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Forms for ecclesiastical and lay letters, the '[liber] correctorius secundum ordinem biblie', and various scientific treatises, Made up of three MSS. written in the 13th and 14th century in England

MS. Fairfax 27
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

A (2nd quarter of the 13th cent.) Forms for ecclesiastical and lay letters: beg. 'In omnibus litteris cuicumque vel a quocumque transmittantur digniores persone preponentur' (fol. 1).

B (mid-14th cent.) (fol. 7):

  1. The '[liber] correctorius secundum ordinem biblie', a treatise on the accentuation of words in the Bible
  2. Verse prol. beg. 'Puplica collegi cupiens prodesse pusillis': text beg. 'Ut igitur de iam propositis' (fol. 7)
  3. Fols. 20-5v are palimpsest. The under text (12th cent.) includes part of the Catholic Epistle of st. James (fol. 25 is end of cap. i-beginning of cap. ii)

C (1st half of the 14th cent.) (fol. 26) Various scientific treatises including:

  1. Fol. 26. a passage, hence copied into no. 3908, describing a miracle in a Cistercian house at Tripoli
  2. Fol. 27. the 'Carmen de Algorismo' or arithmetical verses by Alexander of Villedieu, of which no. 1623 contains another copy: beg. 'Hec Algorismus ars presens dicitur', with contemporary prose commentary in margin, preceded (fol. 26v) by a calendarial piece known from its incipit as 'Cisio Janus'
  3. Fol. 32. the 'Massa Compoti' of Alexander of Villedieu, with the prose commentary, but without the prologue: beg. '[A]ureus in Jano numerus clavesque notantur'
  4. Fol. 38. a treatise for physicians: beg. 'Natura occulte operatur'
  5. Fol. 44. a treatise on the planets, with tables, perhaps by Holcote, for which cf. Royal MS. 12 B. xxv, fol. 254, in the British Museum: beg. 'Gloriosus et sublimis deus creator omnium'
  6. Fol. 51. a dialogue between master and pupil on man: beg. 'Homo est animal racionale'
  7. Fol. 59. 'Tractatus de spera in quatuor capitulis. Distinguimus primo quid sit spera', preceded by two full-page illustrations, being the treatise of John de Sacro Bosco on the sphere, of which no. 1616 contains another copy
  8. Fol. 66v. 'Kalendarium archiepiscopi Eboracensis. Januarius. Circumcisio domini', a short list of saints' days and festivals, without dates
  9. Fol. 67. a brief treatise on arithmetic: beg. '[S]unt autem quidem [for quedam] subtilia universis numerandi questionibus'
  10. Fol. 69. the beginning of the 'sphaera Pythagorae' in Anglo-Norman, of which other copies are in MS. Bodl. 26, MS. Auct. F. 6. 1, MS. Bodl. 177: beg. 'Ceo est la resoun del exsper' qe Pictagorus fist'
  11. Fol. 69v. notes on fortune-telling from the features: beg. 'Scias ergo quod matrix est embryo'
  12. Fol. 17. calendarial and astronomical tables, for lunar cycles, conjunctions, and eclipses, and explanatory notes: beg. 'Quidam homines multum affectant scienciam astronomie' (fol. 78v), followed (fol. 79v) by three diagrams of eclipses
  13. Fol. 81. the 'theorica planetarum' of Gerardus Cremonensis, with diagrams: beg. 'Circulus eccentricus vel egresse cuspidis', and ends imperfectly
  14. Fol. 85. a few formal demonstrations of logical propositions
  15. Fol. 88. the 'compositio quadrantis' or 'vetus quadrans' of John de Monte Pessulano (Munpellers): beg. 'Geometrie duo sunt partes, scilicet theorica et practica. Theorica est enim que sola mentis speculatione', and ends on fol. 91v 'Explicit tractatus veteris quadrantis', followed by further astronomical tables (fol. 92)
  16. The fly-leaves are from a 15th-cent. missal with music (fol. ii), and a 14th-cent. treatise on Roman law (fol. 95)


  • Creation: Made up of three MSS. written in the 13th and 14th century in England


95 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • Multiple languages
  • Latin
  • English, Old (ca.450-1100)


MS. Fairfax 27

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, no. 3907

Custodial History

Fol. 50v has 'A mon trescher et bien amy Robert de Stkyrkland' (sic), 15th cent., repeated in English by Charles Fairfax. A hand of about 1400 has written 'Bolton' on fol. 24v, whence Fairfax inferred that the volume came from the Augustinian priory of Bolton in Craven.

Physical Facet

On parchment, binding, white leather on bevelled boards, with traces of strap and central boss, 15th-century English work


7 1/10 × 5 1/5 in.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom