Almost the first thing I saw on arriving in the city was a poster for the exhibition.
I had a little time to explore the city before it was time to install the manuscript so I headed for the cathedral.
Naturally I had to visit the Cathedral Library which is tucked away in the cloisters, long and narrow with a low, sloping ceiling. I asked the assistant librarian about their collections and he told me that they do have a good collection of theological books from the seventeenth century onwards but their small number of older books and manuscripts are now held in the city’s record office.
‘The library did have medieval manuscripts but they were taken by Matthew Parker’, he said, and then stopped, remembering where I was from! Luckily he didn’t bear a 500 year-old grudge – but I can understand that he might be sad to have lost books like CCCC MS 264, a copy of Bede and Roger of Wendover which includes a number of copies of Norwich documents and which once belonged to Simon Bozoun, prior of the cathedral in the fourteenth century or CCCC MS 465, the thirteenth-century Ordinal of the Benedictine cathedral priory. Its calendar isn’t the most beautiful but it does include entries for Norwich individuals like Henry of Lakenham, prior of the cathedral in the late thirteenth century.