This is an incomplete list of some of the manuscripts from the Cotton library that today form the Cotton collection of the British Library. Some manuscripts were destroyed or damaged in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731, and a few are kept in other libraries and collections.
Robert Bruce Cotton organized his library in a room 26 feet (7.9 m) long by six feet wide filled with bookpresses, each with the bust of a figure from classical antiquity on top. Counterclockwise, these were Julius Caesar, Augustus, Cleopatra, Faustina, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. (Domitian had only one shelf, perhaps because it was over the door). In each press, each shelf was assigned a letter; manuscripts were identified by the bust over the press, the shelf letter, and the position of the manuscript (in Roman numerals) counting from the left side of the shelf. Thus, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Nero B.iv, was the fourth manuscript from the left on the second shelf (shelf B) of the press under the bust of Nero. For Domitian and Augustus, which had only one shelf each, the shelf letter was left out of the press-mark. The British Museum retained Cotton's press-marks when the Cotton collection became one of the foundational collections of its library, so manuscripts are still designated by library, bookpress, shelf, and number (even though they are no longer stored in that fashion). For example, the manuscript of Beowulf is designated Cotton MS Vitellius A.xv, and the manuscript of Pearl is Cotton MS Nero A.x.
|i||Two large portfolios containing a collection of 16th century maps, charts and plans of towns, buildings, fortifications and related items. Some of the items are plans for projects that were never completed.|
|ii||A portfolio containing a large collection of mostly Anglo-Saxon charters, also contains a few later medieval charters, Papal Bulls, and some other items. Includes: Item 3 The Ismere Diploma; Item 106 Magna Carta: Exemplification of 1215|
|iii||A portfolio containing a miscellaneous collection of drawings and prints, many of them military in nature.|
|iv||Troy Book by John Lydgate, edition of 1555 with some variations. According to heraldic evidence the manuscript was created between 1411 and 1458, probably during Lydgate's lifetime.|
|v||Le Tresor des Histoires. Universal history, from the Creation to Pope Clement VI (died 1342). 15th century copy, lavishly illuminated.|
|vi||Le livre des proprietés des choses, translated from Latin to French by Jehan Corbechon under the patronage of Charles V of France. 14th century, illuminated.|
|vii||Cartulary of Lewes Priory, now cataloged as Cotton MS Vespasian F XV.|
|A.ii||Fos. 3–5, A Pistil of Susan (fragment), probably by Huchoun; fos. 5–13, Sir Eglamour of Artois; fos. 22–35, Octavian; fos. 35–42, Sir Launfal; fos. 42–57, Lybeaus Desconus; fos. 71–6, Emaré; fos. 130–4, Sir Isumbras.|
|A.ix.||The Owl and the Nightingale; Layamon, Brut|
|A.xv||(1) fos. 3-117, 8th and 9th-century material from France, which had arrived in England by the 9th or 10th century |
(2) fos. 120-53, once part of BL Egerton 3314, belonging to the 11th century. It consists of two parts:
|C.i||Correspondence on relations between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots|
|C.vi||Correspondence of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, with the court of Henry VIII|
|A.iii||Volume of liturgical fragments|
|A.v||Chronicon Angliae Petriburgense – The Spalding Annals|
|B.iv||Illustrated Old English Hexateuch|
|B.v||Acts of the Council of Constantinople|
|B.vii||Manuscript assembled (from earlier materials) for Archbishop Matthew Parker (d. 1575). Its contents include (1) legal proceedings; (2) Roger of Howden, Chronicle, (3) Pseudo-Turpin, De gestis Karoli magni; 'Prester John', Epistola ad Manuelem imperatorem, etc.; (4) extracts made in the time of Matthew Parker; (5) Pseudo-Dares Phrygius, De excidio Troie historia; Geoffrey of Monmouth, Prophetiae Merlini; (6) legal proceedings.|
|C.ix||Historia Ecclesie Abbendonensis|
|D.ii||Composition of Yards and Perches|
|D.iv||fos 48-54 De Iniusta Vexacione Willelmi Episcopi Primi (missing introduction and parts of the conclusion)|
|E.viii||Adamus Murimuthensis, Chronicon Sui Temporis|
|A.ii||Life of St Modwenna|
|A.iii||The Old English 'Cleopatra Glossaries'|
|A.xiv||Bernard Silvestris, Cosmographia; Cyfraith Hywel, Cyfnerth Redaction|
|A.xvi||Adamus Murimuthensis, Chronicon Sui Temporis|
|B.iii||Ailred of Rievaulx, Historia Angliae|
|B.xiii||Miscellany (Homilies etc.)|
|C.viii||Prudentius, Conflict Of The Soul|
|D.i||Miscellany, including (1) Vitruvius, De architectura; (2) Vegetius, De Re Militari|
|E.vi||Miscellany, including Sir Thomas More's letter to Henry VIII before execution (ff. 176v–177)|
|i||Miscellany, includes Annales Cambriae C, works by Isidore of Seville, Bede, and Gerald of Wales|
|vii||Durham Liber Vitae|
|viii||Collection of chronicles. Includes:|
Item III (ff. 30–70) Bilingual Canterbury Epitome (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle F)
|ix||fragment of the Bilingual Canterbury Epitome (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle H), futhorc row|
|A.iii||Cartulary of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster|
|A.v||Miscellany, separated by Henry Savile the Elder from Dublin, Trinity College 114. It includes the following items:|
fos. 25r–97r. Symeon of Durham, Liber de exordio atque procursu Dunelmensis ecclesiae, including Bede's Death Song
|A.viii||Abbreviatio de Gestis Normannorum ad Gulielmum I Regem Angliae|
|A.x||Additional Glosses to the Glossary in Ælfric's Grammar|
|B.iii||Life of Saint Edith in Middle English Verse|
|B.viii||Register of Chapel of St Stephen, Westminster|
|B.ix||Chronicle of Melrose|
|D.i||Statutes of the Order of the Garter, revised under Edward VI|
|A.ii||Anglo-Saxon futhorc, destroyed by fire|
|A.xviii||Athelstan Psalter, 10th century|
|A.vi||Julius Work Calendar, c. 1020|
|A.vii||Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles, c. 1262|
|A.x||Old English Martyrology|
|A.xi||William Fitz Stephen's Life of St Thomas Becket|
|A.xvi||Ailred of Rievaulx, De Gestis Davidis Regis Scottorum|
|B.xiii||Miscellany, including Item 1: Hugh of Saint-Victor's Chronicle from Deeping Priory|
|C.xii||Ailred of Rievaulx, De Regibus Saxorum|
|E.iv||"Beauchamp Pageants", c. 1484–90|
|E.vii||Ælfric's Lives of Saints|
|E.viii||Lydgate, 'Kings of England sithen William Conqueror', The Three Kings of Cologne, Brut Chronicle.|
|F.vi||Charges brought against Cardinal Wolsey, 1529|
|A.v||Computus of Philippe de Thaon|
|A.x||Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Cleanness|
|A.xi||(1) Carta caritatis posterior (13th century), (2) Pseudo-Turpin, De gestis Karoli magni; De miraculis apostoli Iacobi, (3) Orderic Vitalis and Gesta Normannorum Ducum, (4) excerpts from Pseudo-Jerome, De essentia diuinitatis, (5) Jerome, Aduersus Iouinianum.|
|B.i||Royal diplomatic correspondence concerning Portugal|
|B.viii||Royal diplomatic correspondence concerning Russia|
|B.xi||Royal diplomatic correspondence concerning Russia|
|C.v||Marianus Scotus, Chronicle; Bartholomew Cotton, Historia Anglicana|
|C.x||• Item 1 Autograph diary of Edward VI |
• Item 2 Letters of Edward VI to Henry VIII and Katherine Parr
|C.xi||Robert Fabyan, Chronicle of England and France|
|D.i||Matthew of Paris, Liber additamentorum|
|D.ii||Order of Ceremony for the Knights of the Bath|
|D.x||Adamus Murimuthensis, Chronicon Sui Temporis|
|E.i||Miscellany in two parts.|
(1) The first and earliest part is the Cotton-Corpus Legendary, a Worcester manuscript (1050 x 1075) which includes Byrhtferth's Life of Oswald, his Life of Ecgwine and Lantfred of Winchester's Translatio et Miracula S. Swithuni.
|A.x||Æthelweard, Chronicon de Rebus Anglicis|
|A.xii||The Battle of Maldon (destroyed in 1731)|
|B.vi||The Cotton Genesis|
|B.x||Mary of Egypt (fragmentary)|
|B.x.165||Old English Rune poem (destroyed in 1731)|
|B.xi.2||Anglo-Saxon Chronicles G (mostly destroyed in 1731)|
|C.i||Volume containing fragments of the four Gospels, Dialogues of Gregory the Great, Ælfric's De creatore et creatura and other pieces in Old English.|
|C.ii||Adamus Murimuthensis, Chronicon Sui Temporis|
|C.v||Otho-Corpus Gospels (fragmentary)|
|C.ix||Letters of the Grand Masters of Rhodes to Henry VIII|
|E.i||Latin-Old English Glossary|
|E.iv||Letters of Intelligence from Paris to the Court of Elizabeth I|
|E.xiii||Legal miscellany, including some of the Proverbia Grecorum|
|A.ii||Ottonian Gospels, donated to King Athelstan and by Athelstan to Christ Church, Canterbury.|
f. 3-27. Regularis Concordia (Item 1)
Rule of St. Benedict (Item 43)
f. 55–6v, 94v–7. Late Old English Handbook for a Confessor.
|A.vi||Abingdon Chronicle I (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle B)|
|A.ix||Abbreviatio de Gestis Normannorum ad Gulielmum I Regem Angliae|
|A.xiii||Worcester cartularies, including Hemming's Cartulary by Hemming|
|A.xiv||Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica|
|A.xv||Canterbury Letterbook, collection of letters|
|B.i||Abingdon Chronicle II (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle C). Singed by the 1731 fire.|
|B.ii||Miscellany, including Miracles of St Edmund, in verse|
|B.iv||Collection of Chronicles, Histories and related material. Includes:
|B.v/1||Anglo-Saxon Miscellany (images)|
|B.viii||The Coronation Book of Charles V of France|
|C.ii||Bede, Ecclesiastical History|
|C.ix||Historia Vitae et Regni Ricardi Secundi from Evesham Abbey|
|D.iii||includes Vita Sancti Niniani|
|D.iv (part ii)||Formerly part of Winchester, Cathedral Library I; includes Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica; De abbatibus (ff. 158v–66r)|
|D.vi||Cartulary of Christ Church Twinham (Christchurch Priory Cartulary)|
|E.x||"History of Richard III". Damaged in 1731 fire.|
|A.i||Liber Eliensis (G)|
|A.xix||Ailred of Rievaulx, De Gestis Davidis Regis Scottorum|
|A.xv & A.xvi||John Joscelyn, an Old English-Latin dictionary|
|A.xxv||The Annals of Boyle|
|B.i||Order for the tournament on the Field of the Cloth of Gold, France, 1520|
|B.ii||Horoscope of Elizabeth I|
|B.viii||Document I – Sir Walter Ralegh's autograph journal of his second voyage to Guiana, 1617–18|
Document II – Francis Drake graved and bremd his ship at 48 degrees on the backside of Labrador
|C.xvi||The Travels of Sir John Mandeville|
|D.iv||Latin Epigrams of Sir Thomas More, on the coronation of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, 1509|
|D.xviii||Sawles Warde, Seinte Katherine and Hali Meiðhad (Katherine group)|
|A.viii||New Minster Reformation Charter|
|A.xiv||A composite volume of three 12th-century manuscripts. These include: a collection of Welsh saints' Lives, an excerpt from Bede's "Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum", and some of Alcuin of York's Epistulae.|
|A.xviii||Ailred of Rievaulx, De Gestis Davidis Regis Scottorum|
|B.vi||includes Anglian Collection V|
|B.ix||History of the foundation of the hospital and priory of St Bartholomew, Smithfield|
|B.xi||Chronicle of Hagnaby Abbey|
|B.xx||Goscelin of Saint-Bertin, Lives of the Canterbury saints|
|C.i||Correspondence of the Spanish royal court with the court of Henry VIII|
|D.vi||Miscellany, including the Old Kentish Glosses.|
|D.xii||Latin Hymnal with Old English gloss|
|D.xiv||Miscellany of the mid-12th century. It has most of Ælfric's Catholic Homilies (first and second series) and cites from Ælfric's letters to Sigeferth and Wulfstan. Other works include a Life of Saint Neot; homily on the Phoenix; Old English Dicts of Cato; prognostications; the Vision of St Furseus; translations of Ralph d'Escures' homily on Mary; and excerpts from Honorius Augustodunensis, Elucidarium.|
|D.xix||(1) Nigel Witeker, Miracula sancte Dei genitricis uirginis Marie and other poems; (2) Ely Chronicle (12th century); (3) Easter-table chronicle; (4) Hildebert of Le Mans, certain letters and sermons.|
|A.viii||Annals of Lacock Abbey|
|A.x||Statutes of Lichfield Cathedral|
|A.xii||Penitential of Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter|
|A.xiii||Genealogy of the Dukes of Normandy|
ff 1: Psalter leaf removed by British Library to form Royal MS 13 D I*, f 37.
ff 2: Cotton endleaf
ff 3: Medieval endleaf with memoranda
ff 4-93: Soliloquies of Augustine, Gospel of Nicodemus, Debate of Solomon and Saturn, Homily on St. Quintin
ff 94-209: Homily on St. Christopher, Marvels of the East, Letter of Alexander the Great to Aristotle, Beowulf, Judith
|B.ii||Diplomatic letters to Henry VIII. Singed by fire.|
|B.iv||Bull of Pope Leo X, 1521, granting Henry VIII the title "Defender of the Faith". Badly damaged by fire, 1731|
|B.v||Letters of Pope Adrian VI to Henry VIII|
|B.viii||Letters of Pope Clement VII to Henry VIII|
|C. iii||Anglo-Saxon Herbal|
|C.viii||Miscellany, including Epistles of St. Paul from Durham|
|C.xi||Treaty of Marriage between Louis XII of France and Mary Tudor|
|C.xvii||The Manner of Sir Philip Sidney's Death|
|E.ii||Grandes Chroniques de France|
|E.vi||Johannes a Leydis, Chronicle of Holland (autograph of first edition)|
|E.vii||Giraldus Cambrensis, Life and Miracles of St Æthelberht|
|E.xiii||The Intermediate Compilation+Crowland Annals, Decretals|
|E.xviii||Psalter with interlinear Old English Gloss|
|F.xi||Vitellius Psalter (Irish)|
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