Bosworth Psalter


Like the majority of biblical books in Western Christendom, the texts of this Psalter are in Latin. They comprise one of the translations traditionally ascribed to St Jerome (d. 420), one of the four Fathers of the Western Church. Over a period of nearly 25 years, St Jerome translated biblical texts from Greek and Hebrew into the Latin vernacular, and perhaps completed three versions or revisions of the Psalms. The first is now commonly known as the Roman or Romanum Psalter because it was adopted at an early date by the church in Rome. The Romanum version appears in this Psalter, which was produced in southern England during the 3rd quarter of the tenth century. The manuscript features an Old English translation that was added above some of the Latin text, and major divisions of the Psalms are marked by large capital letters in alternating colours, inhabited with open-mouthed beasts.    

An inscription shows that the book was once owned by Thomas Cranmer (d. 1556), archbishop of Canterbury, who had a leading role in the development of church services in English during the Reformation. It is now known as the Bosworth Psalter, because it was housed at Bosworth Hall in Leicestershire, during the 19th century. 

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

Full title:
Psalter ('The Bosworth Psalter') with gloss in Latin and Old English
3rd quarter of the tenth century, Southern England
Latin / Old English
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 37517

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Medieval monastic libraries

Article by:
Alison Ray
History and learning, Making manuscripts, Christian religion and belief

Through the evidence of surviving manuscripts, Alison Ray explores the collections of medieval libraries and how these libraries grew and changed over time.

Music in Anglo-Saxon England

Article by:
Alison Hudson

Learn how music permeated everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England, from the church, to the workplace, to celebrations.

Medieval calendars

Article by:
Kathleen Doyle, Cristian Ispir
Art and illumination, Science and nature, Christian religion and belief

Calendars provided one of the most important means of time keeping for the medieval world. Cristian Ispir and Kathleen Doyle explain how they were used.

Related collection items