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Library Catalogue, From a Volume of Writings of St Augustine

Library Catalogue, From a Volume of Writings of St Augustine

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1202

Shelfmark: Royal MS 5 B.xii

Item number: f.2r

Length: 26

Width: 17.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

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The priory of the cathedral of St Andrew, Rochester, possessed a great number of books, most of which became the medieval manuscripts section of Henry VIII's library when the bishop of Rochester's belongings were confiscated in 1534 or upon his execution in 1535. The clerics, monks and canons at the cathedral would have need for many types of books: for study, conducting church and prayer services and for personal devotion. This manuscript, copied in the early 12th century, contained St Augustine's 'On Christian Doctrine' and 'On True Religion'. In the late 12th or beginning of the 13th century, the monastery's cantor, Alexander, wrote out a catalogue of all the books owned by the priory on the flyleaves at the front of this manuscript.

The first flyleaf has the beginning of the catalogue, at the top of which is a note, not written by Alexander, which says that an inventory was made of the library in 1202. Just below that, in red letters (rubric), the title identifies it as the books of the 'library of St Andrew' (St Andrew's cathedral). The first books listed are those of the Church Fathers, the authors indicated in rubrics, starting with Augustine, followed by Gregory, Ambrose, Jerome and Bede, then liturgical books and other authors. This manuscript is 10th on the list: Alexander identified it after giving its contents. Later additions--detectable by handwriting style--were written in the blank spaces between sections and in the margins.

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