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Detailed record for Harley 1117

Author Bede
Title Lives of Cuthbert in prose (ff. 2-42v) and verse (ff. 45-62v), with services for Cuthbert, Benedict and Guthlac with musical notation (ff. 43-44; 63-66)
Origin England, S.
Date 1st half of the 11th century
Language Latin, with some Anglo-Saxon glosses
Script Minuscule
Decoration Full-page title page in a rectangular border in red, green, and blue (f. 3v). Large interlace initials with animal heads in brown and red (ff. 2, 4, 45). Large initials in red or green (one in blue), some with penwork decoration, 3 including of animal heads (ff. 48v, 51, 57v). Rubrics in red, blue or green. Highlighting of intials in red. Decorated line-filler in red (f. 42).
Dimensions in mm 255 x 175 (200 x 125)
Official foliation ff. 66 ( + 3 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves at the beginning and 2 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance Contains an epigram copied into the manuscript from an earlier (now lost) psalter: 'Iusserat ecclesiae Wigbeorhtus scribere nabla hoc abbas huius; cunctos rogitat qui hic psallere captant utque sui memores cantus cumulamine constent, quo Deus omnipotens sibi crimina cuncta relaxet'; 'Wigbeorht, the abbot of this church, ordered this psalter (?) to be written. He asks those who begin to chant their psalms that they remember him through the abundance of their song, whereby God omnipotent may forgive them their sins' (f. 62v).
? The Benedictine abbey of Christ Church, Canterbury: evidence of the script and decoration (see Temple 1975, describing initials of Wormald Type II (b)).
? Alternatively, a monastery in Wessex, such as Sherborne: evidence of the contents of the prayerbook placed after its 'Lives' of Cuthbert.
f. 1 contains text in Latin in a 11th-century hand, with small initials in red or green.
John Anstis the elder (b. 1669, d. 1744), herald and antiquary, gift to Robert Harley (prior to 1724) together with other manuscripts: inscription pasted onto a parchment folio (f. 1v).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d.1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes Wormald Type II(b) initials of heads, interlace in outline, and acanthus foliage.
Musical notation: Breton neumes, England (Christ Church – Canterbury ?), 11th century (ff. 43-44; 63-66v).
St Cuthbert was a seventh-century, English Christian leader, renowned for his ascetic practices and the miracles attributed to him during his lifetime and posthumously. Born in Northumbria around 635, he entered the monastery of Melrose in 651, and later became guest-master at the newly founded monastery at Ripon. Cuthbert subsequently became prior of Melrose, then prior of Lindisfarne, and went on to live as a hermit on the island of Inner Farne, off the coast of Northumberland. He was consecrated as bishop of Lindisfarne in 685 but died at his Inner Farne hermitage on 20 March 687.

He was elevated to sainthood in 698 when his body was reinterred in a new wooden coffin. This coffin was subsequently removed from Lindisfarne by the community of St Cuthbert and was carried with them as they travelled around the North East in the wake of Viking raids in the ninth and tenthh centuries. At the end of the tenth century, the community took Cuthbert's coffin with them to Durham and settled there.

In 1104, Cuthbert's coffin was opened and the gospel was discovered inside with the saint's body, which was reburied at the East end of the new Norman cathedral. He was one of England's most popular and widely venerated saints both in the Anglo-Saxon period and after the Norman Conquest, and his shrine was a major medieval pilgrimage centre.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 1117.

Felix's Life of Saint Cuthlac, ed. by Bertram Colgrave (Cambridge: University Press, 1956), p. 10.

N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), no. 234.

T. A. M. Bishop, 'Notes on Cambridge Manuscripts', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 3 (1963), pp. 413-23.

Elzbieta Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 900-1066, Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 2 (London: Harvey Miller, 1976), no.30 (vii) [with additional bibliography].

The Benedictines in Britain, British Library Series, 3 (London: British Library, 1980), no. 27 [exhibition catalogue].

Michael Lapidge, Anglo-Latin Literature 600-899 (London: Hambledon Press, 1996), p. 75.


Nicholas Bell, Music in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2001), p. 18.

Helmut Gneuss, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 241 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001), no. 427.

K. D. Hartzell, Catalogue of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1200 containing Music (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006), no. 157.


Images
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Interlace initial

f. 2
Interlace initial
Title page

f. 3v
Title page
Interlace initial

ff. 3v-4
Interlace initial
 
Interlace initial

f. 4
Interlace initial
Coloured initials

ff. 24v-25
Coloured initials
Coloured initials

f. 43
Coloured initials
 
Interlace initials

f. 45
Interlace initials
Decorated initials

f. 51
Decorated initials
Decorated initials

f. 55
Decorated initials
 
Decorated initial

f. 57v
Decorated initial

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