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MS 21: Composite manuscript including three texts, 13th century

Identifier: MS 21

Scope and Contents

The manuscript contains three different texts, all in the same hand.

ff. 1r-96v: Liber de laudibus beate Marie Virginis ('Book of the praises of the Virgin Mary') attributed to Vincent de Beauvais;

ff. 97r-118r: part of a breviary with the readings of the Officum Parvum Beatae Mariae Virginis ('Little Office of Our Lady' or 'Hours of the Virgin');

ff. 119r-164r: a collection of excerpts from sermons and theological works.

The manuscript also contains a short poem in praise of the Virgin, attributed to Petrus Comestor, French theologian and university teacher (died c. 1178). This poems has been copied twice: the first time after Vincent de Beauvais' text, the second time after the lectionary.

The texts are described separately, under MS 21/ff. 1r-96v; MS 21/ff. 97r-118r; and MS 21/ff. 119r-164r.


A well-written manuscript on very fine vellum, with rubrics and spaces for initials, but badly stained and discoloured with moisture.


No illumination.


  • Creation: 13th century

Language of Materials

Latin and French. There are passages in French, e.g. f. 126r, 132v and 139v.

Physical Description

Badly cropped, especially fore-edge, where rubrics containing authorities are mutilated.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

There is no indication of original provenance. Only two names appear in the book on f. 118v, at the end of the first part of the volume: Richardus Barton Kal. Oct. 1628 [?] and Jacobus Charlemont Anno Domini 1741. Also on a paper flyleaf at the beginning, Jam. Charlemont. The latter must be James, 4th Viscount and 1st Earl of Charlemont (1728-99), while the former is probably Richard Barton, Jesuit, successively rector of the English colleges at Liege and Saint Omer (1601-69).

It was probably bought by Laing at one of the sales of the 2nd Earl of Charlemont, on 11 August or 27 September 1865 (see Cockerell in a letter dated 28 March 1916).

Former title

Title given to the manuscript in Catherine Borland’s catalogue: Life of the Virgin

Previous reference

Laing 36


Grosjean, P. (1929), 'Catalogus Codicum Hagiographicorum Latinorum Bibliothecarum Edinburgensium', Analecta Bollandiana 47, 37.

Physical Description

Badly cropped, especially fore-edge, where rubrics containing authorities are mutilated.

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Modern black morocco, lettered Vita Virginis Marie ('Life of the Virgin Mary').

Collation: a16, b15 (wants 3), c12, d1 (wants 1), e10, f6, g12-k12, l10, m8, n8, o8, p12, q10 (wants 1)=164.


11.11 cm x 7.30 cm


Secundo folio: qualiter Marie.

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 164, 32 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379