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Private prayers, offices, etc., with a calendar and psalter, written in the last quarter of the 15th century perhaps by a Flemish scribe and illuminator in England

MS. Bodl. 939
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

Private prayers, offices, etc., with a calendar and psalter. Owing to mutilations it is difficult to describe accurately the contents, which appear to be:

  1. (fol. 1) Latin prayers for personal use, in prose and verse;
  2. (fol. 6) a calendar, of an English type, with addition of 'Antonii abbates' (Jan. 17), and 'Sancti Niniani episcopi' (Sept. 16): St. Swithin appears as 'Zwilchini episcopi' on July 15; (fol. 12v) Latin prayers headed by one in English rhythm (beg. 'Ihesu almyghty and Mary maydyn fre');
  3. (fol. 22) The 15 O's, in Latin;
  4. (fol. 28) prayers in prose and verse to the Virgin, and commemorations etc. of St. Ursula and the 11000 virgins, Stt. Leonard, Dorothy, Erasmus, and king Henry vi of England (fol. 45v), in Latin;
  5. (fol. 46) Extracts from the Psalter, in Latin, followed by prayers;
  6. (fol. 79) another series of prayers to the virgin, in honour of St. Christopher etc., some in verse, including the seven gaudia (fol. 99, cf. 102); chiefly in Latin, but a rubric on fol. 84 is in French, and twelve prayers are in English: but after fol. 88 the hand is slightly later, cf. 46.

The name of the person for whom these devotions were compiled is given on fols. 76, 76v, 77v, 80v as 'Elina', but afterwards as Aleanora (fols. 81b, 83), who was perhaps in prison at the time. This may be Eleanor (Nevil), grand-daughter of John of Gaunt, baroness Poynings, who married Henry (Percy) earl of Northumberland, and died in 1482. Professor Napier considers the English part to have been written in the North Midland district: there is a Flemish element in the Calendar, cf. MS. Aubrey 31.

Mutilations occur on fols. 33, 35, 81, 112b, and whole leaves have been cut out after fols. 21, 31, 45, 46, 52, 56, 78, 80, 85, but small miniatures are left on fols. 28, 30v, 36v, 37v, 38, 39v, 69v, 70v, 72, 73, 76, 80, 84.

The binding is brown leather with stamps (fleurs de lys, some crowned, with stars, some plain; and a monster; disposed in oblong panels) on bevelled oak boards, contemporary, apparently Flemish: the clasp is lost. On the inside of the front cover is pasted an (injured) 15th century English engraving, an Image of Pity, nearly identical with the one described by Henry Bradshaw in the Cambr. Antiqu. Society's Communications, iii (1879), pp. 148-9, but the words of the Indulgence are almost erased.


  • Creation: written in the last quarter of the 15th century perhaps by a Flemish scribe and illuminator in England


129 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • Latin
  • English


MS. Bodl. 939

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. V, no. 27691.

Physical Facet

On parchment, illuminated, mutilated, binding, see below


8 1/4 × 6 in.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom