Goscelin, the Translation of St Augustine's Relics
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Once belonging to the monastery of St Augustine in Canterbury, this manuscript has a collection of saints' lives, all of them associated with Canterbury. Several of the lives are the work of the biographer Goscelin, a Flemish benedictine monk who came to England with Hermann, Bishop of Salisbury, probably in 1053. He went on the road to gather material from all over the kingdom, writing the lives of the English saints as he travelled, finally settling at Canterbury. This manuscript may have been copied within a decade of his death, at Canterbury, making it an important record of his work and evidence of the cults of saints there.
Many of the writings in this manuscript concern St Augustine, the 'Apostle of the Anglo-Saxons' and first archbishop of the English sent to Britain by Pope Gregory the Great at the end of the 6th century. Goscelin wrote his most important works on Augustine, having been present at the translation or removal of his relics to a new tomb-shrine in the abbey of St Augustine's monastery in 1091. This page has part of an account of the event, in which the relics of Augustine's companions from Rome were translated as well. Goscelin claimed to have based his writings on Augustine on old records at Canterbury, and here he speaks of an 'ancient gospel book'.