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The Foundation of St Bartholomew's

The Foundation of St Bartholomew's

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1400

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian B IX

Item number: f.81v

Length: 25

Width: 16.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

One of the oldest churches in London, St Bartholomew's church and priory of Augustinian (or Austin) canons were founded by Rahere in 1123 in West Smithfield. Following the order's tradition of giving hospitality to travellers and tending the sick, the brothers of St Bartholomew's provided an important hospital in medieval London. This manuscript contains a collection of documents, in Latin and Middle English, on its foundation and history.

The last page of the manuscript has a grand inscription, proclaiming that it is the book of the "Foundation of the Church of St Bartholomew, Pertaining to the Priory of the Same in West Smythfelde." The signature below, dating later, probably between 1604 and 1616, is that of Richard St George, who was created Norroy king-of-arms, a heraldic position of the College of Arms, in 1604. In this position, St George visited London. During one of the visits, he may have acquired the book, which became part of the library of his friend, Sir Robert Cotton.

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