John Lydgate, Lives of St Edmund and St Fremund

Description

An illustrated copy of The Lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund by the English poet John Lydgate (b. c. 1370, d. c. 1451), which was made between 1461 and 1475 by a scribe and a group of artists associated with the Benedictine Abbey of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. One of the coats of arms of the Abbey – a shield containing a representation of the Fall, with the figures of Adam and Eve, the serpent and the Tree of Knowledge – appears towards the end of the book (Image No. 3).

This copy of the Middle English poem is particularly splendid, with numerous initials drawn in colours and gold throughout the manuscript and over 50 illustrations, including a portrait of Lydgate (Image No. 1), where he appears kneeling before St Edmund’s shrine. Another notable image depicts one of the miracles attributed to the English saint (Image No. 2), in which a young boy is saved from drowning after being thrown from a busy London Bridge by a herd of cattle. The landmark is identified by an inscription in the left-hand margin of the page.

Full title:
John Lydgate, Lives of St Edmund and St Fremund
Created:
c. 1461–75, South East England, probably Bury St. Edmunds
Format:
Manuscript
Creator:
John Lydgate
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Yates Thompson MS 47

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Inside the walls: exploring medieval towns

Article by:
Alixe Bovey

Medieval towns were vibrant hubs of activity, housing an array of people from political and spiritual leaders to traders, craftsmen, inn-keepers and brothel owners. Here, Dr Alixe Bovey explores what went on inside city walls.

Related collection items