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Durham University

Special Collections

DUL MS Cosin V.II.6 Symeon, Historia Ecclesiae Dunelm. s. xii in., ex., xvi ex.

These incomplete draft descriptions of medieval manuscripts in Durham University Library are copyright, and may not be quoted without the permission of the University of Durham Library.

Owing to inconsistencies with the source software, accented characters appear in varying compound forms. This has not yet been rationalized.

21/3/90 AJP revision of AID 11/12/87

The volume originally comprised item 6, composed between 1104 and 1107, as the principal text, with items 4-5 as preliminaries, the latter being written before 1115, the date by which Algar had succeeded Turgot as prior of Durham. Item 2 was added s. xii1; item 8, s. xii2. Items 3 and 7, together with a supply-leaf in item 8 and headings to items 2 and 4(a), are the work of antiquaries, s. xvi2. Items 1 and 9, and headings to items 7 and 8, are by various hands, s. xviii.

Item 6 includes Bede's death-song in Old English, f. 29r-v.

[1] + 8 (paper, s. xviii) + 87 + 10 (s. xvi) + 11 + 1 (s. xvi) + 4 + [1]; foliated i-viii, 1-113, replacing s. xviii paginations (ff. iiv-vii = pp. 2-11; ff. 1v-113v = pp. 1-225). Membrane (0.2 mm.; quire 1 less matt; quires 13-14 stiffer; hair and flesh sides generally indistinguishable; some flaws, e.g. a large hole in f. 26), 290-295 x 185-187 mm. Upper outer corners trimmed;

lower outer corners soiled by use and, up to c. f. 60, marked by damp.

Collation of ff. i-viii and 1-113: +8 (paper); 16 wants 5-6 (blank ?) after f. 4; 2 six (ff. 5-10; ff. 7 and 8 are clearly conjoint; f. 6 is a singleton, tucked in backwards for a time after f. 9 and leaving on f. 9v offsets of initials on f. 6v; ff. 6 and 9 are now stuck to a narrow parchment guard; ff. 5r-v, 8-10 originally blank but ruled. The original structure was probably either a regular quire of 8 now wanting 3 and 7 after ff. 6 and 9; or two regular quires of 4, (a) ff. 5, 7-8 and 10, (b) ff. 6 and 9, wanting 1 and 3 before ff. 6 and 9), 3-410, 5-68, 7-810, 9-108, 118 + 1210 (ff. 88-97) inserted s. xvi med. after 5; 138, 146 wants 1 (f. 109, supplied s. xvi2) and 6 (blank ?). Quire 8 numbered, vi (cropped), by main scribe (?), at foot of final verso between pair of verticals bounding outer edge of written space.

Prickings in outer margins of all s. xii quires, and, quires 13-14, in inner margins. Written space 195 x 105 mm., or, quire 1, 190 x 105 mm., or quires 13-14, 245 x 155 mm.; ruled with drypoint, or, quires 1 and 13-14, sharp grey or soft brown. 26, or, quire 1, 25, lines; the first above the top ruled line. Quire 12, added s. xvi, written space c. 240 x 140 mm.; framed only, in brown; 40 lines.

Written in late caroline minuscule, expertly, items 4-6 by one hand, except for the section of 4(a) before the erasure of 2 lines (f. 6/2-15, and see below under Corrections), item 2 by one hand, and item 8 by two hands, changing at f. 102/15.

Decoration: in three styles.

Items 4-6: for opening word(s) of items 5(a) and 6, item 6 heading and opening of Bk 4, and to names of items 4(b) and 5(b), 1-line, red and blue, alternating letter by letter or, for heading to item 6, line by line; similarly for opening word of item 4(a) and names added to 4(b) down to Bishop Hugh (el. 1153) and for all added to 5(b), but green in place of blue. Initials: (i) to chapters of item 6, 2- or 3- line, red or blue, commonly with foliage finials, and many with penwork decoration in the other colour; (ii) to Bk 4 of item 6 (f. 77v), 5-line T, in red (oxidized) and light blue patterned with white circles, and with a reflexed foliage finial in red and pale green, filled with blue and red and a stem in dark blue-grey lined with blue-black and with foliage in pale green, entwining a human figure in red and pale blue shaded with white and pointing to the text; (iii) to items 4(a) and 5(a), 6-line, in dark blue-grey patterned with yellow and blue-black, filled with blue and red and stems in pale blue patterned with white circles and foliage reflexed in red, entwining for item 4(a) a quadruped in pale green with blue-grey wings and red beaked head, or, for item 5(a), a standing white lion; (iv) to item 6, 8-line, G formed by a tailed biped in pale blue patterned with white circles and red, with blue-grey wings and, from its mouth, panels framed with white lined red and filled with foliage-work in blue-grey patterned with yellow on a blue-black ground, filled with pale blue and stems in pale blue patterned with white or white lined with red and blue-grey foliage reflexed in white, red or pale green, damaged by smudging or rubbing.

Item 2: red initial with green penwork.

Item 8: for opening words, 1.5-line capitals, in red alternating with alternately blue and green. Initials, up to 6-line, red or blue, filled with geometric foliage forms in blue, green, red and yellow; the colours noticeably darker for the one initial (f. 98v) in the first scribe's stint.


1. (added, (a-c) on an added paper quire; (a-b, e, g-h) by Thomas Rud, d. 1733, (d, f) by Edward Rud, d. 1727, (c) by George Allen F.S.A., d. 1800:

(a) f. iv Reverendo in Christo Patri Willelmo [Talbot] ... Sept. 20 1722 Paternitatis tuŠ Filius obsequentissimus Thomas Rud;

(b) ff. ii-viiv Disquisitio de vero Auctore hujus Historiae ... ... plagiarios numerari debet;

(c) f. viiiv This manuscript was correctly printed ... Typis Jacobi Bettenham. MDCCXXXII. (This manu G. Allan);

(d) f. 1 Simeo Dunelmensis aut potius Turgoti Libellus ... Simeonem floruisse anno 1164. ER;

(e) f. 1 Imo, si atramentum spectes ... hic liber prorsus evertit. TR;

(f) f. 1 (inserted into (d)) cui inseritur sub finem ... mendose nimis;

(g) f. 1 (above (d)) Godwinus de praesulibus ... vocat eum librum Dunelmensem.

(h) f. 1 Hujus historiae author vixit tempore Walcheri p. 73.

(a) Dedication of (b), printed Jas Raine, Catalogi Veteres, p. 150;

(b) Thomas Rud, Disquisitio de vero auctore; fair copy with improvements, arguing for Symeon's authorship of item 6 below against John Selden's attribution to Turgot. Printed in the edition of this manuscript by Bedford. Another version in Rud's hand but on quarto paper is in Durham Cathedral Library Hunter MS 44/13, with some differences from the version here and that printed.

(c) transcript of title to Bedford's edition. Hand identified by James Raine the elder, d. 1858.

(d, e) notes on authorship of item 6 below.

(f) notes on items 7 and 8 below.

(g) cross-reference to a passage in Francis Godwin, De praesulibus Angliae, (1616), pt 2, p.100, which also occurs 'ex authore meo Dunelmensi' in W. Camden, Britannia, (1590), p. 605; both have verbal variants from the Cosin text. Since Camden's quotations from the same source ("Historia Dunelmensis", "author meus", etc.) include one (p. 602) relating to Bishop Bek (d. 13xx), they must have been drawn from another, later, manuscript.

2. (quire 1, added s. xii1) ff. 1v-4v (Breue Summarium seu descriptio status Ecclesie Lindisfernensis et dunelm a tempore Aidani Vsque ad Willelmum Karilephe added s. xvi ex., in pink) Regnante apud Northanhymbros ... ... sed antiquum deo renouante restituit.

Summary of item 6 below. Printed as Praefatio Symeonis by Bedford, pp. 1-8, following Cambridge U.L. MS Ff.I.27, s. xii/xiii, and R. Twysden, Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores X, (1652), sig.A2v-3; as Epitome by Arnold, i,7-11. Found also in Durham Cathedral Library MS A.IV.36, B.L. MS Cotton Titus A.ii f. 5v (s. xiv med.); and, both with the same heading as here added s. xvi ex., Oxford Bodleian Lib. MSS Fairfax 6 f. 212v (s. xiv med.), and Laud misc. 700, ff. 10v-12 (s. xv in.). An original heading here erased and illegible.

3. f. 5r-v (added, s. xvi ex.) Lindisfernensis Insulae discriptio. (heading in violet) Lindisfernensis Insula vocatur a fluuio Lindis ... ... hic infra per ordinem describuntur.

Brief compilation on Holy Island and its possessions, and the provinces of Deira and Bernicia, citing Bede and Henry of Huntingdon; the first seven lines derive from Symeon, Libellus Bk II cap. 5, with saints' names inserted, and lines 9-12 from Bede, Vita prosaica S. Cuthberti cap. 17 (ed. B. Colgrave, p. 214).


(a) f. 6 (Incipit libellus de statu Lindisfarnensis idem [sic] Dunelmensis Ecclesie secundum Venerabilem Bedam presbiterum, Et postmodum de gestis Episcoporum Dunelmensium. added, s. xvi ex.) Exordium huius hoc est dunelmensis ecclesie ... futurorum cura scriptorum apponere non negligat;

(b) f. 6r-v Aidanus Finanus ... Rannulfus (Gaufridus ... 1722 added)

(a) Preface to (b), with two lines erased, also before 'qui in presenti est' the name 'Rannulfum' (cf. item 6 below). Printed as Apologia Symeonis by Twysden sig.A2r, and Bedford, pp. 9-10, following Cambridge U.L. MS Ff.I.27 f. 1v, where however the prefaces to this and item 5 are combined and abridged and there are no lists. Printed Arnold, p. 4, as Praefatio Symeonis. Also found in London B.L. MS Cotton Titus A.ii f. 5, and York Minster MS XVI.I.12, f. 99r-v; and with lists in London B.L. MS Titus A.ii f. 5, Oxford Bodleian Library MSS Fairfax 6, f. 213 (s. xiv med.) and Laud misc. 700, twice, ff. 12v and 14 (s. xiv ex./xv in.).

(b) Names of the bishops of Holy Island, Chester-le-Street, Durham, originally ending with Ranulf Flambard (1099-1128); additions, in ten phases, carry the list down to William Talbot, and are printed by Bedford, p. 296. Added figures give the length of each pontificate, most in the hand that added the names of eight bishops, down to Tunstall (1530-59), and some surnames, see below under Correction and Annotation, annotator IX.


(a) f. 7 Hic scripta continentur nomina monachorum ... in terra uiuentium.

(b) ff. 7-8v Aldwinus ... (f. 7v/b) Siwardus (f. 7v/c) (Edmundus ... Patricius Suanus Theodbaldus Girardus).

(a) Preface to (b). Printed Bedford, p. 11, and Arnold, p. 4.

(b) Names of the monks of Durham, 1083 - c. 1160; originally 72 or 73 names, with Turgotus in majuscules, but extended in at least four phases to 224, with Laurentius (prior 1149-54) and Absalon (prior 1154-9) in majuscules. The four names before Absalon erased except for their initials, apparently as repetitions since the four names after Absalon have the same initials (taking 'G' for 'Willelmus'); Rud counted in the erased names when adding a numbering by tens, which runs to 228. Printed by Bedford, pp. 12-14, and Arnold, pp. 4-6.

A similar list is Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis: a Collotype Facsimile, (Surtees Soc. 136, 1923), f. 42r-v; it has minor differences and also starts with eleven names in place of the eight here, perhaps because members of the communities at Jarrow and Wearmouth immediately prior to 1083 were included.

6. ff. 11-88 and 98 Incipit libellus de exordio atque procursu istius hoc est Dunhelmensis ecclesie. Gloriosi quondam regis ... ... congregati fuerant monachi annus agebatur.

Symeon of Durham, Historia Dunelmensis Ecclesiae [as it has commonly been called in recent centuries]. Printed by Bedford, pp. 15-248, and Arnold, pp. 17-135, from this copy.

The Old English (West Saxon) of Bede's death-song appears to have been written continuously with the Latin text, i.e. by the main hand using the same ink and pen; see E. Van Kirk Dobbie, The Manuscripts of Caedmon's Hymn and Bede's Death Song with a Critical Text of the Epistola Cuthberti de obitu Bedae, (New York, 1937), pp. 83-4; N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon, (Oxford, 1957); for facsimile, see below.

A second contemporary copy (London B.L. MS Cotton Faustina A.V, ff. 24-97) by a hand of the same school on identical page-ruling, and with similar primary and secondary initials, and so presumably made in Durham, but with a Fountains Abbey ex libris of s. xii ex., attests the existence of an exemplar prior to the Cosin copy by its inclusion of a phrase omitted in the Cosin copy by homoteleuton (on the word 'terram') at the turn of f. 45r/v, Arnold p. 69. Faustina (F) retains some, but not all, of the matter erased in the Cosin copy.

Passages of varying length very thoroughly erased (cf. item 4(a) above), mostly soon after the original writing: ff. 29/5 (1 or 2 letters), 29v/4 letters 15-16 of Old English, 35/2-19, 39v/25-26 and 40/1-12 (all but the last two lines re-used by the main hand in lighter ink and with wider spacing; Arnold noted only the two lines remaining blank), 45v (5 words, found in F), 60v (3 words, found in F), 63v (re-used for 6 words, in F 4), 65v (re-used for 5 words, in F 8), 72v/14-17 (found in F), 72v/18 (1 word), 79v (3 words, found in F), 80/13-26 (left blank ?), 80v/1-6+ (3-6+ re-used s. xvi ex. for a passage (Arnold p. 123 n.) not found in the Cambridge U.L. MS Ff.I.27 and supplied s. xv in. in the margin of MS Cotton Titus A.ii, here apparently copied from MS Fairfax f. 239v, s. xiv med.), and 81 (re-used for 2 words +, in F 6). Bedford took the spaces on ff. 35 and 80r-v to have been left blank for additions, incorrectly in the former case. Words, not found in F, interlined on ff. 56v and 63v in contemporary hand.

At the end of Book III, f. 77, marginal notes, 'def. capitulum' and 'Hic deficit capitulum', both s. xiv, refer to De miraculis et translationibus S.Cuthberti cap. vii, ed. J. H. Hinde, Symeonis Dunelmensis Opera et Collectanea, (Surtees Soc. 51, 1868), pp. 172-3, which forms part of th text in MS Fairfax 6 (ff. 238r/b-v/b), also Laud misc. 700 and York XVI.I.12, along with other chapters from the same source, cf. H. S. Offler, Medieval Historians of Durham, (Durham, 1958), p. 24 n. 39.

The top 7 lines of f. 98, containing the end of the penultimate chapter, were erased and the text recopied at the top of f. 88 by the hand responsible for the insertion of item 7, s. xvi ex.

7. (added, s. xvi med., on inserted quire) ff. 88-98 De iniusta vexacione Willelmi episcopi primi per Willelmum regem filium Willelmi magni regis. Anno ab incarnacione Mo 80o interfecto a suis parochianis Walchero ... ... est traditum in capitulo monachorum et cetera.

Printed by Bedford, pp. 343-75, and Arnold, pp. 170-95. According to H. S. Offler, "The tractate De Iniusta Vexacione Willelmi Episcopi Primi", EHR 66 (1951), 321-41, copied from the text incorporated into the copy of item 6 that forms part of the Gesta Episcoporum in MS Laud misc. 700 ff. 66-74v (s. xiv ex.) and there derived direct from MS Fairfax 6 ff. 207-212 (s. xiv med.), where the tractate is a separate work. In all copies the title is s. xvi, in one of the antiquary's scripts.

8. ff. 98v-113 (Continuatio Historiae Ecclesiae Dunhelmensis headline by George Allan, d. 1800) Tribus de hinc annis ecclesia uacante pastore ... ... episcopus sollempniter susceptus est.

The Continuatio Prima, that extends to 1144, printed by Bedford pp. 249-92, and Arnold pp. 135-60. As noted by H. S. Offler, Medieval Historians, p. 22 n. 30, there is a change to a larger script with the account of events after Bishop Flambard's death in 1128 (f. 102/15 'Obiit' Bedford p. 260, Arnold, p. 141), but the rest of the paragraph is included in the text printed by Twysden from Cambridge U.L. MS Ff.I.27, before it diverges in the Continuatio Altera there; the initials are uniform in style through the whole item.

The leaf missing after f. 108, by s. xiv (see note f. 108v), was supplied in the hand of item 7, s. xvi ex.

9. f. 113v (item added by George Allen, d. 1800) Additamentum ex veteri Libro MS. Ecclesiae Dunelmensis. Anno ab Incarnatione Domini MCLIII ... ... IX Kal. Junii obiit.

On the election, consecration and enthronement of Hugh of le Puiset as bishop of Durham, as Durham Cathedral MS B.II.35 f. 277, see Arnold p. 169; here copied from Bedford, p. 293.

Correction and Annotations:

For erasures, sometimes overwritten, in items 4(a) and 6, see above. Most of item 4(a), i.e. lines 2-15, perhaps written over erasure, probably by the early corrector found ff. 63v, 65v, 81, 84v. Single words corrected, f. 60 s. xii med., f. 22v s. xii2 (?). A few corrections over erasure in item 8, following marginal notes, s. xii/xiii.

Numerous medieval marginal notes signalling the content of passages, etc., in at least nine hands: I, s. xiv in., in soft brown, f. 12v; II, s. xiv in., e.g. ff. 18v, 27; III, s. xiv1, e.g. ff. 12v, 15; IV, s. xiv med., generally very small and in pale ink, e.g. ff. 13v, 14, 15-19; V, s. xiv2, e.g. ff. 11, 13v, 14, 15; VI, s. xiv ex., e.g. ff. 1, 6r-v; VII, s. xv/xvi, f. 47; VIII, s. xvi in., f. 54; IX, s. xvi1, e.g. ff. 6v, 12v, 18r-v, the most prolific, also responsible for additions to item 4(b), q.v., and identifiable as that of the monk William Wylom (c.15xx-1539), who, as Watson, was a canon of Durham to his death in 1556.

Drypoint sketches of heads and birds, f. 41.

Consecutive roman chapter numeration, divergent from that in other copies, added, s. xv in., ff. 11-62 margins, also, by another medieval hand, at the top right-hand corner of ff. 83, 87, 102, 107-108 (c.73); the latter extended as if a foliation, s. xvi2, with 74-78 on ff. 109-113. Book and chapter division as in Cambridge U.L. MS Ff.I.27 added, by G. Allan.

Written in England, almost certainly at Durham Cathedral Priory; items 4-6 largely in a hand very similar to the larger hand in Glasgow U.L. MS Hunterian 85 (Bede, De temporibus; from Durham Cathedral Priory), see The Glory of the Page, pl. 7, and also to that of Oxford University Coll. MS 165 (Bede's Prose Life of St Cuthbert); major initials by an artist regarded by Dr J. J. G. Alexander as the same as that of Univ. Coll. 165 (see esp. Cosin f. 77v), and by Elzbieta Temple as also in Durham Cathedral Library MSS B.IV.14 (f. 170) and Hunter 100, and Oxford Bodleian Library MS Digby 20 (f. 194), see Bodleian Library Record, vol. 9 no.8 (Jan. 1978), pp. 320-22.

Secundo folio ferro et (f. 2), et quam (f. 12).

Used for reading aloud, to judge by interlineations supplying requisite words for dates expressed in letters in the account of Bede's death, etc., s. xii/xiii, ff. 25v, 26v, also, s. xiv2, ff. 32v-37.

'Libellus de Exordio atque processu dunelm Ecclesie', s. xiv1, f. 1 top. 'O. Cronica de exordio et progressu ecclesie Dunelm. De registro siue officio Cancellariatus ecclesie Dunelm', s. xv in., f. 11, perhaps in the hand of John Fishburn, the monastic chancellor, who drew up a list of the chancellor's books in 1421, Catt. Vett. pp. 124-5, in which this book is entered under O, noted as in a wrapper (in quaterno), with the opening words of the second leaf of item 6 (f. 12) cited as the secundo folio. 'R', altered (?) from 'Q' (?), s. xv med. (?), f. 7, apparently a later press-mark, or possibly a separate one, for quire 2 by itself. One identifiable monk of Durham, William Wylom (c.15XX-1539), among annotators, see above.

Supplementation (items 3 and 7, supply-leaf in item 8, headings to items 2 and 4(a)) in archaizing scripts, s. xvi2, two also occurring among those in Oxford Bodleian Library MS Laud misc. 700 (see above), which contains the signature of William Claxton of Wynyard (d. 1597), who stipulated in his will that his books were to be divided between Thomas Chaytor of Butterby (d. 1618) and John Richardson the elder (d. 1640). The latter's name recurs in MS Laud misc. 700 and his may be the hand of the names of Bishops James - Morton '1632', added here to item 4(b), f. 6v.

Explicit for item 6 (f. 88) perhaps by John Cosin, also perhaps the addition of his own name as bishop to item 4(b), and possibly arrow-heads, -marks, trefoils and names in grey in margins; the manuscript is entered in the catalogue of his Library, c. 1668 (Cosin MS B.I.23 f. 94).

Subsequent additions by Durham antiquaries, see items 1 and 9 above.

Binding: recorded in a wrapper (in quaterno) in 1421, see above. Possibly rebound, s. xviii in., when item 1(a-c) were added. Now standard s. xix med.; 2 clasps.


f. 11 (reduced): N. R. Ker, English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest, (Oxford, 1960), pl. 8b.

Parts of f. 29r and v: F. C. Robinson & E. G. Stanley eds., Old English Verse Texts from many Sources: a comprehensive collection, (Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile 23, 1991), 3.29.1-2.

Upper part of f. 29v: G. Bonner, Wearmouth, Bede and Christian Culture: an exhibition ..., (Sunderland, 1974), pl. iv.

Thomas Bedford, Symeonis Monachi Dunhelmensis Libellus De Exordio atque Procursu Dunhelmensis Ecclesiae; cui praemittitur Thomae Rud Erudita Disquisitio ..., (London 1732).

T. Arnold, Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia, i (Rolls Series, 1882).