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Reading Abbey Manuscript Book

12th century

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Manuscript book from Reading Abbey in its original structure and binding, with detail of the clasp and the title page for 'Radbertus'

The Reading Abbey manuscript was part of the library of Reading Abbey at the end of the 12th century; it is listed in exactly its present form in Fingall's Cartulary, the 12th century charter book of the Abbey, and was probably dispersed with the remaining contents of the library at the time of the dissolution in 1539. It may have been one of the items discovered in 1793 with Fingall's Cartulary in a secret room of Lord Fingall's house at Shinfield. The Cartulary and the other volumes found in 1793 were conveyed to the then residence of Lord Fingall, Woolhampton House, but were later removed to Woolhampton Lodge. In 1884 the Rt. Rev. John Virtue, Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, 1882-1900, found the Reading Abbey volume at Woolhampton Lodge. It later became part of the Virtue and Cahill Library of the Diocese of Portsmouth. It was purchased by Reading Corporation in 1967.

The manuscript which is in its original structure and binding is written in Latin in an English 12th century hand. It contains the following four works: Paschasius Radbertus - Liber de benedictionibus patriarcharum, the only known copy of this work; Augustine - De origine animae; Hildebert of Tours - Expositio canonis missae - in verse; Ivo of Chartres - Sermo de sacramentis neophitorum habitus in sinodoy

Museum object number REDMG : 1974.40.1

See related topic: Reading Abbey

See related topic: Story of Reading Gallery