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Library Catalogue, from a Volume of Writings by St. Augustine

Library Catalogue, from a Volume of Writings by St. Augustine

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1202

Shelfmark: Royal MS 5 B.xii

Item number: f.2v

Length: 25.8

Width: 16.8

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 catalogue entries on this flyleaf give an idea of the extent of the library. Manuscripts of all parts of the Bible, of commentaries, saints lives, law books and devotional works all had a place. Alexander, the cantor, probably served as a librarian. His name "Alex" is written in the margin by two of the books ('On the Ark of Noah' and 'Life of St Bernard'). In the second column, the largest letter 'I' begins an entry which says, "Other books in the cantor's trunk".

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