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

Have mercy on me, O God: Psalm 50 in the Anglo-Saxon church

I have a new article out!  ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’ is part of a special edition of English Studies on the psalms in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo -Norman England, edited by Helen Appleton and Francis Leneghan, and I am grateful to both of … More Have mercy on me, O God: Psalm 50 in the Anglo-Saxon church

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

Solidify us unto Thy charity: the medicinal and liturgical uses of cheese

On this blog, I write about some of the most important aspects of Christian spirituality in early medieval England.  The feast of Easter.  The healing of the sick.  Confession.  Expressing one’s deepest yearnings to God in prayer. And now: cheese. I’ve written before about Ælfric of Eynsham, abbot and homilist, and also the author of … More Solidify us unto Thy charity: the medicinal and liturgical uses of cheese

Lots of Wynn

It is one year to the day since my first ever post on For the Wynn!  Thanks to all of you who have read my posts, commented on them, and passed them on.  Today I’m celebrating my bloggiversary by writing about the letter Ƿ (wynn).  Ƿ is the Anglo-Saxon letter w, meaning ‘joy’; and, as … More Lots of Wynn

Solutions for snakes

I recently wrote a blogpost about fruit in Anglo-Saxon England, including the fruit in the Garden of Eden, and that got me thinking: whose idea was it to eat the fruit in the first place?  Snakes are abundant in medieval manuscripts if you know where to look – tempting Eve, biting people, generally causing a … More Solutions for snakes

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