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2II
The Bury Bible(Content authored by Corpus Christi College)
Bibliorum Pars I
Codicology:Vellum, 522 x 360 mm(Content authored by Corpus Christi College), (20.6 x 14 in.), ff. 357 (now bound in three parts)(Content authored by Corpus Christi College), double columns of 42 lines. Cent. xii, in a magnificent round hand, and with splendid ornaments.
Collation: a2 (1 canc.) I10 (wants 4 and 7: 8 is a double leaf), II8-XLIV8 XLV6 (wants 5, 6).
Provenance:The book comes from Bury St Edmunds Abbey. On the upper corner of f. 2r (first leaf of text) is a mark rather smaller than in most Bury books, but of the same kind: B. 1.
The press-mark shows that this was the first book in class B. The B here stands for Biblia.
Further, at f. 322r the edge of the leaf has been mended with a patch of vellum in cent. xv on which is sketched a crowned head (cut off at the neck) and a scroll inscribed hic, hic, hic. This represents St Edmund's head, which called out “Here, here,” to those who were searching for it after the martyrdom. It fixes the provenance in a very satisfactory way.
In the old catalogue (cent. xii, xiii) of the Abbey books preserved in a MS. at Pembroke College and printed in my Essays on the Abbey of Bury, 1895, p. 23, the second item is “Bibliotheca in duo uolumina (!)” : and in the Gesta Sacristarum, Arnold, Memorials of Bury St Edmunds Abbey (Rolls Series II, p. 290) in the account of Hervey (sacrist under Anselm in 1121-1148) this passage occurs:
“Iste Herveus frater Taleboti prioris omnes expensas inuenit fratri suo priori in scribenda magna bibliotheca et manu magistri Hugonis incomparabiliter fecit depingi. Qui cum non inueniret in partibus nostris pelles uitulinas sibi accommodas, in Scotiae partibus parchamenas comparauit.”
This passage seems to refer specially to the illuminating of the Bible in question. I interpret it thus: that Hervey found the money for his brother the prior to have a great Bible written, and had it painted after a matchless sort by the hand of Master Hugo. The latter not finding vellum to suit him in our district procured parchment from Ireland.
Clearly there cannot have been any difficulty in getting good vellum to write upon in England. But the special vellum required by the painter was a superior and rarer article. Now it will be found that in this Bible all or almost all of the paintings are done upon separate pieces of vellum which have been pasted down on the leaves of the book.
I have no hesitation therefore in identifying the volume before us with a portion of the Bible of Magister Hugo. It is most interesting to have a work of this artist preserved. Like many workers of his time, he exercised more than one craft. He is recorded to have made the bronze doors of St Edmund's Church, to have carved a fine rood for it, and to have cast a great bell.
Foliation: ff. i-iii + 122-241 + iv-vi(Content authored by Corpus Christi College)
Language: Latin.(Content authored by Corpus Christi College)
Contents
1.
122r-241v
The Bury Bible (Content authored by Corpus Christi College)
128v
Rubric:
Explicit liber Josue Bennun habet versus I DCCC L
128v
Capitula of Judges (xviii)
129r
has been double. Full-page picture stripped off
129v
Large decorative initial on verso
143v
Rubric:
Explicit liber Sophim id est ludicum habet versus I septingentos quinquaginta
143v
Capitula of Ruth (x). Ieronimus in lib. ruth. Ruth moabitis (2.5 lines)
143v
Decorative initial
145v
Rubric:
Explicit liber Ruth habet versus mille ducentos quinquaginta (!)
145v
Prologue to Kings
145v
Incipit:
E (sic) viginti et duas litteras
146v
Capitula (not all(Content authored by Corpus Christi College) numbered - first 33 numbered(Content authored by Corpus Christi College))
147r
(146r)
Rubric:
Expliciunt capitula scripta a beati Ieronimi in libro Regum io et iio
147r
Incipit:
Samuhel in heli mortuo
147r
Explicit:
imperii sacramenta testatur
147r
Rubric:
Explicit prologus
147v
(146r)
A double leaf. On verso frontispiece to 1 Kings.
Border and backgrounds as before.
Above. Elkanah on L. gives robes to Hannah and Peninnah (the former bowing).
Below. On L. Eli in low white mitre, red chasuble with gold pall, blue dalmatic or tunicle, stole, alb, with crosier, stands under a building and listens to Hannah who stands (separated from him by a shaft) praying. On R. Hannah in bed, flames or clouds in front; above, a seated nurse tends the child Samuel.
Names have been scribbled on the background, e.g. “ Colchestra ” .
148r
(147r)
Decorative initial
154r
A little grotesque man is sketched in the margin
167r
Rubric:
Explicit Samuhel liber regum primus, habens versus duo milia trecentos
167r
Capitula libri II (xviii)
167v
Decorative initial, stuck on
182r
Rubric:
Explicit Samuhel liber regum secundus habet versus II CC
182r
Capitula libri III (xviii)
182v
Prologue
182v
Incipit:
Malachi idest tertius
183r
Decorative initial, stuck on: dark green ground
200v
Rubric:
Explicit Malachim idest regum liber tertius habet versus II quingentos
200v
Capitula libri IV (110)
201v
Decorative initial, not stuck on
218v
Rubric:
Explicit liber regum IIII
f.219r-219v now blank has had a full-page picture stuck upon the verso
220r
Prologue to Isaiah
220r
Incipit:
Nemo cum prophetas
220r
Initial on green and blue ground. Above, a man with a mace holding a rope attached to muzzle of a (red) bear below on L. At bottom lie three round cakes (?) and a wooden trough with a long handle
220v
Initial to Isaiah, stuck on. The prophet with white hair and beard seated on rocks, many coloured, holding out blank scroll. Divine Hand above. Green ground