Abbot Ceolfrith (d. 716) of Wearmouth-Jarrow in Northumbria commissioned the production of three massive, single-volume Bibles. All that remains of one of them are 10 pages and some other fragments. Remarkably, another of these giant Bibles survives intact in Italy, having been kept throughout the Middle Ages in the monastery of San Salvatore at Monte Amiata in Tuscany: it is now known as Codex Amiatinus.
These fragmentary leaves contain parts of Books 3 and 4 of the Old Testament Book of Kings. Two other pages from the same Bible survive: one reported by William Greenwell, canon librarian at Durham, as having been found in 1882 in a shop in Newcastle (British Library Additional MS 37777); and another found in 1982 among estate papers at Kingston Lacy in Dorset (British Library Loan MS 81). Supporting evidence suggests that they belonged to the ‘Great Bible’ recorded at Worcester Cathedral in the 11th century, into which Bishop Wulfstan II (r. 1062–1095) ordered copies of important documents to be added.
During the 16th century, these fragmentary leaves were cut up at Wollaton in Nottinghamshire. They were reused as wrappers for records of estates belonging to the Willoughby family.
- Article by:
- Becky Lawton
We look at two significant Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, both produced in a thriving centre of scholarship in eighth-century England: Codex Amiatinus and the St Cuthbert Gospel.