Catalogue of Books of St Augustine's Abbey at Canterbury. IE TCD MS 360 Public Deposited

Catalogue of Books of St Augustine's Abbey at Canterbury. IE TCD MS 360

Shelf Mark/Reference Number
  • IE TCD MS 360
Rights statement
  • Copyright The Board of Trinity College Dublin. Images are available for single-use academic application only. Publication, transmission or display is prohibited without formal written approval of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
Copyright status
Publisher location
  • England
  • Canterbury
Date Created
  • approximately 1474-1497
  • IE TCD MS 360 contains the catalogue of the library of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, the oldest recorded book collection in England. This is an incomplete, late-fifteenth century transcription copy of a now-lost book list produced between 1375 and 1420. The catalogue (MLGB no. BA1) records over 1,700 books belonging to the library, of which nearly 300 are identified in modern collections. The catalogue is presented in three parts (1-96v): folios 1-12v comprise a locations register, folios 13-26v comprise an index, and folios 27-96v comprise the main catalogue (B.C. Barker-Benfield (ed.), 'Corpus of Medieval Library Catalogues: St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury' (London, 2008) 3 vols; M.R. James (ed.), 'The Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover' (Cambridge, 1903), 173-406, edition excluding index). DATING: Entry 44 of the catalogue lists a Bible (now British Library, Burney MS 11), which contains two inscriptions by Clement of Canterbury stating he purchased the volume from Oxford University stationer Thomas Hunt on 24 July 1473 for 20 shillings and donated the book to St Augustine's Abbey on 28 February 1474, suggesting the composition of MS 360 began shortly after this date. Entry 300 of the catalogue lists a Correctorium Bibliae donated by John Preston (M.R. James (1903), 217), and this text (now Canterbury Cathedral Archives & Library, CCA- DCc-LitMs/D/16) bears a note by Clement of Canterbury dated 1491 reporting the gift, showing the manuscript was in active use at this time. The register contains the name of John Dygon, abbot of St Augustine's Abbey (r. 1497-1509), but omits his title, suggesting the copying of the manuscript was completed before his election in January 1497. LAYOUT: Folios 1-12v presented in grid format of seven vertical columns and 30 to 41 rows per folio; 27-88r written in 2 columns, 40 lines per column; 88v-96 without any ruling. CUSTODIAL HISTORY: St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury until Dissolution of abbey in 1538, or shortly following. Possible 16th-century inscription occurs (33) ‘Thys hys laurens maxsted / R(?)ygthm’ possibly a placename such as Ightham (similar inscription appears 90v). The surname Maxsted was a common Kent surname, and a Laurence Maxsted is listed in the hundred of Bridge and Petham in the lay subsidy assessment of 1524 for the lathe of St Augustine (London, The National Archives. E 179/124/196). Possible ownership inscriptions (57v, 67v, and 73v) of John Twyne (c1501-1581), schoolmaster, mayor and antiquary of Canterbury who acquired a large number of codices from St Augustine’s Abbey after the Dissolution (A.G. Watson, ‘John Twyne of Canterbury (d. 1581) as a Collector of Medieval Manuscripts: a Preliminary Investigation’, The Library, vol. s6-VIII, Issue 2 (June 1986) 133-151). Ownership inscriptions appear (‘I. Dee / 1574’ (58v), name and initials (59, 64, and 68)) of John Dee (1527-1608), royal advisor, astrologer and antiquary (M.R. James (ed.), 'Lists of Manuscripts Formerly Owned by Dr. John Dee', Supplement of The Bibliographical Society's Transactions no. 1, (1921), no. 128; A.G. Watson (ed.) in A.G. Watson and R.J. Roberts, 'John Dee's Library Catalogue', (London, 1990), no. M128). Manuscript features shelfmark of the book collection of The Most Reverend James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland (r. 1625-1656), ‘AAA 31.’ (i flyleaf, verso). The Ussher library was gifted by King Charles II to Trinity College Dublin in 1661. BINDING: Binding executed for the College about 1830 in blind-tooled calf leather. For further information please see the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library’s catalogue entry:
Related url
  • Digitisation work made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Resource type
  • pencils (drawing and writing equipment)
  • ink
  • paper (fiber product)
  • calf (leather)
  • English
Digital Object Id
  • MS360_001
  • 0152356


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