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Archbishop Nothelm, in A Necrology

Archbishop Nothelm, in A Necrology

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Nero C IX

Item number: f.20r

Length: 32.8

Width: 22.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

Bound together with later records from the Benedictine abbey of the Holy Trinity, Canterbury, this fragment of an 11th-century obituary records the deaths of archbishops, abbots and other important churchmen. Only the pages for part of September, October, November and part of December survive. Set out according to the roman calendar system of kalends, nones and ides, it lists the dates and in columns beside them the names of those who had died on that day in years past. The names for each day would have been read out at the community's meeting called chapter, which was held in the chapterhouse after the morning prayers (prime) which started at about six o'clock. This commemorated the dead, remembering their souls in the monastery's daily prayers. A later inscription in the upper right corner identifies it as the "new martyrilogium, according to the rule of St Benedict." A martyrologium or martyrology is technically a book of saints' lives.

In later obituaries, the word 'obit' ('he / she died') is abbreviated with an 'O', but here it is spelled out, necessitating erasure and correction to 'obier' (abbreviation for 'they died') when a second name was added for the day. At the top, the first anniversary is that of Nothelm, archibishop of Canterbury (735-739), who died on 17 October 739. Other names are identified as priest, deacons, acolytes and monks ('m').

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