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Archives in London and the M25 area

Theological treatises and sermons, notably by Robert Holcot

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0096 MS 657
Held at: Senate House Library, University of London
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Full title: Theological treatises and sermons, notably by Robert Holcot
Date(s): 13th century-15th century
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 volume containing 181 paper leaves and 6 parchment leaves; 12 pastedowns; 29 strengthening strips
Name of creator(s): Unknown
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Robert Holcot (1290-1349) was a Dominican theologian and preacher. Born in Holcot, near Northampton, Holcot joined the Dominican Order and studied at Oxford. After gaining his doctorate in theology, he became Regent Master of Oxford University (1331-1333). It is also surmised that Holcot was Regent Master of Cambridge from 1334-1335. In 1343 he returned to the Dominican priory at Northampton, where he died of plague in 1349. Holcot wrote many theological works, including Commentaries on the Books of Wisdom, one of the best known works of the 14th century, which was printed in 1480 and went through 17 editions.
A Collectar is a manuscript containing the prayers (specifically 'collects') for the canonical hours of the Divine Office.
John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury, was the son of the Earl of Stafford. He held high political and religious office, being Bishop of Bath and Wells and Lord Chancellor to Henry V and VI; in 1443 he was created Archbishop of Canterbury, an office which he held until his death in 1452.


Scope and content/abstract:

Manuscript volume in several hands, probably written in Norfolk during the 15th century, containing eleven theological works, including Robert Holcot's Convertemini, the Speculum Christiani, and numerous sermons.
The manuscript also has two former pastedowns, which form part of a 13th century Collectar containing the Sanctorale for masses from 21 Oct to 13 Nov and the common of a confessor, confessors and a virgin.
The 29 strips of parchment which were separating and down the middle of each quire of the volume have been removed, and are taken from at least 5 documents of 15th century origin containing places and individuals connected with Norfolk. Several of the fragments appear to be from a letter of Archbishop Stafford to Gerald Hesyll, rector of Cley, and others.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Latin. The manuscript is written in several hands of mixed and mainly secretary type. Some of the strengthening strips are written in a skilled secretary hand.

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Finding aids:

For the Collectar, see R. Watson 'Descriptive list of fragments of medieval manuscripts in the University of London Library' (1976). A detailed description of the entire manuscript, plus fragments, may be found in N.R. Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British Libraries: I London (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1969).

Archival Information

Archival history:

The manuscript contains inscriptions in the front relating to book purchases between William Hautboys, chaplain, and John Everard, chaplain (one of this name became rector of Aylmerton, near Cromer, in 1494) dating from the late 15th century. There is another inscription by Robert Sevyer, parish priest of Blakeney, Norfolk, on p. 362, written in the 15th-16th centuries.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The manuscript was formerly held at Helmington Hall (as Ms LJ.I.7), and was sold to the University of London at the Sotheby's sale of 14 June 1965 (lot 24).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct 2001

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