– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

images of early manuscripts

Complete sets of excellent high-resolution images of eight of Balliol’s medieval manuscripts are online as part of the Early Manuscripts at Oxford University. Balliol’s collection comprises:

MS. 238A-E Domenico Bandini (d. 1418), Fons memorabilium uniuersi, an encylopaedia in Latin, here in a set of five volumes possibly from an original six (lacking Part V Book i): made c. 1444-8 for William Gray (d. 1478), later Bishop of Ely, during his travels in Germany and Italy, and bequeathed with his library to Balliol College. The various scribes and illuminators, perhaps working largely at Cologne, display an international range of influences: Dutch, Italian, English, even Spanish. Illuminated initials and borders sometimes include Gray’s coat of arms.

MS. 350 Three independent manuscripts bound together: (fols. 1-42) transcript, c. 1160-70, of the part of Domesday Book relating to Herefordshire, in Latin; and copies of two well-known treatises on English law, (fols. 43-72) ‘Glanvill’, in Latin, early 13th century, and (fols. 73-170) ‘Britton’, in French, early 14th century.

MS. 353 Miscellany of Welsh verse and other materials in Welsh and Latin, in the hand of Sir John Prise, c. 1540-50.
MS. 354 Richard Hill of London, commonplace-book in English, Latin and French, including transcripts of late medieval poems and carols, London annals, family memoranda, etc., first third of the 16th century.

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