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les Enluminures

Rule of St Benedict; Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses of 1474-75; HENNING KALBERG, Statutes of the Bursfelde Congregation of 1510 (autograph?); LEONARD COLCHON, Modus visitandi; et multa alia

In Latin, with an insert in Low German, manuscripts on paper bound with printed book
Hildesheim, Germany, 1475-1520 with further additions to c. 1750-80

TM 666

ii + 211 + ii leaves (collation,  i2 + ii10 + iii12 + iv-v10 + vi-vii12 + viii8 | ix-xviii10 + xix12 | xx12 + xxi10 + xxii1); in quarto; unfoliated; an incunable edition (ff. 77-188) printed in black ink on one column of 26 lines, (justification 85 x 145mm.), bound with two manuscripts (ff. 1-76 and 189-210), with at least four watermarks (six counting two pairs singly) present in the manuscript paper stocks: in the first manuscript [i] a pair of bull’s heads, with eyes and nostrils, above which a single-contoured shaft with a Tau cross, one of which pair is identical to Piccard-Online 72275 (attested Göttingen, 1476); [ii] a pair of trimounts, above which a double-contoured shaft with a trefoil, closest to Piccard, 1961-1997, Dreiberg, VII 2027+2054 (1485) and VII 2026+2032 (1484-88); [iii] a bull’s head, with eyes, above which a double-contoured shaft with a cross, around which is entwined a snake, closest to Piccard, 1961-1997, Ochsenkopf, XVI 193 (1493-94), a type which forms part of the set XVI 193-95, all attested 1492-1514; in the second manuscript only [iv] a crown, with a double-contoured hoop set with pearls, above which a double-contoured cross, with a chain-line as central axis, of the type Piccard, 1961-1997, Krone, XII 34b (1493-1527); written in nine hands, listed here in the order in which they are first encountered in the manuscript: [i] a cursiva libraria of around 1500, in black ink, responsible for the texts on ff. 1-2 and ff. 189-195v, on the latter  folios, (justification 90 x 135mm.), potentially the hand of Henning Kalberg, abbot of St. Godehard in Hildesheim 1493-1530; [ii] a somewhat irregular, angular seventeenth- or eighteenth-century script, in black ink, responsible for the texts on ff. 5-8, 62v-63v, and 75v-76, and for isolated notes and marginalia on ff. 1, 13v, and 37, and occasionally in the printed book; [iii] a tiny hybrida currens of the later fifteenth century, in black and sepia ink, responsible for the texts on ff. 2v, 3-5, 12, 61v-62, and 76v, and for very many marginalia throughout the Rule of St Benedict on ff. 14-53, and occasionally in the printed book, including the addendum incorporated on a paper slip, 113 x 122 mm., tipped in after f. 129; [iv] a second tiny hybrida currens of c. 1500, in black ink, responsible for the texts on ff. 12-13v and 53v-61, an addition to the text on f. 76v, and the addendum incorporated on a paper slip, 160 x 75 mm., tipped in after f. 109; [v] a fine cursiva libraria, in red and black inks, on 23-30 unruled lines, responsible for the text on ff. 14-53, (justification 70 x 135mm.); [vi] a tiny sixteenth-century cursive script, in black ink, responsible for occasional marginalia in the Rule of St Benedict on ff. 14, 20-24v, and 30-30v, and in the printed book on ff. 80v-81, 86v-89, 115, 153, and 157v; [vii] a seventeenth-century copperplate script, in black and red inks, on 25-29 unruled lines, responsible for the texts on ff. 65-67 and 197-203, (justification 100 x 145 mm.); [viii] a hybrida libraria, in red ink, responsible for the running headings in the upper margins of the printed book on ff. 77v-188v; [ix] a tiny sixteenth-century cursive script, in black ink, responsible for the single addition in Low German to the upper margin of f. 185v; pen-tests in a nineteenth-century hand, and occasionally words in English, on ff. 1, 14v-15, 102v, 112v, 171v, 173v, and 195v; initials of between one and five lines in red ink throughout the Rule of St Benedict on ff. 14-53 and the printed book on ff. 77-188, with larger initials of between eight and fourteen lines in the printed book on ff. 77, 96v, 118, 122v, 136v, 140 and 177v; rubrication of majuscules and underlining in red ink on ff. 1v-2, 3-4, 12-14, 53v-61, 76v, and throughout the printed book; ff. 8v-11v, 64-64v, 67v-75, 196-196v, and 203v-211v, together with all four flyleaves at front and rear, are blank. Bound in a modern (probably twentieth-century) brown leather binding, with brown and cream endbands, resewn, with gold-tooled inscription on spine, “STATUTA ET CONSTITUTIONES MARIENTHAL” and “c. 1474-1475”; modern paper pastedowns at front and rear, contiguous with the first front and final rear flyleaves. Dimensions binding 200 x 145 mm.; book block 195 x 130 mm.

This book is a remarkable witness to the transitional phase between manuscript and print. It includes the first edition of the statutes of the Bursfelde Congregation,  printed in 1474-75, one of the earliest works printed in order to take advantage of the capacity that this new technology offered to disseminate a new text quickly and uniformly. Here it is bound with manuscript texts, which augment and elucidate it. Addenda and marginalia attest to its continued use for centuries by the abbots of one of the oldest and grandest German abbeys, the monastery of St. Godehard in Hildesheim.


Benedictine abbey of St. Godehard, Hildesheim, Germany. An ownership mark on f. 1 has been erased, but enough remains to recognize that the text probably read “Liber monasterii sancti Godehardi prope Hildesem ordinis sancti Benedicti” (Liber, then prope Hildeshem, and ordinis on the next line can all be read fairly clearly). The liturgical memoranda on ff. 1v-2 discuss the customs of Hildesheim cathedral as normative for other religious institutions in the eponymous diocese on certain feast-days. Confirmation that the book was not only from, but produced in St. Godehard is located in the legal notes on ff. 3-5. There, on f. 4v, a discussion is found of the duties of “vicarius noster in Gisen […] perpetuus.” This is a reference to the parish church of Groß Giesen, sold with the right of advowson to the abbey of St. Godehard in 1235, and incorporated in 1424 into that abbey, which thereafter provided the vicar itself: see Kruppa, 2008, p. 295.

The set of texts assembled in this book are those used for the governance of the community by its abbot. The innumerable marginalia and additional texts attest to the presence of this book in the abbey of St. Godehard until its secularization in 1803, and several of the hands identified – especially those responsible for marginal notes – are likely to be those of its abbots. That other monks had access to this manuscript upon occasion, however, is documented by the single addition in Low German: the formula of profession as a lay brother (donatus) for one Hinrich Moller at some point, to judge by the script, in the mid-sixteenth century. The library of St. Godehard was reorganised and refurnished under abbot Henning Kalberg, whose hand may well be present in this manuscript; wall paintings in the library from this renovation still survive. On the library, see Härtel, 1988, and Schlotheuber and Beckermann, 2001.

The Bursfelde Congregation was an association of Benedictine abbeys across northern Germany and the Rhineland, with its origins in the mid-fifteenth century. It grew rapidly in the second half of the fifteenth century, and remained functional throughout the early modern period, albeit in an attenuated form, until 1780. In its origin it was less a new commitment to a particularly abstinent religious observance – although it acquired this complexion over time – than an attempt to reinvigorate the monastic life in ancient abbeys, and to provide a certain level of corporate identity to northern German abbeys following the Benedictine Rule (since each Benedictine abbey was traditionally independent, and there was no such thing as a Benedictine ‘Order’). This was maintained by annual chapters general, to which all abbots in the Congregation were required to attend, and a schedule of regular visitations, conducted according to particular circuits. The abbey of St. Godehard in Hildesheim, which formally joined the Congregation in 1466 – thus at a relatively early stage of its development – was amongst the most active and important abbeys in the union. Good outlines of the Congregation and its structures, with reference to St. Godehard, are provided by Ziegler, 1999, and Hammer, 2007.

There are approximately 50 medieval manuscripts that survive from St. Godehard in Hildesheim (Kramer counts 35, and the catalogues of the manuscript holdings in Hildesheim today, all of which have been published after Krämer, add another 23, with only about four or five duplicates). Most of those which are not today in a Hildesheim library are in libraries in Gotha and Trier. The issue is complicated by the fact that few, if any, of the early modern manuscripts from St. Godehard are catalogued at all, and that St. Godehard acquired medieval manuscripts in the Early Modern period from other Benedictine abbeys that had been reformed in the sixteenth century. It would be a very interesting thesis or book project to produce a thorough study of the library of St. Godehard.

2.The subsequent provenance is uncertain. The library of St. Godehard began to be disassembled in the last decades of the eighteenth century, in the period between the final general chapter of the Bursfelde Congregation in 1780 and the secularization in 1803, whereupon the remainder of the library was removed. The presence of isolated words in English in the pen-tests scrawled in what is probably an early nineteenth-century hand may indicate that the book formed part of that collection of manuscripts and around thirty incunables acquired by the Benedictine abbey of Ampleforth in the United Kingdom. For this information on the library of St. Godehard and the books in Ampleforth, see Hofmann and Reuther, 1979, at pp. 209-11; cf. Giermann et al., 1991-93, vol. 1, pp. xviii-xx.

3.Alternatively, the abbey of St. Godehard had close connections to the abbey of Lamspringe, staffed by British monks from 1644 until 1803, some remaining in residence there until 1837, after the final failure of an attempted refoundation in 1823. This may equally explain the English words: see Rees, “Lamspringe”, 1979, at pp. 304-07 and (on its library) pp. 313-15, and Rees, “Englische Benediktiner”, 1979. The presence of isolated German marginal notes in pencil, in a later nineteenth- or earlier twentieth-century current script, suggests that the book – whether via Lamspringe, as is perhaps more likely, or Ampleforth, which has since gradually sold its medieval and early modern holdings, most recently in a large sale at Sotheby’s in 2010 – was in Germany c. 1900.

4.The book was restored, resewn and completely rebound, removing all trace of the medieval binding, at some point probably in the early to mid-twentieth century.


ff. 1-2v, Notes and liturgical memoranda. The loose bifolium at the start of the volume preserves (f. 1) what was presumably the original title given to the manuscript assembly, “Ordinarius diuinorum officiorum”, but is now covered with a whole series of additional notes. Those on f. 1, with the exception of two seventeenth- or eighteenth-century additions (Hand II) and some later pen-tests scrawled in English, are all in the same hand (Hand I, potentially abbot Henning Kalberg), and consist of: (a) a discussion of the permissibility of using musical instruments in the divine office, which is recorded in the Old Testament but not in the New, referring to opinions in the affirmative from Thomas Aquinas, Matthäus von Krakau, and Heinrich von Langenstein, (b) a list of hymns for Easter week, and (c) a statement of the indulgences accorded by Pope John XXII for the recitation of the horae breues de sancta cruce. The notes on ff. 1v-2 (Hand I) are extracts from the liturgy of Hildesheim cathedral, beginning with the heading “Infra habetur aliqua extracta de ordinario diuinorum officiorum eccle[siae] hildenshemensis Idcirco quia quandoque ordinarius noster refert se ad consuetudinem diocesane ecclesie.” These notes discuss the feasts of the Annunciation, St Godehard, St Mary Magdalene, St Peter in chains, and St Matthew. They provide interesting detail on the participation of the Benedictine monks of St Godehard alongside other religious in the ecclesiastical festivities of the city of Hildesheim. A list of place-names follows on f. 2v (Hand III), occasionally accompanied by personal names or other additional notes, is presumably a list of locations from which incomes were due to the abbey.

ff. 3-5, incipit, “Cum queritur de receptione legis videndum est an talis sit abusio que inducat consuetudinem que questio inducam notatur in c[apitulo] Cum olim de cle[ricis] co[niugatis] Et dic non receptionem legis tunc excusare non recipientes quoniam per consuetudinem contrariam est non recepta quam consuetudinem generalem princeps scit et tollerat…”;

Notes on legal matters; a series of notes on legal issues, referring frequently (as in the text here) to the Corpus iuris canonici, and often providing the opinion of the jurist Francesco Zabarella (d. 1417). These notes are written in the tiny, highly abbreviated Hand III. An extensive block on ff. 3v-4 concern the abbey’s vicar in the parish church at Groß Giesen, and those on ff. 4v-5, added by the same hand later in a darker ink, concern issues arising from the death or resignation of an abbot.

ff. 5-8, rubric, De electione noui Abbatis, incipit, “Prædilecti fratres nos a vobis vocati sumus, ad tractandum de electione noui Abbatis, prompti igitur sumus desiderium vestrum adimplere quare primum tractemus de idoneo pastore. Pulsetur Campana pro Capituli. Deinde legatur ex Ceremoniarum nostrarum libro, Capitulum primum, de Electione novi Abbatis…”;

Instructions for the Election of an Abbot; the later seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Hand II enters here a set of instructions for the procedure of electing a new abbot. These make frequent reference to the relevant section of the normative statutes for the Bursfelde Congregation, the Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses (i.e., the printed volume bound into the present book). They supplement that text with a practical guide to the procedure, setting out what should happen in quite concrete terms, and what the præses of the assembled brethren (the most senior remaining monk) is to say and do.

ff. 12-53, register ff. 12-13v, rubric (f. 13v), Incipit prologus sancti patris nostri Benedicti in regulam monachorum, incipit (f. 14), “AVsculta o fili precepta magistri. et inclina aurem cordis tui. et ammonicionem pij patris libenter excipe. et efficaciter comple. vt ad eum per obediencie laborem redeas. a quo per inobediencie desidiam recesseras Ad te ergo nunc meus sermo dirigitur. quisquis abrenunciaris proprijs voluptatibus…”;

Rule of St. Benedict; the Rule of St. Benedict (d. 547) is the foundational text of Western monasticism, written around the year 540 A.D., and was the text to which the Bursfelde Congregation sought to return in their reform of the Benedictine life in northern and western Germany. The standard modern edition is that of Hanslik, ed., Benedicti Regula, with a discussion of the dating at pp. xii-xiii. This copy is marked for reading, using the full range of available punctuation to indicate different levels of pause: punctus, colon, punctus versus, and punctus elevatus are all deployed. The task of copying such a significant text for the reformation of the Benedictine life in St. Godehard was evidently entrusted to a trained scribe (Hand V), whose fine script is found only here in this book. The register that precedes the Rule was added subsequently, the first part by Hand III, and completed by Hand IV. Hand III is responsible for most of the extensive marginal annotation to the text of the Rule, particularly its earlier chapters; additional marginalia are entered by the sixteenth-century Hand VI, and the chronologically later Hand II.

ff. 53v-61 [register to the Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses], rubric, Registrum in cerimonias et ordinarium nostros …;

This carefully-produced and exhaustive thematic index to the printed edition of the Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses in the present volume is prepared and entered in the tiny script of the industrious Hand IV, also responsible for the larger part of the earlier register to the Rule of St. Benedict.

ff. 61v-62, [Sermon draft], incipit, “§ Distinctio theologica 2 2 q 183 ar[ticulo] vlt[ima] § Aristotil[es] 1 ethicorum § hec diuersitas statuum pertinet ad tria { sui perfectionem { dignitatem et ordinem { diuersitatem actuum § Differentia statuum attenditur penes inci[pientium] etc. § Sequitur quod omnis bonus religiosus / est vel t’ (?) esse / vel in statu inci[pientium] etc. § Declarat b. tho[mas] sic § Status respicit libertatem vel ser[uitutem]…”;

This text appears to be the draft of a sermon, written in the tiny, highly contracted script of Hand III, and entered on leaves originally left blank between the register to the Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses and that work itself. The sermon takes as its starting point Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae, pars 2/ii, quaestio 183, articulus 4, “De differentia statuum”, and then explores the different fears (timores) that pertain to the three states of the religious life: the incipientes, the proficientes, and the perfecti. It incorporates references in very short form to quotations and exempla to be introduced at appropriate points (e.g. to quote from Aristotle’s Ethics at the start, or subsequently “Nota hic de sancto francisco et de senioribus”, f. 62), which indicate the nature of this set of notes as a sermon draft for oral delivery; though it is very much not a homiletic sermon. The conclusion considers whether a state of perfection can truly be achieved in this life. The sermon is the only work in the book that is not a normative or legal text, and provides an interesting insight into the intellectual culture of the Benedictine monks of the Bursfelde Congregation around the turn of the fifteenth century: not least, the commitment to scholasticism evident not only in the sermon’s structure, but also in the selection of theological and philosophical authorities more like those that we might expect in a work composed at the universities of the later thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, here all used in order to grapple with a central issue of the monastic life.

ff. 62v-63v,, rubric (f. 62v), JESV Nomine humiliter inuoco, incipit, “Quanquam [sic] omnis sapientia et scientia domino deo donante perspicue et clare quid agendum sit aut cauendum nobis ostendant, præ coeteris tamen sacrarum literarum humanorum actuum ritus ordinem communem, et meritorum medium describentium, hæc nostra regula clarius docet…”, rubric (f. 63), Incipit prologus B. Benedicti in Regula Monachorum, incipit, “Ausculta O fili præcepta magistri / Hunc prologum tanquam clauem totius operis Diuus pater Benedictus suæ regulæ premittit in quo exhortatur discipulum ad intentissime audiendum doctrinam suam et principaliter quatuor facit…”;

Commentary on the Prologue to the Rule of St Benedict; this text, entered by the seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Hand II, presents a short prefatory text followed by a commentary on the prologue to the Benedictine Rule. The commentary is dependent upon the Expositio regulae of the Spanish Dominican Johannes de Turrecremata (Juan de Torquemada, d. 1468): compare this text with, for example, the easily accessible Cologne 1575 edition at pp. 36-40. The Expositio regulae was written whilst Johannes was on conciliar duty at Florence in 1442, and at least 44 manuscripts and five early modern prints survive: see Kaeppeli, 1980, pp. 34-35 (no. 2723). This text appears to be a later abridgement and adaptation of that work, but the textual dependency is certain.

ff. 65-67, rubric, De Visitatione., incipit, “Visitatores cum ad visitandum aliquid monasterium accesserint si fieri potest eodem adhuc vesperi conuocent abbatem et Conuentum ad locum Capitularem vel aliam ad hoc aptum: quibus congregatis ac omnibus sedentibus dicat Visitator ‘Benedicite’…”;

Leonard Colchon, “Modus visitandi aliquod monasterium” (extracts); Leonard Colchon, abbot of Seligenstadt 1625-53 and president of the Bursfelde Congregation 1642-53, drew up a new formula for the conduct of the visitation of an abbey, and the questions to be asked of the monks resident therein. The regular visitation of the member abbeys was, alongside the regular assembly of the abbots at general chapters, one of the two main pillars on which the Congregation was supported and maintained. In the composition of this text, Colchon drew on a much earlier treatise on visitation written in 1422 by the reform-minded Johannes Rode (d. 1439), abbot of St. Matthias in Trier, who had belonged to the very first generation of Benedictine abbots to work together in what would become the Bursfelde Congregation. On Colchon’s text see Volk, 1955-72, vol. 2, pp. xv-xvi, with an edition at pp. xvi-xxiii; for his biography, see Volk, 1957. The copy entered into the present book, in the fine seventeenth-century copperplate script of Hand VII, includes (with minor differences) the instructions for the conduct of the visitation – in Volk’s edition, pp. xvi-xviii and xxi-xxiii – but not the list of questions to be asked.

ff. 75v-76, rubric (f. 75v), Absolutio Consueta, incipit, “Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absoluat, et ego autoritate omnipotentis Dei, et beatorum Apostolorum, Petri et Pauli et Ecclesiæ sanctæ suæ et mea qua fungor, absoluo te a vinculo excommunicationis maioris…”, rubric (f. 76), Absolutio in foro fori seu exteriori, incipit, “Quid petis? R. Absolutionem. Juris et Consuetudinis Ecclesiæ est, ante absolutionem ab excommunicatione in foro fori seu externo concedendam, reum iurare, aut sufficientem cautionem præstare, quod præceptis ecclesiæ, ordinarijque sui, uel absoluentis, præcipue quod ad illam causam spectat…”;

Formulae for Absolution from Excommunication; a set of standard formulae for an abbot to provide absolution to an excommunicate monk, entered here by the later seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Hand II.

f. 76v [Abbeys of the Bursfelde Congregation], rubric, Monasteria Vnionis et obseruancie Bursfeldensis, incipit, “.1. § Bursfeldia .2 § Sancti petri Erffordensi .3 § Reynsboren .4 § Homburgh .5 § Gherode .6 § Reynhusen .7 § Northem .8 § Bredenawe .9 § Sancti jacobi prope maguntiam…”;

A list of 84 member abbeys of the Bursfelde Congregation, starting with – naturally enough – Bursfelde itself. The first 78 items, in three columns, were entered by Hand III, with the final six added by Hand IV. The inclusion of this list can be quite precisely dated: the first layer of 78 abbeys already includes Staveren (no. 70) and Breitenau (no. 8), which joined the Congregation in 1495 and 1497 respectively, whilst the additional set of six are those Belgian and Luxembourgian abbeys which joined as a group in 1505-06, including Corvey (no. 79), Gembloux (no. 84), and Luxembourg (no. 83). For a full list of the abbeys of the Bursfelde Congregation, see Ziegler, 1999, pp. 376-407, with the accessions of 1505-06 noted at p. 322.

ff. 77-188v, rubric, Prologus cerimoniarum nigrorum monachorum ordinis sancti Benedicti de obseruantia Bursfeldensi., incipit, “Quoniam apostoli pauli de sollicitudine seruande vnitatis spiritus. in vinculo pacis. ephesijs principaliter facta obsecratio. ex precedentis et subsequentis sermonis contextu. nobis in vna spe vocacionis nostre. sub vnius professionis voto. sub vna eademque regula vni domino militantibus verius conuenire comprobatur…”;

The Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses, printed 1474-75 by the Brethren of the Common Life at Marienthal (GW: M43778, ISTC is00756000) is the earliest extant (though not the first) set of statutes for the then relatively new Bursfelde Congregation. One hundred and fifty copies were printed, costing one Rhenish guilder each, with two copies to be supplied to each of the then c. forty-seven abbeys of the Congregation (the remainder evidently kept aside for subsequent entrants).   Twenty-nine copies are known to survive. With this present book, the abbey of St. Godehard in Hildesheim becomes the first abbey from which both of its copies survive: the other is Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, Hs J 89. For this data, see Albert, 2002, pp. 25-28, who lists twenty-six of the twenty-nine surviving copies, omitting the copies in Copenhagen and Prague, noted by the ISTC, and the present copy (which is not one of the three further copies thought to be extant, but currently lost, for which see Albert, 2002, p. 26 n. 198). What we witness here, in terms of cultural history, is striking. Just twenty years after the invention of printing with movable type, a period in which most works printed were already bestsellers in manuscript (because a market was already guaranteed: hence Gutenberg’s printing of the Bible), we see one of the first instances in which the new technology was deployed to ensure the rapid circulation of a completely new work, some fifty years before the same strategy would be adopted by Protestant Reformers. The uniformity of the work, furthermore – as a normative text with legal force – could be vouchsafed through the printing process. This copy has been rubricated and had red initials and running headings, just as one would find in a contemporary manuscript, added by Hand VIII. Later alterations to the text of the statutes have been systematically entered, and innumerable marginal notes added, by Hands II, III, IV, and VI.

A first redaction of the Caeremoniae had been compiled and approved for use as the normative document for the Bursfelde Congregation as early as 1452. Work to successively revise the statutes, as the Congregation grew swiftly and its sense of identity crystallized, continued over the next twenty years. Numerous references in the protocols of the general chapters to the Caeremoniae from this period survive, although these early versions of the text have not survived. The finalized version was largely the work of Adam Mayer, abbot of Groß St. Martin in Cologne, and Konrad von Rodenberg, abbot of Johannisberg in the Rheingau, in the years 1470-74. Both had earlier been monks of St. Matthias in Trier, and it is unsurprising that their text of the Caeremoniae shows the clear influence of the reform statutes drawn up in that abbey by Johannes Rode (on whom see above). Marienthal, where the work was then printed, is only a couple of kilometres from Johannisberg (both are about twenty-five km. west of Mainz). For the genesis of the work, see Albert, ed., 2002, pp. 2-19, with the critical edition of the work at pp. 143-370; for a digitized copy of the incunable edition, see Online Resources below.

f. 185v, [Formula of Profession of a Lay Brother, in Low German translation], “Ich Broder Hinrich Moller loue horsam hern N. abbet dies[e]s jegenwordigen Cloisters vnd sinen nackomenline vnd dem iarlichen Capittel der Bursfeldischen einige vnd truwe tho wesen dussem Cloister vnd geue mich gantz vnder ohre straffe”;

The second class of lay brother (the donati, as distinct from the more rigorous class of conversi) associated with the Bursfelde Congregation was required to make his profession using a formula set out in the Caeremoniae. This Low German text, entered by Hand IX into the upper margin of f. 185v for a donatus named Hinrich Moller, is a direct translation of the Latin formula that appears on the page beneath: “Ego, frater N., promitto, quod ero obediens domino N., abbati presentis monasterii, eiusque successoribus et capitulo annali ac fidelis monasterio eorumque correctioni me totaliter submitto”: Albert, ed., 2002, lib. IV, c. 7 [p. 364, ll. 21-23]. We may presume that the text was translated into German in order that the postulant Hinrich Moller, evidently incapable of Latin, would understand the meaning of the profession he was to make. The necrologium of St. Godehard, in which he might be found, survives (Hildesheim, Stadtarchiv, Best. 52 Nr. 171, ff. 36-56v and 58-108). It is worth noting that the only vernacular translation of the Caeremoniae known to have belonged to a male abbey of the Congregation is a partial translation into Low German of lib. IV, c. 6-12, the section of the Caeremoniae on the donati, in a late fifteenth-century manuscript (Berlin, SBB-PK, Ms. germ. fol. 925, ff. 51v-55v): see Albert, ed., 2002, p. 52.

ff. 189-195v, [Statutes of the Bursfelde Congregation of 1510], rubric, De electione noui abbatis, incipit, “Abbates et alij prelati cedentes aut alias renunciantes secundum merita vel demerita iudicio vel ordinatione visitatorum tractari debent taliter. quod omnia edificatorie. iuste sancte atque canonice et sine scandalo et nota fiant Et infra mensem post suam cessionem aut renunciationem prouideant sibi…”;

Revisions to the statutes printed in 1474-75 were being proposed as early as 1483, and more or less systematic attempts over the next thirty years to integrate necessary revisions culminated in a set of revised statutes agreed by the general chapter of the Bursfelde Congregation in 1510. They were presented to that chapter by Henning Kalberg, abbot of St. Godehard in Hildesheim: see Volk, 1955-72, vol. 1, pp. 27-8. They are entered here by Hand I, and edited (without knowledge of the present manuscript) by Volk, 1955-72, vol. 1, pp. 404, 28-31, and 404-9, in that sequence. An identical text is bound to the ‘other’ copy of the Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses from St. Godehard (Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, J 89, ff. 204-211), in the hand of Henning Kalberg himself, and possibly on the same paper as this present copy: see Giermann et al., 1991-93, vol. 2, pp. 243-44. Marginalia in his hand are also found in two further manuscripts in the same library: Hs 313b (vol. 1, pp. 10-11) and Hs 785 (vol. 2, pp. 90-95); cf. vol. 2, pp. x-xi. Should the identity of the script be confirmed, we may regard this present manuscript as an autograph copy of these Statutes.

ff. 197-203, rubric, Processus Electionis noui Abbatis., incipit, “Post vacationem Abbatiæ ac sepulturam coram Notario ac testibus dies futuræ electionis in Capitulo deputari debet, ad quam etiam absentes et qui electioni interesse habent conuocentur, Visitatores etiam citius de hoc certiorari necessarium est….”

This appears to be an alternative version, added in the copperplate script of Hand VII, of the text at ff. 5-8, which presents the exact procedure to be used when conducting the election of a new abbot, following the death and burial of the previous incumbent.


Albert, Marcel, ed. Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses, Corpus consuetudinum monasticarum 13, Siegburg, 2002.

Briquet, C.-M. Les Filigranes. Dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600. A Facsimile of the 1907 Edition with Supplementary Material Contributed by a Number of Scholars, ed. Allan Stevenson, Amsterdam, 1968.

Giermann, Renate, et al. Handschriften der Dombibliothek zu Hildesheim, 2 vols, Mittelalterliche Handschriften in Niedersachsen 8-9, Wiesbaden, 1991-93.

Hammer, Elke-Ursel. “Substrukturen, Zentren und Regionen in der Bursfelder Benediktinerkongregation”, in Enno Bünz, Stefan Tebruck, and Helmut G. Walther, eds. Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter. Festschrift für Matthias Werner zum 65. Geburtstag, Veröffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission für Thüringen. Kleine Reihe 24; Schriftenreihe der Friedrich-Christian-Lesser-Stiftung 19, Cologne etc., 2007, pp. 397-426.

Hanslik, Rudolf, ed.  Benedicti Regula, Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 75, Vienna, 1960.

Härtel, Helmar. “Die Bibliothek des Godehardiklosters in Hildesheim”, in Michael Brandt, ed., Der Schatz von St. Godehard. Ausstellung des Diözesan-Museums Hildesheim, Hildesheim, 1988, pp. 28-31.

Hofmann, J., and H. Reuther. “Hildesheim, St. Godehard”, in Ulrich Faust, ed., Die Benediktinerklöster in Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein und Bremen, Germania Benedictina 6, St. Ottilien, 1979, pp. 200-17.

Kaeppeli, Thomas. Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi, vol. 3, I – S, Rome, 1980.

Kruppa, Nathalie. “Eigenkirche, Patronatsrecht und Inkorporation bei geistlichen Kommunitäten im Bistum Hildesheim im Mittelalter”, in eadem, with the collaboration of Leszek Zygner, ed., Pfarreien im Mittelalter. Deutschland, Polen, Tschechien und Ungarn im Vergleich, Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte 238. Studien zur Germania Sacra 32, Göttingen, 2008, pp. 271-325.

Piccard, Gerhard. Die Wasserzeichenkartei Piccard im Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart; Findbuch, Stuttgart, 1961-1997.

Rees, D. “Englische Benediktiner in Niedersachsen”, trans. J. Henz, in Ulrich Faust, ed. Die Benediktinerklöster in Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein und Bremen, Germania Benedictina 6, St. Ottilien, 1979, pp. 525-49.

idem, “Lamspringe”, trans. J. Henz, in Ulrich Faust, ed. Die Benediktinerklöster in Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein und Bremen, Germania Benedictina 6, St. Ottilien, 1979, pp. 299-320.

Regula S. Benedicti, cum doctiss. et piiss. commentariis Ioannis de Turre Cremata, S. R. E. Cardinalis, et Smaragdi abbatis […], Cologne, 1575. Online at

Schlotheuber, Eva, and Wolfgang Beckermann. “Die Bibliothek des Godehardiklosters in Hildesheim”, in Rolf-Jürgen Grote and Kees van der Ploeg, with the assistance of Vera Kellner, eds. Wandmalerei in Niedersachsen, Bremen, und im Groningerland. Aufsatzband, Hannover, 2001, pp. 108-16.

Volk, Paulus. Die Generalkapitels-Rezesse der Bursfelder Kongregation, 4 vols, Siegburg, 1955-72.

Volk, Paulus. “Colchon, Leonard”, in Neue Deutsche Biographie 3 (1957), p. 318. Online at http://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd123304784.html

Ziegler, W. “Die Bursfelder Kongregation”, in Ulrich Faust and Franz Quarthal, eds. Die Reformverbände und Kongregationen der Benediktiner im deutschen Sprachraum, Germania Benedictina 1, St. Ottilien, 1999.

Online resources

Watermarks, Piccard Online

The Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses (Düsseldorf, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, O. u. H. G. 255 (Ink.), from the abbey of Werden in Westphalia)

Editions and Translations of the Benedictine Rule

Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke

Incunabula Short Title Catalogue: entry for the Caeremoniae Bursfeldenses

Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae: electronic text of the Leonine edition, 1899