Claudius Pontificals

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The opening page of Claudius Pontifical III (fol. 19) was decorated with a drawing of the coronation of Henry I by a later hand.

The so-called Claudius Pontificals are the texts in British Library, Cotton Claudius A.iii, a composite manuscript of three separate pontificals, i.e. compilations of the services reserved for bishops, especially the coronation of kings. The first two date to the 11th century, the third to the 12th century.[1]

  • foll. 4-6, formerly bound with the Coronation Gospels (British Library, Cotton MS Tiberius A.ii), contain the "Æthelred confirmation" and the "Edward the Confessor confirmation".[2]
  • Claudius Pontifical I, foll. 31-86, 106-150 (original page order 31-38, 106-136, 39-86, 137-150); this early 11th-century book was owned by Wulfstan (died 1023); on fol. 31 a commemorative verse in Old English, informing us that this halungboc was bound at the expense of one Thureth, presumably a Northumbrian earl;
  • Claudius Pontifical II, foll. 9-18, 87-105, mid 11th century, contains the Second Anglo-Saxon Ordo;[3]
  • Claudius Pontifical III, foll. 19-29, consists of the Third English Coronation Order (coronation of Henry I, 5 August 1100), early to mid 12th century.

The manuscript on fol. 7 contains the original Latin form of the coronation oath of the English kings (attributed in a later hand to the coronation of Æthelred II, AD 978).


  1. ^ D. N. Dumville, "Liturgical Books for the Anglo-Saxon Episcopate: a Reconsideration" in: Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical History of the Late Anglo-saxon England: Four Studies, Studies in Anglo-Saxon History Series, Boydell & Brewer, 1992, pp. 77-79.
  2. ^ Robin Fleming, "Christ Church Canterbury's Anglo-Norman Cartulary" in: C. Warren Hollister (ed.), Anglo-Norman Political Culture and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Proceedings of the Borchard Conference on Anglo-Norman History, 1995, Boydell & Brewer, 1997, 89f.
  3. ^ this is the latest of six extant manuscript copies of the text. Byrhtferth's account of the coronation of Edgar is based on the second ordo. See Michael Lapidge, "Byrhtferth and Oswald" in: Nicholas Brooks, Catherine Cubitt (eds.), 1996, [ p. 72].
  • D.H. Turner (ed.), The Claudius Pontificals, Henry Bradshaw Society (1971).
  • George Garnett, "The Third Recension of the English Coronation ordo: The Manuscripts", in: Stephen Morillo (ed.), The Haskins Society Journal 11: 1998 Studies in Medieval History, 2003, pp. 43-72.