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Many manuscripts reveal a surprising amount about their makers and owners. One such is this small prayer book, which measures only 130 x 95 mm (part of the book is now Cotton MS Titus D XXVII). According to a note, it was made by Brother Ælfsige for Ælfwine (d. 1057), dean and later abbot of the New Minster, Winchester, one of the richest monasteries in England. 

In addition to prayers, Ælfwine’s book contains various other material, such as a calendar, scientific diagrams, devotional images, a charm for catching a thief, the dates of his mother’s, father’s, and siblings’ deaths, texts on divination and even a recipe for treating ulcers (made from nine egg yolks, wine and fennel).

This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.