Later Version Wycliffe Acts of the Apostles

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 84
  • Dates of Creation
      End 14th/beginning 15th century
  • Physical Description
      1 volume. ii + 124 folios, foliated 1-126 (modern foliation). Dimensions: 122 x 85 mm. Collation of ff. 3-126: 1-88, 98 lacking 1 before f. 66 and 8 after f. 71, 108, 118 lacking 6 after f. 84, 12-168. Medium: vellum. Binding: old bevelled oak boards re-covered in black goatskin; sewn on three tanned leather supports recessed into channels in the boards.

Scope and Content

Later Wycliffite version of the Acts of the Apostles, except the portion 7: 31 to 10: 6, which is in the earlier version (f. 29v line 14 to f. 44v line 4).

Contents: Forshall and Madden, no. 161. Three leaves are missing: f. 65v ends 'and from þens' (14: 25) and f. 66 begins 'syn vp' (15: 5); f. 71v ends 'spiritt of dyuy-' (16: 16) and f. 72 begins 'kepe ham' (16: 23); f. 84v ends 'to repreef: but' (19: 27) and f. 85 begins 'houris' (19: 34). Prologue, ff. 3-4. In the part of Acts taken from the earlier version there are red headings in the text at 8: 5, 8: 14, 8: 26, and 9: 1, and the word 'eende' is written in red at 8: 9 after 'cyte', at 8: 17 after 'gost', and at 9: 22 after 'crist'. The headings are: (f. 34) The thursdai pystil in witsone weke; (f. 35) Þe tewsday pistil in witsone weke and in commemoracyoun of the holy gooste'; (f. 36v) The fyrst þrusday pistyl after paske; (f. 38v) The pistyl of þe conuersyoun of seynt poule. The lessons at these points are those of the earlier Wycliffite version: cf. Forshall and Madden, iv. 688, 697, 687, 691. 'DEO GRACIAS' at the end, f. 125. Folios 125v-126v are left blank.

Script: Gothic textura. Written space 78 x 50 mm. 17 long lines. Changes of ink, but perhaps not of hand, at ff. 72r (beginning of tenth quire), 104v line 7, 111r (beginning of fifteenth quire) and 122v line 1.

Secundo folio: ke. and to hem.

Decoration: 2-line initials in red ink at the beginning of each chapter.

Description derived from N.R. Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, Lampeter-Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 408. By permission of Oxford University Press.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Rylands from Henry Yates Thompson in 1897, and later transferred to the John Rylands Library. Accession no. R4998.

Custodial History

(1) Early inscriptions: 'W. B.' (f. 2v); 'Anthony' (f. 125v).

(2) Inscribed 'Tho. Miles The Gift of Mr Dyer' on f. 1r, 18th century.

(3) Lea Wilson, F.S.A., Wycliffe scholar. Described by him in his Bibles, Testaments, Psalms, etc. (1845), p. 285 (see Bibliography below).

(4) Bertram, 4th Earl of Ashburnham. Appendix no. 25.

(5) Henry Yates Thompson. He purchased the Ashburnham Appendix in May 1897 and almost immediately resold the manuscript to Mrs Rylands.


Josiah Forshall and Frederic Madden, The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, with the Apocryphal books, in the earliest English versions made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and his followers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1850), vol. 1, MS no.161.

N.R. (Neil Ripley) Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, Lampeter-Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 408.

G.A. (Godfrey Allen) Lester, The index of Middle English prose. Handlist 2, a handlist of manuscripts containing Middle English prose in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester and Chetham's Library, Manchester (Cambridge: Brewer, 1985), pp. 13-14.

Lea Wilson, Bibles, Testaments, Psalms and other books of the Holy Scriptures in English in the collection of Lea Wilson, esq, F.S.A., etc. (London: printed at Chiswick by Charles Whittingham, 1845).