Manuscript witnesses: lost and not (yet) identified
Our database entries for texts sometimes refer to manuscripts that are presumed lost, sometimes ever only in existence hypothetically, or that have not been certainly identified. One possible reason for the latter is evidently that the studies we rely on may be not perfect themselves or we simply have not managed to lay our hands on sources that are more suitable for our purposes. Older references in the literature are not always up to date and manuscripts may have been relocated from one repository to another or changed signature in the intervening time, possibly even more than once.
Whatever the reason, to keep track of these different limitations and uncertainties, we have thought it worthwhile to devise ways in which to record and present such gaps in our knowledge.
For each relevant text, unidentified items are succinctly described. For the full context of these descriptions, follow the links in the first column.
Not yet published
Not all of our database entries have a public page, usually because there is information to be verified or added to before the page is ready to be published. The information below is therefore made available as-is.
Lost manuscripts identified
Manuscripts that have unique identifiers and records in the database.
|Book of Dub Dá Leithe|
A lost source named for Dub Dá Leithe, abbot of Armagh (fl. 1049-1064). It is referred to by the Annals of Ulster, s.a. 630, 963, 1004 and 1021, and the copy of Baile in Scáil in Rawlinson B 512, f. 101r.
|Chartres, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 98 (lost)||Manuscript destroyed in WWII. It contained the earliest known version of the Historia Brittonum, referred to as the ‘Chartres’ recension of this text.|
|Cín Dromma Snechtai|
|Dúanaire Meic Lónáin|
An Irish manuscript now lost but named in a note of correspondence from one scribe or compiler to another in the Book of Leinster. In this note, Find, who has been identified as bishop of Kildare, addresses Áed Úa Crimthainn, abbot and coarb of Terryglass, and requests from him the ‘poem-book (dúanaire) of Mac Lonáin’, probably referring to the poet Flann mac Lónáin (d. 891 x 918), “so that we may study the meanings (cíalla) of the poems that are in it”.
|Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 72.1.32|
A lost manuscript known to have contained a collection of Irish tales. Something about its contents is known because Dr. Donald Smith gave an account that was first published in 1805 and because Ewen M'Lachlan made transcripts in 1812 and 1814.
|Jarrow, computus manuscript used by Bede (lost)||A computus manuscript, now lost, which appears to have been consulted by Bede in the library of Jarrow and which is thought to have been an influential resource when he wrote his own computistical treatise De temporum ratione. To an extent, its contents can be reconstructed from an 11th-century copy in the so-called Sirmond manuscript and other, related manuscripts, although the precise extent of the material that can be said to derive from the lost compilation is uncertain. Charles W. Jones originally singled out a narrower set of items (items 13-45 in his catalogue description of the Sirmond manuscript), but on later occasions, revised his opinion.|
|Leabhar Bercháin na Clúana Sosta|
An Irish manuscript, now lost, known from a note in the Leabhar Breac which states that the copy of Scéla Alaxandair was taken from this manuscript: Agaid Belltaine indiú, hi Cluain Sostai Berchain dam ann oc scribend derid na staire (.i. Alexander) for tus a Liubar Berchain na Clúana. It may also be the Saint beraghans boke listed in a catalogue of the library of the Earls of Kildare.
|Leabhar buidhe Moling||A manuscript now lost but cited by name in Keating’s Foras feasa Érinn (iii 32) and Dubhaltach Mac Fhir Bhisigh’s Leabhar mór na ngenealach.|
|Leabhar Chlúana hEidnech|
An Irish manuscript now lost but mentioned by Geoffrey Keating in his Foras feasa ar Éirinn. In his prologue he lists the Leabhar Chluana h-Eidhneach Fionntain i Laoighis (‘The book of Clonenagh of Fintan in Laoighis’) among the books of learning (senchas) that were still in existence in his time, whether in original or copied form. A number of further references and citations by Keating suggest that it contained a set of annals, which as Joan Radner has argued, may be related to the now Fragmentary annals of Ireland.
|Leabhar Chon Chonnacht Uí Dhálaigh||Irish manuscript now lost but cited by Mícheál Ó Cléirigh as a source for his transcription of the text Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib, of which he made a secondary copy in Brussels MS 2569-72 (dated March 1628 from Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath). The title suggests an association with the bardic poet Cú Chonnacht Ó Dálaigh (d. 1139).|
|Leabhar Dúin Dá Leathglas||A manuscript now lost but cited as a source in Irish genealogical material.|
|Leabhar Gearr Uí Cheallaig||Manuscript used as an exemplar for texts in the Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 12.|
|Leabhar gerr Í Buadhacháin|
|Leabhar Mainistrech Buite meic Bronaidh|
Lost Irish manuscript of unknown date which according to later colophons, contained a text of Betha Findchua that was copied into the ‘Short book of Ó Buadhacháin’, also lost, and on the basis of the latter, into other manuscripts, including the Book of Lismore.
|Leabhar Murchaid meic Briain||A manuscript now lost but apparently credited as a source for three poems in Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 5100-5104, p. 53, in which Suibne is said to have composed the verse: Tuiccther asin rand sin ⁊ as an dá dhán gurab é Suibhne dorinne iad gé gurab ar Moling chuires as sein-leabhar iad .i. leabhur Murchaid meic Briain, “It is understood from this poem (rann) and from the two poems (dán) that Suibne composed them, although the old book, i.e. the book of Murchad mac Briain, attributes them to Moling”). The manuscript is apparently named for Murchad mac Bríain, i.e. son of Brían Bóruma.|
|Leabhar Sabhaill Phádraig||A manuscript now lost but cited as a source for a genealogical tract on the Dál Fiatach.|
|Leabhar Sligig||Irish and Latin variants of the title ‘the Book of Sligo’ are attested in a number of sources from the 15th and 17th centuries. Its identity cannot be established beyond doubt nor is it necessarily true that the references are all to the same manuscript. Pádraig Ó Riain (CGSH, p. lii) has shown that those at least that can be dated to the 17th century refer to the Book of Lecan (Co. Sligo): these are James Ussher’s quotation of a triad about ‘St Patrick’s three Wednesdays’ and a Latin note added (by Ussher?) to a copy of the Vita sancti Declani which credits the Liber Sligunt as the source for a copy of the genealogies of Irish saints. There are two 15th-century mentions by the Irish title Leabhar Sligigh: one by the scribe of Aided Díarmata meic Cerbaill (first recension) in Egerton 1782, who acknowledges the Leabhar Sligig as having been the exemplar of his text; and an honourable co-mention, with Saltair Caisil, in a poem on the king of Tír Conaill, beg. Dimghach do Chonall Clann Dálaigh. Aided Díarmata is not found in the Book of Lecan, at least in the form in which it survives today. Ó Riain allows for the possibility that ‘the Book of Sligo’ “is indeed a lost codex whose name was mistakenly applied in the seventeenth century, perhaps by Ussher, to the well-known Book of Lecan”.|
|Leabhar Tighe Molling||A manuscript now lost but used by Mícheál Ó Cléirigh as an exemplar for the Life of Mo Ling in Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 4190-4200, f. 53v: I nAthcliath do scriobad as Leabhur Tighe Molling. Ocus léiccim Moling atá il-Laidin i muinigin na mbrathar Ccléirigh cidh im Cléirich-sa féin .15. juil. 1628 (‘In Dublin (this) has been copied out of the Book of Timulling. And I leave Moling's miracles, which are in Latin, in trust of the friars Clery, though I myself am a Clery, 15 July, 1628’ - ed. and tr. by Stokes).|
|Lebar buide Meic Murchada|
|Lebor buide of Armagh|
|Lebor buide Sláni||Lost Irish manuscript whose prior existence is known from a reference in the Lebor na hUidre (RIA MS 23 E 25).|
|Lebor gerr of Monasterboice|
|Liber de dotatione ecclesiae S. Davidis||A manuscript, apparently of St Davids provenance, which is now lost but receives a mention from John Leland in the 16th century. On the basis of this reference and others, it has been suggested that its contents included texts, or textual versions, of early charters associated with the house.|
|Liber Proverbiorum Graecorum inutilis (lost)||A manuscript now lost but listed in the 12th-century library catalogue of Lincoln Cathedral, where the title has been crossed out. To judge by the title, it would appear to have contained a version of the Proverbia Grecorum.|
|Library of Robert Cotton, MS 230|
A manuscript listed as ‘Irishe physique’ in Robert Cotton's library catalogue of manuscripts (BL, Harleian 6018). Engl. physick referred to medicine, but in the retained French spelling physique it could mean ‘natural philosophy’. The manuscript has not been identified and may have been lost.
|Llyfr y Tŷ Gwyn|
Latin text of Welsh law, which was known to lawyers active in Gwynedd during the 13th century. This text or a related one may have provided the basis for the Latin text in London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian E xi, which refers to matters relating to both Gwynedd and south-west Wales. It has been suggested that the Llyfr y Tŷ Gwyn text became known in Gwynedd through the agency of Cadwgan, bishop of Bangor (1215-1236) and abbot of Whitland before that.
|Loch Leven manuscript||Hypothetical lost manuscript, perhaps a gospel-book, associated with the Céli Dé monastery of Loch Leven. An old volume of the Scots (veteris voluminis antiquo Scotorum idiomate conscripti) is cited in the St Andrews register as having served as the source for a series of Latin charter records for Loch Leven. The presence of such records added to the margins and available spaces in the Book of Kells and other gospel-books suggests that the Loch Leven manuscript, too, or its source, may have been a gospel-book.|
|Lost manuscript (Giolla Glas Ua hUiginn)|
|Manuscript of 1644 by Pól Ó Colla||An Irish manuscript, apparently written by the Franciscan friar Pól Ó Colla of Castlefore in 1644, which is now lost although 18th-century transcripts survive. It contained transcripts from manuscripts in the possession of Connell Mageoghagan at Lismoyne, including the Book of Lecan (RIA MS 23 P 2).|
|Reims, computus used by Johann Wilhelm Jan (lost)||A manuscript from the library of Reims which was consulted by Johann Wilhelm Jan when he prepared an edition of the Praefatio and Prologus attributed to Felix Gillitanus (publ. 1718) but which now appears to be lost.|
A manuscript, now lost, written by Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, possibly at Kildare in 1627 or 1628. It is believed to have contained a copy of the Psalter of Cashel (Saltair Chaisil), or what remained of it, from which it takes its name, an Saltair Óg ‘the Young Psalter’, sometimes explained as ‘the son of the Psalter’.
|Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, MS F VI 2/no. 4|
Fragmentary manuscript of the Liber quaestionem in Evangeliis pertaining to the Gospel of Matthew. It was destroyed by fire in 1904 and survives only in transcription.