Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. D. 2. 16 (2719)

Present Location

D. 2. 16 (2719)

Medieval Provenance

General Information






Entries on two preliminary quires added to a tenth-century gospel book that was probably produced at the abbey of Landévennec, Brittany. The first quire (fols iv, 1-6) contains an English record of the gifts of Bishop Leofric (d. 1072) to Exeter (fols 1-2v) and an inscription in Latin and Old English recording the gift of this book to Exeter by Bishop Leofric (fol. 6v/1-7). This quire is similar to the preliminary quire of CUL Ii. 2. 11 now in the Exeter Book. The second quire (fols 7-15), which is in smaller format than the rest of the book, contains a list of the relics given by King Æthelstan (d. 940) to the monastery at Exeter (fols 8-14). There was probably an Old English text written in fol. 190.

Digital Surrogate

Manuscript Items
  1. Item: fols 1-2v


    • Title (B.16.10.1): Exeter: List of Books given by Bishop Leofric

      Incipit: (fol. 1) Her swutelað on þissere cristes bec hwæt leofric bisceop hæfð gedon inn to sancte petres minstre on exanceastre

      Text Language: English


      Ker 1957, item 291


    • Item: fol. 6v


      • Title (B.16.10.5): Exeter: Leofric Inscriptions

        Incipit: (fol. 6v) Ðar crister boc gef leofric biscop sabcto petro.

        Text Language: English


        Ker 1957, item 291


      • Item: fols 8-14


        • Title (B.16.10.8): Exeter: List of Relics

          Incipit: (fol. 8) Her swutelað on þisum gewrite be þam halgum reliquium. þe æþelsta se wurðfulla kyning geaf

          Text Language: English


          Ker 1957, item 291


        • Item: fol. 190

          Incipit: (fol. 190)

          Text Language: English

          Note: According to Ker 1957, there was probably an Old English text in the blank space after St. John's gospel, but only isolated letters are visible under ordinary or ultra-violet light.


        Object Description



        Support: Parchment. Modern paper flyleaves are fols i-v and 196-98.


        • 295 mm x 215 mm (dimensions of quire 1 - size of leaves)
        • 195 mm x 125 mm (dimensions of quire 1, fols 1 and 2 - size of written space)
        • 88 mm x 143 mm (dimensions of quire 1, fol. 11 - size of written space)
        • 272 mm x 175 mm (dimensions of quire 2 - size of leaves)
        • 180 mm x 115 mm (dimensions of quire 2 - size of written space)

        Foliation/Pagination: Fols iv + 198



        Fols 16-191 contain the Latin Gospel Book in s. x, text ends in fol. 190v. Fols 72 and 146 with illuminated miniatures of Saints Mark and John are on inserted leaves of the eleventh century (Schilling 1948).  

        Two preliminary quires (fols iv, 1-15) and the final quire (fols 192-95) were added to the gospel book in s. xi3/4.

        • Quire 1 consists of three bifolia (fols iv, 1-5) followed by a single leaf (fol. 6). Fol. iv was formerly a pastedown.
        • Quire 2 is of eight leaves (fols 7-14) followed by a single leaf (fol. 15).
        • The quire added after the gospel book (fols 192-95; there are stubs between fols 192 and 193 and 194 and 195. Fol. 195 is an old pastedown).

        See the diagram.


        Layout Description:

        Ruling lines are on hair side. Prickings are visible.

        • In Quire 1, fol. 1 is ruled for 23 lines, with 10 mm width double bounding lines at both sides. The space between writing lines are about 8-9 mm. See LO21.
        • Quire 1, fol. 2 is ruled for 24 lines, with single bounding lines at both sides. Ruling lines towards the bottom are faint and not visible. See LO25.
        • Quire 1, fol. 6 was added later. The leaf was ruled with double bounding lines at both sides, and with wider written space, but for only 12 lines. The ruled lines of fol. 6 left marks on fols 5 and 4, which suggests that the ruling of this folio was done on the top of Quire 1.
        • The marks of outer pricking and ruling are visible. Two horizontal rule-lines each at top and bottom of each leaf extending across the page, and pairs of vertical bounding lines at each side of the column. 24 lines. See LO11.

        Hand Description

        Number of Hands: 3 in Old English between 1060 and 1220

        Hand: Inventory

        Scope: Minor

        Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

        Ker reference: Ker 291 Art. a

        Description: Fols 1-2v. According to Ker, the script is 'of Exeter type, c. 1070, in which the distinctions of letter-form according to language are still carefully observed (1957, p. 351). The scribe uses minuscules in the insular form for English, and Caroline minuscule for Latin. The steep ducts of the letters and round aspect of the script show Carolingian influence.

        Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

        • a is in the rounded insular form; Caroline a, used for Latin, has a fully developed head, but is still open at the top-left.
        • Sometimes e is slightly higher than a in the combination æ, but there is no use of distinctly tall e in æ.
        • Insular d has a very short ascender which occasionally flicks up. Latin d has a straight ascender with a wedge at the top, and feet at the bottom.
        • e, with a straight back, often shows a small horn to the left and a short tongue. Latin e is usually round-backed.
        • ę is sometimes used for æ in Latin.
        • f is insular; its tongue is on the writing line, and the descender curves to the left. Caroline f, with a serif to the right on the writing line, is used for Latin.
        • The loop of g closes in a small bowl, and the vertical stroke joins the horizontal bar somewhere between the middle and the left end. Caroline g has a round lobe on the top with a tongue from the upper right, and the loop starts from the middle of the lobe and finishes open with a hairline serif to the left.
        • Both limbs of insular h have serifs to the right; the second limb of Caroline h turns inwards. In both forms, the ascenders are wedged at the top.
        • The feet of minims finish with a serif to the right. The letters inm and u are distinguishable.
        • p has a round lobe, and its descender often has a foot with a serif to the right.
        • Insular r for English; Caroline r for Latin.
        • Long s arches at the top and finishes with its descender curving to the left; Insular low s is also used; the downstroke of Caroline long s ends at the writing line with a serif.
        • t has a round back with a straight head. The back-stroke meets the middle of the head-stroke.
        • The long, straight, slanting backstroke of ð begins with a downward serif, and its crossbar has an upward serif to its right.
        • æ has a straight descender, which begins with a wedge and finishes tapered with a slight curve to the left.
        • The shape of ƿ is similar to that of p, but the lobe of ƿ is elongated, and the descender finishes tapered with a slight curve to the left without a foot.
        • is dotted. The left stroke of y often finishes with a upward serif.
        • ascenders are wedged; sometimes the top is split in two.
        • descenders are shorter than the ascenders and often finish tapered and bending to the left. The descender of p with a foot is exceptional.

        Abbreviations: Abbreviations are frequently used:

        • The descender of tironian nota curves to the left and tapers.
        • The cross-bar of þ for 'þat' is short and straight.
        • b with a cross-bar denotes 'biscep'. 
        • xpˉe denotes 'Christe'
        • xpˉi denotes 'Christi'
        • sciˉs denotes 'sanctis'.

        Punctuation: Punctus is mostly on the writing line, sometimes above the line.

        Ligatures: ct and st ligatures are used. The back of the t in ligature tends to be straight.

        Correcting technique: The scribe has inserted omitted phrases interlinearly with caret marks. Someone has erased some words.

        Other manuscripts: According to Förster 1933, this and the list in the CUL Ii. 2. 11 were not written by the same hand. They are, however, very similar in the general aspect of the scrips as well as individual letter shape.


        Hand: Inscription

        Scope: Minor

        Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

        Ker reference: n.a.

        Description: Fol. 6v. Latin and English inscriptions are in Caroline and insular scripts.

        Summary of the characteristics of the hand: Drage's Scribe 2.

        • Old English a is insular
        • e is the same height to a in the combination æ.
        • The bow of d is very round, and its ascender is very short; the ascender of its Caroline form sometimes has a foot.
        • e is mostly round; the insular form sometimes has a tongue and a horn.
        • The sizes of the upper and lower bows of insular g are almost identical. It is in the shape of an unfinished '8', with the right hand side of the upper bow being open.
        • Insular h has distinct feet with the right limb curving inwards first.
        • minims usually have feet to the upper right (but sometimes finish without serifs).
        • The descender of þ is shorter than the height of the body of the letter.
        • The upstroke of ð is tall, and it ends in a distinctive tag to the left. Cross-stroke has a flick down to the right at the end.
        • ascenders are slightly longer than the height of the body of the letter. The split of ascenders in insular form is not very deep; the ascenders of Caroline form have wedges, of about the same height as those of insular letters.
        • descenders of insular letters are short. The ends of descenders, except p, turn to the left.

        Other manuscripts: According to Drage 1978, this scribe copied the following manuscripts. The four manuscripts in the following list marked with '(?)' also, according to Drage, 'appear' to have been written by the same scribe:


        Hand: Record of Relics

        Scope: Minor

        Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

        Ker reference: Ker 291 Art. c

        Description: Fols 8-14. A 'large ill-formed hand', 'somewhat later' than the hand of Quire 1 (Ker 1957, p. 351). Drage's Scribe 10.

        Summary of the characteristics of the hand: Round, neat and upright.

        • a is in the rounded insular form.
        • Sometimes the e component is slightly higher than the a component, but there is no use of distinctly tall e in æ.
        • The bowl of d is small; d has a round back with a short up-stroke at 45'.
        • Sometimes e is insular, and has a straight back, and is horned. It also has a tongue to the right.
        • The insular form of f has its tongue below the writing line.
        • g is in insular form with straight top, the loop of g closes in a round bowl, and the vertical stroke mostly joins the horizontal bar at the middle.
        • h is insular.
        • The feet of minims finish with serifs to the right. The letters inm and u are distinguishable.
        • The foot of l curls up to the right, and its ascender is wedged.
        • p has a round lobe.
        • Insular r is used.
        • Long s finishes with a straight line below the writing line, and insular low s also finishes with a straight line.
        • has a round back with a straight head; the back-stroke joins the head at the middle.
        • ð: the upstroke is at 45 degrees, and slightly curves backward. The crossbar does not transect, and has a downward hook at the right.
        • þ has a straight descender with a straight ending. The ascender has a wedge, sometimes split in the middle with a serif curving on the left. The bowl is round.
        • ƿ has a straight descender and an elongated lobe.
        • is has a dot, sometimes round-limbed.
        • ascenders are generally not very high, straight and sometimes with a wedge.
        • descenders are generally short and straight.


        The descender of the tironian nota curves to the left. The head is above the writing line, and the descender is as long as other descenders.

        Punctuation: The punctus is used on the line and the middle of line.

        Additional Information

        Administration Information

        Manuscript described by Takako Kato with the assistance of Hollie Morgan (2010; 2012).


        Digital surrogate: https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/inquire/p/e70df7dc-1f08-4482-bb6d-42ebe9ec55f2 (accessed 18 July 2018)

        Rose-Troup, Frances, 'The Ancient Monastery of St. Mary and St. Peter at Exeter', Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 63 (1931), facsimile of fol. 13



        The preliminary quires were written in Exeter. According to Ker, Quire 1 was 'no doubt intended from the first for this gospel-book' (1957, p. 351). The book is one of the 'mycele cristes bec gebonede' recorded in the list of Leofric's gifts. The opening words of fol. 2, 'semina pulularent', identify the book with a Textus belonging to the cathedral in 1506: '"Textus argentus et deauratus cum Crucifixo, Maria, et Johanne, cum 4 Evangelistis in 4 angulis, cum 1 olla subtus pedem crucifixi, cum hac scriptura subtus eandem scopi curialiumque ejus" 2 fo. Semina pulularent' (Oliver 1861, p. 323).

        Acquisition: Given by the Dean and Chapter of Exeter in 1602 (Wanley 1705, p. 80).




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

        ---., 'Exeter's Relics, Exeter's Books', in Essays on Anglo-Saxon and Related Themes in Memory of Lynne Grundy, ed. by Jane Roberts and Janet L. Nelson (London: King's College London, Centre for Late Antique & Medieval Studies, 2000), pp. 117-56

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

        Dugdale, W., Monasticon Anglicanum, 6 vols (1817-30)

        Förster, Max, R. W. Chambers, and Robin Flower, eds, The Exeter Book of Old English Poetry: Facsimile (London: for the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral by Humphries, 1933)

        Förster, Max, 'The Donations of Leofric to Exeter', in The Exeter Book of Old English Poetry: Facsimile (London: for the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral by Humphries, 1933), pp. 10-32

        ---, Zur Geschichte ds Reliquienkultus in Altengland, Sitzungberichte der Bayrischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.- Hist. Abt., Jahrgang 1943, Heft 8 (1943)

        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 530

        Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 291

        Nicholson, E. W. B., Introduction to the Study of some of the Oldest Latin Musical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Early Bodleain Music, 3 (1913)

        Oliver, George, Lives of the Bishops of Exeter and a History of the Cathedral Exeter (Exeter: Roberts, 1861)

        Robertson, A. J, Anglo-Saxon Charters, 2nd edn (1939; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956)

        Rose-Troup, Frances, 'The Ancient Monastery of St. Mary and St. Peter at Exeter', Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 63 (1931)

        Schilling, R., 'Two Unknown Flemish Miniatures of the 11th Century', The Burlington Magazine, 15 (1948), 312-17

        Wanley, Humfrey, Antique literature septentrionalis liber alter (Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre, 1705)