Early manuscripts

The University of Reading Special Collections hold a number of early manuscripts in various collections. One of the finest examples of these is an illuminated Book of Hours (MS 2087) which dates from the early fifteenth century. It was produced for Paris use, possibly by a follower of the Bedford Master, at the Pedrizet school near Paris, between 1415 and 1435. Although the manuscript is written mainly in Latin, some of the prayers are in French, and the manuscript throughout bears much evidence of its French origin. The manuscript was donated to the Library in 1981 by Dr Nellie Eales, a former Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University, and a student, colleague and friend of the late Professor Francis Joseph Cole FRS, Professor of Zoology at the University of Reading from 1907 to 1939. The Book of Hours was our featured item for December 2005.

The Meister Eckhart illuminated manuscript (MS 137) also dates from the fifteenth century. Eckhart von Hochheim (c.1260-c.1328), also known as Meister Eckhart, was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Erfurt, in Thuringia. The manuscript includes sermons by Eckhart and a number of mystical writings. The manuscript was described by Philipp Strauch in 'Handschriftliches zur deutschen Mystik', in 'Zeitschrift fur deutsche Philologie', vol. 54 (1929), pp. 283-290. A copy of the article is kept with the manuscript.

The Archive collections also hold a charter of Henry II to the Abbey of St. Sauveur-le-Vicomte (Westminster [1155-1158], (MS 1488). This is complemented by a collection of photocopies of images and transcripts of the Angevin Acta, collected together by Sir James Holt as part of a large project to collect and publish all the acts of the Angevin Kings of England - Henry I, Richard the Lion-Heart and King John.

The papers of the Stenton family include a number of 12th-13th century charters from York (MS 1148/13/4).

Leaves from early manuscripts can also be found in the John and Griselda Lewis Collection.

More information

  • The Angevin Acta are not yet catalogued
art, church history & theology, history other archives/mss manuscripts

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