Les manuscrits de la Bibliothèque municipale de Chartres

The synoptic table lists progressively all the manuscripts currently in the Municipal Library at Chartres.
(For manuscripts that are not listed there, consult the Bibliography ; one may also consult the BVMM for recent reproductions).
The Chartrain manuscripts housed elsewhere are listed progressively under the rubric Influence of Chartres.

Provenance

The Municipal library of Chartres housed nearly 1,700 manuscripts before the fire in 1944; of these, some 500 dated before 1500 :

Most of the manuscripts have been confiscated at the Revolution and came mainly from:

  • the chapter library of Notre-Dame (324),
  • the monastic library of Saint-Père-en-Vallée O.B. (138).

Smaller collections came from :

  • the library of the regular canons of Saint-Jean-en-Vallée O.S.A. (37),
  • the library of the Dominican convent at Chartres (22),
  • the monastic library of Josaphat (15).

The arms of the Chapter of Chartres (azure with a tunic argent) were stamped on parchment bindings in the 17th century (ms. 149). The tunic of the Virgin is the most precious relic of the cathedral.

Ancient catalogues

Work in progress.

Historical importance

Before the disaster, the Municipal library at Chartres had one of the most fascinating collections of medieval manuscripts of France:

  • It contained a remarkable number of Carolingian manuscripts: 64 dated from the 8th to 10th century.
  • Its texts documented the history of the schools of Chartres and their succession of illustrious scholars: Fulbert, Ivo, Bernard, Thierry, Guillaume de Conches, Clarembaud d’Arras, Gilbert de la Porrée.
  • Many manuscripts were important for local history: cartularies, obituaries, liturgical books, etc.

Liber comitis from Saint-Père-en-Vallée, Saint-Martin de Tours, towards 820.
Chartres, BM, ms. 24, f. 2 (destroyed)