Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 1 (5123)
The surviving portions of the first volume of The Orrmulum. It contains biblical narratives and homilies. An incomplete list of pericopes, between Orrm's Dedication and Preface, shows that at least 242 biblical narratives, each followed by a homily, were planned. The manuscript is Orrm's autograph, and contains numerous insertions, deletions and revisions in his hand.
Support: Parchment. [i] + ii + 117 + [i], numbered [i], 1-118, , [ii]. the front and endleaf are unnumbered modern paper flyleaves. Fols 1, 2 comprise a bifolium bearing thirteenth-century writing and are not necessarily an integral part of the codex. Fols 3-118,  constitute the manuscript proper.
- 500 mm x 200 mm (dimensions of most - size of leaves)
Foliation/Pagination: Foliated in modern pencil. Junius numbered the columns in the seventeenth century. His numeration is key to reconstructing the extent of the codex before it suffered the significant losses detailed below.
- fols 3-"119": 1 (7: all singletons) [fols 3-9]
- 2 (10: +1 before 1 (lost), +1 after 10; 4, 5, 6, 7 lost) [fols 10-22]
- 3 (8: 1, 2, 7, 8 lost) [fols 23-30]
- 4 (12: 6, 7 lost) [fols 31-43]
- 5 (10: +1 before fol. 47 (lost), + 1 after fol. 51; 4, 9 lost)
- 6 (12: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 lost) [fols 63-9]
- 7 (12: 2, 6, 7, 11 lost) [fols 70-79]
- 8 (12: 4, 9, 12 lost) [fols 80-89]
- 9 (16) [fols 90-105]
- 10 (16: 8, 9, 15 lost, 3 and 16 largely torn out) [fols 106-"119"]
I have simplified the quiring here by excluding the many slips Orrm inserted to incorporate his revisions into the text. For details of these, see the quiring diagram.
To my knowledge, this is the first physical collation of the manuscript.
- Quire 2: 'I' fol. 10r base right edge LH column;
- Quire 4: 'III', fol. 31r base right edge LH column;
- Quire 5: 'IIII', fol. 44r base right edge LH column;
- Quire 6: 'V', fol. 63r base right edge LH column;
- Quire 7: 'VI', fol. 70r base centre RH column;
- Quire 8: 'VII' base left edge RH column;
- Quire 9: 'IX' base middle;
- Quire 10: possible traces of signature base mid LH column.
These quire signatures suggest the first quire, containing the prefatory materials, was added as an afterthought.
The manuscript was originally quired mainly in twelves, though it also contains eights, tens and sixteens. Its structure is now extremely complex due to Orrm's insertion of 29 slips of vellum containing revisions (indeed, the manuscript may once have contained further slips, now lost) and the loss of at least thirty-four leaves, mostly since the columns were numbered in the seventeenth century. Since the losses are mostly complete bifolia, it is likely the manuscript was unbound at this time. See the diagram for full details.
The manuscript is extremely lacunose. The condition of the parchment is variable, with the edges of some leaves crumbling. This has not generally affected the text yet.
Each bifolium is formed from a near-complete skin, thus retaining the off-cut that would usually be excised from prime cut. Orrm folded the skin in portrait, rather than the more usual landscape, creating the unusual dimensions of the codex. I am grateful to Erik Kwakkel for discussing this issue with me.
Layout type: LO17
Overview: The original leaves are generally in two columns (with the exception of Quire 1, where the leaves were too small). The number of lines per page varies significantly, though there are usually between 50 and 70. The number of lines is generally in proportion to the dimensions of the leaf, which likewise varies significantly. Some leaves were ruled in plummet, others in drypoint. Orrm was unafraid to ignore the rulings (e.g. fol. 68v). Accordingly, the diagram above, which depicts fol. 17, cannot be taken as representative. See diagram.
Number of Hands: 2
Summary: The main text and the bulk of the revisions are in Orrm's hand; a second hand (known as Hand C) added the Latin pericope at the beginning of each homily, and made a few English additions (e. g. fols 43r, 62r, 67v).
Methods of Alteration: Thoroughly and repeatedly corrected by Orrm himself. Corrections often made by superposed letters.
Hand: Main text
Script: English Vernacular Minuscule
Description: English written in an unusual, heavy, cramped English Vernacular minuscule. Ascenders and descenders are short compared to the body of the minims. Word division is not always a priority. One feature of Orrm's unique orthographical system is his use of geminate consonants; these generally indicate the preceding vowel is short, unless that vowel is in an open syllable. To economise the space this system requires, Orrm sometimes stacks the second consonant of a pair on top of the first consonant.
Summary of the characteristics of the hand:
- a: may or may not have a head. æ retained, though absent from Orrm's Latin.
- d: round-backed. Occasional biting of de.
- e: there are occasional examples of e-caudata.
- g: an insular form, carefully composed of three strokes; a modified caroline form, finished with a horizontal stroke along the top of the bole, which is used for the stop consonant; and occasionally, the pure Caroline form.
- h: Orrm uses the straight-limbed insular form in his English text, a curved-limbed form when writing Latin. H can also appear superscript above a g, indicating a medial guttural sound.
- i: double i is ticked, single i is not.
- o: Pointed oval.
- r: generally a simplified insular form, though Orrm uses the Caroline form when stacking a geminate consonant, which he also uses when writing Latin. Orrm is also inclined to use a majuscule r in 'Marȝe'.
- s: Invariably the tall Caroline form, usually descending very slightly below the line. Orrm also uses the st ligature.
- þ used throughout.
- ð a rare form, only used 117 times in total throughout the Orrmulum.
- ƿ: used throughout.
- ascenders generally wedged
- descenders generally taper left
- accents: Accents are used to disambiguate potential confusions.
- Orrm uses a range of techniques to clarify the structure of the text. Major structural divisions are marked by decorative capitals; paraph marks (for which Orrm has three designs, but the choice seems to be random) indicate further divisions. Orrm also uses the simplex ductus to mark key passages marginally. Individual half-lines usually begin with a capital.
- barred t -terr
- double common mark of abbreviation -mm, -nn
There are one or two isolated examples of syllabic suspension, e. g. 'crist', 'trowwenn'. The Latin abbreviations for 'pro-' and 'per-' are occasionally used in loanwords.
The main mark of punctuation is the punctus; the punctus elevatus is also used. Runovers are routinely marked with a hyphen. The end of a homily is marked, unusually, with a series of positurae.
st ligature in English and Latin; ct ligature in Latin, with the tie taking an oblique angle
Thoroughly and repeatedly corrected; Orrm particularly struggled to eliminate eo spellings once he had decided he preferred e.
Hand: Pericopes, corrections
Scribe: Hand C
Script: English Vernacular Minuscule
Description: Hand C added the Gospel pericopes at the beginning of individual homilies, using a small academic hand. He also rewrote several of Orrm's additions more clearly (fols 43r, 67v, 69r, 117v). He may have added ll. 7471-80 (fol. 62r) by his own initiative, though the text is identical to ll. 6494-6504. While he fails to follow Orrm's orthographical conventions exactly, he evidently understood the principles on which they rested. Parkes 1991 suggests he may have been familiar with writing documents.
Summary of the characteristics of the hand:
- a: generally with a pronounced headstroke that is the same length as the bole, though the headless form is also frequently found. The headless form is also used superscript as a syllabic suspension, a feature Parkes suggests dies out in the 1180s.
- d: round-backed; lobe composed of broken strokes.
- e: tongue generally protrudes, a feature exacerbated when the letter is word-final.
- f, like s descends slightly below the line (features, according to Parkes, extremely rare in bookhand).
- g: Caroline, composed of a lobe and tail which initially descends in front of the lobe, before turning back perpendicularly to the left. This stroke is often extended. In English, where the tail of Caroline g is typically closed, he also uses insular g, as well as Orrm's hybrid form.
- h: in Latin, the second limb curves inward and is often extended beneath the line; in English, Hand C maintains the insular form.
- i: wedged at top, at base sometimes finished with an oblique rightward serif, sometimes unfinished. Word final i is sometimes long.
- m: generally has rounded arches. Such arches became pointed in the 1170s according to Parkes.
- o: Pointed oval.
- r: generally Caroline in Latin; insular in English.
- s: Descends slightly below the line.
- t: The stem sometimes bisects headstroke. The stem is often extended upwards to the right.
- þ is used to the exclusion of ð in English. The crossbar of the abbreviation 'þatt' turns up at the right.
- ƿ: used in English; often very similar to p.
- ascenders sometimes wedged, but often unfinished
- descenders generally straight with a very slight taper to the left. This taper became more pronounced in documentary hands of the 1160s and 1170s.
- ˥ sits on the line; the descender is finished with a serif to the right. The capitular form is barred.
- In English, uses syllabic suspension in 'cristes' (67v). As one might expect, he uses the full compendium of Latin abbreviations in the pericopes.
The main mark of punctuation is the punctus. In English, the punctus elevatus is also used.
st ligature in English and Latin.
Initial plain: Multiple-line unadorned monochrome initials open most homilies. These are mostly in black, but there are several in green.
There are no items added after c. 1220.
Bound in modern pulp boards. The binding probably postdates the significant losses the manuscript suffered after Junius had numbered the columns. Sewn on six thongs, spine uncovered. Paper pastedowns at front and back.
Fols 1, 2 form a bifolium, probably unconnected with the manuscript proper despite their comparable dimensions. Fol. 2r bears a thirteenth-century 'alphabeticum anglicum' in roman script and runes (inventoried Derolez 1954, [lvii-]viii, n3), written parallel to the spine of the book, from the foot of the page to the top.
Described by Mark Faulkner (July 2010). Thanks are due to Martin Kauffmann for granting access to the manuscript.
Burchfield, L. W., 'A Source of Scribal Error in Early Middle English', Medium Ævum, 22 (1953), 8-17, after p. 10, fol. 35v (part)
Holm, Sigurd, Corrections and Additions in the Ormulum Manuscript (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1922), after p. 117, fols 75v (part), 71r, 62r
Napier, Arthur Sampson, ed., History of the Holy Rood-Tree : a twelfth-century version of the Cross-legend with notes on the orthography of the Orumulum (with a facsimile) and a Middle English Compassio Mariae, EETS, OS 103 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Træbner, 1894), fol. 65r (part)
Roberts, Jane, Guide to Scripts Used in English Writings up to 1500 (London: British Library, 2005), nos. 27a, b, fols 72r, 71r, 71v
Skeat, W. W., Twelve Facsimiles of Old English MSS (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), pl. IV, fol. 20r (part)
Thompson, E. M. and E.A. Bond (ed.s), The Palaeographical Society: Facsimiles of Miniatures and Inscriptions (London, 1873-1883), pl. 133, fol. 53r (part)
Turville-Petre, Joan, 'Studies in the Ormulum MS', Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 46 (1947), 1-27, before p. 1, fol. 30r (part)
Wright, C. E, English Vernacular Hands from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), no. 2, fol. 3r (part)
Parkes 1991 has suggested Orrm wrote the text at the Augustinian Abbey of Bourne in Lincolnshire. His evidence comes from the list of capitula, which indicates that the latter stages of Orrm's work focussed heavily on the deeds of SS. Peter and Paul. Bourne was dedicated to these two saints, and the dialect evidence supports placing the work in this part of Lincolnshire.
Provenance: Belonged to Jan van Vliet in 1659, from whom it was acquired by Franciscus Junius.
Acquisition: Entered the Bodleian with Junius's manuscripts in 1678.
Burchfield, L. W., 'A Source of Scribal Error in Early Middle English', Medium Ævum, 22 (1953), 8-17
---, 'The Language and Orthography of the Ormulum MS', Transactions of the Philological Society, (1956), 56-87
Derolez, R., Runica Manuscripta: The English Tradition, Rijksuniversiteit te Gent (Brugge: De Tempel, 1954)
Holm, Sigurd, Corrections and Additions in the Ormulum Manuscript (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1922)
Holt, Robert, ed., The Ormulum, with the Notes and Glossary of Dr. R. M. White, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1878)
Johannesson, Nils-Lennart, 'Overwriting, Deletion and Erasure: Exploring the Changes in the Ormulum Manuscript', Jestin', 2.2 (1997), 21-29
Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990)
---, 'Unpublished Parts of the Ormulum Printed from MS. Lambeth 783', Medium Ævum, 9 (1940), 1-22
Kwakkel, Erik, 'Cost Reduction Before Paper: Discarded Parchments as Writing Support in English Manuscript Culture', English Manuscript Studies: 1100-1700, (forthcoming)
Laing, Margaret, Catalogue of Sources for a Linguistic Atlas of Early Medieval English (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1993), pp. 135-36
Matthes, Heinrich C. , Die Einheitlichkeit des Orrmulum: Studien zur Textkritik, zu den Quellen und zur sprachlichen Form von Orrmins Evangelienbuch(Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933)
Napier, Arthur Sampson, ed., History of the Holy Rood-Tree : a twelfth-century version of the Cross-legend with notes on the orthography of the Orumulum (with a facsimile) and a Middle English Compassio Mariae, EETS, OS 103 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1894)
Parkes, M. B., 'On the presumed date and possible origin of the Manuscript of the Ormulum: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 1', in Scribes, scripts and readers: studies in the communication, presentation and dissemination of medieval texts (London: Hambledon, 1991), pp. 187-200
Roberts, Jane, Guide to Scripts Used in English Writings up to 1500 (London: British Library, 2005)
Scragg, D. G., A History of English Spelling (Manchester, 1974)
Skeat, W. W., Twelve Facsimiles of Old English MSS (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892)
Thompson, E. M. and E.A. Bond (ed.s), The Palaeographical Society: Facsimiles of Miniatures and Inscriptions. (London, 1873-1883)
Turville-Petre, Joan, 'Studies in the Ormulum MS', Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 46 (1947), 1-27
Wright, C. E, English Vernacular Hands from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960)