The Manuscript

The Oxford Map of Matthew Paris was drawn on a sheet of parchment once used as the fly-leaf for MS Corpus Christi 2, though it has since been separated and re-numbered as MS Corpus Christi 2*.  On one side, the sheet contains two well-made but incomplete images, one of the Deposition and the other of the Three Marys at the Sepulchre. The reverse contains the L-shaped Oxford map, as well as a series of notes on various topics: in the upper right, a list of grievances of the English church sent to the pope in 1246, which is also present in Paris’ Chronica Maiora in a more complete form, along with an otherwise unknown description of the discussions leading up to the composition of the list of grievances in the lower right, a series of geographical notes concerning Italy and the Holy Land; in the middle right, very difficult to make out, are what appear to be some accounting notes. [1]

When the sheet was bound into MS Corpus Christi 2, the intent seems to have been to display the incomplete artwork, not the map. While the fly-leaf was bound, it would have been impossible to view both sides of the map at once.[2] The edges of the sheet were trimmed in the binding process, resulting in damage some of the geographical notes[3] and to at least two labels on the map (those for Tyre and the Mediterranean Sea).

The Biblical text included in the bulk of the manuscript is not  in Matthew Paris’s hand, though he did add rubrications and addenda to the text.[4] Most scholars agree that the map, as well as the geographical and accounting notes,[5]  are Paris’s work, but the writer(s) of the 1246 grievances and the accompanying account of their composition may or may not have been Paris.[6]

PDA Harvey has proposed that the texts found on the MS Corpus Christi 2* folio were composed in the following order:

  1. Deposition / Three Marys / Grievances of the English Church
  2. Map of Palestine
  3. Geographical Notes / Accounting Notes. [7]

Evelyn Edson, in contrast, suggested that the geographical notes were written after the map. [8]


1. P. D. A. Harvey, Medieval Maps of the Holy Land (London: The British Library, 2012), 61, 64.

2. Ibid, 61.

3. Thompson, 4.

4. Thompson, 3-4.

5. As early as 1895, Konrad Miller associated the map with Matthew Paris: Konrad Miller, Mappaemundi: die ältesten Weltkarten (Stuttgart: J. Roth, 1895), iii. 156. In 1958, Richard Vaughan confidently linked the map and notes with Paris, and subsequent scholars have followed him: Richard Vaughan, Matthew Paris (Cambridge: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958) 245-7.

6. R. Cheney, Councils and Synods With Other Documents Relating to the English Church, II: 1205-1213 (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

7. Harvey, 61, 65

8. Edson, 20-21.


Transcriptions and partial transcriptions of some of the texts on MS Corpus Christi 2* have been published in the following places:

The Map

  • Konrad Miller, Mappaemundi: die ältesten Weltkarten (Stuttgart: J. Roth, 1895), iii. 152-6.
  • Reinhold Röhricht, “Karten und Pläne zur Palästinakunde aus dem 7. – 16. Jahrhundert: VI,” Zeitschrift des Deutchen Palästina-Vereins 18 (1895): plate IV.

Grievances of the English Church

  • F. M. Powicke and C. R. Cheney, 1205-1313, vol. 2 of Councils and Synods, With Other
  • Documents Relating to the English Church (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1964), part 1, 395-398.


  • P. D. A. Harvey, Medieval Maps of the Holy Land (London: The British Library, 2012), 73.
  • Richard Vaughan, Matthew Paris (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958), 240.


At present, there is to my knowledge, no published versions of the images on the side of the parchment opposite the map. Descriptions of the images, however, are available in the following places:

  • T. S. R. Boase, 1100-1216 vol. 3 of English Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1953), 178.
  • C. M. Kauffmann, Romanesque Manuscripts 1066-1190, (London: Harvey Miller, 1975), 101-2.

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