Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Compotista, Roger

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COMPOTISTA or COMPUTISTA, ROGER (fl. 1360?), was a monk of Bury St. Edmund's, of which abbey he ultimately became prior. He is known chiefly through his compilation of a biblical dictionary, which appears to have enjoyed a wide popularity, and is preserved in several manuscripts. Two are in the Bodleian Library (Cod. Bodl. 238, ff. 200 b, col. 1262 a, col. 1, and Cod. Laud. 176) and one at Magdalen College, Oxford (Cod. cxii. f. 172; H. O. Coxe, Catalogue of Oxford Manuscripts, Magdalen College, pp. 58 b, 59 a). The title of this book is 'Expositiones vocabulorum Bibliæ' (or 'de singulis libris Bibliæ'); and the prologue states that it was compiled for the use of novices by Roger Compotista, and 'corrected' or edited by his brother-monk, Reginald of Walsingham, to whom the prologue is addressed (Cod. Bodl. 238, f. 213 b, col. 1).

Bale says that Roger was the author of three other works, 'Postillationes Evangeliorum,' 'De Excommunicatione maiori,' and 'Constitutiones Cantuarienses,' all of which he says he found at Magdalen College. The Magdalen manuscript of the 'Expositiones vocabulorum' contains a fragment of a 'Liber Constitutionum Cantuariensium,' but separated from it by other matter, and without the least indication that it is by Roger Compotista except the fact that it is included in the same volume with a genuine work by him. Of the other two works ascribed to him no traces are known to exist. Pits (De Angliæ Scriptoribus, 393, p. 488) states that Roger flourished in 1360, but this date is plainly derived from Bale's conjecture, for there is no positive evidence to support it, that he lived under Edward III.

[Manuscripts as above ; Bale's Script. Brit. Cat. vi. 16, pp. 464 et seq.]

R. L. P.