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London » British Library » MS Add. 9381

Library Place London
Library Name British Library
Shelfmark MS Add. 9381
Folio Range Whole MS (141 fols)
Date IX ex. / X 1/2 (ante AD 940)
  • Brittany
  • Landévennec (?)

Saint Petroc's, Bodmin (Cornwall)

  • Jerome, epistles and prologues (2r-5v)
  • Preface and capitula to Matthew's Gospel (5v-7v)
  • Decorated canon tables (9r-13v)
  • Gospel of Matthew (14r-47v)
  • Preface and capitula to Mark's Gospel (48r-49r)
  • Gospel of Mark (50r-71v)
  • Preface and capitula to Luke's Gospel (71v-73v)
  • Gospel of Luke (74r-107r)
  • Preface and capitula to John's Gospel (107r-108r)
  • Gospel of John (109r-132v)
  • Capitulare evangeliorum de circulo anni (132v-140v).
Old Breton Materials No
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials No
Connection with Brittany

This MS is also known as 'Bodmin Gospels' on account of its 51 records of grants of manumission, added in Latin and Old English at the priory of Saint Petroc at Bodmin (Cornwall) during the tenth and eleventh centuries (fols 1r-7v, 8r-v, 13r, 108r-v, 133v, 141r; cf. Jenner 1922–5). The names recorded in these manumissions are a precious source of information on the Old Cornish language (cf. Förster 1930; Jones 1999–2001). As for the area of writing of the Gospel-book itself, the scholarly opinion favours Brittany, although Lemoine (2004: 156) was certainly right when he wrote that 'son origine est mal connue.' Nevertheless, the geographical and cultural proximity between Brittany and Cornwall makes it likely that this MS was indeed written in the former country, probably around the late ninth or early tenth century (the Gospel-book must have been in Bodmin already by AD 940; cf. PMSB 300). McGurk (1987: 165, n. 2) stated that this MS 'is related to the Harkness Gospels' (New York, Public Library, MS De Ricci 115, certainly written at Landévennec), but unfortunately he did not provide any further details in this respect (although cf. EBGB 11, n. 4). However, Lemoine (1994: 157–64) has highlighted considerable points of contact between the Bodmin and Harkness Gospels in relation to their incipits, explicits, prefaces, capitula and iconography; these similarities provide strong evidence in favour of Landévennec as the place where the Bodmin Gospels were written. In any case, a Breton origin seems virtually certain.

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 2357
Essential bibliography

ASM 215 (§279); Bradshaw 1889: 470, 472, 486; British Library Digitised Manuscripts; Dumville 1999: 125 (n. 31); EBGB 11 (n. 4), 13 (n. 1); Fleuriot 1983: 104; ILLB In12; Jenner 1922–5; Jones 1999–2001; Ker 1957: 159 (§126); Lemoine 2004: 156–64; Lemoine 2005: 17; Lemoine 2008: 193, 197–8; McGurk 1987: 165 (n. 2); OHLP 256–7; Rushforth 2012: 202–3; Schrijver 2011: 8; Simpson (McKee) 2012b: 170; Temple 1976: 73.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-12 18:08:49
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #66
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