Glossed Decretum f.288r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
The law of the church (canon law) was a confusing, unorganised mass of decrees until the mid-12th century when Gratian, at the University of Bologna, dealt with it by inserting the laws and the principles behind them into the framework of his treatise. The resulting methodical system became known as the 'Decretals of Gratian'. Later explanatory notes, written by law professors at Bologna and other medieval universities, were attached to it, creating the standard textbook of canon law, until the more complete 'Decretals of Gregory IX' came along in 1234. Monks, especially those of the Benedictine order, studied canon law. This copy of Gratian's decretals, with its set of revised explanatory notes (gloss) added in the 14th century, belonged to the Benedictine abbey at Reading. Its Decretal portion is thought to have been made in England, in the early 13th century.
On two separate leaves at the end of the manuscript are pictures of 'Trees of Consanguinity and Affinity.' These concern degrees of relationship and have a bearing on laws of inheritance as well as marriage between persons who are related. The 'Tree of Affinity' shows relationships by marriage and has a very solemn bride and groom guarding over it.