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15th-century manuscript containing saints' lives and other religious material.

Identifier: Adv.MS.18.2.3

Scope and Contents

Manuscript produced in the Low Countries containing hagiographies and other religious material. The work is written in double columns of varying lengths, except for folio 7r which is a single block of text. The manuscript appears to be the work of one hand and is written in a minuscule cursive script.

The manuscript dates from the 15th century. Given the watermark evidence and the establishment date of the Charterhouse, this date could possibly be narrowed down to sometime between 1465 and 1500.

On folios ii verso to 4 recto are religious materials and songs relating to saints Ambrose, Augustine, Anselm, and the Virgin Mary, as well as the following underlined phrase on folio 1v: 'Istud sequens Canticum composuit quidam Carthsiensis in domo Treverensi in laudem perpetue virginis Marie; qui postmodum in quadam visione reptus audivit illud in organis celestibus et ab angelicis spiritibus alternatim cum mira suavitate decantari ea nota que Carthusienses Te Deum laudamus cantant; unde fratres ibidem degentes ceperunt illud devote frequentare et eciam ab aliis frequentatandum intimare ad laudem semper et honorem dive Virginis Marie cunctorum laude dignissime'.

A table of contents is on folio 4v followed by the beginning of the work proper on folio 5r. Many of the saints referenced are connected specifically with the Low Countries, including the legend of St Servatius. A full list of the hagiographies is detailed in Grosjean, along with references to particular passages in the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina.

Folios 269v-272v are blank but have been lined.

The manuscript is decorated with large initials in red, smaller letters stroked with red, and underlining in red. The guide letters are often still visible for the larger initials.

Each folio has been lined recto and verso in red.

There are infrequent scribal marginal annotations in the form of corrections or additions to the text.

Folio ii has been pasted to folio 1, so that the recto side of folio 1 is no longer visible, although there does not appear to be any writing on the recto side. The writing begins on the second column of folio ii verso.

There is an earlier foliation, possibly 18th-century, which runs from 1 to 270.


  • Creation: 15th century.


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


1 Volumes ; 28.7cm x 21.5cm x 5.6cm


i-ii + 272 + iii-iv folios, as well as one paper flyleaf to the front and one paper flyleaf to the rear.

Collation as recorded by Catherine Borland: a², b⁸, c-A¹² (10 to 12 blank).

Custodial History

The manuscript was probably written at, and certainly belonged to, the Carthusian house near 's-Hertogenbosch, known in French as Bois-le-Duc. This is attested to by an inscription in the upper maring of folio 4v which reads: 'P[er]tinet carthusien[sibus] p[ro]pe buscu[m] ducis'.

The engraving pasted down on the inners of the front and back boards is possibly a printer's mark belonging to the Verdussen family, most probably Jan Baptiste Verdussen III (d. 1773). The engraving depicts a stork feeding a snake to its mate, surrounded by a border which reads: 'Virtus pietas homini tutissima'.

It is unclear when exactly the volume arrived in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates. The previous shelfmark assigned to the volume by the Library is on the recto of folio ii: 'Jac.V.2.28', over-written with 'Jac.V.2.29', and both since superseded.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


Borland, C. R. 'Catalogue of Mediaeval Manuscripts in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh', 4 Volumes. (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh, 1906-1908). Volume I, folios 208-214. NLS Reference: FR.198a/1.
Carasso-Kok, M. 'Repertorium van verhalende historische bronnen uit de middeleeuwen heiligenlevens, annalen, kronieken en andere in Nederland geschreven verhalende bronnen' (Den Haag, 1981).
'Catalogus Librorum Joannis Baptistae Verdussen ... die 15. Junlii et seqq. 1776'. (Antwerp, 1776), page 94, number 7.
'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Miscellaneous Manuscripts' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [after 1837]), folio 6. NLS Reference: FR.195.
Haeghen, F. van den. 'Marques typographiques des imprimeurs et libraires qui ont exercé dans les Pays Bas, et marques typographiques des imprimeurs et libraires belges établis à l'étranger' 2 Volumes (Ghent, 1894), Volume 1: Anvers, Famille Verdussen, Number 26.
Le Clercq, L. J. M. F. 'Les Verdussen: Imprimieurs-Libraires et Bibliophiles Anversois' (Louvain, 1933).
Troeyer, B. de. 'Bio-bibliografie van de minderbroeders in de Nederlanden voor her jaar 1500. Voorstudies', Franciscana-Bijdragen, Volume 27 (1972), pages 3-18.
Grosjean S. J., P. 'Codicum Hagiographicorum Latinorum Bibliothecarum Edinburgensium', Analecta Bollandiana, Tomus XLVII (1929), pages 31-38.
Schenkl, H. 'Bibliotheca Patrum Latinorum Britannica: Zweiten Bandes dritte Abtheilung, die schottischen Bibliotheken (Wien, 1896), page 2.
'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), pages 106, number 1358; page 135, number 1808.

Physical Description

Paper. The binding is of 18th-century brown leather. The front and back boards have gold-tooled borders with acorn corner designs. The three edges of the boards and the turn-ins are tooled in gold. The spine has raised bands and extensive gold tooling; in the panels between each band are gold-tooled floral-filled diamonds. There is a what was once probably a gold-tooled title, since worn away, which reads: 'SERVANTI LEGENDA MS.' The manuscript has marbled endpapers and the three edges of the leaves are sprinkled with blue and red. The paper of folios i-iv is watermarked with the initials 'P I B' and a crown design in the centre of which is 'M E'. The paper of the manuscript itself is watermarked with a gothic letter p, topped by a flower on a stalk, similar to Briquet number 8622 (Butzbach, 1481, possibly the variant Utrecht, 1485-1486). This watermark is most visible on folio 272. The manuscript was repaired and boxed in 1970, and at this time the volume was probably rebacked. A tear in the lower margin of folio 23 was repaired in 1979.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts Adv.MS.18.2.3
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
Description rules
International Standard For Archival Description General
Language of description
Script of description

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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