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Detailed record for Additional 61735

Title Farming memoranda of Ely Abbey
Origin England, S. E. (Ely)
Date c. 1007-1025
Language English
Script Anglo-Saxon minuscule
Scribe Written by four scribes over a period of time
Decoration Pen-drawing of a head of a saint, or Christ, with hair coloured in a red wash (fragment 3).
Dimensions in mm 280 x 178mm
Official foliation Two of the parchment strips are foliated 1 and 2 (on recto) and 3 and 4 (on verso); the third is unfoliated
Form A parchment folio, now divided into 3 separate strips, ?originally a manuscript flyleaf.
Binding Parchment strips mounted between two pieces of glass in a wooden frame
Provenance All three fragments:
The Benedictine abbey of St Peter and St Etheldreda, Ely, the leaf contains farm accounts of the abbey and properties in the area in the first quarter of the 11th century and a reference to land at (Little) Thetford which was acquired by Ely in 1007.

Two narrow fragments:
James Betton, Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge (1611-1628), formerly Vicar of St Mary, Shrewsbury: donated the printed book, Diophantus Arithmetica (Basel, 1575), probably with the two parchment fragments in the binding, to the college in 1626.
The library of Queens' College, Cambridge: the two parchment strips were discovered by C. Sayle and W. Skeat in 1902 as sewing guards in the printed book, Arithmetica (now D.2.7 in the library catalogue).

Third wider fragment (unnumbered):
Captain William Alfred Cragg, of Threekingham, Norfolk, by descent to his son William Gilliat Cragg, High Sheriff of Lincolnshire (b.1883, d.1956), discovered in his collection of manuscript fragments by Professor F. M. Stenton in 1925.
The library of Queens' College, Cambridge, the third fragment was deposited in 1954 and acquired in 1978.

All three fragments:
Purchased by the British Library from Queens' College, Cambridge at Sotheby's sale, London 11th December 1979, lot 25.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at
Memoranda comprising (a) a list of valuations of livestock, seed, farm implements, ships etc., supplied by Ely Abbey to Thorney Abbey (refounded 972); (b) an inventory of livestock on Ely Abbey farms; (c) a list of rents, in eels, due from fenland belonging to Ely. No comparable documents have survived from this period. Perhaps working notes, recorded on a flyleaf, made in preparation for more formal accounts. Pen-trials in Latin and some diastematic neumes also occur. It is not known whether the notes relate to a gift from Ely to Thorney, or to some other transaction between the two houses. Hart has pointed out that the reference to land at (Little) Thetford implies a date after 1007, when it was acquired by Ely.
The script is Anglo-Saxon minuscule, written by four hands over a period of time, with some Latin notes in English caroline minuscule.
Select bibliography W. W. Skeat, ' Two Anglo-Saxon Fragments of the Eleventh Century', Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society, 61-63 (1902), 12-16.

Agnes J. Robertson, Anglo-Saxon Charters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1939), pp. 252-57 [for a transcription and translation of the text], 502-05.

N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), no. 80.

Cyril R. Hart, The Early Charters of Eastern England (Leicester: University Press, 1966), pp. 32, 47.

The Durham Gospels, ed. by C. D. Verey et al., Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile, 20, (Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1980), p. 52.

The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, ed. by Janet Backhouse, Derek H. Turner, and Leslie Webster (London: British Museum, 1984), no. 150, p. 148 [exhibition catalogue].

The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts: New Series 1976-1980, Part 1 (London: British Library, 1995), pp. 266-67.

Helmut Gneuss, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 241 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001) no.302.2.

K. D. Hartzell, Catalogue of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1200 containing Music (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006), no. 126.

Michelle Brown, Manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon Age (London: British Library, 2007), pp. 134,167.

Keith Briggs, Power and place-names: Did early English rulers use Roman-style province names?
[] [accessed 28.08.2012].

Richard Gameson, 'The material fabric of early British books' in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012-), I: 400-1100 (p. 14, n. 5).

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Text page

Text page
Head of a saint

Head of a saint

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