Manuscripts and Manuscript Studies

Six medieval (A, B, C, D, E, F) manuscripts and one early modern transcript (C*) survive of the Old English Martyrology, none of them complete.


  • A London, British Library, Additional 23211 (c. 871 x 899, Wessex), fol 2
  • B London, British Library, Cotton Julius A. x (s. x / xi), fols 44-175
  • C Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 196 (s. xi2, Exeter), pp. 1-110
  • C* London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius D. vii. (s. xvi), fols 131r- 132r
  • D Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 41 (s. xi1 - xi med., prob. S England, prov. Exeter by s. xi3-4), pp. 122-32
  • E London, British Library, Additional 40165 A.2 (s. ix ex. or ix / x), fols 6-7
  • F London, British Library, Harley 3271 (s. xi1), fol 92v

The last of these may or may not be interpreted as a sixth surviving manuscript of the text, consisting only of the very short section on The Beginning of Summer (83a) and parts of the equally short section on The Beginning of Winter (221a). The passage was edited by H. Henel, ‘Altenglischer Mönchsaberglaube', Englische Studien 69 (1934-5), 329-49, at 347-8 and classified as B.19.6 by R. Frank, and A. Cameron, ed., A Plan for the Dictionary of Old English (Toronto, 1973). Kotzor, ed., Das altenglische Martyrologium, I, 3 n. 2 notes the existence of this manuscript without collating it in his edition. See also N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), no. 239 item 11, and K. J. Quinn and K. P. Quinn, A Manual of Old English Prose, Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 453 (New York, 1990) no. 606.

R. M. Wilson, The Lost Literature of Medieval England, 2nd edn (1970), pp. 81-2 and M. Lapidge, ‘Surviving Booklists from Anglo-Saxon England', Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies Presented to Peter Clemoes on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday, ed. M. Lapidge and H. Gneuss (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 33-89 at 62-4 discuss an eleventh-century booklist from Worcester which seems to refer to a manuscript now lost.

J. Morrish's suggestion that British Library, Additional 34652 (s. xi) contains a copy of the Old English Martyrology is an error; see ‘Dated and Datable Manuscripts Copied in England during the Ninth Century: A Preliminary List', Mediaeval Studies 50 (1988), 512-38, at 531n.

Manuscript Studies — General

Contents and Studies of Individual Manuscripts

For the contents of individual manuscripts, see also the Index of Reference Nos., Saints, Feasts, and Manuscript Contents; the contents of individual folios and pages are listed on a separate page. NB that the following bibliographies only list items relevant to the texts of the Old English Martyrology, but not to other items in the given manuscripts.


Contains only a small proportion of the text (four entries); 14 April (64, Valerianus, Tiburtius, Maximus) to 23 April (67, George). Nevertheless important on account of its early date; provides the terminus ante quem for the composition of the Old English Martyrology.


Leithandschrift of all critical editions. Extensive in its contents (229 entries) although with intermittent gaps: 31 December (7, Pope Silvester I) to 25 January (35, The Conversion of St Paul); 27 February (36, Discovery of the Head of St John the Baptist) to 13 March (43, Macedonius, Patricia, Modesta); 18 March (45, The First Day of Creation) to 24 June (111, The Birth of St John the Baptist); 2 July (117, Processus, Martinianus) to 11 November (224, Mennas, Heliodorus).


Together with MS B the most complete copy of the text (207 entries). Contains the sections from 19 March (46, The Second Day of Creation) to 21 December (238, Thomas).


Part of the so-called Collectanea Joscellini, a sixteenth-century collection of transcriptions made by John Joscelyn, archbishop Parker's secretary. MS C* is an early modern transcription of a leaf lost from MS C, as recognized by Kotzor (see the cited article below). Contains select sections of text, most importantly the one for 17 March (44, Patrick) which is contained in no other manuscript, but also the calendrical and astronomical sections, wholly or partially: 58a (The End of March), 58b (The Beginning of April), 73b (The Beginning of May), 83a (The Beginning of Summer), 94a (The End of May), 94b (The Beginning of June), 111a (Summer Solstice), 116a (The End of June), 116b (The Beginning of July), 139a (The End of July), 139b (The Beginning of August), 171a (The End of August), 171b (The Beginning of September), 200a (The End of September), 200b (The Beginning of October), 217a (The End of October), 217b (The Beginning of November), 221a (The Beginning of Winter), 233a (The End of November), 233b (The Beginning of December).


Preserves only minor sections of the text (7 entries); its relationship with the other manuscripts remains somewhat unclear. Contains in its margins the sections from 25 December (1, The Birth of Christ) to 31 December (7, Pope Silvester I). The extensive literature on the other items contained in this codex is not listed here.


Another early copy. Contents: 2 May (75, Athanasius) to 10 May (85, Calepodius) (11 entries).


Contains only two entries, The Beginning of Summer (9 May, 83a) and The Beginning of Winter (7 November, 221a).

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