Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Digitising medieval Scottish manuscripts

The BBC News website reported the other day that the National Library of Scotland has launched a new digital database comprising medieval manuscripts in their collection. 

The Library holds some examples and they have the rarity value for historians because so much was lost in Scotland because of the effects of the reformation. The article suggests that only 1% of Scottish liturgical texts survived.

The quality of the work is another reminder, despite the limited survival rate, of what Scots artists achieved and that the country was part of the mainstream of European culture.

The article, with a link to the NLS website, can be seen at Rare medieval manuscripts digitised for first time

At the end of the article is a link to a report from last year of the purchase by the Library of the mid-sixteenth century Chronicle of Fortingall, which, together with the clearly related Book of the Dean of Lismore which was already in the Library, is a major source for Latin, Gaelic and Scots verse, as well as a chronicle for the period 1554-1579, and has material on Highland history from 1390 onwards.

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