Durham Liber Vitae

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Durham Liber Vitae
London, British Library, MS Cotton Domitian vii
Type liber vitae, confraternity book
Date 9th century, with additions being made until c. 1300 and to a lesser extent, also at later dates
Place of origin Northumbria
Scribe(s) multiple
Material parchment
Size 205 x 142 mm
Condition original binding lost, some damage over time
Script various
Additions names of benefactors and visitors

The Durham Liber Vitae is a confraternity book produced in north-eastern England in the Middle Ages. It records the names of visitors to the church of the bishopric of Durham, and its predecessor sees at Lindisfarne and Chester-le-Street. In England, it is the oldest book of this type, although it is paralleled by later English confraternity books, most notably the New Minster Liber Vitae.[1]

Original Anglo-Saxon Liber Vitae[edit]

The text was original of the 9th century, but was continually supplemented thereafter by entries made in the 10th century and later.[2]

The 9th-century core constitutes folios 15—45, with folio 47.[3] It is generally believed by scholars that it was produced in the church of Lindisfarne, though Monkwearmouth-Jarrow monasteries have also been suggested.[4] This had been composed c. 840. It has been damaged over time, and the original binding is now lost.[5] It consisted of parchment sheets on which were written lists of names, followed by blank sections for future additions.[6]

The book was at Durham by the later 11th century, as indicated by the list of Durham monks on folio 45 from the episcopate of Ranulf Flambard.[4] Later additions to the early core were made to folios 24r, 36r, 44v and 45r.[7]

High and Later Middle Ages[edit]

It was reorganised in the third quarter of the 12th century, and it is likely that many of the names originally there did not survive.[6] The form it attained at that point appears to be the one it kept until the 15th century, although it was continually updated with new entries.[6] After 1300 very few names were added to the original core.[8]

The Liber Vitae is currently in the British Library, where it is classified as BL, MS Cotton Domitian vii. The manuscript itself is 205 x 142 mm.[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Keynes, "The Liber Vitae of the New Minster Winchester"
  2. ^ Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, pp. 6—7.
  3. ^ Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, p. 7.
  4. ^ a b Briggs, "Original Core", p. 64; Gerchow, "Origins", p. 47.
  5. ^ Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, p. 11.
  6. ^ a b c Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, p. 18.
  7. ^ Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, p. 24.
  8. ^ Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, p. 26.
  9. ^ Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, p. 6.

Sources[edit]

  • Briggs, Elizabeth (2004), "The Original Core of the Durham Liber Vitae", in Rollason, David, The Durham Liber Vitae and Its Context, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, pp. 63–86, ISBN 1-84383-060-4 
  • Gerchow, Jan (2004), "The Origins of the Durham Liber Vitae", in Rollason, David, The Durham Liber Vitae and Its Context, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, pp. 45–62, ISBN 1-84383-060-4 
  • Keynes, Simon (2004), "The Liber Vitae of the New Minster Winchester", in Rollason, David, The Durham Liber Vitae and Its Context, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, pp. 149–64, ISBN 1-84383-060-4 
  • Rollason, David; Rollason, Lynda, eds. (2007), Durham Liber vitae : London, British Library, MS Cotton Domitian A.VII : edition and digital facsimile with introduction, codicological, prosopographical and linguistic commentary, and indexes including the Biographical Register of Durham Cathedral Priory (1083–1539) by A. J. Piper, 3 vols, I, London: British Library, ISBN 0-7123-4995-2 
  • Stevenson, Joseph, ed. (1841), Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis: Nec Non Obituaria Duo Ejusdem Ecclesiae, J. B. Nichols and son . Also available from Google Books.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, E. E. (1977). "Two Lost Documents of King Athelstan". Anglo-Saxon England. 6: 137–43. doi:10.1017/s0263675100000983. 
  • Insley, John (2015). "The Old English and Scandinavian Personal Names of the Durham Liber Vitae to 1200". In Geuenich, Dieter; Ludwig, Uwe. Libri vitae: Gebetsgedenken in der Gesellschaft des Frühen Mittelalters. Cologne: De Gruyter. pp. 441–52. 
  • Thompson, A. Hamilton, ed. (1923), Liber Vitæ Ecclesiæ Dunelmensis. A Collotype facsimile of the original Manuscript, with introductory essays and notes, vol. I, Surtees Society 136 . Facsimile edition, now superseded by the digital facsimile edition prepared by David and Lynda Rollason.

External links[edit]