On this page, you can learn more about historical and genealogical items in the western medieval manuscript collection at St John’s College Library. Authors represented here include Bede, Orosius, and Guido delle Colonne. You may also be interested in the history and genealogy section of our western post-1500 manuscript collection.
MS 23 is a genealogical chronicle produced in England towards the end of the fifteenth century. The manuscript begins with biblical history and extends to cover English regnal history, with adjustments running to the end of the seventeenth century.
MS 34, produced in France at the end of the twelfth century, is a copy of Peter Comestor’s Historia Scholastica. Peter Comestor (d. 1178/9), whose name literally means ‘Peter the Eater’, reputedly had an insatiable appetite for books and learning. His Historia Scholastica covers biblical history from Creation to Ascension.
MS 58 contains Biblical genealogies and diagrams of virtues. It was produced in England at the end of the fifteenth century. The elaborate diagram reproduced here shows the four cardinal plus three theological virtues and their ‘parts’.
MS 78 comprises two originally separate manuscripts, both produced in England in the fifteenth century. Included here are the Latin Brut Chronicle and the Gesta Romanorum. The initial shown here depicts a Dominican looking up at God.
MS 92 principally contains a copy of Guido delle Colonne’s Historiae destructionis Troiae, a Latin prose narrative on the Trojan War. This manuscript was produced in England in the fifteenth century, and uses both vellum and paper.
MS 95 principally contains a copy of Orosius’s Historiae aduersum paganos. Paulus Orosius (d. c. 420 AD) was a theologian and historian, and his Historiae aduersum paganos is notable for being the first world history written by a Christian. MS 95 was produced in England in the mid-twelfth century.
MS 97 contains a copy of the Annales of chronicler Roger de Hoveden (d. c. 1201). This manuscript was produced in England at the beginning of the thirteenth century but has later additions. Some of these may be in the hand of Brian Twyne (d. 1644), an important Oxford academic.
MS 99 contains a copy of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History (Historia Ecclesiastica). This text, which Bede completed in 731, is an important source of information about the conversion of the English to Christianity. The copy in MS 99 was produced in the twelfth century.
MS 209 contains various annals and also includes material relating to fourteenth-century Bury, such as a list of abbots. This manuscript was produced in England in the fifteenth century (after 1461).
MS 255, a genealogical roll showing Henry VI’s descent from Adam, has been missing from St John’s college library since at least 1971. It was bequeathed to the library by the English antiquary John Pointer in 1754.