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Bury Fragments

Vellum fragments

Bury St Edmunds (Suff.), St Edmundsbury Cathedral Library, pr. bk. 238, joint-strengtheners from each end of its 17th-cent. binding: fragments discovered by Professor Rodney Thomson


The fragments described below are contained in Melchior Hittorp, De Catholicae Ecclesiae divinis officiis (Georgio Ferrari, Rome, 1591) [Adams H636; CLC H719]. This volume was rebound in reversed calf with new endpapers in the 1960s, at which time the fragments were inserted into their current location.

As evidenced on its title page , the book was donated to the parish library of St James’s church (now the Cathedral) by John Juelle, the minister of the neighbouring church of St Mary, Bury St Edmunds, from 1603 to 1638. Its previous owner was John White (1570–1615), vicar of Layland, Eccles, and fellow of the Collegiate Church, Manchester, from 1606. John White had been at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, when the book was published and stayed in Cambridge until 1592 or 1593. He moved to Barsham in Suffolk in 1609. His library was sold soon after his death and St Edmundsbury Cathedral Library has eight volumes (two given by John Juelle), all with the motto ‘Si non hodie quando?’ Further volumes are in Cambridge University Library and in Chetham’s Library.

(Information courtesy of Stephen Dart, Honorary Librarian at St Edmundsbury Cathedral Library.)


Vellum. 15th (?) cent. Two separate fragments, unnumbered. Fragment [A], 30.5 × 1.5–2.5 cm; Fragment [B], 31 × 1.5–3 cm. Fragment [A] reversed and inverted in binding. No scribal signature.

Fragment [A], medical

Ruled in grey, recto 50 lines, verso 46 lines. First two lines of chapter-incipit at f.[1]v29 in display script, with vertical line marking out space for 3-line ornamental opening initial not filled in. Calligraphic interlace (?) in lower margin of recto.


[1]v . [Petrus de Argellata, Chirurgia.] Acephalous. Beg. (in section beg. [Q]uoniam Au[i]cenna in capitulo de fluxu sangunis fecit mencionem dé embresmate et cetera in RIA MS 24 P 26 (474), p. 263.x; = Chirurgia (Venice 1480; USTC 997555) [without foliation] book 1, tract 4, chapter 11, ‘Cap. .xi. de emborismate’) cuisle no an tairtire ⁊ n / no co roithi an l / naithi dublait / ceangal innus co / sa haithle sin cuir / a ceangail ⁊ leigeastar í. Breaks off with f.[1]r (in section beg. [U]t / u, f. [1]v29; = [D]ixit Galienus ulcus [est] solucio continuitatis in carne in qua est unó disposisio vel plures inpediunt consolidaciones, RIA MS 24 P 26 (474), p. 265.1; = Chirurgia, book 1, tract 5, [prooemium,] ‘Incipit tractatus quintus de vlceribus’) teacha / onitear an / rorum / eider dfo / s follus ass / simplici. Fragmentary text here corresponds to RIA ms 24 P 26 (474), pp. 264.12–266.17.

Fragment B, perhaps medical

Initials set off throughout and coloured purple. Jottings (f.[1]r, inner margin): ‘mi[ci?]’; ‘armai[..]’; ‘mi[..]’; some scribbling.


[1]r . ‘P’ (?) (line 1), apparently the opening initial of an unidentified text. Of the immediately ensuing text, the following initials remain, each presumably beginning a new paragraph (line-numbering here refers to extant text): ‘O’ (?) (line 2), ‘A’ (lines 3, 4, 5, 6, 7); remaining text as follows: ‘g’ (line 8), ‘i’ (?) (line 9), ‘Fri[? t]’ (line 10), ‘ac’ (line 11), ‘dag’ (line 12).

[1]v . The following letters extant at line-end: outer minim (?) of unidentified letter (line 1), ‘ata’ (line 2), ‘e’ (line 3), ‘c(?)an’ (line 4).

© Photographs of fragments, title page and binding by kind permission of the Chapter of St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

© Catalogue record by Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha of the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2022.