Collectie Soeterbeeck

Collectie Soeterbeeck
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Nijmegen, University Library, MS 458

(olim: Soeterbeeck IV 48)

[Manuscript description made by Ad Poirters, autumn 2010]


Manuscript Nijmegen, UB, 458, formerly part of the library of the convent of Soeterbeeck as manuscript IV 48, is a composite volume. Foliation 1-74 in a modern hand using pencil.
The book has an extraneous flyleaf (bearing the original manuscript signature IV 48 in red pencil in the upper right corner), followed by the manuscript proper (an incomplete sixteenth-century book of hours in Latin, but with some Dutch rubrics), which consists of fifty-eight folios (ff. 1-58).
The medieval manuscript is in turn followed by sixteen folios of a much later manuscript (ff. 59-74), which seems, judging by the remnants of a torn-off leaf after f. 74 and the way the text breaks off in mid-sentence, to have originally been longer by at least one folio.



Sixteenth-century (Kienhorst 79).


See Rubrication and decoration.


Paper, 58 folios, 11.5 x 8 cm. (and not 15.5 x 8 cm. as Kienhorst (2005) erroneously states (79)). The book’s format is octavo. Parts of a watermark (unicorn which is looking to the right) are most clearly visible on ff. 53 and 57. The leaves have been heavily trimmed.


It is impossible to give a collation formula, since the book has been rebound after having been restored and strengthened by using different kinds of material, which now almost completely obscures even the manuscript’s present make-up. Ff. 1-8 and 9-16 originally were quaternios, judging by the sewing thread between ff. 4 and 5 and between ff. 12 and 13.


One column of eighteen lines per page.


Littera hybrida, written in one hand.


Fol. 1r has two pen-flourished initials, and f. 52r has one as well. All three consist of a Lombard initial in red with red and green flourishes, featuring the distinct lobed vines (Kienhorst 34). The first initial on f. 1r is a D of four lines (ll. 2-5), the second one is a V of two lines (ll. 12-13), and the one on fol. 52r is a D of three lines (ll. 2-4) in height. The first and the third initials mark a major text division, namely the beginning of the Hours of the Virgin (Domine labia mea aperies...) and the seven Penitential Psalms (Domine ne in furore...), while the second initial marks the beginning of the Invitatory Psalm 95 (94), Venite exultemus domino...
These decorated initials, which include lobed leaves, point to the monastery of Mariënhage in Woensel-Eindhoven as the book’s possible place of origin (Kienhorst 34; 79).
Apart from these initials, the manuscript has many Lombard majuscules in red, spanning either one or two line, depending on the importance of the division they mark. Lombard majuscules which mark a new psalm, hymn, or reading are two lines in height, while those which mark new verses within a psalm or a hymn or the beginning of a responsory, span only one line.
Some black majuscules are accentuated with red ink, and these mark antiphons, versicles, new verses within readings, and important words such as amen, alleluia, or references to verses found in extenso elsewhere; on f. 1v/3 one of these references is also underlined with red ink.
Rubrics are in red, as are line divisions in the case of run-ons (e.g. ff. 11r and 13r).
Contemporary corrections and erasures are also made using red ink (as on ff. 1v9, 9r1 and 12v10).
Apart from these, there are also some slightly more remarkable things to be seen in the original, medieval layer of the manuscript:

f. 5v18 empty space: no rubric added for lectio tertia
f. 10r18marginal rubric which refers to the insertion of a two-line verse at the bottom of the page (ll. 20-21)
f. 42vguide rubric: unreadably small text written vertically in inner margin
f. 43vguide rubric: unreadably small text written vertically in inner margin
f. 48v9insertion: tuum marginally inserted between servum and domine in the Nunc dimittis (Luke 2.29)

Of the final marginal addition, only the letter m survives, presumably as a result of the severe trimming of the pages.


Several layers of traces of later use can be found in the manuscript. Generally speaking, the Hours of the Virgin are more heavily thumb-marked than the Penitential Psalms, pointing to the greater popularity of the former. More specifically, I would divide the traces of use into restorations and corrections.
First of all, there are the post-medieval corrections and additions:
f. 7v5-6 correction: memor eromemores erunt (Ps. 45 (44).18, a change from the reading of the Gallican Psalter to that of the Roman Psalter)
f. 9v15-19restoration: first letters of each line
f. 10r10correction: two punctuation marks added, between quam and venire and between est and spiritus
f. 10r16-20restoration: final letters of each line
f. 10v16-19restoration: first letters of each line
f. 11v17-18restoration: first letters of each line
f. 12r17-18restoration: final letters of each line
f. 18v14correction: speculumeternum (Ps. 148.6, a change from the reading of the Gallican Psalter to that of the Roman Psalter)
f. 22r6-7reference(?): marginal cross in brown ink next to the commemoration of St. Augustine
f. 22v16reference(?): marginal cross in brown ink next to the commemoration of all saints
f. 24r5insertion: meos inserted between oculos and in (Ps. 121 (120).1)
f. 46v5correction: sompnumsomnum (Ps. 132 (131).4, in brown ink)
f. 46v15correction: archaarca (Ps. 132 (131).8, in brown ink)

What the significance is of the changes to the Psalms, I do not know. Had the corrector wanted to revert to the Roman Psalter entirely, he would have had to change a lot of other words as well, and these corrections seem to be too erratic to be systematic. On a related note, the correction on f. 7v has partly been cut off, meaning that these corrections, too, antedate the trimming of the pages of this book.
As for the brown ink crosses and corrections, they are distinct from the other corrections and restorations, which have all been done in black ink. It is tempting to link the crosses next to the prayers of St. Augustine and all saints with the Dutch text for those feasts in the post-medieval unit at the back of the book (ff. 69r14-70v14 and 72r7-74v19), but that is purely tentative.

Second, virtually every page has been restored using white paper. I will therefore not mention this type of restoration anymore unless it says something important about the history of the manuscript. The next table has a survey of the most important restorations, and (between round brackets) their peculiarities:
f. 1r white paper (foliation on top of white paper)
f. 16v-17rwhite paper (traces of an a and an e, or of ink that ran?)
f. 21v-22rwhite paper and fragment of a post-medieval handwritten text (fragment on top of white paper)
f. 23v-24rwhite paper and textile tape (textile tape on top of white paper)
f. 24v-26rfragments of a printed book in French and white paper (white paper on top of printed text)
f. 27v-28rfragment of post-medieval handwritten text
f. 31v-32rfragment of a printed book in French and textile tape (textile tape on top of printed text)
f. 32v-33rfragment of a printed book in French
f. 35v-36rtextile tape
f. 38v-39rfragment from an unidentified printed book, white paper, and textile tape (white paper on top of printed text, and textile tape on top of white paper)
f. 41v-42rwhite paper and textile tape (textile tape on top of white paper)
f. 49v-50rwhite paper and textile tape (textile tape on top of white paper)
f. 50v-51rwhite paper and a fragment from a printed book in Dutch (printed text on top of white paper)
f. 53v-54rfragments of a printed book in French and textile tape (textile tape on top of printed text)

In terms of the stratification of the book’s many layers, the following can be made out from this table.
Since the pencil foliation is on top of the white paper, the white paper must precede it. Since no restoration at all is visible on ff. 59-74, the post-medieval part of the present volume, and since the foliation runs all the way to f. 74 even though the medieval unit stops at f. 58, it is probable that the book was restored, using, among others, the strips of white paper, then trimmed, joined to and rebound with the modern manuscript, and finally foliated.
Since the textile tape is on top of the white paper, the textile tape is later, and the same goes for the fragments of the handwritten text and the book in Dutch. The white paper, however, sometimes covers fragments of a printed book in French, so those fragments are earliest. It is not possible to correlate the fragments of the Dutch book, the handwritten text, and the textile, since they do not occur together.
It is clear, however, not only because of the way both the white strips of paper and the textile tape have been used to strengthen the folds of quires and bifolios, but also because the sewing cotton between ff. 41-42 has gone through the textile tape, that all of these strips of paper belong to (several) restorative phase(s). Assuming, then, that each of these different strips of paper belong to the same layer in time, which can never be said for certain, the tentative order which emerges is the following: fragments from a printed book in French (Fr 1) – strips of white paper – fragment from a printed book in Dutch (Fr 2), fragments from a post–medieval handwritten text (Fr 3), and textile tape – sewing cotton – foliation.
Fr 1
The text on the fragments from the printed book in French can be partly reconstructed. They are from an edition of Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie’s Instruction pour les jardins fruitiers et potagers (1690). Given the way the text is distributed across the page, and the ways lines end, it could be that the paper cuttings are actually from a copy closely resembling the 1692 edition, printed in Amsterdam by Henri Desbordes. The fragments on ff. 24-26v are directly consecutive, and those on ff. 31v-32r and 53v-54r are from the same leaf, but have been pasted with the other side on top. The second fragment on ff. 53v-54r is from a different leaf altogether.
Fr 2
The fragment from the printed book in Dutch uses gothic letters. The part that can still be read mainly consists of references to Biblical verses. From the way they are distributed across the page, these appear to be marginal annotations of some sort. I have not been able to identify the text.
Fr 3
The text seems to be Dutch, though even that much is not certain. From the way the text is distributed across the page, it could be a letter of some sort.


Compared to most books of hours, this one is fairly incomplete. It lacks a Calendar of Saints, the Office of the Dead (Officium Defunctorum), and a Litany of Saints (Litania Sanctorum), which generally make up the rest of a complete book of hours.
ff. 1-51 Horae beatae Mariae virginis / Hours of the Virgin (The Little Office of Our Lady)
- 1r1-15v4: Matins
- 15v5-23r15:Lauds, with (on ff. 21v16-23r15) the Memoriae Sanctorum
- 23r15-27v4:Prime
- 27v5-29v3:Tierce
- 19v4-31r18:Sext
- 31v1-33r16:None
- 33v1-45v18:Vespers, with (on ff. 37v11-39r5) the Memoriae Sanctorum and (on ff. 39r6-45v18) texts for the proprium de tempore and the proprium de sanctis
- 46r1-51v18:Compline
Kienhorst (2005) says that the Hours of the Virgin are followed by “antiphons, versicles and prayers for the complete liturgical year,” a sort of liturgical miscellany that is not part of the Hours of the Virgin (79). This is not entirely correct. The main text of Vespers continues up to f. 37v, where the collect ends. What follows are really the Memoriae Sanctorum, the Commemorations of Saints, consisting of an antiphon, a versicle and a collect for each saint or feast. Though these texts could, of course, be read separately, they are still part of Vespers proper, for on saints’ days or feasts these texts, instead of the standard collects, ended the two main liturgical hours, Lauds and Vespers, which is why, as will have been seen, they are also included after Lauds.
The Vespers Commemorations are followed, on ff. 39r-45v, by diverse liturgical texts which belong to the different liturgical seasons, but these are similar in nature to the Commemorations. (It is not surprising that texts for both Vespers and Matins are included here, for, liturgically speaking, a Solemnity starts with Vespers of the day before.)
It is remarkable though, that on ff. 41r and 45r some rubrics are in Dutch, as Kienhorst (2005) mentions (79).
From ff. 46r to 52v, the text of Compline is given. If the scribe saw the Commemorations and the other liturgical texts as a separate part, he would not have placed them between Lauds and Prime or Vespers and Compline, but after them, as was done in NIJMEGEN, UB, MS 456 (olim Soeterbeeck IV 46).
Additionally, Compline, too, ends on a collection of several different texts for specific feasts and liturgical times (ff. 50-51v), but these still belong to Compline. These, like the Commemorations and the texts after the Vespers Commemorations, are just different options for ending a liturgical hour differently during different periods of the liturgical year, and do not really constitute a separate text.
ff. 52-58 Septem psalmi poenitentiales / Seven Penitential Psalms (Psalms of Confession)
- 52r1-52v9: Psalm 6 (Inc. Domine ne in furore ... miserere)
- 2v10-53v2:Psalm 32 (31) (Inc. Beati quorum...)
- 53v3-54v17:Psalm 38 (37) (Inc. Domine ne in furore ... quoniam)
- 54v18-56r1:Psalm 51 (50) (Inc. Miserere ... secundum magnam)
- 56r2-57v5:Psalm 102 (101) (Inc. Domine exaudi ... et clamor)
- 57v6-58r2:Psalm 130 (129) (Inc. De profundis...)
- 58r3-58v18:Psalm 143 (142) (Inc. Domine exaudi ... auribus percipe)
Kienhorst (2005) claims that the text of the Penitential Psalms is cut off at the bottom of the final page (79), but this is not actually the case. The final line of f. 58v, l. 18, ends on Sicut erat, the first words of the Gloria Patri, the doxology which ends every psalm. Psalm 32 (31), Beati quorum..., ends in the same way on f. 53v2. Furthermore, Psalm 143 (142) is the seventh and last of the Penitential Psalms, and does not lack any text. The Penitential Psalms therefore end where they should.



Most likely Soeterbeeck in Deursen-Ravenstein.


Paper, 16 leaves, same size as the medieval manuscript. It is clear from a small remnant that is still visible after f. 74 that at least one leaf of this final unit has been torn off and lost. Also, the prayer on f. 74v breaks off mid-sentence.


Two quires: ff. 59-66 and 67-74.


Modern cursive script, written in one hand.

ff. 59r1-64r13 Diverse liturgical instructions in Dutch
- 59r1-12: From Advent to Candlemass
- 59v1-11:From Christmas to Candlemass
- 59v12-16r7:From Candlemass to Easter
- 60r8-60v3:From Easter to the Saturday after Ascension
- 60v4-6:From the Saturday after Ascension to Advent
- 60v7-61r3:In Advent and Lent
- 61r4-10:In Lent
- 61r11-18:Regarding versicles
- 61v7-10:On Epiphany
- 61v11-15:From Easter to Ascension
- 62r1-5:From Ascension to Whitsun
- 62r6-10:From Whitsun to Trinity Sunday
- 62r11-14:After Trinity Sunday
- 62v1-6:On Holy Thursday
- 62v7-8:On Easter Sunday
- 62v9-14:On Holy Thursday and Good Friday
- 63r1-13:When someone takes the habit
- 63v1-14:Prayer for the annual Mass
- 64r1-5:Prayer for a priest
- 64r6-13:Prayer for a man
A small strip of paper bearing the text octaaf uyt has been loosely inserted between ff. 61-62. It is in the same hand as the rest of the post-medieval text on ff. 59-75.

ff. 64rv1-68r2 De aandagt of reys van de H Moeder godts van Loretten

ff. 68v1-74v19 Dutch liturgical texts for four Augustinian feasts
- 68v1-69r13: (28/2) Second Translation of St. Augustine’s relics
- 69r14-70v14:(5/3) All the saints of the Canons Regular
- 70v15-72r6:(5/5) St. Augustine’s conversion
- 72r7-74v19:(28/8) St. Augustine’s death

The interesting thing is that these texts are in Dutch.
The first part (ff. 59r-64r) consists of instructions for what prayers must be said during which period of the liturgical year or for what is different from what is done during Ordinary Time, and while the liturgical texts themselves, which are generally not cited in extenso but only briefly identified, are in Latin, the rubrics and directions are in Dutch.
The spiritual pilgrimage (ff. 64v-68r) is completely in Dutch, and for the feasts of St. Augustine (ff. 68v-74v) even the liturgical texts themselves, and not only the rubrics, are in Dutch. Given that Soeterbeeck was a convent of Canonesses Regular, Augustinian nuns, these final texts must have been important for them, so it is understandable that they were translated into Dutch.


The book’s cover is made of cardboard, which has been covered with leather. The cover’s margins and corners have been studded with strips of leather, and the whole thing has subsequently been painted black (which is shown by the flaking of the paint). Kienhorst (2005) says that the boards measure 12.4 x 9.5 cm. (79), which is more or less correct depending on where you measure. The spine has three “raised bands” and a white, blue bordered tag reading “IV HAND / 48 SCHRIFT,’ i.e. MS IV 48, the book’s original signature.
Attached to the front cover is an extraneous flyleaf bearing the original manuscript signature (IV 48) in red pencil in the upper right corner. Its watermark could be identified as a double-circled lion. The flyleaf was probably connected to the boardleaf. At the back of the codex, only the paper boardleaf survives. The manuscript has red-sprinkled edges.
The cover is much too wide for the book block. We cannot therefore conclude that it was not made for the medieval book, for, since the manuscript does not include all the texts of a complete book of hours, it could be that the wideness of the cover is the result of the removal of, at least, the Calendar, the Office of the Dead and the Litany of the Saints. In addition, the position of the sewing holes in the spines of the quires corresponds to that of the, remarkably thin, binding cords, which also produce the “raised bands” on the spine’ outside. Across those binding cords, a strip of parchment was loosely stitched onto the inside of the spine.
Be that as it may, a cover that has been painted black is not unique in the Soeterbeeck collection. The same has been done with the covers of, among others, Soeterbeeck III 182, 184, and 185 and V160, all of which were rebound using leaves from a manuscript with Gregorian chant on them, which were subsequently painted black. This is not the case with IV 48, where leather-covered cardboards were used. It seems, then, that this manuscript’s cover is rare in this collection.
Ff. 10-17 have completely fallen out of the binding. The cover lies open between ff. 58 and 59. White sewing cotton is visible between ff. 23|24, 35|36, 38|39, 41|42, 45|46, 49|50, 53|54, 62|63 and 70|71. It must be stressed that both the white sewing cotton and the strip of parchment belong to a stage of restoration and are by no means original. Apart from the fact that this would entail the impossible make-up of certain quires, it is clearly visible from the fact that the sewing cotton between ff. 35|36 and 41|42 has gone through the textile tape that has been used for restoration purposes.


Kienhorst, Hans. “Catalogus van de Handschriften.” Rijkdom in Eenvoud: Laatmiddeleeuwse Handschriften uit Klooster Soeterbeeck. Ed. Hans Kienhorst et al. Rotterdam: Nijmegen UP, 2005. 49-145.