English alphabet collection


Alphabet collections were compiled with varying degrees of accuracy in medieval England. This example composed in the late 11th century features the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets accompanied by letter forms, descriptions of pronunciations, and numerical equivalents. 

The collection appears in a miscellany featuring astrological treatises and calendars. The Lord’s Prayer has been inserted in Old English (Fader ure þe giert on heofena) underneath the main text of a Latin penitential work by Bartholomew of Exeter (d. 1184).

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

Full title:
Miscellany, with an English Alphabet Collection
4th quarter of the 11th century, Salisbury
Latin / Old English
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Cotton MS Vitellius A XII

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Hebrew in Christian manuscripts of the early Middle Ages

Article by:
Damian Fleming
History and learning, Christian religion and belief

In this survey Damian Fleming explores the early medieval Christian experience of Hebrew as a sacred and practical language.

Old English after the Norman Conquest

Article by:
Calum Cockburn
History and learning, Science and nature

Calum Cockburn explores what happened to the writing of the vernacular after William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066.

Related collection items