Medieval manuscripts blog

20 March 2012

Happy St Cuthbert's Day

Today is the 1,325th anniversary of the death of St Cuthbert, one of England's greatest saints. Consecrated bishop of Lindisfarne in AD 685, Cuthbert retired to his hermitage on the Inner Farne, where he died on 20 March 687.

St Cuthbert on his deathbed, from a 12th century northern English copy of Bede's prose Life of Cuthbert (London, British Library, MS Yates Thompson 26, f. 73r).

The British Library is currently fundraising to purchase the St Cuthbert Gospel for the nation. See our website for how you can help us raise the £9 million required, for what is the earliest surviving intact European book, placed in Cuthbert's grave at his translation in 698.

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The binding of the 7th century St Cuthbert Gospel.

St Cuthbert's career is beautifully illustrated in Yates Thompson 26, a 12th century copy of Bede's prose Uita Cuthberti. Here is a miniature of Cuthbert teaching at Lindisfarne, taken from that same manuscript. We're delighted to have such an outstanding book in our collections, and the opportunity to gain another in the form of the St Cuthbert Gospel.

Cuthbert teaching at Lindisfarne (London, British Library, MS Yates Thompson 26, f. 35v).

UPDATE (17 April 2012) The St Cuthbert Gospel has now been acquired by the British Library, following a successful fundraising appeal. Thank you to all our supporters for making this possible.


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