Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F. 4. 32 (2176) "Class book of St. Dunstan"

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Jonathan Wilcox


346. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F. 4. 32 (2176)

"Class book of St. Dunstan"

[Ker 297, Gneuss 538]

HISTORY: A collection of grammatical, exegetic, computistical, and literary texts, perhaps studied and augmented by St. Dunstan himself during his tenure at Glastonbury (c. 939-954) or later at Canterbury (959-88). The codex is composite, consisting of four independent units which had come together by 1601, though it is possible that three of the four were held in the same library by the 1 0c. The earlier histories of the four parts are hard to establish. Part 1 (ff. 1-9), containing part of a grammatical work by Eutyches, is written in a mid-9c northern French caroline minuscule and glossed in Latin and Old Breton (Hunt 1961: v). Part 2 (ff. 10-18), containing an OE homily in predominantly SE dialect, is written in insular minuscule dated to the second half of the l lc by Ker ( Cat., 355). The creation of the more miscellaneous Part 3 (ff. 19-36), a collection of mainly liturgical material known as the Liber Commonei, written in a Welsh set minuscule, can be dated to 817 x 835 and perhaps to the specific year of 817 on the evidence of marking in its Easter table on f. 21 r ( according to McKee 2000: 3; but see Budny in Ramsay et al. 1992: 114). Part 4 (ff. 37-47), which contains the first book of Ovid's Ars amatoria, is written for the most part in a script described by Hunt (1961: xiii) as Welsh minuscule probably of the 9c. Hunt (1961: xiv) identifies a link among Parts 1, 3, and 4 in the recurrence of a single hand that can be seen at f. lr (bottom right), f. 20r (lower four lines), f. 36r (whole added slip), and f. 47r (whole page). Hunt identifies these short passages as the work of a scribe originally taught to write in insular script who later learned to write Anglo-Caroline minuscule, and he identifies this hand, "Hand D'; as that of St. Dunstan (on "Hand D" as Dunstan, see Bishop 1971: xx, plate l; Dumville 1993: 50-51, 96-97; Lapidge 1993: 155-56; Budny in Ramsay et al. 1992). The first passage provides verses voiced by St. Dunstan, while the others, according to Hunt, probably replaced material that had become worn or difficult to read, including a possibly chafed final page of Part 4. But Budny (1992: 120-21) thinks that "Hand D" deliberately restructured the book, not replacing but editing in both Part 3 and 4. Hunt relates such corrections to the mention in Dunstan's biography of his correcting faulty books as soon as there was light enough in the morning to do so (Stubbs 1874: 49). This association of three of the parts with Dunstan explains the somewhat misleading traditional title of the codex, "St. Dunstan's Class book''. Further evidence suggests that the codex may have been in Glastonbury. Part 1 can be localized to a later medieval Glastonbury provenance, since it seems to be one of the 'Duo libri Euticis de uerbo. uetustiss(imi)' in the Glastonbury catalogue of 1247/48 (see Sharpe et al. 1996: 206, no. 312). The codex was seen in Glastonbury by Leland before the Dissolution (Hunt 1961: xv); Leland noted the item as "Grammatica Euticis, liber olim S. Dunstani" suggesting that by ca. 1538 the book was associated with Dunstan, perhaps due to the material on f. lr. Parts 3 and 4 can also be placed at Glastonbury: Hunt (1961: xv) shows that the 15c inscription at the foot off. 47v, 'In custodia f(rat)ris H. Langley', is also found in another identifiable Glastonbury book (Oxford, Bodi. Lib., Laud Lat. 4, f. 272). Hunt identifies the heading on f. 1r, 'Pictura et scriptura huius pagine subtus | uisa. est de propria manu s<an>c<t>i dunstani: as a 16c attribution and speculates that the four parts were joined at Glastonbury at that time in the context of renewed interest in local saints as a relic of St. Dunstan (see also Budny in Ramsay et al. 1992: 125 and cf. Dumville 1993: 50-51, 96-97 and passim where he argues that Dunstan's Anglo-Caroline script (that of "Hand D") developed in Canterbury after his time abroad). Nothing is known for sure of the earlier history of Part 2, neither its origins nor when it was added into the codex (see Gneuss 1978: 137), though it seems possible it accreted to the other three parts in the period of the 16c inscription, as a vernacular relic (anachronistic) of Dunstan's era. The complete manuscript was given by Thomas Allen of Gloucester Hall, Oxford, to the Bodleian Library in 1601 as a foundation gift, as is reflected in an inscription at the top left off. lr: 'Tho. Allen D[ono] D[edit]'. [Note: The figure '3' at the foot of f. lr reflects an earlier Bodleian pressmark, namely '4° E. 3 Art'. When manuscripts and printed books were separated, it was given the pressmark 'NE. D. 2. 19: as written on the mid-right off. lr. The number '2176' reflects its listing in Bernard's Catalogi librorum MSS. Angliae et Hiberniae (1697) which is also its number in the summary catalogue, reflected in the sticker on the inside front board 'S.C. 2176'. 'Bod. 578', also on f. lr, mid-right, reflects the classmark from the mid- 18c, while at the end of the l Sc it was placed in a new room called the Auctarium as MS. Auct. F. 4. 32. 'Auct. F. IV. 32' is accordingly written in ink on f. i recto along with the further identifiers 'G. C. 5 I = Selden cupbd. 64' written in pencil. The rest of f. i recto contains a modern table of contents, with identifications attributed to Henry Bradshaw (= Bradshaw 1889: 487, 483, 484), written in blue ink in a modern hand, with folio numbers added in red. Further bibliographical references are added on f. ii verso.]

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