Recent additions to the Wren Digital Library include a volume from the Benedictine Cathedral Priory in Canterbury (Christ Church), a 15th century volume of sermons on the Gospels, a book of alchemy once owned by Dr Dee, several Greek texts and a beautifully ornamented theological text.
B.3.32, Augustini et Aliorum Sermones
This manuscript is written in a script identified by Dr Teresa Webber of Trinity as the ‘Christ Church style’ and indicates that the training of scribes that took place within the community of the Priory. Other examples include B.3.5 and B.5.28. In a period of considerable production (1090-1120) these scribes worked alongside those who had been trained elsewhere – for example in manuscript O.4.34 – and those who employed a combination of styles (for example in R.15.22).
B.2.17, Sermons on the Gospels in English
This volume contains a number of Wycliffite sermons. It was given to the Library by Thomas Nevile, but prior to that belonged to William Chark, a puritan preacher, religious controversialist and ejected fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
This volume is from the library of the Tudor physician, Dr John Dee. He owned one of the greatest private libraries of 16th century England which he claimed comprised over 3000 books and 1000 manuscripts. Dee’s library catalogue is also at Trinity College (O.4.20). The featured page of this Book of Alchemy has a diagram of a furnace.
O.2.34, Fragmenta Graeca, etc
There are over forty medieval Greek manuscripts in the Wren Library, many of which have now been digitised. They can be found by searching the online catalogue using the search term ‘language’ and selecting ‘Greek’. The featured volume was formerly bound with O.8.33 and also contains a page of astrological text in English (f. i).
O.5.5, Vigilius Thapsensis etc
This manuscript was produced, probably in northern France, during the 14th century. As well as beautiful ornamented borders, it also contains several larger illuminations. M. R. James commented ‘It is unusual to find so sumptuous a copy of comparatively uncommon patristic tracts’.
Sources, Further Reading and Useful Links:
Webber, T., ‘Script and Manuscript Production at Christ Church’ in Canterbury and the Norman Conquest: Churches, Saints and Scholars 1066-1109, Eales, R. and Sharpe, R. (eds), London (1995), pp. 145-158.
The Pinakes website for Greek manuscripts.