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…

A medieval astronomy lesson

If you drilled a hole through the centre of the earth, and dropped a stone down it, what would happen?  How big are the Sun, Moon and stars?  And, hardest to answer of all, are there any people on the other side of the globe?  I’ve been reading up on medieval science.  In particular, I’ve…

Also found in Tiberius A. iii

Some medieval manuscripts have an obvious purpose.  It’s a psalter, a gospel-book, a collection of charters, a book of poetry.  Others … don’t.  London, British Library Cotton MS Tiberius A. iii is, first and foremost, a copy of the two most important Rules (guides on how to live and worship in the monastery) for use…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Prayer – from God’s point of view

So far, in this blog, I have written a lot about Anglo-Saxon prayer, which is the main focus of my research; and, in particular, how monks and nuns thought about their prayers. But one issue that I have never yet addressed is: what is God supposed to be thinking, all this time? What is prayer…

Like, pray, share: Anglo-Saxon prayer memes

So you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, and one of those memes pops up. You know what I mean. Either it’s a sick child who needs your prayers (‘1 like = 100 prayers!’), or a cursed photo of a hellwraith (‘like and share or you’ll die tonight!!’), or simply an inspirational image which will give…

A manuscript visit and a look back at 2015

As we come to the end of 2015, it’s time for a quick look back over my year in Anglo-Saxon studies, and, of course, over this blog (so far). Although I have been on Twitter (as @For_the_Wynn) since 2011, it was this year that I started actively using it; I have been delighted to meet…