Oxford, Bodleian Library, Hatton 115 (5135)

Present Location

115 (5135)

Medieval Provenance

General Information






A collection of homilies, instructions and admonitions in 3 parts: part 1, fols 1-139; part 2, fols 140-148 and part 3, fols 148-155. Franzen suggests that the manuscript could be made up of five booklets: booklet 1, fols 1r-64v; booklet 2, fols 65r-94v; booklet 3, fols 95r-139v; booklet 4, fols 140r-147v and booklet 5, fols 148r-155v (Franzen 1998, pp. 48-52). The manuscript is prefaced by a Latin table of contents, ca. 1200 (Ker 1957, p. 402).

The homiletic material is drawn from anonymous religious texts and from the First and Second Series of Ælfric' Sermones Catholici and his Homilies for the Common of Saints and the dedication of a church from the Second Series. Fol. 65 contains an exhortation against the worship of idols and the last five lines on fol. 65v begin 'Ne dear ic for godes ege soðes suƿian'. This is an inserted leaf between booklets 1 and 2 (Franzen 1998, pp. 48-52 and Ker 1957, pp. 399-402).

The Tremulous Hand annotates in English and Latin (for a detailed examination, see Franzen 1998, pp. 46-52). On fol. 154r, the scribe copies: 'An extract, linguistically modified, from Ælfric's sermon for the common of an Apostle' (Ker 1957, p. 402).

One of the missing leaves between fols 82 and 83 is Pryce MS C2:2.

Object Description




  • 247 mm x 155 mm (dimensions of fols 1-64, 66-139 - size of leaves)
  • 195 mm x 98 mm (dimensions of fols 1-64, 66-139 - size of written space)
  • 195 mm x 75 mm (dimensions of fol. 139a - size of leaf)
  • 242 mm x 155 mm (dimensions of fol. 65 - size of leaf)
  • 190 mm x 100 mm (dimensions of fol. 65 - size of written space)
  • 247 mm x 155 mm (dimensions of fols 140-147 - size of leaves)
  • 187 mm x 100 mm (dimensions of fols 140-147 - size of written space)
  • 247 mm x 155 mm (dimensions of fols 148-151 - size of leaves)
  • 192 mm x 105 mm (dimensions of fols 148-151 - size of written space)
  • 218 mm x 155 mm (dimensions of fols 152-155 - size of leaves)
  • 170 mm x 115 mm (dimensions of fols 152-155 - size of written space)

Foliation/Pagination: Fols v + 156 + iii, foliated i-v, 1-139, 139a, 140-158.



Fols 1-155: 1-38, fols 1-24, 48, fols 25-32, fols 27 and 30 are singletons (3 and 6 are half sheets), 5-68, fols 33-48, 78, fols 49-56, fols 51-54 are singletons (3-6 half sheets), 87, fols 57-63, fol. 61 added, 94, fols 64-67, four singletons (half sheets), 108, fols 68-75, 118, fols 76-82, wants 8 'desinit .1. fol', 123, fols 83-85, 3 singleton (half sheet), 139, fols 86-94, singleton after 7 (fol. 93), and blank space at the end of fol. 94v, 148, fols 95-102, 158, fols 103-110, fols 105-108 are singleton (3-6 half sheets), 168, fols 111-118, 178, fols 119-126, fols 121-124 are singletons (3-6 are half sheets), 188, fols 127-134, fols 129-132 are singletons (3-6 are half sheets), 198, fols 135-139a, originally a quire of 8 with final 3 folios probably blank and thus cut away, what is left are 2 stubs, and half folio cut vertically with ruling lines still visible. Fol. 139v is blank with the exception of the first two lines, 208, fols 140-147, 214, fols 148-151, 224, fols 152-155.

Note: iv-v is probably a bifolia of medieval parchment ruled on the flesh, as the first quire. Double bounding lines on both margin 9 mm apart with pricking for ruling on the outer margin. Ruling on hair side (fols 1-64, 66-139, 148-151). Fols 140-147 soiled probably, ruled 23 lines, double bounding lines both side of the frame with ruling on flesh side. Fols 151-155 ruled in brown crayon on the flesh, double bounding lines both side of the writing frame. Suede-like parchment.

Hand Description

Number of Hands: 7

Summary: Fols 1-64v, 66-139v are in one hand; fols 140-7 in another; the inserted fol. 65 contains two hands; the final booklet is written by one hand except fols 154-55v, which are blank except for some lines by the Tremulous Hand and by another hand of s. xiiex.

Hand: main text

Scope: major

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 332 scribe 1

Description: Fols 1-64v, 66-139v. A round and regular insular script with occasional Caroline features, undistinguished through script, 'not like the hands of other Anglo- Saxon manuscripts from Worcester' (Ker 1957, p. 403). This hand also shares some similarities with Royal 15. B. xxii, perhaps through training.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • a is Caroline in the combination æ.
  • Long s is regular initially and medially but not finally.
  • The cross-bar of ð is usually nearly horizontal and sometimes inclines slightly downwards from left to right.
  • Tall tapered ascender curving to the left
  • descenders: tapered descenders with a serif which turns to the left, except p, which ends with a flat foot.

Abbreviations: The mark of abbreviation is cup-shaped.

Correcting technique: Words omitted in error from the text and added in the margin are marked by a triangle of dots which corresponds to a triangle of dots in the main text.

Date: s. xi2

Other manuscripts: Faustina A. x, fols 3-101 (see also Ker 1957, p. 403). 


Hand: additions

Scope: major

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 332 scribe 3

Description: Fols 65r-65v/14. A round, small English Vernacular hand.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • d: similar to ð, but with short ascender which slightly curves to the right. The cross-bar of ð extends from the middle of the ascender to the right. 
  • Long s with a hooked top, and a back which extends below the line of writing. 
  • ascenders: wedged, usually more prominent to the right.

Date: Probably s. xiex


Hand: additions

Scope: major

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 332 scribe 4

Description: Fol. 65v/17-21.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • d: similar to ð, but with short often tapered ascender, at times with hook protruding to the left. The cross-bar of ð is median, ending with a dot to the right of the cross-bar. 
  • Long with a hooked top, and a tapered back which extends below the line of writing. 
  • ascenders: wedged, usually more prominent to the left.

Date: Probably s. xiex


Hand: main text

Scope: major

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 332 scribe 5

Description: Fols 140-7. A round, thick hand, 'quite different and perhaps rather earlier type' (Ker 1957, p. 403).

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • c: horned.
  • d: similar to ð, but with a long thick ascender curving occasionally to the right at the top.
  • Long and low forms of s are used indifferently and round s also occurs. The long s has a hooked top, and a tapered back which extends below the line of writing curving to the left. 
  • ascenders are tall and clubbed.

Date: s. ximed


Hand: main text

Scope: major

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 332 scribe 6

Description: Fols 148-53v.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand: A clear upright, 'pointed hand' mixing Caroline and insular letter forms (Ker 1957, p. 403).

  • a: regularly Caroline.
  • d: round back with a tapered ascender to the right.
  • f is Caroline.
  • h is Caroline.
  • Caroline and insular.
  • ð is of the same size and shape as d. The cross-bar ends with a dot to the left of the cross-bar y is rounded and dotted. The combined de with e attached to the top of the rounded back of d occurs.

Date: s. xiimed


Hand: additions

Scope: minor

Scribe: Tremulous Hand

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Description: Extensive glosses, corrections and alterations by the Tremulous Hand. The scribe also copies four lines on fol. 154r and adds to the table of contents. The Tremulous Hand does not annotate fols 148-53 (Franzen 1998, p. 46)

Date: s. xiii1


Hand: addition

Scope: major

Scribe: Ker 332 SC6

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Description: Fol. 155r. A hand with predominantly Caroline letter forms, but retaining insular features.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • æ is used.
  • ð is used.
  • ƿ is used.

Date: s. xiiex

Decoration Description

Fols 1-64, 66-139a: decorated initials in green and in red. Capital letters beginning sentences and titles are in red. Red is also used for the first line of text on fols 58r, 59v, 60r, 61v, 63r, 66r, as is the title on fol. 70v. Occasional pen decoration in red on the 'AMEN' at the end of sermons (Franzen 1998, p. 45-46).

Fol. 65: Red decorated initials and capitals.

Fols 148-155 Red decorated initials.


On fol. ivr, a sixteenth-century inscription, now erased, says 'Liber ecclesie Wygorn'. On fol. 82v, on the bottom margin, a seventeenth century hand wrote 'Deficit .2. fol', and a different hand added 'De virginibus' in the upper margin of fol. 83r. On fol. vr, a hand writes 'Saxon Homiles tom:2'; the same hand added other headings in some Hatton manuscripts (Franzen 1998, p. 45-46 and Ker 1957, p. 403).

Binding Description

Brown leather binding, s. xvii/xviii. There are rust marks on fols iv, v, 155 perhaps from the strap-and-pin fastening on the medieval binding. Ker (1957) notes that the manuscript was bound at the same time as Hatton 20Hatton 76 and Hatton 116, probably soon after they were obtained by the Bodleian Library (pp. 16-17).

Additional Information

Administration Information

Manuscript described by Orietta Da Rold with the assistance of Hollie Morgan and George Younge (2010; 2013).


Franzen, Christine, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile (Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1998), vol. 6: Worcester Manuscripts

Images of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Hatton 115 are available on LUNA at the Bodleian Library, fols 1r, 5r, 15v, 61r, 61v, 62r, 62v, 63r (accessed 23 July 2018)




Provenance: The manuscript must have been in Worcester by s. xiii, as the extensive glossing by the Tremulous Hand can be dated to s. xiii (on a possible Worcester provenance, see also Tinti 2010, n. 297). Treharne suggests 'a south-eastern origin', and considering that at least some of the parts were copied by the same scribe who wrote Cotton, Faustina A. x (fols 3-101), it may be possible to suggest that some parts of this manuscript may have a south-east provenance perhaps from Rochester or Christ Church, Canterbury (see also, Treharne 1998, pp. 232-33). As noted above, the Tremulous Hand does not annotate all the manuscript, so booklet four and five may have been separate to the rest of the manuscript in s. xiii1 (see, also Franzen 1998). The manuscript remained in Worcester until after 1623, as it is mentioned in Young's catalogue (Atkins and Ker 1944, no. 317).

Acquisition: Borrowed before August 1644 by Lord Hatton with the other manuscripts in the Hatton collection. It was donated by Lord Hatton's son to the Bodleian Library in 1675.




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