Oxford, Bodleian Library, Laud Misc. 482

Present Location


Medieval Provenance

General Information






A small narrow book containing penitential and confessional texts in Old English and some Latin offices for the sick and dying. The Latin offices contain introductions and rubrics in Old English (see Raith 1933; Spindler 1934; Mone 1830; Haddan and Stubbs 1869; Fowler 1965; Thorpe 1840. On specific items see also Ker 1957 and Franzen 1998).

The manuscript is mainly written by one scribe, but probably in two units: 1. fols 1-44, and 2. fols 45-68. Fol. 44 is left blank. These two parts were probably written some time apart but by the same scribe.

Fol. 44r, a s. xii/xiii hand wrote two Marian prayers: 'O beata maria quis tibi digne ualeat'; 'O beata et intemerata et in eternum benedicta', and another dedicated to St John: 'O Sancte iohannes'. Fol. 52rv, passim, a later hand, s. xi2, annotated masculine Latin ending with feminine ones. The Tremulous Hand, s. xiii1 annotated fols 9v to 20v similar to the ones he did on Junius 121, fol. 83v. (Franzen 1998, p. 69 and Ker 1957, pp. 421-2).

Object Description



Support: Parchment.


  • 202 mm x 90 mm (dimensions of most of folios, but the folios are heavily trimmed by the binder - size of leaves)
  • 180 mm x 65 mm (dimensions of all - size of written space)

Foliation/Pagination: Fols ii + 68 + ii, foliated (i, ii), 1-68, (69, 70). Fols i-ii, 69-70 are paper flyleaves from the date of binding. Traces of an earlier foliation by Joscelyn can be seen on some leaves (Franzen 1998, p. 68).


Quires: 1-28, fols 1-16, 38 wants 8 after fol. 23, fols 17-23, 48, fols 24-31, 54 + 1 leaf after 3, fol. 32, fols 32-36, 6-98 fols 37-68. 3 and 6 in quires 1-3, 6 and 7 are singletons.

Note: Leaves are arranged FFHH. Written in 24 long lines, but often without following the rulings. Ruled in drypoint only on the hair side. Double bounding lines on the right and left sides, but frequently it looks like triple bounding lines and Franzen notes that there are 'sometimes as many as four', for example on fol. 45 (1998, p. 68). Prick marks are usually visible at the bottom of verticals and occasionally in the top and outer margins.  

Hand Description

Number of Hands: 3

Summary: Written mainly by one scribe, apart from fols 7r-8r/8 and 8v/8-24, which are in a similar hand. The aspect of the hand of fols 45-68 is that it is larger, but it is probably the main hand of part one, writing at a later date in time. The second part of the manuscript is in a much larger hand, but is by the same main scribe probably later than the first part, possibly s. xi2. Both hands show characteristics which can be found in contemporary Worcester hands, for instance, Tiberius B. iv.

Hand: main text

Scope: major

Script: Insular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 343 Scribe 1

Description: Fols 1-68v, except fols 7r-8r/8 and 8v/8-24. A clear, but small and compressed, insular minuscule which increases in size and becomes rounder after fol. 45 and on fol. 59v. The scribe clearly distinguishes script between Latin and Old English, using Caroline and insular forms respectively.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • High s is used initially and medially in Old English, with low s finally. Round s also occurs.
  • A small rounded with a short ascender curved and rounded towards the left.
  • ð: a long ascenders ending in a short tag curving to the left with a sharp angle.
  • descenders are long and turn to the left at the end.
  • accents occur occasionally on long syllables.

Date: s. ximed and s. xi2


Hand: additions

Scope: minor

Script: Insular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 343 SC2

Description: Fols 7r-8r/8 and 8v/8-24. A small and round insular minuscule which is similar to the main hand.

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • d: a small rounded bowl with a long curved ascender towards the right.
  • ð: A long, tapered ascender, curving to the right.

Date: ximed


Hand: annotations

Scope: minor

Scribe: Tremulous Scribe

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Description: The Tremulous Hand included: 'Five nota signs of fols 17v-18v, the Roman numerals 'i' to 'xii' on fols 19r-20r, and glosses on fol. 13v similar to ones on fol. 83v of Junius 121' (Franzen 1998, p. 69).

Date: s. xiii1

Decoration Description

Initials in red or green (fol. 51r). Capitals and tironian notes tinted in red.


Jocelyn's foliation s. xvi. He also added cross-references within this manuscript and to Junius 121, as well as some other marks. Another hand has added book and chapter numbers to the Poenitentiale Pseudo-Egberti (fols 1-19r), stopping after the beginning of Book 4 (see also, Franzen 1998, p. 69).

Binding Description

Seventeenth-century binding, now detached.

Additional Information

Administration Information

Manuscript described by Orietta Da Rold with the assistance of Hollie Morgan (May 2010).


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, Laud. Misc. 482 are available on LUNA at the Bodleian Library, fols 36v-37r and 63v-64r (accessed 24 July 2018)




Provenance: The manuscript was in Worcester at the time of the Tremulous Hand, and considering the note on the hand, it was probably copied there. Tinti suggests that the book was used in the Worcester area for the visitation of the sick and dying (Tinti 2010, pp. 305-309).

Acquisition: According to the inscription on fol. i verso, Archbishop Laud gave the manuscript to the Bodleian Library in 1639.




Fehr, Bernhard, 'Altenglische Ritualtexte für Krankenbesuch, heilige Ölung und Begräbnis', in Texte und Forschungen zur englischen Kulturgeschichte, Festgabe für Felix Liebermann (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1921), pp. 20-67

Förster, Max, 'Zur Liturgik der angelsächsischen Kirche: III. Ein ae. Apostelgebet', Anglia, 66 (1942), 48-49

Fowler, Roger, 'A Late Old English Handbook for the Use of a Confessor', Anglia, 83 (1965), 1-34

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

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 656

Haddan, Arthur West, and William Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, 3 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1869)

Henel, H, Studien zum altenglischen Computus , Beitrage zur englischen Philologie (leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1934)

Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 343

Laing, Margaret, Catalogue of Sources for a Linguistic Atlas of Early Medieval English (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1993), p. 138.

LUNA, (http://bodley30.bodley.ox.ac.uk:8180/luna/servlet; accessed 24 July 2018)

Mone, Franz Joseph, Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der teutschen Literatur und Sprache (Aachen and Leipzig: Jacob Anton Mayer, 1830)

Napier, Arthur Sampson, ed., Wulfstan: Sammlung der ihm zugeschriebenen Homilien nebst Untersuchungen uber ihre Echtheit, Sammlung englischer Denkmaeler in Kritischen Ausgaben, 4 (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1883)

Raith, Joseph, ed., Die altenglische Version des Halitgar'schen Bussbuches, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen Prosa, 13 (Hamburg: H. Grand, 1933)

Schmitz, H. J., ed., Die Bußbücher (Düsseldorf, 1898)

Scragg, Donald, Alexander Rumble, and Kathryn Powell, C11 Database Project (Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies, http://www.arts.manchester.ac.uk/mancass/c11database/). Available for limited viewing on the Internet Wayback Machine.

Spindler, Robert, ed., Das altenglische Bussbuch (Sog. Confessionale Pseudo- Egberti) (Liepzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1934, 1934)

Tinti, Francesca, Sustaining Belief: The Church of Worcester from c. 870 to c. 1100 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010)

Thorpe, B., ed., Ancient Laws and Institutes of England (London: George Eyre and Andrew Spottiswoode, 1840)

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

Wasserschleben, F. W. H., ed., Bußbücher (Halle, 1851)