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Cambridge, University Library, Ii. 2. 11 + Exeter Cathedral 3501, fols 0, 1-7

Present Location: 
Ii. 2. 11 + Exeter Cathedral 3501, fols 0, 1-7
Medieval Provenance: 
Layout Description: 

1. Layout:

  • Layout type: LO09
  • Columns: 1
  • Written Lines: 23
  • Locus: CUL fols 2-87, Quires 2-12
  • Dimensions: ca. 242-250 mm (from the top line to the bottom line) x ca. 133-139 mm (from inside of the double bounding lines to the inside of the double bounding lines); ruled
  • Overview: Ruling with a stylus. Some pricking holes are visible. The ruled lines in some of the two folios of bifolium exactly match: for example, fols 5 and 6 (4 and 5 of Quire 1), or fols 29 and 30 (4 and 5 of Quire 5). Fols 68 and 71 (3 and 6 of Quire 10) are also interesting, because all but the top and bottom lines are ruled twice in these two folios. These suggest that a full sheet was folded into two before they were ruled. Double bounding lines on both sides of the frame are about 138 mm apart, and they do not extend beyond the first and the last horizontal ruled lines. The horizontal ruled lines do not extend the inner lines of bounding lines on both sides. See diagram.

2. Layout:

  • Layout type: LO10
  • Columns: 1
  • Written Lines: 26
  • Locus: CUL fols 88-95, Quire 13
  • Dimensions: ca. 253 mm x ca. 161 mm; ruled
  • Overview: Ruling with a stylus. Some pricking holes are visible. The ruled lines of the two folios of the inner sheet (fols 91-92) match. A full sheet was folded into two before the leaves were ruled. Double bounding lines on four sides of the frame extend to the ends of the page. The length of the horizontal lines is irregular; but they are regular in the sense that they all extend beyond the outer vertical bounding lines for the inner side of the page, and they all start somewhere between the double bounding lines for the outer side of the page. See diagram.

3. Layout:

  • Layout type: LO11
  • Columns: 1
  • Written Lines: 23
  • Locus: CUL fols 96-202, Quire 14-27
  • Dimensions: ca. 242 mm x ca. 133 mm; ruled
  • Overview: Ruling with a stylus. Some pricking holes are visible. The ruled lines of the two folios of the same sheet (fols 99 and 100, for example) match. A full sheet was folded into two before the leaves were ruled. Double bounding lines on four sides of the frame extend to the ends of the page. The horizontal lines are from the inner vertical bounding line to the inner vertical bounding line. See diagram.

Sometimes the text runs into the 24th line, i.e., space outside the ruled written area.

Decoration Description: 

The four gospel books all start with a blue large initial letter, and are subdivided into smaller sections. The colours of the decorative initial letters which indicate beginnings of sections then alternate in a very regular pattern: Blue-Red, Green-Red, Blue-Red, Green-Red with only a few exceptions such as: fols 13r-13v: Red-Red; fols 19r-20r: Blue-Red-Blue; fols 53r-54r: Green-Red-Green. The red ink is often metallic.

Some of the letters in red have turned into metallic silver, probably due to oxidisation.

Chapters are usually preceded by a heading and rubric in the same hand and script of the texts. The heading, rubric and the decorative letters were probably added to the text later. For example, at fol. 12r/11 or fol. 31v/7, the English heading did not fit within the space before the section division, and thus part of the final word was written in the right margin. There are also places where white space was left before the new chapter, but neither the English heading nor the Latin Incipit was added: for example fols 32r, 34r, 61v, 66r, 94v, 95v, 121v, 122v, and so forth.

The scribe sometimes wrote the English rubric at the chapter divisions in two lines towards the right, so that the rubric fits nicely. For example, CUL fol. 86v/8-11 (Luke, 1:39):

dryhtnes þynen. ge ƿeorðe me æfter þinum ƿorde. ˥ se | 

engel hyre fram geƿat ·Ðis gebyrað on frigedæg to | 

Exsurgens autem maria · to þam ylcan fæstene | 

Soðlice onþam dagum aras maria ˥ ferde on munt land | 

myd ofste.
  • The previous section finishes with 'hyre fram geƿat ·', the new section starts with 'Soðlice onþam', and one and a half lines of space were left for the direction in English and the Latin Incipit. The scribe wrote the rubric in English towards the right, and started the new line with the Latin Incipit, 'Exsurgens autem maria ·'. Similar examples can be seen on fols 97r and 99v.


    Gospel of Nicodemus (fol. 173v) and Vindicta Salvatoris (fol. 193r) begin with a large green initial letter, and they do not have subdivisions.

    The scribe tried to avoid a widow at page divisions and chapter divisions. For example, at fol. 121r/3-5 (Luke 19:29):

    hierusalemÐys gebyrað feoƿer ƿucon ær middan | 

    ƿyntra ˥ on palm sunnan dæg. 「 bethfagie. | 

    Cum adppopinquasset iɧs hierosolimis et uenisset | 

    þa he ge nealæhte bethfage ˥ bebethania to þam | 


    The Latin Incipit has one word 'bethfagie', which did not fit in line 5, and so was inserted at the end of line 4. The upper and left sides of the word 'bethfagie' are enclosed with lines which mark that the word belongs to the next line.

    CUL fol. 191v/22-23 amˉ [some space] Dyr [starting normally]

    CUL fol. 58v/23, Mark 3:22: The initial capital letter of 'Soðlice', 'S' is missing.



Additions probably under Matthew Parker:

    • In the marginalia Exeter fol. 7v/ 8-17 left margin, three names, Edƿine, Godric, Aifric in the lists were copied in the left margin.
    • There are pictures of a face, and a man with a staff (CUL fol. 114v/margin). They are in very pale brown lines.
    • CUL fol. 173v-margin: modern hand
    • CUL fol. 178r: some pencil writings by somebody who did the collation and wrote sig numbers.
    • CUL fol. 193r/chapter division: Addition in green.
    • CUL fol. 2r, head margin 'Matthæus Canfuar 1574' in modern hand.
    • CUL fol. 2r, bottom margin 'Continet pag. 401 modern hand'
    • CUL fol. 2r: green; fol. 55r: yellow; CUL fol. 85r: green; fol. 133r: pink; fol. 173r: yellow, fol. 193r: green ribbons.
    • CUL fol. 104v, a few words are underlined by Parker's red crayon.
    • CUL fol. 119r, a few corrections in Parker's crayon.
    • CUL fol. 170r-v, stitched with green thread and taped.
    • CUL fol. 173v, additions in margins possibly by Parker.
Binding Description: 

The current binding is dark brown leather, rebound in 1940 at Cambridge University Library (the date is given on the pastedown of the upper cover of the current binding). Flyleaves fols i, ii, and 213 and 214 were added then. On the spine of the book, the title QVATVOR EVANGELIAand the manuscript number 'Ii. 2. 11' are given in gold.

The previous binding, an elaborately tooled one made for Archbishop Parker in 1566, is now kept separately. The leather is light brown, stamped in gold. The binding boards have the remains of two clasps, and the outer corners are covered with strips of metal. The board of the binding is about 6 mm thick, 224 mm x 334 mm. The horn label on the lower cover is inscribed Evangelia 4or saxon., and the hand of this inscription is the same as the hand of inscription on the horn label of Ii. 2.11. The pastedown and the flyleaf of the upper cover were removed from the cover, and are now bound with the rest of the book as fols ix and x. They are from the sixteenth-century accounts: a vellum (fols ixr-xv) and a paper (fols ixv-xr) are pasted together.

The flyleaf of the lower cover of the previous binding is now kept with the old binding. The pastedown of the lower cover is still attached to the cover.

The seal of the Cambridge University Library is attached on fol. 1r.

When the five leaves from the preliminary quire and three leaves from Quire 27 were cut and bound at the beginning of the Exeter Book before the sixteenth century, some of the leaves were fastened together with strips of a fifteenth-century account-roll (See Exeter Book, pp. 93-94). Three sets of leaves fastened together were:


Whoever fastened these leaves together probably did not know anything about the original make-up of the CUL Ii. 2. 11. The current Exeter fol. 1 contains Item 3. Part of the two-line high decorative letter has been hidden under the split of parchment. A later hand re-drew the letter 'H' in black ink.

These three strips of vellum have now been removed from these leaves, and bound separately in the Exeter Book.

    • Exeter now fols 6 and 7 (originally Quire 27, fol. 5 and Preliminary Quire, fol. 1)
    • Exeter now fols 0 and 5 (originally Preliminary Quire, fol. 5 and Quire 27, fol. 3)
    • Exeter now fols 1 and 4 (originally Preliminary Quire, fol. 2 and Quire 27, fol. 4)
Accompanying Material: 

The lower cover, the end flyleaf and a strip of parchment from the upper cover of the previous binding are now kept separately with the manuscript.