History by the Month: July and the Battle of Hattin

The two-volume Chronica Maiora of Matthew Paris (c.1190-1259), monk of St Albans, is one of the major records of history at the time of the Crusades. It is the author’s own copy, with illustrations in his own hand. The picture here shows the disastrous Battle of Hattin in Palestine, when Saladin defeated the crusaders’ armies... Continue Reading →

History by the Month: February and the Peterborough Psalter

The Peterborough Psalter was illuminated in East Anglia, c.1310-20, perhaps for Oliver de Wisset. By the mid-fourteenth century it was in the possession of the prior of Peterborough Abbey. The Calendar page for February includes the saints and feast days appropriate for that month, and little roundels showing a man seated by the fire cooking... Continue Reading →

History by the month: January and the New Year

The enormous two-volume Dover Bible was made in Canterbury, c.1160, for use at Dover Priory, where it was recorded in 1389. The initial here shows the prophet Isaiah, declaiming ‘Ve genti peccatritri’ (‘Woe to the sinful nation’, Isaiah 1:4). It is marked ‘lectio i’ in the margin. According to the preface at the beginning of... Continue Reading →

History by the Month: October and Henry IV

A Pontifical is a service-book for a bishop. This richly illuminated manuscript, probably made in London, seems to have been begun for Guy de Mohun, bishop of Saint Davids 1397-1407. It later belonged to Richard Clifford, bishop of London 1407-21. It includes the service for the coronation of a king, which Guy de Mohun would... Continue Reading →

History by the Month: May

The autograph Chronica Maiora of Matthew Paris (c1200-1259), monk of St. Albans, is one of the most famous sources for thirteenth century English history. It is a history of the world, but is especially important for events of the author’s lifetime. The manuscript is in two volumes and contains hundreds of little drawings by Matthew... Continue Reading →

History by the Month- April

This is one of two known manuscripts of Jean Galopes, Le livre doré de la vie nostre seigneur Jesu Crist, a life of Christ, made for presentation to Henry V, king of England 1413-22. The English armies had occupied France following the Battle of Agincourt, whose anniversary falls this year (1415), and the manuscript of... Continue Reading →

Exhibition of Irish and Irish-related manuscripts

The next exhibition to take place in the Parker Library will be an exhibition of Irish and Irish-related manuscripts to tie in with a whole series of events celebrating Irish in Cambridge, entitled Seachtain na Gaeilge, and including poetry readings, songs and film. The works exhibited include saints' lives, chronicles, maps, glossaries, charters and poems.... Continue Reading →

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