Durham, University Library, Cosin V. II. 6 Symeon of Durham, "Libellus de exordio;' etc.

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David Rollason


124. Durham, University Library, Cosin V. II. 6

Symeon of Durham, "Libellus de exordio;' etc.

[Ker 110*, Gneuss-]

HISTORY: The principal item in this manuscript (item 7) is a copy of Symeon of Durham's "Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius hoc est Dunhelmensis ecclesie;' formerly known as the Historia Dunelmensis ecclesie, an account of the foundation of the church of Lindisfarne, the removal of that church to Chester-le-Street in the late 9c, its final relocation at Durham in 995, and the history of the church of Durham down to the death of Bishop William of St. Calais in 1096. The work is now definitely attributed to Symeon of Durham and was written after 1104 and probably by 1107, certainly by 1115. The text in this manuscript is very closely related to that in London, BL Cotton Faustina A.v [191]. Paleographical evidence shows that it was produced at Durham very soon after the composition of the main text, and was corrected by the author, Symeon of Durham. Item 5 was added in the second quarter of the 12c, item 9 in the third quarter. The evidence of medieval Durham library catalogues shows that the manuscript was in Durham in the later Middle Ages. The words on f. 12r/1, '& qua<m> maxime: correspond to the secundo folio reference in the 1421 catalogue, as does the shelf-mark 'O' (gutter) on f. llr (B[otfield] 1838: 124). F. llr has a 15c rubric which incorporates a Durham ex-libris. Item 8 (ff. 88r-98r) and the headings on ff. 1 v and 6r were added by William Claxton of Wynyard (d. 1597), who was associated with other Durham books, including two copies of the "Libellus de exordio;' Oxford, Bodleian Library, Fairfax MS 6, and Laud misc. MS 700 (cf. Doyle 1997). The manuscript was in the library of Bishop John Cosin before 1668, when he founded the Episcopal Library, entrusted to the University of Durham in 1937. Eight paper leaves were added in the 18c. Quires I-XI constitute the original manuscript, with XII added in 16c. Quires XIII-XIV are later 12c additions.

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