BIBLE, Latin, with prologues attributed to St. Jerome and the interpretation of Hebrew names. [England, 13th century].
MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, 429 (of 448) leaves, plus modern flyleaves, modern pencilled foliation 1-427 (with errors) used here for reference, i-vi12 vii2 vii-xvi12 xvii10 xviii8 xix12 xx8 xxi10 xxii-xxxv12 xxxvi10 [xxxvii-xli]8, quired in brown lead on last versos, quires xxii-xxxvi also quired 1-15 in the same brown lead, quires xxxvii-xli with horizonal catchwords within decorated borders, 300 x 202mm. (11 7/8 x 8 1/2in.), written in dark brown ink in textura script, ruled in brown lead, double columns of 46 lines, justification (220 x 150mm.), 3- to 5-line red and blue Lombard initials with red and blue pen-flourishing often extending the height of the page introduce each book and most prologues, 2-line red or blue Lombards with contrasting pen-flourishing introduce the other prologues, each Psalm and major divisions of the interpretation of Hebrew names, 1-line red or blue Lombards as chapter initials and versal initials in the Psalms, headlines and chapter numbers in alternating red and blue Lombards, some capitals (in the interpretation of Hebrew names) touched in yellow or red, some rubrics in red, most rubrics not executed. Neat scribal corrections in margins, between lines or over erasures in text, once (f. 91) on a new section of vellum let into the page; marginal annotations in several fifteenth-century hands in brown lead or brown or red ink.
Lacks 19 leaves: 6 after f.3 (Gen. 1:1 - 22:13), 11 after f.139 (II Chron. 34:18 - Tob. 4:9), and 2 after f.237 (Jer. 25:4 - 41:10); headlines, marginalia, catchwords and some flourishing shaved by binder; ff. 1-6 and 412-427 darkened and discolored with fading of rubrics and initials, dark brown stains on ff. 1-4 and 28-36, lesser stains on ff. 29-36, 76-77, 93-94, 134, 158-159, 201, 223, 319-323, 331, 347-348 and some other leaves, frequent offset from red ink, occasional smudging of text; wormholes in ff. 1 and 367-427, affecting text; c. 50 leaves with original holes or slits in text area, of which c. 20 with vellum patches, some later patches touching text (e.g., ff. 19, 171, 175, 234, 243, 245, 233), other original patches written over by the original scribe (e.g., ff. 29, 122, 203, 205, 262, 270), three original patches now partially detached (ff. 122, 205, 345), one now lost (f. 345); c. 75 leaves with original holes or slits in margins or missing corners, most of these now patched with vellum; tear in text area of f.254 without loss of text. Bound in nineteenth-century brown morocco, slightly scuffed, edges gilt.
This Latin Bible embodies several characteristics of the standard Vulgate text developed in the schools of Paris during the thirteenth century, in particular the order of the books, the division into chapters established by Stephen Langton and still used, and the interpretation of Hebrew names copies at the end. It also includes a number of the prologues that became standard, but the selection differs somewhat, especially in the Minor Prophets and the Epistles, from the list given by N.R. Ker (Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, I, Oxford, 1969, pp. 96-97).
Matthew Hale of Alderley in Gloucestershire, who recorded his ownership of the book in 1686, was the grandson of Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676), Lord Chief Justice of England. The elder Hale, an executor of John Selden, oversaw Selden's bequest to the Bodleian Library, while retaining some of Selden's books in his own collection; the present manuscript, however, cannot be identified in the surviving inventories of these books (D.M. Barratt, "The Library of John Selden and Its Later History," Bodleian Library Record, 3, 1950-51, pp. 128-42, 208-13, 256-74). According to a pencilled note on the flyleaf, Richard Hunt thought this manuscript might have come from Lanthony Priory, near Gloucester, but it is not listed in the thirteenth-century catalogue of the Lanthony library (ed. H. Omont, Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, 9, 1892, pp. 207-22).
1. Mathew Hale of Alderley, Gloucestershire, 1686, inscription, f.306v: Matthew Hale nepos M.H. militis de Alderly in Com Glocestriensis Anno Damini 1686 October 28, non est mortale quod opto. Amen.; by descent to:
2. Edward Sherwood Hale (sale, Christie's, 17 June 1946, lot 45).
3. Brian Douglas Stilwell, bookplate.
4. Unidentified owner, 1 Feb. 1960, pencilled note with illegible signature, on flyleaf.
5. Unidentified bookseller, clipping from catalogue laid in.