Adam, agate and amulets: a medieval general knowledge quiz

What is the connection between Adam’s navel and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s left ear? This was the first question that was asked in the first episode of the long-running British comedy quiz QI, which has been producing one series for each letter of the alphabet since the A-series in 2003.  Of course, the whole point … More Adam, agate and amulets: a medieval general knowledge quiz

Honey and peace will abound: Anglo-Saxon predictions for 2017

Happy New Year!  If you’re wondering what is to come in 2017, early medieval monks had the answers.  A number of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts include prognostics of various kinds – texts for predicting the future. One such manuscript is London, British Library Cotton MS Tiberius A. iii.  As mentioned in some earlier posts, I’ve worked with … More Honey and peace will abound: Anglo-Saxon predictions for 2017

Naming names in Ælfwine’s Prayerbook

It’s strange how you think you know a manuscript well and then realise that there are things in it that you didn’t even know were there.  Take London, British Library Cotton MS Titus D. xxvii + xxvi (originally one manuscript, later divided into two), a compendium of liturgical prayers, private prayers, and scientific information.  It’s … More Naming names in Ælfwine’s Prayerbook

New article published: ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’

My latest article is now available online in a special issue of English Studies! ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’ English Studies, 98:1 (2017): 35-48 This article examines the use of the Psalms in sixteen short prayer programmes, found in tenth- and eleventh-century English … More New article published: ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’

Gentle deaths and softening hearts: an Old English confession

The main focus of my academic work is on private prayer in eleventh-century English religious institutions, and at least three-quarters of the prayers that I look at are in Latin.  However, people did pray in their native language, and a number of prayers in Old English survive: some of these are known to be translations … More Gentle deaths and softening hearts: an Old English confession

Galba A. xiv: the Cinderella of medieval prayerbooks

I research medieval prayerbooks.  When I say that, it conjures up an image of a gorgeous, multicoloured, exquisitely-decorated Book of Hours.  Like this one: Unfortunately, they’re not all like that.  Some of them look more like this: That is London, British Library Cotton Galba A. xiv, an eleventh-century English manuscript which, for convenience’s sake, I … More Galba A. xiv: the Cinderella of medieval prayerbooks

Who are you seeking? Easter in the Anglo-Saxon church

With the season of Easter upon us, I have been thinking about how the resurrection of Christ might have been celebrated in the Anglo-Saxon church.  How did people relate to the story of Mary Magdalene and her companion arriving at the tomb to find not a body, but an angel – essentially the moment at … More Who are you seeking? Easter in the Anglo-Saxon church