably also another recording of a group of objects inside a smaller container.


This relic list appears on p. 7, the recto of the leaf, at the bottom after a small gap of blank space. Like the scribe of the list above, this scribe ignores the drypoint ruling and chooses to write in a more compact manner than the ruling would call for; he uses the same inline format as well. The list has been dated to the eleventh century by James. This list is in a visibly different hand than the list above it and claims that it is a list of relics given by Wulwine to Bath. The list begins with an Old English introduction, but switches both script and language to Anglo-Caroline and Latin respectively. The container is actually named in this list's integrated headline; it is a 'capsa' and clearly had its own label: 'In ista capsa seruant[ur] reliqui[æ] scili/c\[et]...'.


This relic list appears in Cambridge on p. 6, the verso of a leaf. It has been dated to the 12th century by James.

The leaf on which this text appears (pp. 5 and 6) may have also been part of the Bath Gospels at one time, though it was not thought by Ker to have been one of the original flyleaves from the gospels' original binding. It appears to have been adjacent to the leaf after it for some time, (the leaf known without doubt to have come from the Gospels), as the red pagination runs as expected and, furthermore, the majority of the wormholes match. Despite this circumstantial evidence, the genre of manuscript from which this leaf originated is difficult to ascertain for certain. The parchment is a low-quality piece from the edge of the skin, and a very large brown flaw takes up a large portion of the bottom, visible on both hair and flesh side. On the flesh side (p. 6, the side with the relic list), the finishing of the writing surface is poorly scraped, visibly 'fibrous' and wrinkled in some places, with three holes in the skin-- the holes, interestingly, look a bit like burn damage from stray cinders. The hair-side (p. 5) is quite stubbly and hairy. It is, in any case, not an ideal leaf to select for public display or artistic use. The recto of the leaf contains two legal agreements.

This relic list is also written in inline format. Another notable trait of the leaf is that it is not ruled, and the relic list's hand is not very calligraphic in appearance: high variability in the letterforms and writing with a nearly-dry pen suggest a hasty hand unconcerned with scribal beauty. This suggests that the leaf is a working document. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the faint annotation in the left margin. The first five letters appear to be 'Reliq', and the last two an 'i' and an ?abbreviatory? sign-- presumably meant as 'Reliquiae'. The 9-shaped 'q' concurs with script of the list itself. This word thus appears to be a marginal label or heading for the list, which once again suggest some type of working document. Despite the fact that the list is running and not columnar, and bears no tick-marks, this list seems primarily inventorial in nature.

To revisit a bit of information from the other Bath lists, recall that movement a leaf is provably the case for the leaf just after this one (pp. 7 and 8), on which relic lists B1_1.A and B1_1.B appear, as well as for another leaf in the manuscript (pp. 55 and 56).


Budny, Mildred. ‘CCCC 111 + 140’. In Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge: An Illustrated Catalogue, by Mildred Budny, David Mackenzie Wilson, and Raymond Ian Page, 577–92. Kalamazoo (Mich.) Cambridge (G. B.): Medieval Institute Publications Corpus Christi College, 1997.
James, Montague Rhodes. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Corpus Christi College Cambridge. Vol. 2. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1912.
Ker, Neil R. Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957.
Page, R. I. Matthew Parker and His Books: Sandars Lectures in Bibliography Delivered on 14, 16, and 18 May 1990 at the University of Cambridge. Kalamazoo, Mich. : Cambridge [England]: Medieval Institute Publications ; Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, 1993.
———. ‘The Parker Register and Matthew Parker’s Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts’. Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 8, no. 1 (1981): 1–17.
Takako, Kato, Hollie Morgan, and Elaine Treharne. ‘Relic Lists, Manumissions, Agreement of Confraternity: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 111, Pp. 7-8, 55-56’. In The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220, edited by Orietta Da Rold, Kato Takako, Mary Swan, and Elaine Treharne. University of Leicester, 2010.
Treharne, Elaine. ‘Manumissions Added to the Gospels; Homily: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 140’. In The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220, edited by Orietta Da Rold, Kato Takako, Mary Swan, and Elaine Treharne. University of Leicester, 2010. at

Catalogue of Relic Lists: All Lists
Catalogue of Relic Lists: Before 1300