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Marginal Drawings Of A Bell, A Crosier, And The Priest Bernard Blowing the Horn Of St. Brendan , In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'

Marginal Drawings Of A Bell, A Crosier, And The Priest Bernard Blowing the Horn Of St. Brendan , In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1220

Shelfmark: Royal MS 13 B.viii

Item number: f.30r

Length: 27.4

Width: 18.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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Gerald of Wales was born at Monorbier castle, in Pembrokeshire, in 1146. He was educated at Gloucester and Paris, and became Archdeacon of Brecon in 1175. He visited Ireland in 1183, 1185, 1199 and again for about two years from 1204. A version of his text--which is largely concerned with the marvellous things he saw or heard about there--is known to have been read publicly in 1188. This manuscript was written perhaps at Lincoln, probably before Gerald's death in 1223, and it has been suggested that he personally supervised its writing and decoration. This manuscript was later owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.

Relics of saints, such as bells and staves, were held in high regard, Gerald tells us; anyone who makes an oath on such a relic and breaks it is severely punished. A mendicant used to carry the horn of St. Brendan, so that people could kiss it. When a priest named Bernard snatched it and tried blew it, his mouth became disfigured and he lost the power of speech.

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