Digital fragment collection

Medieval parchment fragments in Bergen University Library and The Regional State Archives in Bergen

Description of UB Bergen MS 1836, 1

Fragments of the younger code of law of King Magnus the Law-Mender


In 1981 Bergen University Library bought these two fragments, together with 1836, 2, from the antiquarian bookshop Cappelens Antikvariat, Oslo. The two fragments contain text from a code of law, and are written in an Old Norwegian dialect.

Facsimiles and transcriptions

Manuscript Identification


Bergen University Library, Art and Humanities Library


Bergen University Library


MS 1836, 1

Fragments of the younger code of law of King Magnus the Law-Mender [Parchment, two leaves, 110 x 80 mm, Norway, early 14th century.]

Manuscript Content

The fragments contain text from "Magnus Lagabøters Nyere Landslov" (younger code of law of King Magnus the Law-Mender).

For reference to the corresponding part of the text in the edition Norges Gamle Love, see bibliography

Physical Description

Parchment, two fragments from the same leaf, 110 x 80 mm

The two parts fit exactly together, without loss of text in the intersection. Fragment b is cut off in the lower edge, and the lowest text line is cut. The text in both left and right margins is also cut. Fragment b has two rubricated headings in read, and to large initials in read, green and blue.



The text of the two fragments is written in South-East Norwegian dialect, probably sometime after 1300.


MS 1836 1 a-b has originally been part of the same manuscript as fragments 12 a-b in the Norwegian National Archive, published in facsimile in "Gammelnorske membranfragmenter i Riksarkivet", Oslo 1963, s. 113-115. See the enclosed letter from the National Archive (enclosure 6). 13.2.1982, M. Tveitane.

A pencil note, probably written by George Stephens, states that the two law code fragments are "taken from a book-back". The pencil note "Mandal 1625" may be connected with this information.


According to information from the antiquarian bookshop Cappelens Antikvariat, Oslo, these fragments together with 1836 2 has belonged, since around year 1850, to the philologist and book collector George Stephens (1813-1895), professor of English language at the University of Copenhagen, thereafter they have belonged to his son, landowner Joseph Stephens at Huseby in Skateløv (Småland), and lastly to his sons daugther. From her inheritors the fragments were acuired by Cappelens antique bookshop.

Bought from J. W. Cappelens antiquarian bookshop, Oslo, in November 1981, for the sum of NOK 15.000,-. Of this sum is NOK 10.000,- taken from the fund of the chief librarian, and NOK 5.000,- is payed by the Institute for Scandinavian Studies.


Enclosures: Pencil note about the law code fragments, probably by George Stephens, with note by professor Ludvig Holm-Olsen on the reverse side. Copy of a letter from professor Holm-Olsen to J. W. Cappelens antiquarian book shop, Oslo, dated 28. sept. 1981. Copy of letter from Bergen University Library to the Norwegian National Archives, dated 4th of December 1981. Two old photographies of the law code fragments (1 a-b), probably made for George Stephens in the 19th century. Box containing (5.12.81): Two sets of full size photographies, one set of reduced repro-prints, and films. Letter from the Norwegian National Archives, dated 5.2.1982, containing information on the earlier history of the law code fragments. Copy of letter from Bergen University Library to the Norwegian National Archives, containing some additional information.


Gammelnorske membranfragmenter i Riksarkivet, Oslo 1963, s. 113-115.

(Norges Gamle Love II (1848), s. 132.16-133.13, 133.14-134.10).

Holm-Olsen, Ludvig. Pergamentblad på vandring. UB Bergen 1836. 1. In: Norvegica. Minneskrift til hundreårsdagen for opprettelsen av Universitetets norske avdeling 1883. 1. Januar 1983. Oslo 1983, pp. 129-141.

Tveitane, Mattias et. al.: Bergen University Library Manuscript Catalogue [unpublished]