Gospel readings are a fundamental part of the Mass, and therefore Gospel-books were among the most essential possessions of a church or monastery. Known as Codex Bigotianus after a later owner, the book collector and scholar Émery Bigot (d. 1689), this Gospel-book is now divided into two separate volumes, with the Gospels of Sts Matthew, Mark and Luke bound separately (the other volume is BnF Latin 298).
Decorated copies of the Gospels often include large ornamental letters at the beginning of each book. Codex Bigotianus was made in Southern England but, like Northumbrian books, it features interlace and beasts in these initial letters. This style is sometimes known as Insular, referring to manuscripts made on the islands of Britain and Ireland, and also in Continental monasteries established by Anglo-Saxon or Irish monks.