Parker’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: The Æthelstan Bede (MS 183) and The Old English Bede (MS 41)

With Christmas almost upon us, before we break for the holidays we present one final feature in our series of blog posts celebrating our manuscripts appearing in the British Library’s triumphant Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War exhibition (but never fear; look forward to more in the New Year!). Our first post focused on Parker's magnificent fragment... Continue Reading →

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Parker’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: The Corpus Glossary (MS 144)

The Parker Library is proud to be the single largest lender of manuscripts to the British Library’s magnificent exhibition, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War. In a series of blog posts spanning the Christmas holiday and into the New Year, we will shine a spotlight on a selection of the Parker manuscripts currently on display. Our first... Continue Reading →

The Residue of Alchemy in Botany

Plants really don’t move. The majority grow in the same places, look the same, smell the same, and act the same for thousands of years, and this slow evolution is a useful lodestone to help us navigate the shoals of botanical thought, which have changed so dramatically in the past 600 years as to be... Continue Reading →

Holey Books: Ancrene Wisse and the Art of Medieval Manuscript Repair

Encountering a manuscript is a vastly different experience to reading a modern printed edition of the same text. I discovered this when I had the privilege of examining the Ancrene Wisse manuscript (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 402) during my internship at the Parker Library. Ancrene Wisse—meaning ‘advice for anchoresses’—is an early thirteenth-century text intended to guide... Continue Reading →

History by the Month: March and Alexander III

Manuscripts from medieval Scotland are rare. This is the unique copy of a chronicle of Scottish history assembled c.1447-49 for Walter Bower (1385-1449), abbot of Inchcolm Abbey, on the island in the Firth of Forth, north of Edinburgh. The illustration here shows the funeral of Alexander III, king of Scotland 1249-86, who died following a riding... Continue Reading →

The evolution of the liturgy of Ash Wednesday

Just as we are getting over the excesses of Pancake Day- or it's related Shrove Tuesday counterparts- seems as good a time as any to reflect upon the manuscript evidence of the early practices of Lent, the Christian season of penance and self-reflection, which begins with Ash Wednesday. Ashes have a number of symbolic applications in Biblical accounts, both in the Old and... Continue Reading →

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