Written in the 5th century by Benedict of Nursia, the Rule of St Benedict became the most widely accepted manual for religious communities in western Europe. It was written to guide communities of monks and nuns in a life of reasonable asceticism, establish a daily framework of prayer and outline spiritual goals. The early Anglo-Saxon monasteries were becoming familiar with Benedict's rule, but not until after the disruptions of the Viking invasions and subsequent reform of monasteries in the 10th century was it uniformly in place. This manuscript copy was made at St Augustine's, Canterbury, at the end of the 10th century when monasteries had begun to follow St Benedict. A chapter of his rule would have been read aloud from this manuscript each day after early morning prayers (called 'prime', at about 6 am). An underlying precept of the Rule was that a brother or sister released ties to family and friends and became a member of the spiritual kinship of the monastery. For this reason a monk or a nun could only receive a letter or a gift from anyone, even parents, without the approval of the abbot or abbess. The first letter of the chapter is decorated with fanciful bird heads with small ears, cord-like interlace, and classically inspired leaf designs.