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Detailed record for Harley 2965

Title Extracts from the Gospels and prayers ('The Book of Nunnaminster')
Origin England, S. (Mercia; W. Midlands, diocese of Worcester?)
Date 1st quarter of the 9th century
Language Latin, with English
Script Minuscule (Insular Hybrid minuscule and Insular Set minuscule), with Insular display capitals
Decoration 3 large initials with penwork decoration including of small red and brown dots, with colour washes of green, red, and yellow, the second and third zoomorphic (ff. 4v, 11, 16v). Smaller initials in ink with colour washes, the first with an animal head (ff. 37, 38). Initials in ink, with washes of green, yellow, red, and/or brown, usually encircled by small red or brown dots. Red dots in groups of three around a heading (f. 18v).
Dimensions in mm 215 x 160 (175 x 140)
Official foliation ff. i + 41 ( + 1 unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning, 1 after f. i, and 3 at the end; f. i is a paper flyleaf; 1 folio cut out between ff.32 and 33)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Red leather with simple gold tooling.
Provenance Decoration and script of the Southumbrian 'Tiberius Group', and the text contains indications of possible original female ownership in feminine word endings.
The Benedictine nunnery of St. Mary's, Nunnaminster, Winchester, founded by Ealhswith: late 9th- or 10th-century inscriptions in English, including of the land boundaries of the nunnery (f. 40v).
Added early 10th-century prayers, with feminine endings (f. 41).
The Roscarrock family of Cornwall: its added arms (f. 37v), perhaps owned by Nicholas Roscarrock, a member of the household of Lord William Howard of Naworth (c.1607) (see Alexander 1978).
John Warburton (b. 1682, d. 1759), of Bury, county Lancashire, antiquary and herald, Somerset Herald in 1720: sold to Edward Harley in 1720.
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 One of a group of Southumbrian prayerbooks of the "Tiberius" group, the others being Harley 7653, and Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Ll.1.10 (Book of Cerne). All, except Cerne, exhibit linguistic features which raise the possibility, along with aspects of their provenance, of original female production and/ or use.
The first quire is missing and the text begins at Mark14:61, incipit ' tu es Chr[istus] Filius d[e]I benedicti..'(f. 1).
Contents include:
A prayer against poison , incipit 'Deus meus [et] pater et filius et spiritus sanctus. Cui omnia subjecta sunt...' (f. 37);
The oldest known copy of the Lorica of Laidcenn , an Irish prayer or incantation recited for protection (f. 38).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), p. 61, pl. 22.

[E. Maunde Thompson and G. F. Warner], Catalogue of Ancient Manuscripts in the British Museum, 2 vols (London: British Museum, 1881-1884), Part II Latin, pp. 61-62, pl. 22.

W. de Gray Birch, An Ancient Manuscript of the Eighth or Ninth Century formerly Belonging to St Mary’s Abbey or Nunnaminster, Winchester (London, 1889).

Codices Latini Antiquiores, ed. by E. A. Lowe, 11 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934-1966), II: Great Britain and Ireland (1935), no. 199.

G. L. Micheli, L’enluminure du haut moyen age et les influences irlandaises (Brussels: Editions de la connaissance, 1939), pp. 33, 65.

N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), no. 237.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, ed. by N. R. Ker, 2nd edn, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 3 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 202.

J. J. G. Alexander, Insular Manuscripts: 6th to the 9th Century, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 1 (London: Harvey Miller, 1978), no. 41.

The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900, ed. by Leslie Webster and Janet Backhouse (London: British Museum, 1991), no. 164 [exhibition catalogue].

Michelle Brown, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (London: British Library, 1991), pl. 41.

Henry Mayr-Harting, Ottonian Book Illumination: An Historical Study, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1991), I: Themes, p. 220 n. 121.

Julian Brown, A Palaeographer’s View: The Selected Writings of Julian Brown, ed. by Janet Bately, Michelle P. Brown, and Jane Roberts (London: Harvey Miller, 1993), p. 210, pl. 56.

Michelle P. Brown, The Book of Cerne: Prayer, Patronage and Power in Ninth-Century England (London: British Library, 1996), pp. 117-18, 137-54, 168-78, passim.

Michael Lapidge, Anglo-Latin Literature 600-899 (London: Hambledon Press, 1996), pp. 55,440

P. R. Robinson, 'A Twelfth-Century Scriptrix from Nunnaminster', in Of the Making of Books: Medieval Manuscripts, their Scribes and Readers: Essays presented to M. B. Parkes, ed. by P. R. Robinson and Rivkah Zim (Aldershot: Scholar Press, 1997), 73-93 (p. 73 n. 2).

Michelle P. Brown, 'Female Book-Ownership and Production in Anglo-Saxon England: the Evidence of the Ninth-Century Prayerbooks', in Lexis and Texts in Early English: Studies Presented to Jane Roberts, ed. by Christian J. Kay and Louise M. Sylvester, (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001), pp. 45-67.

Michelle P. Brown, ‘Mercian Manuscripts? The ‘Tiberius’ Group and Its Historical Context’, in Mercia: An Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in Europe, ed. by Michelle P. Brown and Carol A. Farr (London: Leicester University Press, 2001), pp. 281-91 (pp. 282, 288-89).

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. 432.

Michelle P. Brown, Manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon Age (London: British Library, 2007), pls. 48-49.

Richard Gameson, 'The Earliest English Royal Books' in 1000 Years of Royal Books and Manuscripts, ed. by Kathleen Doyle and Scot McKendrick (London: The British Library, 2013), pp. 3-35 (p. 11, 30).


Images
* * *
 
Initials with colour wash

f. 1
Initials with colour wash
Initials with colour wash

ff. 3v-4
Initials with colour wash
Decorated initial

f. 4v
Decorated initial
 
Zoomorphic initial

f. 11
Zoomorphic initial
Zoomorphic initial

f. 16v
Zoomorphic initial
Zoomorphic initial

f. 16v
Zoomorphic initial
 
Text pages

ff. 26v-27
Text pages
Prayer against poison

f. 37
Prayer against poison
Arms of Roscarrock of Cornwall

f. 37v
Arms of Roscarrock of Cornwall
 
Decorated initial

f. 38
Decorated initial
Text

f. 40v
Text
Text pages

ff. 40v-41
Text pages
 

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