Medieval manuscripts blog

Bringing our medieval manuscripts to life

26 August 2016

Improving Access to Our Digitised Manuscripts

If you check the British Library’s online catalogue of Archives and Manuscripts today, you may notice an exciting change. Catalogue entries of many digitised manuscripts now feature a button linking directly to the digitised version of the manuscript.  

Dancing Stowe 17 f38
Detail of a marginal painting of a friar with a musical instrument and a woman with upraised arms, from the Maastricht Hours, Low Countries (Liège), c. 1300–1325, Stowe MS 17, f. 38r 

You can find the link either by scrolling down the ‘Details’ tab or by looking in the tab labelled ‘I want this’, where a button linking to the digital version should appear first in the list of options. Click on the blue hyperlink or the red ‘Go’ button, and a new tab will open in your browser containing the Digitised Manuscripts page for the relevant manuscript. We will soon have added hyperlinks to catalogue entries for all 1460+ of our digitised manuscripts.

Henry VIII Psalter Buttons
Catalogue entries for the Psalter of Henry VIII, Royal MS 2 A XVI, with links to the digital version highlighted in red

Therefore, if you are planning a trip to the British Library or just looking up the details of a manuscript, you will be able to see immediately what is fully available 24/7 on Digitised Manuscripts. There’s no need to wait for our quarterly masterlist of Digitised Manuscripts hyperlinks (although we will continue to release those) or to check the Digitised Manuscripts website separately.

Opening page of one of the most recent additions to Digitised Manuscripts, La
Vie de saint Denys et ses compaignons, with inhabited border and historiated initial, France (Paris or Rouen?), c. 1420, Harley MS 4409, f. 3r

We hope you will find this new tool useful. With almost 1500 manuscripts digitised, there is a lot to discover. Happy reading!

Alison Hudson



That isn't a musical instrument the friar is holding. It looks more as if he might be pretending to play one, with a bellows and a distaff, which could be why the woman has her arms in the air. And why is her skirt hitched up like that? Could they have been dancing?

The comments to this entry are closed.