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.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Twelfth century Bury St Edmunds manuscripts on display

The BBC News website has a report at Medieval manuscripts return to abbey where made about an exhibition in Bury St Edmunds of seven surviving manuscripts from the Abbey. They have been lent by Pembroke and Jesus colleges at Cambridge to mark the millennium of the foundation of the Benedictine monastery in 1020.

These survivors from the abbey scriptorium and library are beautiful in themselves and are a reminder of what we have lost - less than a tenth of the books from the abbey library at the time of the suppression are believed to survive.

Twelfth century Bury in particular was a great cultural centre, of which we get glimpses in these and other manuscripts, in the fragments of the great monastic church and in such superb treasures of the ivory cross, usually considered to be from the abbey and now at the Cloisters in New York. There is a facsimile at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

The cross is described by Wikipedia at Cloisters Cross and by the Metropolitan Museum website at The Cloisters Cross | British | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I wrote about it in 2012 at The Bury St Edmunds Cross which has a series of images, including one with what is believed to be the original Corpus which is now in a museum in Oslo.

This was also the time that Jocelyn of Brakelonde wrote his Life of Abbot Samson which gives numerous insights into the life of the abbey, and of medieval Benedictinism in general.

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