Cambridge, University Library, Ii. 2. 4

Present Location

Ii. 2. 4

Medieval Provenance

General Information






The incipit of the preface (Item 1; fol. 5r/3) shows that this copy is derived from one sent by Alfred to Wulfsige, who was bishop of Sherborne in the last decade of s. ix and who may be identical with Wulfsige, the successor of Heahstan, bishop of London, c. 900. It is followed by a metrical preface (Item 2; fols 6v-7r) and by a list of the 65 chapters, numbered incorrectly I-LXIII (Item 3; fols 7r-10r). The text begins on fol. 10v (Item 4), and ends imperfectly: the chapters in the text are not numbered.

Digital Surrogate

Manuscript Items


  1. Itemfols 5r/1-6v/14


    • Title (B. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, Letter to Wærferth

      Rubric (initial): (fol. 5r/1-2) Ðis is seo fore spræc hu sanctus Gregorius þas boc gedihte | þe man pastoralem nemnað. |

      Incipit(fol. 5r/3-4) ÆLFRED KYNING HATEÐ GRETAN. ǷULFSIGE BISCEOP HIS | ƿordum luflice ˥ freondlice.

      Explicit(fol. 6v/12-14) for þi ic ƿolde þæt hi ealneƿeg æt þære | stoƿe wæren. buton se biscop hi mid him habban ƿylle. | oððe heo hƿær to læne sy. oððe hƿa oðre bi ƿrite.

      Text Language: English

      Other versions of the text:

      • CCCC 12
      • CTC R. 5. 22
      • Otho B. ii
      • Otho B. x
      • Tiberius B. xi + Kassel, Landesbibliothek, Anhang 19
      • Junius 53 [a transcript made by Junius in the seventeenth-century, based on Tiberius B. xi.]
      • Hatton 20



      EM Project facsimile, CUL. Ii.2.4 fol. 5r

      Magoun 1949, p. 118

      Sweet 1871-72, pp. 2-9


    • Itemfols 6v/16-7r/2


      • Title (A.36): The Metrical Preface to The Pastoral Care

        Incipit(fol. 6v/15-16) Ðis æryndgeƿrit Agustinus ofer sealtne sæ suðan | brohte.

        Explicit(fol. 7v/1-2) for þam hi his sume þorftan þa þe læden spræce | læste cuðon.

        Text Language: English

        Other versions of the text:

        • CCCC 12
        • CTC R. 5. 22
        • Otho B. ii
        • Otho B. x
        • Cotton Tiberius B. xi + Kassel, Landesbibliothek, Anhang 19
        • Junius 53 (a transcript made by Junius in the seventeenth-century, based on Tiberius B. xi.)
        • Hatton 20


        Note: The colour of Ð in the Incipit is faded the pale brown.


        Sweet 1871-72, pp. 8-9


      • Itemfols 7r/3-10r/19


        • Title (B. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, Headings

          Rubric (initial): (fol. 7r/3) CAPITULE LIBRI SEQUENIS:(Now the colour is faded to pale brown.)

          Incipit(fol. 7r/4) ÐÆT te ungelæryde ne dyrrren under fon lareƿdóm. (dark green.)

          Explicit(fol. 10r/17) þonne hƿa þis eall ge fylled hæbbe hu he þonne sceal | hine selfne ge þencean ˥ ongitan þy læs hine aðer oððe hir lif oððe hir lar to up ahebbe.

          Other versions of the text:

          • CCCC 12
          • CTC R. 5. 22
          • Otho B. ii
          • Otho B. x
          • Tiberius B. xi + Kassel, Landesbibliothek, Anhang 19
          • Junius 53 (a transcript made by Junius in the seventeenth-century, based on Tiberius B. xi.)
          • Hatton 20


          Note: The table of headings is numbered incorrectly: chapter 1 is numbered as chapter 2, hence it says chapters ii - lxii. The rest of 10r is blank, and the main text begins on a new page.

          Decoration: The chapter headings begin with coloured initial letters. The first two letters ('B' of 'Be þære byrðene þæs reccend domes...' and 'Bi þam þe magon on ealdor dome ...') are in red, then the colour alternates in the order of red, green, red, blue. Chapter numbers are in red; mostly in metallic red.




          Sweet 1871-72, pp. 8-23


        • Itemfols 10v/1-146v/24


          • Title (B.9.1.3): Gregory the Great, The Pastoral Care

            Incipit(fol. 10v/1-2) ÐV LEOFESTA BROÐVR | sƿide freondlice ˥ sƿide fremsumlice þu me tæloest

            Explicit(fol. 146v/22-24) Ac | ic þe bidde þæt þu me on þam scip gebroce þises andƿeardan lifes sum | bryd geræce þinra gebeda. þætic mæge on syttan oð ic to lande cume.

            Other versions of the text:

            • CCCC 12
            • CTC R. 5. 22
            • Cotton, Otho B. ii
            • Otho B. x
            • Tiberius B. xi + Kassel, Landesbibliothek, Anhang 19
            • Junius 53 (a transcript made by Junius in the seventeenth-century, based on Tiberius B. xi.)


            Note: The text ends imperfectly, as Sweet 1871-72, p. 467/25. At the top of fol. 146v, 'Leaves 147, 148 want'; at the bottom of the page, 'finis', both in later hand.

            Decoration: The first line of the text is all in metallic red and very large rustic capital letters. Chapter headings are in metallic red and green, and new chapters begin with large initial letters written in the margin. The coloured initials are alternately red, blue, and green. Sometimes the scribe changes line to begin the heading, but he always chose to bite into the space for the next chapter, rather than having only one or two words. There is no space between chapters. The chapters are not numbered. The scribe sometimes began sentences with an emphasized (but not coloured) letter (for example, 52r/5).


            EM Project facsimile, CUL. Ii.2.4 fol. 10v

            Sweet 1871-72, pp. 22-465

          Object Description


          Form: Codex

          Support: Fols 3-4 are post-medieval parchment. Fols 5-146 are medieval parchment, arranged HHFF. Fols 149-51 were originally pastedown and flyleaves. See below under 'Quires'.


          • ca. 330 mm x ca. 225 mm (dimensions of fols 5-146 - size of leaves)
          • ca. 278 mm x ca. 160 mm (dimensions of fols 5-146 - size of written space)

          Foliation and/or Pagination:

          • Fols ii + 142 + iii are foliated in modern pencil 3-146, 149-51.
          • Fols 5-149 are formerly paginated in red pencil on rectos 1-287.


          • Quires:
            • pastedown of the front cover is modern parchment, on which it says: 'leaf 2 missing' in pencil.
            • a modern parchment flyer. On the recto side is noted: 'Repaired by D. C. & Son. Grantchester. May, 1967'.
            • fol. 2 is missing, but a stub remains.
            • fols 3-4: #2 (whiter parchment, the text from the sixteenth century).
            • fols 5-140: quires a-r8, 2 and 7 in quire c (fols 22 and 27) are half-sheets.
            • fols 141-46: quire s8, wants 7 and 8 after fol. 146.
            • fol. 149 (parchment) was originally the medieval flyleaf.
            • When Ker examined this manuscript, two letters from John Jewel to Matthew Parker, dated January 1568, were pasted on 149v. Now a modern paper is inserted between fols 149 and 150, and the letters are pasted on the recto side of this paper.
            • fol. 150 (parchment) was originally the sixteenth-century pastedown which was removed from the binding. It was probably the pastedown in Welcock's time, as it has his notes and the old shelf number of the manuscript, 4.2.3., in pencil on the recto side. The verso side is a sixteenth-century document.
            • According to Ker (1957), fol. 151 is a sixteenth-century parchment flyleaf. This leaf was then pasted down on the binding board, and on the top of it, current fol. 150 was pasted down. The recto side of fol. 151 has the offset of the sixteenth-century text copied. See the diagram.
            • The current pastedown, parchment, has the foliation 152. This was probably the original pastedown.
          • Signatures: Alphabetical signatures in pencil on the recto side of the first leaf of quires. Fol. 5r of a quire is sometimes marked by '+'.
          • Catchwords: There are no catchwords.


          The sixteenth century binding had four bosses (now missing), and the metals seem to have damaged the parchments up to fol. 5.

          Fols 5-28: leaves are damaged, and repaired with modern paper.

          Fol. 13 badly damaged.

          Layout description:

          1. Layout:
            • Layout type: LO12
            • Columns: 1
            • Written Lines: 24
            • Locus: 5r-146v
            • Dimensions: ca. 258 x ca. 156; ruled
            • Overview: Ruling in pencil and/or crayon on both sides. Double bounding lines on both sides of the frame, ca. 10 mm apart. Lines begin and end irregularly somewhere between the double bounding lines on both sides of the frame. Pricks at the top and bottom of the page are sometimes still visible. Pricking seems to have been carried out by quire, since the positions of pricks in some quires are identical within the quire (for example, Quire l [fols 85-92]), whereas ruling seems to have been carried out leaf by leaf, as the irregularity of lines observed on a leaf is often unique to that particular leaf. See diagram.

          Hand Description

          • Number of hands: 1
          • Summary: The whole text was copied by a single hand: a round and upright script, which shares many of the principal characteristics of the Exeter type. Drage (1978) calls it 'the most calligraphically accomplished piece of insular minuscule produced at Exeter' (p. 173). When Latin is used, the letter forms are distinctly different.
          • Methods of Alteration:

            Ker reports 'no corrections or alterations' (p. 28), and C11 Database Projectdoes not have a list of annotations.

            There are, however, regular interlinear additions by the main hand. For example, 62r/14: 'to '; 64r/2: 'galeth as'; 88v/21: 'nan ⁁man  mid'; 104v/24: 'ge ƿorh⁁ t '; 108r/22: 'on þre ⁁un  ge'.

            Methods of cancellation include both physical erasures and expunction. For physical erasure, see for example, 46v/12: 'ƿ s ƿiðe' ('s' is overwritten); 111r/11: 'þ [x li fes'. For expunction, for example: 88r/20: 'hƿæ e ne'; 94v/01 and 03: 'tantalius ' and 'syinblede '.

            Some corrections might be by a different hand, or by the same scribe but at a later stage. For example, 85r/09: 'ærest eaƿfæst '; 103v/21: 'þuh  þurh ';117r/03: 'þalandhand ' (probably much later hand).

          • Hand: 1
            • Scope: Major
            • Script: English Vernacular Minuscule
            • Description: This scribe copied the whole of the main text (Letter to WærferthMetrical PrefaceHeadings and The Pastoral Care).
            • Summary of the characteristics of the hand:
            • a is in the rounded insular form.
            • Occasional high e in æ, especially before t or g.
            • d is round, almost 'o'-like in form, with a short ascender which flicks backward at the top. It is carefully differentiated in height from ð.
            • e is often horned to the left, with a tongue to the right.
            • The insular form of low f is used, with its tongue on the writing line.
            • The loop of g closes in a round bowl and the vertical stroke joins the horizontal bar at the left.
            • h has the second limb turned outwards.
            • The feet of minims finish with a serif to the right.
            • The shape of ƿ is similar to that of p, but the lobe of ƿ is elongated, whereas that of p is round. The ends of descenders of ƿ curve to the left, while those of p are straight and have serifs to the right.
            • r is insular.
            • Long s: part of its high arching head is on the top of the next letter; and its arch finishes with a serif to the left. Insular low s is also used.
            • t has a round back with a straight head. The horizontal head-stroke does not cross the stem.
            • Both ð and þ are used. ð is prominent and tagged to the left at the top. The ascender curves in a concave fashion slightly just before the lobe. The cross-bar sometimes has an upward hook to the left and a downward hook to the right.
            • þ has a straight descender with a serif curving on the left.
            • Straight-limbed y is always dotted. The descender curves to the left ending in a flick upwards to the right.
            • ascenders are deeply split at the top.
            • descenders are straight down-strokes which curve to the left at the very end.
            • 'c'-shaped accents are often written over short syllables (eg. fols 15, 24, 82, 83v, 85v, 90r, 90v, and so on); acute accents are also used on the top of vowels.
            • Square uncial letters are sometimes used at the beginning of chapters and sentences.
            • Abbreviations:
            • Tironian ˥ has a flat head and the descender curves to the left.
            • þ for 'þæt' has a horizontal cross-bar with small flicks at both ends, up on the left and down on the right.
            • For 'þonne', n is abbreviated with a distinct zig-zag shaped contraction mark.
            • The macron is a straight horizontal line. for example, 'cƿˉ' (fol. 129r/03)
            • Abbreviations are heavily used in Latin words (for example, fol. 83v/19).
            • Punctuation:
            • hyphens used to splits words at the end of lines are straight horizontal lines, written slightly above the level of the line. Sometimes another hyphen is added at the beginning of the next line.
            • The punctus is sometimes on the line, sometimes in the form of a medial point.
            • A filling : --- is used at the end of chapters.
            • Ligatures:
            • æ: when e is taller, its tongue tends to continue with the following letter.
            • ct sometimes are connected, for example: 'iacincte' (fol. 126r).
            • ti
            • Other manuscripts: Drage 1978 reports that she has not yet traced this hand in another surviving Exeter manuscript (p. 173). Palaeographical characteristics (see, for example, the shape of ð) suggest that this hand may be ascribed to Drage's Scribe 2, as Corradini 2008 tentatively suggests (p. 129).
          Decoration Description

          Titles are in metallic red in the script and hand of the text. The coloured initials, two or three lines in height, are alternately red, blue and green. They usually have guide-letters, and half of the initial is usually indented to the left.


          ModernThroughout the manuscript. A later hand added corresponding numbers of Latin bible chapters in brown pen.

          s. xvifols 3v-4v. Latin translation of Alfred's preface. Begins 'Hæc est prefatio (ostendes) quemadmodum S. Gregorius hunc librum fecit quem homines Pastorale nuncupant'. On much whiter parchment.

          s. xvifols 5r-7r. A continuous interlinear Old English gloss.

          s. xviFront pastedown and fol. 146v. Underlining in red pencil.

            s. xiiiWhole manuscript. Ker mentions 'some faintly pencilled Latin glosses which appear to be of s. xiii'. Other glosses are visible on fols 32r, 35v, 36r, 54r, 54v, 55r, 55v, 56r, 70r, 72r, 87r, 90r, 90v, 104v, 116r, 108r, and so on. Some glosses seem to have been erased: traces of erased pencilled glosses are visible in fols 55r, 64r, 87r, 90r, 90v, 104v, 116r, 108r, and so on. Some glosses in pencil might have been added by a modern hand.

            Binding Description

            Sixteenth-century binding whose dark brown covers are now attached to a new twentieth-century brown cover. Four bosses on each cover are now missing. The remains of two clasps survive. The back cover has a small pocket which holds the book label.

            The manuscript is kept with a monochrome photograph of the back of the sixteenth-century binding boards before the manuscript was rebound. The inside of the back cover had several modern notes both in pen and pencil, and also lines in red pencil. According to a note attached to the photographs, there were old chain marks.

            The pocket on the back cover formerly contained a label with the title 'Pastoral: Gregorii ex Versione Aluredi regis saxon'. That label was pasted inside the back cover when the back of the boards were photographed. It was then removed from the back of the board and was pasted on to fol. 3. The label was there when Ker consulted the manuscript for his Catalogue. Now the label is missing, although there is a trace of its having been pasted once.

            On the foredge of the book is written 'Gregori Pastorale, Alured R [xxxx]  Saxon' in black ink.

            Two letters from John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury, to Matthew Parker, dated January 1568, were pasted on to fol. 149v when Ker examined this manuscript. They refer to an Old English manuscript sent to Parker from Salisbury. The manuscript in question is almost certainly Ker's no. 87, CTC R. 5. 22 (717), fols 72-158, Pastoral Care, s. x/xi (See Jelf 1848, vol. 8, pp. 193-94 and Wanley 1705, p. 153). They are now removed from fol. 149v, and pasted on a modern paper leaf between fols 149 and 150.

            The photographs of the old binding are accompanied. See above, under Binding Description.

            Additional Information

            Administration Information

            Manuscript described by Takako Kato with the assistance of Owen Roberson and Hollie Morgan (2010; 2013).


            Digital surrogate: (accessed 18 July 2018)

            EM Project facsimile

            Robinson, Pamela R., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 737-1600 in Cambridge Libraries, 2 vols (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1988), pl. 21

            A black and white microfilm is available in the Cambridge University Library 


            • Origin:

              Written almost certainly at Exeter.

            • Provenance:

              The manuscript was presented to Archbishop Parker in 1568.

              The text of Alfred's preface in Parker 1574, pp. 41-44, is derived from this copy.

            • Acquisition:

              Number 6 in the list of manuscripts given to Cambridge University by Archbishop Parker in 1574. Old Cambridge marks are 'D. β. 3' and '253'.

              Wheloc notes on the front pastedown that he began to read the text on 3 September 1638 and finished it on 17 July 1639.




            Barlow, F., 'Leofric and his Times', in Leofric of Exeter: Essays in Commemoration of the Foundation of Exeter Cathedral Library in A.D. 1072, ed. by Frank Barlow and others (Exeter: University of Exeter, 1972), pp. 1-16

            ---, Leofric of Exeter: Essays in Commemoration of the Foundation of Exeter Cathedral Library in A.D. 1072 (Exeter: University of Exeter, 1972)

            Bishop, Terence Alan Martyn, 'Notes on Cambridge Manuscripts, Part III: Mss. Connected with Exeter', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 2.2 (1955), 192-99

            Conner, Patrick W., Anglo-Saxon Exeter: A Tenth-Century Cultural History(Woodbridge: Boydell, 1993)

            Corradini, Erika, 'Leofric of Exeter and his Lotharingian Connections: A Bishop's Books, C 1050-72' (unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Leicester, 2008)

            Drage, E., 'Bishop Leofric and the Exeter Cathedral Chapter, 1050-1072: A Reassessment of the Manuscript Evidence' (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Oxford, 1978)

            Gameson, Richard, 'The Origin of the Exeter Book of Old English Poetry', Anglo-Saxon England, 25 (1996), 135-85

            Gneuss, Helmut, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001), item 14

            Graham, Timothy, 'Matthew Parker and the Conservation of Manuscripts: The Case of CUL MS Ii. 2. 4', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 10.5 (1998), 630-41

            Hill, Joyce, 'Leofric of Exeter and the Practical Politics of Book Collecting', in Imagining the Book, ed. by Stephen Kelly and John J. Thompson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), pp. 77-97

            Jelf, Richard William, ed., The Works of John Jewel, 8 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1848)

            Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 19

            Luards, Henry Richards, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge, 5 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1856-57; München: Kraus Reprint, 1980)

            Magoun, F. P. Jr., 'King Alfred's Letter on Educational Policy according to the Cambridge Manuscripts', Medieaval Studies, 11 (1949), 113-22

            Parker, Matthew, ed., Ælfredi Regis Res Gestae (London: John Day, 1574)

            Robinson, Pamela R., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 737-1600 in Cambridge Libraries, 2 vols (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1988)

            Scragg, Donald, Alexander Rumble, and Kathryn Powell, C11 Database Project(Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies,; accessed in 2009)

            Sweet, Henry, ed., King Alfred's West-Saxon Version of Gregory's Pastoral Care, EETS, OS 45, 50 (London: Oxford University Press, 1871-72)

            Treharne, Elaine M., 'Producing a Library in Late Anglo-Saxon England: Exeter, 1050-1072', Review of English Studies, 54 (2003), 155-72

            Wanley, H., Librorum Veterum Septentrionalium Catalogus (1705)

              Warren, F. E., The Leofric Missal as used in the Cathedral of Exeter during the episcopate of its first bishop, A.D. 1050-1072. Together with some account of the Red book of Derby, the Missal of Robert of Jumièges, and a few other early manuscript service books of the English church (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1883)