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Durham University

Special Collections

DUL MS Cosin V.V.13 Medica (partly in English or French) s. xv 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.

AID 21/10/91; revised AJP 29/10/91; checked AJP 1/11/91

A small volume comprising three contemporaneous sections; the second hand in (B) is the first in (C).

Four items in (C), 6-9, occur in the same order in BL MS Sloane 213.

1 (s. xix) + 10 (s. xvii) + 53 + 7 (s. xvii) + 1 (s. xix); foliated i-xi, 1-61 (54-61 also xii-xix), with a medieval foliation of ff. 1-6 in ink at the top outside corners, 4-9, cropped. Paper, octavo, 138 x 110 mm., with many outer edges deckle at least up to f. 33, top and bottom edges trimmed throughout.

Watermarks: (A) gothic letter p with forked foot (too cropped and common for identification); (B) crowned shield containing three fleurs-de-lis with quatrefoil above and gothic t below, like Briquet, nos 1744-6 (instances 1483- 1506), Piccard XIII.iii.1633-8 (1483-1525); (C) quires 4-5, hand or glove with frilled cuff and five-point star on stem above, no similar form in Briquet etc. (twin marks).

Collation of ff. 1-53: A (ff. 1-11) 116, lacks 1-3 (with

text ?) before f. 1 (medieval 4) and 15-16 (blank ?) after

f. 11; B (ff. 12-27) 216; C (ff. 28-53) 38, lacks 2-3 with

text before f. 29, 6 (cancel or stub?) after f. 30; 42;

514?, lacks 7-9 with text after f. 40, 12 with text after f.

42; 612?, lacks 9-11 with text, 12 fragment of original blank. From the certain deckle edges it seems that quire 1 was probably of separated bifolia but quire 2 from two interfolded sheets, all the deckles being in the first half.

Catchwords in (A) on versos of ff. 8-10; in (C) only one, on f. 44v (penultimate leaf of quire 4).


No evidence of pricking. Written space c. 98 x 70 mm.; framed in soft brown. 20-21 long lines, the first through top frame-line.

Written in secretary, often with anglicana g, competently, by one hand.

Decoration: capitals in headings and to sections lined with red.


No evidence of pricking. Written space c. 98 x 67 mm.; framed in soft brown, or, ff. 16-27v, without frame and written space more variable. 22-24 long lines.

Written in secretary, by three or more hands, the first set and neat, sometimes with longr; the second, ff. 15v/5-27, recurs as the first in (C).

Decoration: on ff. 12-15v only. Capitals to headings and to sections lined with red. Line-fillers in red.


No evidence of pricking. Written space 95-105 x c. 74 or, for second hand, c. 83 mm.; framed in soft brown or, ff. 35- 53, drypoint. 18-21 long lines.

Written in secretary, currently, by two hands, the first being the second in (B), changing at f. 31/3, for the better.

No decoration.



1. ff. 1-11v [introduction and January - beginning of March lost: Nowe hit is to declare ...] A mayd at ys born in at same syn shal haue a syn yn e forhed or in e neke ... ... yf sho passe e age of xxxti ere & iij ho may lyf vn to iiijxx ere. Expliciunt destinaria.

Prognostications of physiognomy and fortune for men and women according to the months: from the description and near explicit apparently `the booke of destenarye of the 12 signes' in San Marino (U.S.A.), Huntington Lib. HM 64, ff. 63v-72 (R. Hanna, IMEP I, 5). R. H. Robbins, Essays and Studies 1969, p. 4, quotes from f. 11, also Speculum 45 (1970), 398, describing the piece as `semi-humorous'.


2. ff. 12-15v (a) For e Mygrene. Take an handeffull croppes or leues. of ruwe ... (b) For the ston. Gyf hyt be in e Reynes there is noon remedy ... (c) To ke[pe] e ston of e Reynes from e ston of e bleddur. The ston of e renys is smother ... ... A gude powder for all maner of sekenes in mannys body. And yf a man be ouer cum by e wey ... & of gynger & vse it fyrst & last.

Medical recipes (12), in English.

3. ff. 15v-27 For e dropce. Thake parcele & swage & colombynde & peletur of spane ... And also thake parsley ... For e tothe ake of blude. Thake e leuys of wodbyne ... ... A gode Medicyn for e pestelens. Thake scabyos elyncompane tansey bawme ... ... dryngke fyrste and laste euery day a gode drowthe mylke warme.

Medical recipes (63) and a charm for childbirth (ff. 24v- 25), in English or, f. 26v, two in Latin and one in French. Most begin `Thake'; three `pro pyssibus capiendis', ff. 16- 17; one how to know `luenere' (lunaria ?), f. 17r-v; the last listed Singer and Anderson p. 150.

4. f. 27v (a) A god medesin for to breke flewme. Take the rote of elyncompana ... (b) To wythe yff a cankar be in a sore. Make a possete of the mylke of an hwed cowe ...

Medical recipes (2), in English; added by one or two hands at different times.


f. 28r-v originally blank, with added jottings s. xv/xvi.


(a) ff. 29-32v Color Albus. (3) The Firste water coloure of vryne is white as clere water of a welle ... ... Colour niger vt carbo. The xxti coloure ... yeff ou se thye face there yn hytt betokeneth deth.

(b) ff. 32v-33 Vrine mortis tam hominum quam mulierum. Vryne yn a hote axcesse in on parte rede and a oder blacke ... ... And these before knowinges of the substaunce and e coloure off vrynes suffyseth as nowe.

(c) ff. 33v-39 Spuma. Froth that dwelleth and cleveth to e cercle ... ... kynde of dethe. Now haue I schewed the substance off vrines the coloure the regiones and the contentis at longeth to the dome of vrines.

(d) ff. 39-40v De complexcionibus vrinarum. Now schall I schow yow to know the complexiones ... ... Ad cognoscendum primam aquam a secunda. Take good hede off hyme that owyth [end missing].

(e) [beginning missing] And yff the chylde be dede with in hyr ... Sche may nott longe sytt styll for peyne butt euer more frome place to place.

(e) f. 41 Ad cognoscendum pulsum alicuius. Ley the iiij fyngres a pone the pulse ... and yff hytt do the contrarie hytt be tokenneth dethe. Explicit iste liber.

Medical pieces, (a-d) on urines, (e) ON WHAT and (f) on the pulse, apparently regarded as a single treatise, see `Explicit iste liber', and found together in other copies; perhaps as result of the excision of leaves before f. 29 there is no preface (In the beginning thou shalt take heed to four things that longeth to the doom of urine ...), as there is in San Marino (U.S.A.), Huntington Library MS HM 64, ff. 38v-50 (see Hanna, pp. 4-5), Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Digby 95, ff. 101v-3v, and BL MS Sloane 374, ff. 5v-13v. Sloan 374 has some of the sections in a different order from here; Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Hatton 29, ff. 61-68, is defective at the beginning but has most of the remainder of the treatise, as does London, Wellcome Institute MS 409, ff. 55-60; cf. Cosin V.III.10, ff. 4-7v (Explicit nouus tractatus de Judicio Vrinarum). All these have various omissions and alterations; various other manuscripts have selections.

(a) here recites twenty colours (or in the scheme of the treatise rather substances) in numbered order, with added medieval marginal numbers running 3, 4, 6, 5, 7, 8, 9, X, 3, 4, 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 2, 9, X, 1, presumably referring to two alternative sets (in other treatises ?). This section (chapter 1?) is in BL MS Sloane 374, ff. 5v-7, London, Wellcome Institute MS 409, ff. 55-57, Oxford, Bodleian Library MSS Selden supra 73, ff. 107v-8v, and Rawl.C.506, f. 54 (defective at beginning).

(b), giving ten signs, corresponds with Oxford, Bodleian Library MSS Hatton 29, f. 61rv (chapter 2), Digby 95, f. 103rv, Selden supra 73, f. 111v, Ashmole 1438 (i), pp. 79- 80, Cambridge, Magdalene College MS Pepys 1307, f. 61, and BL MS Sloane 374, f. 13v; Cosin V.III.10, ff. 4-5, conflates the eighth and ninth.

Digby has lost all after f. 103v. Hatton ends with (e)

(f) is in Wellcome 409, f. 60r, Sloane 374, f. 9r, HM 64, ff. 16v-17, and Rawl.D.1221, f. 48v. R. H. Robbins, Speculum 45 (1970), p. 400, noting also Cambridge, Jesus College MS 43. ff. 129-31, and Trinity College MS 905, ff. 83-85v, and BL Sloane 706, ff. 97v-100, says the V.V.13 piece on the pulse is incomplete; Wellcome 409 has a longer English opening and HM 64 goes on further.

There is a loss of leaves containing text between ff. 40 and 41: f. 40v breaks off at Cosin V.III.10 f. 6v/10.

6. ff. 41v-42v Hic incipit regulam ad cognoscendum quatuor complexiones secundum quatuor terminos anni. In the 3ere ar iiij quarters I rulede bye these iiij complexiones ... ... moistenesse a thyne substaunce|| [ends imperfectly]

On the seasons and complexions, based at the start on the pseudo-Aristotelian Secreta Secretorum. Also in BL MSS Sloane 213 ff. 117v-8 (without Latin heading) and Sloane 635, ff. 94v-95.

Calculation from the texts of items 6 and 7(a) in Sloane 213 shows that one leaf must be lost here between ff. 42 and 43.

7. (a) f. 43 begins imperfectly] || quantite swete of taste and with owt contentes. The iijd is subrede ... and these ij betokennen adustioun and deth.

(b) ff. 43v-44 In vrine there ben xviij contentes: circle ampull graynes ... ... and hyt hath the moste synyficacioun of all and namene [i.e. namely, see Sloane 213] of the lower partis.

On urine, (a) the ten colours; (b) contents. Both in BL MSS Sloane 213, ff. 118r/b-118v/a, and Harley 1735, f. 35r-v.

8. f. 44v Off ych monnes bodye ther be iiij principall lymes That is to say sowlet lymes ... ... and all the lymes a bowte the iij fro the reynes doune warde.

On four types of human organs. As BL MS Sloane 213, f. 118v; also Cambridge UL MS Ee.I.13, f. 98, in the middle of ten contents of urine.

9. ff. 44v-52v Here folowes certeyne rules of phisnomy to knowe by only thought when thow lokest on ony man of whatt condicioun he ys. (f. 45) Alexander the grett conqueroure in all hys conquest ... ... and stallwardly streynghthed hyme in all vertu. Amen. Deo gracias.

On physionomy, ed. M. A. Manzalaoui, Secretum Secretorum, I, EETS 276 (1977), pp. 10-14, this section, chapter 7 of a treatise in 8 chapters, being a translation from the fuller Latin version by Philippus Tripolitanus, see pp. xv, xxvi and xlvii, not mentioning this copy or Yale Univ. Med. Lib. MS 47, ff. 105-9. Professor Manzalaoui has observed that the text here is, like that in BL MS Sloane 213, ff. 118v- 20, from a prototype with a displacement of text, here on f. 48v, see ed. p. 12n.

10. f. 52v Her folowyth the medicuns of phesike and surgerye. Contra flux of blode or any oer. Take yolkes of Eggis harde I rosted ... and powder of bole armonyacke and temper hyt vp with|| [ends imperfectly]

Medical recipes, in English; first five lines only.

11. f. 53 (outer two-thirds torn away)

(a) recto (s. xv ex.) ... vnkindenes the w<hych you ? ...> shewid vn to me in time p<ast ? ...> I thank you newer a dele.

(b) verso `Jesus nazarinus' by the same hand; other rubbed pen-trials in Latin by a different, secretary, hand, s. xv/xvi.

(a) Remains of an inscription in simple cipher: substitution of subsequent letters for vowels.

Annotations and inscriptions

`Jesu mercy lady helpe me Jhon caley Md at I Jhon caley of [sic], s. xv ex., f. 50v upper margin; also in the same hand and ink `Iste liber pertinet ad me J', f. 28, the first leaf of (C); and overlapping pen-trials including `Jesum', and sums of money, `ijs iiijd xvjd vjd ixd, iiijs ijd', f. 28v.

Unintelligible faded English pen-trial, `N saginary when phel3 dyd' and `Iste lyber' twice, s. xv ex., in different hands, f. 28.


Written in England. Spellings in section (A) `sho' and `ho' (for `she') and (ii) `hur' (for `her') suggest West Midland background or exemplars.

Secundo folio of hys happe.

List of contents in the hand of George Davenport, f. xi verso; perhaps no. 53 in his catalogue, c. 1670.

Binding: sides covered with speckled calf, with a pair of blind fillets at edges and a double vertical pair 23-35 mm. from spine, and Hugh Hutchinson's roll (_...) gilt on edges; spine replaced, s. xix med., perhaps reproducing earlier title `Physical Receipts'.



(a) ff. 12-15v For e Mygrene. Take an handeffull croppes or leues of ruwe and poune them small ... ... swete flours of galengale of camel and of gynger and vse it fyrst and last.

(b-f) added, s. xv2, each by a different hand.

(b) ff. 15v-17v For e dropse. Thake parcele and swafe and colombynde and peletur of Spane ... ... afor e son ryse be e schynyng.

(c) ff. 17v-26v For sasfleme fache and for ormys. Thake a penyworth or mor off gynger and as <quantete> myche quantete of fraunch incenche ... ... ben aler a chambur.

(d) f. 27 A gode medicyn for e pestelens. Thake scabyos elyncompane tansey bawme ... ... dryngke fyrste and laste euery day a gode drowthe mylke warme.

(e) f. 27v A god medesin for to breke fle(w)m. Take the rote of elyncompana and the crops of century ... ... sugur candy a mouyt and vse hyt both furst and laste.

(f) f. 27v To wythe yf a cankar be in a sore. Make a posset of the mylke of on hwed cowe ... ... dryngke basilicoum hyt doth the same or vse <b(o)th> both. agagerum (?).

Medical recipes: (a) 12; (b) 8; (c) 53, two Latin and one French (f. 26v); (d) 1, listed Singer and Anderson p. 150; (e) 1; (f) 1