Salisbury, Cathedral Library, 150

Present Location


Medieval Provenance

General Information






The Psalter contains extensive continuous interlinear Old English glosses to the Psalms on fols 12-138, and to the Canticles on fols 138v-51v of the Gallican version, with the exception of Psalm 151 and part of the Te deum. The titles to the Psalms are only partially glossed in Old English: Psalms 50, 77, 79, 119, 126, 132 (Ker 1957, p. 449-50; Mearns 1914; Lindelöf 1904; Wülcker 1879, p. 367. 

Ker notes that during the tenth or eleventh century, 'famulum tuum' was altered to 'famulam tuam', and the gloss in Old English 'þeoƿan þinne' is later perhaps s. xi/xii (1957, p. 450).

The Litanies, starting on fol. 151v, have been erased, except the first two lines. A hand, s. xii, rewrote others on fols 152-60. One final quire (fols 152-58, 160) was added in the twelfth century.

Digital Surrogate

Manuscript Items
  1. Item: fols 12-138
    • Title (C.7.13): Gloss to Psalms

      Text Language: English


      Ker 1957, item 379

  2. Item: fols 138v-51v
    • Title (C.11.12): Gloss to Canticles of the Psalter

      Text Language: English


      Ker 1957, item 379

  3. Item: fol. 138
    • Title (C.23.3): Gloss to Prayers

      Text Language: English

      Note: According to Ker, in s. x or s. xi, the words 'famulum tuum' in the prayer were changed to 'famulam tuam', but the gloss, which is later, is 'þeowan þinne' (1957, p. 450). [HM]


      Ker 1957, item 379

Object Description



Support: Parchment.


  • c. 287 mm x 180 mm (dimensions of all - size of leaves)
  • 234 mm x 105 mm (dimensions of all - size of written space)

Foliation/Pagination: iv + 160 + ii, foliated (i-v), 1-158, 160, 161, (162-3). Ker observes that 'the first three and last two leaves are modern paper. Fols (iv), 161, (162) are medieval flyleaves' (Ker 1957, p. 450).


Quires: Collation of fols 1-160: 110 + 1 leaf before 2 (fol. 2), 28 wants 1 before fol 12, 3-68, 710 wants 5, 6 after fol. 54, 8-118, 128 wants 6 after fol. 95, 138, 148 wants 3 after fol. 107, 15-166, 178 wants 2 after fol. 125, 18-198, 204 (fols 148-51), 218.

Note: Ruled for 24 long lines. Portions of texts missing through mutilation and excisions of numerous initials, full list provided in Sisam and Sisam (1959). Fols 124v-25 stained, perhaps from exposure, and fol. 161 is blank except for 6 lines on the recto in s. xiiex hand.

Hand Description

Number of Hands: 2 from the period 1060-1220

Summary: The Old English in the glosses on fols 149v-51v and fols 1-11 is datable to the late tenth century and written in a square Anglo-Saxon Minuscule (Ker 1957, p. 450). The glosses on fols 12-149v and fols 75v are s. xi/xii.

Hand: glosses

Scope: minor

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 379 Scribe 1

Description: Fols 12-149v. 'A backward-sloping, thin hand' (Ker p. 450).

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • a Caroline.
  • d rounded, open topped, of the same size and shape as ð.
  • e open topped.
  • Caroline.
  • insular g sometimes occurs.
  • o open topped.
  • Caroline.
  • Caroline.
  • ð open topped, of the same size and shape as d.
  • y is not dotted.

Date: s. xi/xii


Hand: gloss to title of Psalm 77

Scope: minor

Script: English Vernacular Minuscule

Ker reference: Ker 379 scribe 2

Description: Fol. 75v. An English Vernacular Minuscule of s. xii characterised by numerous insular forms. 

Summary of the characteristics of the hand:

  • f insular.
  • g insular.
  • r insular.
  • s insular.

Date: s. xi/xii

Decoration Description

Wormald (1945, p. 121) as well as Sisam and Sisam (1959) describe decorations and damage by mutilation.


On fol. iv: 'mabbe þe d[.]uel þe habbe 7 bere to his oƿene neste 7 [...]7 [.]usse 7 [...]ppe 7 frete', 'in a large crude hand, probably of s. xiii' (Ker 1957, p. 450).

Binding Description

Rebound in 1948. The former binding was of s. xix1.

Additional Information

Administration Information

Manuscript described by Orietta Da Rold with the assistance of Hollie Morgan (April 2010) with reference to facsimiles and published scholarship, and additional suggestions by Elaine Treharne.


Digital surrogate: (accessed 18 July 2018) 

Bond, E. A., and E. M. Thompson, eds, The Palaeographical Society: Facsimiles of Miniatures and Inscriptions (1873-83), fols 5 and 19v

Priebsch, R, 'The Chief Sources of some Anglo-Saxon Homilies', Otia Merseiana, i, no. 129 (1899), pl. 5, fols 13, 86v



The question of the origin of Salisbury 150 is uncertain and there have been several suggestions. Ker (1957, p. 451) posits that the manuscript was at Sherborne, and then transferred to Salisbury in 1078. 'In the twelfth-century litany Aldhelm is second among confessors, the order being Sylvester, Aldhelm, Marcialis. The obit of "brictwinus", added to the calendar at 2nd June in s. ximed, may be that of Byrhtwine II, bishop of Sherborne 1023- 45'. Stroud (1979), however, evaluates the evidence for Sherborne and argues that Shaftesbury or Wilton could be better suggestions on account of the inclusion in the manuscript of St Edward, St Aidan and St Maiolus who are particularly important saints for Shaftesbury. The inclusion of the Holy Nails, the entries of St Denis, the use of the Gallican version and the addition of the feast of St Edith seem to suggest a provenance relating to Wilton. In particular the correction of 'famulum tuum' to 'famulam tuam' suggests a female community (Stroud 1979).

Provenance: The manuscript was at Salisbury in 1622, and lent to Elizabeth Elstob in a note by H. Hetcher dated 1831 on fol. i (Ker 1957, p. 168).




Bond, E. A., and E. M. Thompson, eds, The Palaeographical Society: Facsimiles of Miniatures and Inscriptions (1873-83)

Ker, N. R., 'Salisbury Cathedral Manuscripts and Patrick Young's Catalogue', Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 53 (1949), 179

Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 379

Lindelöf, U., Studien zu altenglischen Psalterglossen, Bonner Beitræge zur Angelistik, 13 (1904)

Mearns, James, The Canticles of the Christian Church, Eastern and Western, in Early and Medieval Times Book Description (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914)

Priebsch, R, 'The Chief Sources of some Anglo-Saxon Homilies', Otia Merseiana, i, no. 129 (1899)

Stroud, Daphne I., 'The Provenance of the Salisbury Psalter', The Library, 6.1 (1979), 225-35

Wormald, F., 'Decorated Initials in English MSS from A.D. 900-1100', Archaeologia, 91 (1945), 107-35

Wælcker, R. P, 'Aus englischen Bibliotheken', Anglia, 2, no. 354 (1879)