This collection of the letters of the Englishman Alcuin of York (b. c. 735, d. 804), is datable to the early ninth century. The text was written in a script known as ‘Caroline minuscule’, a clear and simple script developed during the reign of the emperor Charlemagne (r. 768–814). The manuscript was produced in the monastery of Saint-Denis near Paris, which had extensive connections with the royal and imperial court, where Alcuin was a leading scholar.
By the 10th- or early 11th century, the volume was in England, and found its way to York Minster, where Alcuin had begun his career. The letters were addressed to important figures throughout the Carolingian empire and beyond, discussing wide-ranging topics from scholarly questions to political issues.