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Preaching-book of John of Grimestone, a Franciscan friar from Norfolk.

Identifier: Adv.MS.18.7.21

Scope and Contents

The sermon topics are arranged alphabetically, with an index at the beginning (folios 7-9); the heading and number of each is repeated at the top of each page. The last three in the index (numbers 141-143, De Vsura, De Vita, De Veste) are missing from the text. The topics are predominantly in Latin, a very few in French, and consist of quotations (from the Bible, classical authors, especially Cicero and Seneca, the Fathers, and medieval authors) and moral tales and happenings. Interspersed with these are 246 items of Middle English verse, about half of which have Latin sources or versions in the main text; for an edition of these, or references to previous editions, see ‘A Descriptive Index of the English Lyrics in John of Grimestone`s Preaching Book’. Before and after the index are various religious verses and notes in Latin (listed in ‘A Descriptive Index of the English Lyrics in John of Grimestone`s Preaching Book’, pages vii-viii).

The compiler`s name and the date are given on folio 9 verso: `Orate p(ro) a(n)i(m)a f(rat)ris Ioh(annis) de Grimistone qui sc(ri)psit ist(um) lib(ru)m cu(m) magna solicitu(din)e Anno d(o)m(ini) 1372 ...` That he was a Franciscan is indicated by quotations from Franciscan acts and rules (folios 96-98, 110 verso-111, 137-139). The language of the English verses is that of Norfolk.

Initials of sections are two lines high and in red. Capitals, punctuation marks, etc. are picked out in red. The names of sources are underlined in red. Various brackets, letters, and symbols are used to connect the English verses with their Latin counterparts.


  • Creation: 1372.

Language of Materials

French, Middle (circa 1300-1600) ; English, Middle (1100-1500); Latin


1 Volumes (i (paper) + 166 folios.)


Collation: 1⁶, 2⁴, 3-15¹². Signatures in red in the lower margin of the first folio of gatherings 2-8 (.b. to .h.), with traces of those of gatherings 9-11 and 13-15. Catchwords were written or have survived only on gatherings 5 and 6. Prickings not preserved. Ruling in ink. 1 column. 31 lines. Ruled area 145 x 95 millimetres. Secundo folio: `Iuste salvari`.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Vellum. Modem binding.

Custodial History

Later owners are recorded as follows: `Iste lib(er) e(st) f(rat)ris Nic(olae) de Roma ex dono f(rat)ris Ioh(annis) de Grimestone ...` (deleted) (folio 9 verso); `Iste liber co(n)stat wililmo broin (folio 108 verso; circa 1500); `Ex libris Jacobi Stuart 1699` (name deleted) (folio 67 verso); `Guililmus Young 1702` (name deleted) (folio i). The manuscript was acquired by the Advocates’ Library before circa 1825.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilms available:




Wilson, Edward. ‘Descriptive Index of the English Lyrics in John of Grimestone`s Preaching Book’, Medium AEvum Monographs, New Series II (Oxford, 1973).

Physical Description

0.00 linear metresi (paper) + 166 folios.120.00 x 175.00 millimetres


120.00 x 175.00 millimetres

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
03 02 2015
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Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Descriptive Rules
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
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