New job! (again)

As discussed in a recent post, the websites of the Polonsky Foundation England and France 700-1200 digitisation project have now been launched: 800 manuscripts from the British Library and Bibliothèque nationale de France can be found fully digitised on this site, while another, interpretative website hosts several fascinating articles and videos about them. As this…

Down the Common

For several years, a friend of mine recommended me a particular historical novel. She offered to lend it to me; I never quite took her up on that. I saw it at the used bookstall at the Leeds International Medieval Congress; I was tempted, but resisted. Finally, I found a copy in the British Library’s…

Medieval England and France, 700-1200

The project that my team have been working on for the past few years is now complete!  The British Library’s website Medieval England and France, 700-1200 is now live, along with its companion site at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, France-Angleterre: manuscrits médiévaux entre 700 et 1200, both supported by the Polonsky Foundation. The British…

Medieval Illumination: Manuscript Art in England and France

An important milestone has been reached in the Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200.  The book which accompanies the project has now been published, in paperback, in English and in French. Medieval Illumination: Manuscript Art in England and France, edited by Kathleen Doyle…

Now open: Anglo-Saxon Exhibition at the British Library

Hwæt!  The British Library’s new exhibition, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War, has now opened.  I have had the great privilege of working alongside the curators, being one of the first to see the completed exhibition, and of celebrating the official opening. A number of the manuscripts which I have written about in my blogposts are…

Living on loaned time

Autumn has come to London: a mostly hot summer suddenly turned in the final week of September. I like early autumn, the time just before and just after the emniht (or ‘equal-night’, as an Anglo-Saxon would have called the equinox), when there is still some warmth and plenty of sunlight, but a slight nip in…

A Description of Clairvaux

What did medieval people think about the natural world?  And, considering the fact that most of the written sources we have for the early Middle Ages were written by people in the religious life, what did priests, monks and nuns think of it? Unsurprisingly, more or less everything in medieval Christian literature tends to relate…

BL blogpost: Wynflæd and the price of fashion

There is a new post on the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Blog today, by my colleague Alison Hudson, to which I have contributed.  It’s on a text which I have written about here before, the will of Wynflæd, the earliest surviving will by an English woman. Wynflæd and the price of fashion

Not Angles but angels

According to the Venerable Bede, the evangelisation of the southern English was proposed by a Pope with a pun.  In his Ecclesiastical History of the English People,  the story goes that Pope Gregory I was walking through the market of Rome when he saw some slave boys with striking looks and hair.  What people, he…

Radices and radishes: Latin roots in Old English

How many languages are there in the world? Seventy-two. Why are there no more and no fewer? Because of the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet.  Shem had twenty-seven sons, Ham had thirty sons, Japhet had fifteen sons.  These added together are seventy-two. This text comes from a dialogue between Pope Damasus and…