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'The Translation of St Mildgytha'

'The Translation of St Mildgytha'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1100

Shelfmark: Harley MS 652

Item number: f.209v

Length: 35

Width: 23.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

A copy of 'The Translation of St Mildgytha' is part of a manuscript that was used for reading from during the daily prayers (divine office) of the monks at St Augustine's, Canterbury. St Mildgytha, who died in 676, was important in Canterbury because in 1085 Lanfranc the archbishop translated (removed) her relics to his hospital of St Gregory. Although the details of her life are hazy, she was the daughter of Ermenburga of Kent and Merewald, and she became the abbess of a monastery, often said to be Minster of Eastry, Isle of Thanet. Her sisters were Sts Milburga and Mildred. When the Danes invaded in the 9th century, her relics were moved to Lyming where they remained until 1085. The relics of Anglo-Saxon saints like Mildgytha offered Norman bishops and archbishops the opportunity to connect themselves with the history of the English church. Reading aloud from the story would have been an important element in the monastery's commemoration of her.

The first page gives the title in small red letters at the top of the first column. After a blessing for the monastery, the story follows, divided into short sections, each beginning with a large coloured letter. The sections are numbered consecutively, presumably to divide the story for reading day-by-day.

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