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Goscelin, 'Translation of the Relics of St Mildrith'

Goscelin, 'Translation of the Relics of St Mildrith'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian B XX

Item number: f.167v

Length: 24.5

Width: 15

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

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.

In the late 7th century, St Mildrith was abbess of the monastery of Minster-in-Thanet, a prized estate of St Augustine's monastery, Canterbury. After her death the community venerated her as a saint. In the early 11th century her relics were moved (translated) from Minster to the abbey of St Augustine's and again in 1091 to the abbey's new chapel of the Holy Innocents. Goscelin may have had a part in the last upgrading of her relics by writing the 'Life of Mildrith' and 'The Translation and Miracles of St Mildrith', between 1087 and 1091. This page has the beginning of the account of the earlier translation, from Minster to St Augustine's. The monks of St Augustine's would have wanted to advertise their connections with the beloved, miracle-working nun and her productive estate in Thanet.

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