Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts

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Manuscript fragments in Balliol's early printed books

This is a new list, gradually bringing together descriptions of manuscript fragments found in the bindings of Balliol's early printed books. This information hasn't been compiled at Balliol before, and while some MS fragments are well known in secondary literature, the college's catalogue entries do not always include copy-specific details indicating their presence. If you know of any, please send us the shelfmark so we can add it to this list and make photographs available.

Click here to make enquiries to the archivist about Balliol's manuscripts or to make appointments to consult them - and please share new bibliography/citations.

Digital images of the college's manuscripts are placed online as they are created, usually on demand. Images are linked to from individual entries on these catalogue pages. The digitisation programme is shaped by researchers' requests, so if you require images for your research from a manuscript only partially photographed or not yet represented in the Flickr collection, please get in touch to have it added to the 'to-do' list.


Images of MS fragments online

MS fragment: inside front & back cover, stubs. Parchment. Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 2 fragments containing lines 10700-10732, 10764-10793, 10824-10852, 10884-10909 (many lines incomplete) of s. xiv2

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 0695 h 06(01). Wolfgang Lazius, Vienna Austriae.
  • SOLO catalogue entry (copy-specific notes do not include the MS fragments)
  • Citations
    • Hudson, Anne. "Tradition and Innovation in Some Middle English Manuscripts." The Review of English Studies 17.68 (1966): 359-372.

MS fragment: inside front & back cover, stubs. Parchment. Fragment 1, document of Philippa de Hainault, in French: 'Ph[ilipp]e par la grace de Dieu Reine d'Angleterre Dame d'Irlande et Duchesse d'Aquitaine a notre cher clerc Johan de Neubury notre Rescensour...' [not an exact diplomatic transcription; see images]. Fragment 2, re a payment of 53 shillings and fourpence, dated London, 5 July 24 Edward III [1350]. In Latin.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 0695 h 09. Elias Reusner, [Basilikōn] opus genealogicum Catholicum.
  • SOLO catalogue entry (no copy-specific notes)

MS fragment: inside front & back cover, reused flyleaves from older binding, formerly pasted down. Parchment. 2 cut down folios of medieval liturgical music with notation & rubrics, decorated initials. Text and music not identified. Bound in upside down.

  • Balliol College Archives. 1st Latin Register of College Meeting Minutes 1514-1682.

MS fragment: inside front & back cover, stubs.Parchment. Latin prose in heavily abbreviated gothic textura bearing marginal annotations/reading marks - looks like any number of university productions. Text not identified. The corresponding fragment at the back of the volume looks similar, from the corner that can be seen where some of the paper pastedown has come loose, but is not legible through the paper and cannot be photographed.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 650 d 6. Jacobus Strada, Epitome thesauri antiquitatum.
  • SOLO catalogue entry (copy-specific notes mention later MS inscriptions on paper flyleaves but not these MS fragments)

MS fragment: inside front cover only, stubs. Paper. English prose - parts of the same personal letter dated Brigstock 7 March 1635. Beginning of letter '[my de]re Brother' on fragment 1b recto; date and closing on fragment 1a verso; part of address on fragment 1b verso. Not fully transcribed - text on fragment 1a verso (end of letter) appears to be in two columns. End of first column: '...and I doe not knowe whether ever shee wil retorn againe unto mee or not Shee hath lefte me three children and hath one w'th her w'ch sucketh. Brigstock this 7th of Ma[r]ch 1635.' Closing two lines of the right-hand column of fragment 1a verso, '...your wife and children if you have any I committ you to the almightyes Protection. Yr poore and distressed brother Rich: C___.'

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 515 e 6. Cotgrave's French-English Dictionary, 1650.
  • SOLO catalogue entry

MS fragment: spine lining, not visible inside the covers. Paper. ?Italian or perhaps Latin, rather informal early modern hand. Not much is visible of this one - direct access to the sewing structure through breaks in the parchment cover.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 515 f 2. Francesco Piccolomini, Universa philosophia de moribus, 1583.
  • SOLO catalogue entry

MS fragment: inside front and back covers, stubs. Paper. Musical notation - tablature or similar.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 525 c 9. Sir Philip Sidney, The countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, 1633
  • SOLO catalogue entry

MS fragment: inside front and back covers, stubs. Parchment. Middle English, prose; bottom 2 lines (both incomplete at right edge of column b on recto and fragment 2 incomplete at left edge of column a) of 2-column ruled pages. A C19-20 college bookplate obscures part of fragment 1 verso and makes the recto inaccessible. Fragment 1v column b, ' hath wrought + is... / ... with bittir forthenking...' (thorn and yogh used for th and gh). Fragment 2r column a, 'us he may not be defoulid in his kinde. Natheles he schal venge grevous...' and column b, 'tith foule either bo... / cleer as sett' i...' Fragment 2v column a, '...which a man high / ... evencristin + dis-' and column b, 'if thei bicome meke + knowen hem- /silf brithren of pore men sooth it is'.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 535 b 16. John Evelyn, Sculptura: or The history and art of chalcography, 1662.
  • SOLO catalogue entry

MS fragment: front and back covers, full pastedowns, pasted-down sides not accessible, some text obscured by bookplates. MS Latin text and commentary, textus inclusus layout. Alternating red and blue flourished penwork initials. Copious further marginal and interlinear gloss/comment throughout. All eight fragments appear similar and may turn out to be from the same volume/text.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 595 c 5-8 (4 vols). Prima pars venerabilis fratris Nicolai de Lyra ordinis Seraphici Francisci (in Testamentu[m] Vetus)... 1492.
  • SOLO catalogue entry

Printed fragments: front and back covers, full endleaves and stubs. Latin, on paper.  Sheets from an incunable: parts of leaves CXXXVIII and CXLIIII from Guillaume Durand's Rationale divinorum officiorum. Strasbourg: Georg Husner, 1493.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 470 f 18. Clavius, Geometria practica, 1604.
  • SOLO catalogue entry, including identification of endleaf text

MS fragments: front and back covers, several full and partial endleaves and stubs. C16 handwriting, English with quotations in Latin, on paper, probably from the same document; possibly a sermon.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 470 g 20. Lemnius, De miraculis occultis naturæ libri IIII, 1581.
  • SOLO catalogue entry with copy-specific notes

Printed fragments: front and back covers, full endleaves and stubs. Latin text from an unidentified printed edition (a decretal?) of ca. 1500.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 510 a 10. Feltham, Resolves a duple century, 1647.
  • SOLO catalogue entry with copy-specific notes

MS fragments: front and back covers, only those at front visible. Four binding strips, Latin text on parchment.

  • Balliol College Library shelfmark: 510 c 17. Pascal, Ludovici Montaltii Litterae provinciales, de morali & politica Jesuitarum disciplina, 1665.
  • SOLO catalogue entry - no copy-specific notes.


Images of MS fragments online

- Anna Sander

You do not need to request permission to download or print one copy of any of the images on these pages for your personal private study or research purposes.
You do need to request permission in writing to use any of these images for any publication in any format, including any use on a website.

The archives and manuscriptss of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post) to the Archivist.
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.
Updated 25.viii.17
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