Medieval manuscripts blog

Bringing our medieval manuscripts to life

1162 posts categorized "Medieval"

18 July 2024

Tickets go on sale for Medieval Women exhibition

Tickets are now on sale for the British Library’s major exhibition Medieval Women: In Their Own Words, which runs from 25 October 2024 to 2 March 2025.

From the courage of Joan of Arc at her trial for heresy, and the visionary experiences of Julian of Norwich, to the artistry of the London silkwoman Alice Claver, the work of female medical practitioners, and the struggles of female rulers like Queen Melisende of Jerusalem, this exhibition explores the challenges, achievements and daily lives of women in Europe from 1100 to 1500. It will tell the history of medieval women through their own words and uncover their lives through manuscripts, documents and artefacts.

The exhibition poster for Medieval Women: In Their Own Words, showing a group of nuns on their way to mass.

To whet your appetite before the exhibition opens in October, here are a few of the incredible items that will be on display:

The Book of Margery Kempe

The opening page of the Book of Margery Kempe, beginning with a large initial in red.

The opening of the only surviving manuscript of The Book of Margery Kempe; Norfolk, c. 1445–1450: Add MS 61823, f. 1r

The earliest autobiography written in English, The Book of Margery Kempe is an extraordinary account of the experiences of a female mystic, her spiritual visions, pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela, and her struggles for recognition in a male-dominated religious world. Margery’s Book was lost for centuries until this copy was discovered in a country house in 1934.

Christine de Pizan’s ‘Book of the Queen’

An illustration of Christine de Pizan building the City of Ladies alongside a personification of Reason.

Christine de Pizan building the ‘City of Ladies’, from ‘The Book of the Queen’; Paris, c. 1410-1414: Harley MS 4431/2, f. 290r

The ‘Book of the Queen’ is the largest and most splendid manuscript of the works of Christine de Pizan, made for Isabeau of Bavaria (d. 1435), queen of France. Christine is often described as the first professional woman author in medieval Europe. Her Book of the City of Ladies recounts tales of exemplary historical, legendary and biblical women, building a metaphorical ‘city’ out of women’s achievements.

The Paston Letters

A letter written in Middle English, from Margaret Paston to her husband John.

Letter from Margaret Paston to John Paston I, asking him to send her a new girdle and cloth for a gown; Norfolk, December 1441: Add MS 43490, f. 34r

The Pastons were a Norfolk family who climbed the social ladder from peasantry to landed gentry during the 15th century. They left behind a cache of around a thousand personal letters, giving unparalleled insight into their everyday lives. The women of the family are some of the most prolific correspondents, recording their joys, sorrows, loves, rivalries, friendships and arguments that span several generations.

The Sekenesse of Wymmen

A page from a copy of a gynaecological treatise, showing a set of anatomical drawings of a baby in the womb.

Anatomical drawings featured in a section on childbirth, from The Sekenesse of Wymmen; England, 15th century: Sloane MS 2463, f. 17v

One of a number of items in the exhibition devoted to women’s health, this manuscript contains the Sekenesse of Wymmen, a widel- read gynaecological treatise. It features instructions to a midwife on how to assist a mother during complications in childbirth, with accompanying anatomical drawings showing the position of the baby in the womb.

The Foundation Charter of Bordesley Abbey

A medieval charter affixed with a seal enclosed in a silk seal bag, made with blue and yellow threads.

The foundation charter of Bordesley Abbey by Empress Matilda; Devizes, 1141–1142: Add Ch 75724

The foundation charter of Bordesley Abbey was made in the 1140s, a period of strife in England as a bitter civil war raged between Matilda and Stephen, rival claimants to the throne after the death of Henry I. This document styles Matilda as ‘Empress’ and ‘Lady of the English’ and features her seal, showing her crowned and holding a sceptre, enclosed within a distinctive silk seal bag.

The seal of Matilda, showing her enthroned, holding a sceptre, with an accompanying Latin legend.

The seal of Matilda: Devizes, 1141-1142: Add Ch 75724

Medieval Women: In Their Own Words is on show at the British Library from 25 October 2024 to 2 March 2025. You can pre-book your tickets online now.

This exhibition is made possible with support from Joanna and Graham Barker, Unwin Charitable Trust, and Cockayne – Grants for the Arts: a donor advised fund held at the London Community Foundation.

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18 April 2024

A knight's tale

In medieval England, land was conventionally held in return for either rent (in the form of money or other items) or service (acts performed by one party to the other). These items could range from token gifts like a rose or an arrowhead to valuable crops or produce. A typical service might entail a tenant serving in a jury or attending upon their lord in times of war. But some land was held on more unusual terms, and these more specific duties reveal fascinating details about medieval life and society. For instance, one Norfolk knight held his land from King Henry III (r. 1216–1272) for the service of carrying twelve fish pasties to the king wherever he was in England (Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, I, London, 1904, no. 849).

A small parchment charter recording Osbert of Arden’s grant of land to Thurkil Fundu

Osbert of Arden’s grant of land to Thurkil Fundu: Cotton Ch XXII 3

The service recorded in one small document (Cotton Ch XXII 3) has been identified as some of the earliest evidence of English knights fighting in tournaments, and also of such events being held in England. Dating to between 1124 and 1139, it is a grant by Osbert of Arden giving Thurkil Fundu land in Ashbrook and a meadow in Kingsbury, both in Warwickshire. In return, Thurkil was to do service of carrying Osbert’s dyed lances from London or Northampton to Osbert’s house in Kingsbury, all on Osbert’s horses and at Osbert's expense. Thurkil would also attend upon him at tournaments overseas, again at Osbert’s own cost. He was effectively promising to be Osbert’s squire.

Within an enclosure, Ponthus, on the left, kills the duke of Burgundy on the right with his lance. Each combatant is flanked by retainers. Above, the French king and his courtiers watch.

A 15th-century depiction of a tournament from the romance Ponthus: Royal MS 15 E VI, f. 220v

Popular imagination holds tournaments as contests between kings, dukes and earls, full of elaborate pageantry and ceremony. In fact, the earliest tourneys were usually more simple contests between knights. The great magnates would not fight in them until later in the 1100s. Henry I (r. 1100–1135) had even banned tournaments late in his reign and the Church regularly railed against them, bemoaning knights wasting their energies or even losing their lives in these mock combats when they could be going on crusade.

Dyed or painted lances like those owned by Osbert were typically used for parade and tournaments, with bare lances used for war. The references to London and Northampton suggest that these towns also staged tournaments at this time.

Thurkil, as his name suggests, was English, not Norman. Thurkil, or Turchil, was a Saxon name with Norse origins. Osbert is a Norman name, but his father was called Siward, another English name, and his great-grandfather was Æthelwine, a sheriff under Edward the Confessor. Here we have an English knight, less than a century after the Norman Conquest, fighting in tournaments in England and on the Continent.

Two men with helmets, lances, and shields jousting on rams against a background of flowers. The man on the left has struck his opponent and knocked him from his mount.

Two men jousting on sheep: Royal MS 1 E V, f. 171r

It may have been at one of these tournaments that Osbert would later meet his patron, David I of Scotland (r. 1124–1153). The Scottish king, who had his own English ancestry, surrounded himself with many English and Norman knights from his time as Earl of Huntingdon in Henry I’s court. David was also interested in tournaments and had participated in a few in northern France in the 1120s. Osbert would go on to become one of David’s courtiers, joining his court in Scotland by the 1140s.

This charter was published first in 1903 by George F. Warner & Henry J. Ellis (Facsimiles of Royal and Other Charters in the British Museum, I, plate IX), and it was discussed in more detail by David Crouch, Tournament (2005), pp. 41, 64. You can read more about Osbert here.

Osbert of Arden's charter is just one of more than 1,000 Cotton charters and rolls that we are adding to the British Library's online catalogue. As the project progresses, further blogposts will highlight other interesting documents from the collection.

 

Rory MacLellan

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01 April 2024

Annual manuscripts weigh-in

It's that time of year when we carry out our annual manuscripts weigh-in.

The Bedford Hours on a weighing scale

The weighing of the Bedford Hours

In keeping with tradition, teams work overnight to weigh every manuscript in our collection. They then compare the results with the famous table compiled by Sir Horace Round (after whom the British Museum Round Reading Room was named). This enables scholars worldwide to embellish their papers with little-known facts that no-one could possibly verify, along the lines 'the Luttrell Psalter weighs as much as next door's dog'.

The Splendor Solis on the weighing scales

The weighing of the Splendor Solis

Here are some results from this year's survey. Note: manuscripts tend to gain an extra gram or two during Leap Years.

  • The Bedford Hours, a masterpiece of 15th-century Parisian illumination: 9.0114 kg, or the same as a baby Pygmy Hippo (unwashed);
  • Splendor Solis, an alchemical treatise made in Germany in the 1580s: 3.067 kg, or a flamingo standing on one leg;
  • A charter of Raymond of Toulouse, with a wax seal: 0.0925 kg, or half a dormouse.

A charter placed on the weighing scales

The weighing of the charter

All measurements have been scrutinised by the Guinness Book of Records, who have kindly asked us never to bother them again.

 

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09 March 2024

Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts

The British Library holds an internationally renowned collection of manuscripts relating to the ancient and medieval worlds. We are currently recruiting for a Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts to join our team, with a special responsibility for Classical, Biblical and Byzantine manuscripts.

A page of a manuscript of Virgil's Aeneid

The opening of Book XII of Virgil's Aeneid, from the 'King's Virgil': Kings MS 24, f. 227r 

Among other responsibilities, the post-holder will be required

  • to use innovative and traditional ways of interpreting and presenting our collections through online resources and engagement with academic and general users
  • to manage projects relating to ancient and medieval manuscripts
  • to use their specialist knowledge to support the development, management and promotion of our ancient and medieval collections

A page from the Theodore Psalter

Depiction of the Call of David from his flocks accompanying Psalm 151, from the 'Theodore Psalter': Add MS 19352, f. 189v

Applicants should have a post-graduate degree, or equivalent, in a relevant subject; experience of research in Classical, Biblical and/or Byzantine Studies; and a personal area of expertise relevant to the collection. Strong knowledge of Classical Latin and Ancient Greek, excellent written and oral communication skills in English, and the ability to promote the collections to a wide range of audiences are essential.

For more information and to apply for this position, please visit https://www.vercida.com/uk/jobs/curator-of-ancient-and-medieval-manuscripts-british-library-st-pancras

Closing date: 7 April 2024.

Interview date: 29 April 2024.

 

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08 March 2024

Medieval Women exhibition

We have some exciting news — pass it on! In October 2024, our major exhibition Medieval Women: In Their Own Words opens at the British Library in London. The exhibition will explore the challenges, achievements and daily lives of women in Europe from 1100 to 1500. It will tell the history of medieval women through their own words and uncover their lives through manuscripts, documents and artefacts.

Women’s lives during the Middle Ages were rich and varied. The exhibition will reveal that women exerted great influence across private, public and spiritual realms. It will delve into the lived experiences of medieval women, including their beauty regimes and healthcare, their personal relationships and the running of their homes. It will shed light on their work in a wide variety of trades and professions, their role in medieval politics, the power and influence they wielded as spiritual visionaries or nuns, and the art, music and literature that they created.

Medieval illustration of a group of women in a richly decorated room. Christine de Pizan, dressed in blue, kneels on the ground and offers a large red book to Isabeau, dressed in pink and seated on a sofa
Christine de Pizan presents her book to Isabeau of Bavaria, in the Book of the Queen, France, c. 1410-1414: Harley MS 4431, f. 3r

Visitors will discover objects related to inspiring figures such as: Joan of Arc, the religious visionary and military leader; Christine de Pizan, the first professional woman author in Europe; and Shajar Al-Durr, the female ruler of Egypt who defeated Louis IX of France in the Seventh Crusade.

The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the lives of medieval women across cultures, religions and class. Exploring both their struggles and successes, the exhibition prompts visitors to discover how medieval women’s voices still resonate across the centuries and speak powerfully to our world today.

Medieval illustration of a woman scattering food from a bowl, feeding a very large chicken and its chicks
A woman feeding chickens, in the Luttrell Psalter, England, 1325-1340: Add MS 42130, f.166v

Medieval Women: In Their Own Words is on show at the British Library from 25 October 2024 to 2 March 2025. Keep checking this blog for more information about the exhibition and our events programme, as well as details of when tickets will go on sale. 

This exhibition is made possible with support from Joanna and Graham Barker, Unwin Charitable Trust, and Cockayne – Grants for the Arts: a donor advised fund held at the London Community Foundation.

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06 March 2024

Chaucer at the Bodleian

The British Library is delighted to be a lender to the exhibition Chaucer Here and Now at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The exhibition runs until 28 April 2024 and is free to visit, so don't delay!

On display in the introductory section is our manuscript of the Prologue of the Wife of Bath's Tale, with marginal annotations by the scribe giving their own (misogynistic) commentary on the text. The accompanying label not surprisingly titles this 'Mansplaining', and it echoes the exhibition's overall theme, which examines how different generations have reinterpreted Geoffrey Chaucer's works.

The British Library's manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, on display at the Bodleian Library

The annotated Prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale, part of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, on loan from the British Library

We very much admire the exhibition's fetching design and the wonderful array of objects on show, including manuscripts loaned by the National Library of Wales, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and our friends in Oxford. The curator, Professor Marion Turner, has unearthed some incredible items and stories. We particularly like the cases devoted to modern translations of Chaucer, as well as to film and stage adaptations of his works. The graphics at the entrance to the exhibition invite visitors to consider whether this famous Middle English poet was 'multicultural, conservative, irreverent, comic, rude, respectful, imperial', and a host of similar terms.

International translations of Chaucer's works

The display of translations of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer

Display of film and theatrical adaptations of Chaucer's works

The colourful display of cinematic and theatrical productions of Chaucer's works

 

This loan is one of many organised by the British Library's curators, conservators and Registry, as part of our ongoing commitment towards national and international cultural partnerships. In the next few months we are lending other manuscripts to exhibitions in France, Germany, Scotland and England, so keep an eye on this Blog for more details about how you may be able to view them in person.

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21 December 2023

Interim information sources for British Library manuscripts

We are extremely grateful to everyone for their kind words since the recent cyber-attack. We've now expanded our temporary website where you can find more information about our available services. On 15 January we released a searchable online version of our main catalogue, which contains the majority of our printed collections as well as some freely available online resources — please note that not everything is included.

We are now able to provide our Readers with access to the majority of the Library's special collections, including most of our manuscripts and archives. For the time being you’ll need to come on-site to consult offline versions of the specialist catalogues, and our reference teams will be on hand to help you with searching for and requesting items. Our blogpost Restoring our services an update (10 January) provides more information on what is available and how to access our collections.

We understand your frustration about the impact of this incident on your study and research, and we're continuing to work hard to develop hybrid services and workarounds that can restore some level of access to more of our collections. You can read more about our work in this blogpost by our Chief Executive.

In the meantime, we would like to share with you a list of freely available printed and online resources that provide information about our ancient, medieval and early modern manuscripts. We recognise that this list is not definitive, and that many of our catalogue records will have been updated in recent years. But we will endeavour to update the list whenever possible, and we offer it to you as a means of continuing your research while the Library's physical and online collections remain temporarily unavailable.

The list comprises references to some of the published catalogues for our principal collections of manuscripts, including Cotton, Harley, Sloane, Royal, and those designated as Additionals and Egertons.

We have also provided references for other categories of material, such as our Irish, Welsh and Greek manuscripts, our maps and drawings, and our seals. In many cases, hard copies of these catalogues may be available in other institutional libraries, and we have supplied links to the online versions. 

We recommend that you also consult JISC’s Library Hub Discover (https://discover.libraryhub.jisc.ac.uk/) to find United Kingdom holdings of these resources. 

We thank you again for your patience and we hope that you find this information useful.

 

Collection/Subject Publication Reference Online Link
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the Years 1836-1840 (London: British Museum, 1843) https://archive.org/details/catalogueofadd1836brituoft
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1841-1845 (London: British Museum, 1850) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS184145
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1846-1847 (London: British Museum, 1864) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS184647
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1848-1853 (London: British Museum, 1868) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS184853
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1854-1860 (London: British Museum, 1875) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS185460
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1861-1875 (London: British Museum, 1877)  
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1876-1881 (London: British Museum, 1882) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS187681
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1882-1887 (London: British Museum, 1889) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS188287
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1888-1893 (London: British Museum, 1894) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS188893
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1894-1899 (London: British Museum, 1894) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS18949
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1900-1905 (London: British Museum, 1907) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS19005
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1906-1910 (London: British Museum, 1912) https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfAdditionsToTheMSS190610
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1911-1915 (London: British Museum, 1925) https://archive.org/details/catalogueadditions1915
Additional/Egerton Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Years 1916-1920 (London: British Museum, 1933)  
Additional/Egerton British Museum Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1921-1925 (London: British Museum, 1950) https://archive.org/details/catalogueofadditionstothemss192125
Additional/Egerton British Museum Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1926-1930 (London: British Museum, 1959)  
Additional/Egerton The British Museum Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1931-1935 (London: British Museum, 1967)  
Additional/Egerton     The British Museum Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1936-1945, 2 parts (London: British Museum, 1970)  
Additional/Egerton     The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1946-1950, 3 parts (London: British Library, 1979)  
Additional/Egerton The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1951-1955, 2 parts (London: British Library, 1982)  
Additional/Egerton The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1956-1965, 3 parts (London: British Library, 2000)  
Additional/Egerton The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1966-1970, 2 parts (London: British Library, 1998)  
Additional/Egerton     The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1971-1975, 3 parts (London: British Library, 2001)  
Additional/Egerton The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1976-1980, 2 parts (London: British Library, 1995)  
Additional/Egerton     The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1981-1985, 2 parts (London: British Library, 1994)  
Additional/Egerton The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1986-1990, 3 parts in 4 (London: British Library, 1993)  
Arundel Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, New Series, vol. I, part 1, The Arundel Manuscripts (London, 1834) https://archive.org/details/b30455881_0001
Burney Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, New Series, vol. I, part 2, The Burney Manuscripts (London, 1840) https://archive.org/details/b30455881_0001
Cotton Smith, Thomas, Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum bibliothecæ Cottonianæ (Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre, 1696) https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_uUAv2HzUGxgC
Cotton Planta, Joseph, ed., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Cottonian Library Deposited in the British Museum (London: Hansard, 1802) https://archive.org/details/ACatalogueOfTheManuscripts1802
Greek MSS Richard, Marcel, Inventaire des manuscrits grecs du British Museum, I: Fonds Sloane, Additional, Egerton, Cottonian et Stowe (Paris, 1952) https://www.persee.fr/doc/dirht_1636-869x_1952_cat_3_1
Greek MSS The British Library Summary Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts, I (London, 1999) https://archive.org/details/summarycatalogue0000brit
Harley A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), Vol I https://archive.org/details/gri_33125008529493
Harley A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), Vol II https://archive.org/details/gri_33125008529436
Harley A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), Vol III https://archive.org/details/gri_33125008529311
Harley A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), Vol IV https://archive.org/details/gri_33125008529378
Irish MSS O'Grady, Standish Hayes, & Robin Flower, Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: Printed for the Trustees, 1926) https://archive.org/details/catalogueofirish0000brit
Lansdowne Ellis, Henry, and Francis Douce, eds., A Catalogue of the Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: Taylor, 1820), Vol I https://archive.org/details/gri_33125012275638
Lansdowne Ellis, Henry, and Francis Douce, eds., A Catalogue of the Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: Taylor, 1820), Vol II https://archive.org/details/gri_33125012275521
Maps and Drawings Catalogue of the Manuscript Maps, Charts, and Plans, and of the Topographical Drawings in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1844-1861), Vol I https://archive.org/details/cataloguemanusc01musegoog
Maps and Drawings Catalogue of the Manuscript Maps, Charts, and Plans, and of the Topographical Drawings in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1844-1861), Vol II https://archive.org/details/cataloguemanusc02musegoog
Maps and Drawings Catalogue of the Manuscript Maps, Charts, and Plans, and of the Topographical Drawings in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1844-1861), Vol III https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_OQEVAAAAQAAJ
Music Hughes-Hughes, Augustus, Catalogue of Manuscript Music in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1906-1909), Vol I https://archive.org/details/catalogueofmanus01brit
Music Hughes-Hughes, Augustus, Catalogue of Manuscript Music in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1906-1909), Vol II https://archive.org/details/catalogueofmanus02brit
Music     Hughes-Hughes, Augustus, Catalogue of Manuscript Music in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1906-1909), Vol III https://archive.org/details/catalogueofmanus03brit
Papyri and Ostraca Trismegistos Papyri Database (requires subscription) https://www.trismegistos.org/collection/192
Ostraca Wilcken, Ulrich, Griechische Ostraka aus Aegypten und Nubien, 2 vols (Leipzig and Berlin, 1899), Vol I https://archive.org/details/griechischeostra01wilc
Ostraca Wilcken, Ulrich, Griechische Ostraka aus Aegypten und Nubien, 2 vols (Leipzig and Berlin, 1899), Vol II https://archive.org/details/griechischeostra02wilc
Romances Ward, H. L. D., & J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London, 1883-1910), Vol I https://archive.org/details/catalogueofroman01brituoft
Romances Ward, H. L. D., & J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London, 1883-1910), Vol II https://archive.org/details/b29001079_0002
Romances Ward, H. L. D., & J. A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London, 1883-1910), Vol III https://archive.org/details/catalogueofroman03brit
Royal & Kings Warner, G. F., & J. P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King's Collections, 4 vols (London, 1921), Vol I https://archive.org/details/BMCatalogueOfWesternMssRoyal1
Royal & Kings Warner, G. F., & J. P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King's Collections, 4 vols (London, 1921), Vol II https://archive.org/details/BMCatalogueOfWesternMssRoyal2
Seals Birch, Walter de Gray, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (1887-1900), Vol I https://archive.org/details/catalogueofseals01brit
Seals Birch, Walter de Gray, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (1887-1900), Vol II https://archive.org/details/catalogueofseals02brit
Seals Birch, Walter de Gray, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (1887-1900), Vol I https://archive.org/details/catalogueofseals03brit
Seals Birch, Walter de Gray, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (1887-1900), Vol III https://archive.org/details/catalogueofseals04brit
Seals Birch, Walter de Gray, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (1887-1900), Vol IV https://archive.org/details/catalogueofseals05brit
Seals Birch, Walter de Gray, Catalogue of seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 6 vols (1887-1900), Vol V https://archive.org/details/catalogueofseals06brit
Sloane Ayscough, S., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the British Museum, 2 vols (London: John Rivington, 1782), Vol VI https://archive.org/details/catalogueofmanus01aysc
Sloane Ayscough, S., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the British Museum, 2 vols (London: John Rivington, 1782), Vol II https://archive.org/details/catalogueofmanus02aysc
Sloane Scott, E. J. L., Index to the Sloane manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1904) https://archive.org/details/indextosloanema00ayscgoog
Spanish De Gayangos, Don Pascual, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Spanish Language in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1875-1893), Vol I https://archive.org/details/b29001468_0001
Spanish De Gayangos, Don Pascual, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Spanish Language in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1875-1893), Vol II https://archive.org/details/catalogueofmanu02brit
Spanish De Gayangos, Don Pascual, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Spanish Language in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1875-1893), Vol III https://archive.org/details/gri_33125013201435
Spanish De Gayangos, Don Pascual, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Spanish Language in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1875-1893), Vol IV https://archive.org/details/manuscriptsinspa04brit
Stowe O'Conor, Charles, Bibliotheca Ms. Stowensis: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Stowe Library, 2 vols (Buckingham: Seeley, 1818-1819), Vol I https://archive.org/details/bibliothecamsst00ashbgoog
Stowe O'Conor, Charles, Bibliotheca Ms. Stowensis: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Stowe Library, 2 vols (Buckingham: Seeley, 1818-1819), Vol II https://archive.org/details/bibliothecamsst01ashbgoog
Stowe Scott, Edward J.L., ed., Catalogue of the Stowe Manuscripts in the British Museum, 2 vols (London: British Museum, 1895), Vol 1 https://archive.org/details/b29002618_0001
Stowe Scott, Edward J.L., ed., Catalogue of the Stowe Manuscripts in the British Museum, 2 vols (London: British Museum, 1895), Vol 2 https://archive.org/details/b29002618_0002
Welsh Owen, Edward, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Relating to Wales in the British Museum, 4 parts, Cymmrodorion Record Series, 4 (London: The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1900-1903), Parts 1-2 https://archive.org/details/p1catalogueofman04brituoft
Welsh     Owen, Edward, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Relating to Wales in the British Museum, 4 parts, Cymmrodorion Record Series, 4 (London: The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1908-1922), Parts 3-4 https://archive.org/details/p3catalogueofman04brituoft
Welsh Huws, Daniel, A Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes c. 800-c. 1800, 3 vols (The National Library of Wales and University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, 2022)  
Yates Thompson James, M. R., A Descriptive Catalogue of Fifty Manuscripts from the Collection of Henry Yates Thompson (Cambridge, 1898) https://archive.org/details/descriptivecatal00jame_1
Yates Thompson A Descriptive Catalogue of Twenty Illuminated Manuscripts, Nos. LXXV to XVIV (Replacing Twenty Discarded from the Original Hundred) in the Collection of Henry Yates Thompson (3rd series, Cambridge, 1907) https://archive.org/details/adescriptivecatalogueoftwe
Yates Thompson A Descriptive Catalogue of Fourteen Illuminated Manuscripts (Nos.XCV to CVII and 79A) Completing the Hundred in the Library of Henry Yates Thompson (Cambridge, 1912) https://archive.org/details/adescriptivecatalogueoffou
Yates Thompson Illustrations from one hundred manuscripts in the library of Henry Yates Thompson (London, 1916) https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924008668554
Yates Thompson Wormald, Francis, 'The Yates Thompson Manuscripts', British Museum Quarterly, 16 (1951), pp.4-5 https://doi.org/10.2307/4422290
Yelverton The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts: The Yelverton Manuscripts, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1994), Vol 1 https://archive.org/details/britishlibraryca0001brit
Yelverton     The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts: The Yelverton Manuscripts, 2 vols (London: British Library, 1994), Vol 2 https://archive.org/details/britishlibraryca0002brit

 

27 October 2023

Garendon cartulary acquired by the British Library

We are pleased to announce that the British Library has acquired a 15th-century cartulary from Garendon Abbey in Leicestershire. 

The cartulary of Garendon Abbey

The cartulary of Garendon Abbey, made around 1450, and purchased by the British Library in September 2023

Garendon was founded for Cistercian monks in 1133, and was dissolved by the commissioners of King Henry VIII in 1536. The cartulary was described first by J.G. Nichols, in The History of the County and Antiquities of Leicester (1804), when it was in the hands of the antiquary Craven Ord (d. 1832). It passed eventually into the collection of the bookseller W.A. Foyle (d. 1963), and was sold at the recent auction of the library of his grandson, Christopher Foyle (d. 2022), held at Dominic Winter Auctioneers on 27 September.

The opening page of the Garendon cartulary

The opening page of the Garendon cartulary

The next step is for this cartulary to be assessed and treated by our conservation team, since it has been exposed to damp over the years. As you will see from these photos, many of its pages are creased, and there is some loss of leaves at the very end of the volume. The cartulary will then be digitised before it can be made available in the Library's Manuscripts Reading Room at St Pancras. We will make a separate announcement when it can be consulted by readers in person.

The Garendon cartulary

The cartulary of Garendon Abbey

The British Library already holds an earlier cartulary from Garendon Abbey (Lansdowne MS 415), compiled at various stages from the late 1100s onwards. The Garendon cartulary also complements other monastic records acquired by the Library in recent years, including the cartulary of Otterton Priory (Add MS 81278), the rental of Worcester Cathedral Priory (Add MS 89137), the Burton cartulary (Add MS 89169), and two cartularies from Lacock Abbey (Add MS 88973. Add MS 88974).

 

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