Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Junius 121 (5232) Ecclesiastical Institutes, Homilies

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Christine Franzen


391. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Junius 121 (5232)

Ecclesiastical Institutes, Homilies

[Ker 338, Gneuss 644)

HISTORY: Junius 121 has been described as a commonplace book, one of a number connected with Archbishop Wulfstan or with Worcester in which important canonical and penitential texts have been collected. Several of the texts in Junius 121 are agreed to be the work of Wulfstan ("Institutes of Polity," "Canons of Edgar," "Benedictine Office," "Regula Canonicorum"); it is likely that the original collection was intended for his own use in his episcopal duties. The copy of the collection in Junius 121 is considerably after Wulfstan's time, the third quarter of the eleventh century. (Early additions in Junius 121, ff. 2v-3r and 4rv, are datable in or after 1070 and in or after 1076 respectively.) Junius 121's companion volumes, the homiliaries Hatton 113 [384a] (again drawing heavily on Wulfstan's own work) and Hatton 114 [384b], can be dated about 1062-1070, around the time of the consecration of another Worcester bishop, St. Wulstan. All three volumes were certainly produced in Worcester, in a script characteristic of Worcester manuscripts of the period, and probably by the same scribe. The 'Wulfgeatus scriptor Wigornensis' named in the colophon on f. l0lr is unlikely to be the scribe who copied Junius 121; the colophon carries on from the previous item without a break and appears to have been copied from the exemplar. Coleman's hand Oate llc; see below "Other early additions") confirms its presence in Worcester; glosses in the tremulous hand indicate it was still there in the first half of the 13c. Nothing else is known of it until the mid 16c when Archbishop Parker printed extracts from ff. 101, 109v-10v, and 116-118 in A Testimonie of Antiquitie (1567) and also annotated the manuscript (see below 'Post-medieval additions'). His secretary John Joscelyn glossed several sections, used Junius 121 for his word lists in London, Lambeth Palace 692, and also copied texts on ff. 3, 4, and 111-124 into London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius D. vii. Junius 121 was still in Worcester in 1622-1623 when Patrick Young catalogued the library (no. 321; see Atkins and Ker 1944). Ussher, in a letter to Spelman dated 6 November 1638 (Bodleian Library, Add. C. 301, f. 48v), quoted the colophon, described the manuscript as containing the most perfect copy of the Canons, and said that it belongs to the Cathedral Church of Worcester; he clearly knew the manuscript well and suggested a number of corrections to Spelman from it. It was apparently borrowed by Christopher, Lord Hatton, along with the manuscripts which now form the Hatton collection in the Bodleian, sometime before August 1644 and was used by Dugdale for his OE-English dictionary in Bodleian Library, Dugdale 29. After Hatton's death in July 1670, Junius 121 and many of the Worcester manuscripts in Hatton's possession (but not Hatton 113, 114, 115 [385], and 116 [386]) were sold to the London bookseller Robert Scot. Junius 121 was then separated from the rest of the Worcester books, which were purchased by the Bodleian in 1671, when it was bought before that sale by John Fell, bishop of Oxford (1675-1686). Fell later gave it to the Bodleian, but it seems to have been loaned to Francis Junius along with Hatton 113, 114, 115, and 116, via Dr. Thomas Marshall, and only returned to Bodleian after Junius' death in 1678 when all five manuscripts were catalogued as part of the Junius collection. Unlike the other four, Junius 121 still retains the Junius shelfmark.

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