Seminar on the Evidence of Manuscripts (March 1990)

February 11, 2015 in Events, Manuscript Studies, Seminars on Manuscript Evidence, Uncategorized

“Facsimiles, Diplomatic Texts and Editions”
19 March 1990

In the Series of Seminars on the Evidence of Manuscripts
Mainly at the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Cover for "Selected Pages from Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Palaeographical and Textual Handbook" by Mildred Budny, Leslie French et al.This seminar demonstrated the current state of The Palaeographical and Textual Handbook, in course of preparation as a teaching text for manuscript studies.

'Facsimiles, Diplomatic Texts and Editions' Seminar Invitation 17 March 1990.Invitation in pdf here.  Note the addition of the sign of an opened pair of scissors to cue the motion for separating the RSVP slip from the single-page Invitation Letter.  The sign represents part of the evolution of the form for the Invitation Letters of the Series.

[First published on 11 February 2015, with updates]

The seminar presented the work in progress at the Library on a series of sample facsimiles of pages from early medieval manuscripts, with transcriptions and commentaries, to teach postgraduate students the elements of manuscript study.  We began with an account of its aims, with a demonstration of the range of representations of the selected pages or facing pages.

The series proceed from photographic facsimile of the original at original size (with scale and colour guide), through computerised representation of the layout of the texts upon its page(s), to transcription, edition, and translation, with commentary.   Then we sought “comments from some of the younger members who remember more clearly their problems on first approaching materials in manuscript . . . and from others, particularly from those whose expertise lies outside textual material, but who use it in their work.”   The original manuscripts were also available for comparison.

We examined the cases selected so far for this approach:

  • MS 12 (the Cura Pastoralis in Old English, with glosses by the ‘Tremulous Worcester Hand’)
    [= Number 13 in the Illustrated Catalogue and now online]

Invitations were sent to:

David Wilson, Christine Fell, Mildred Budny, Nicholas Hadgraft, Patrick Wormald, Richard Sharpe, Leslie Webster, David Parsons, Kathryn Lowe, Carol Hough, Richard Gem, Timothy Graham, James Graham-Campbell, Donald Bullough, Leslie French, Andy Hopper.


Carmen Acevedo
Mildred Budny
Donald A. Bullough
Christine Fell
L.J. French
Timothy C. Graham
Nicholas Hadgraft / Nicholas Hadgraft
Alice Harting–Correa (afterward Alice Correa–Bullough)
Carol Hough
Kathryn Lowe
John Mollon
R.I. Page
Chris Turner
Leslie E. Webster
David M. Wilson

A typescript report of this Meeting of the Seminar was prepared by Mildred Budny.  It survives in the Research Group Archives.

'Facsimiles, Diplomatic Texts and Editions' Seminar Invitation 17 March 1990.

Accounts of the progress on the Handbook appear in the Annual Reports to the Leverhulme Trust.  (See our list of Publications.)  A summary account of The Palaeographical and Textual Handbook appeared in print:

Mildred Budny’s description of
‘The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence: Contributions to the CORPUS Project’
Old English Newsletter, 28:1 (Fall 1994), A-8–A-23, at page A-9 and Plate 4 on A-20
now available online

Cover for "Selected Pages from Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Palaeographical and Textual Handbook" by Mildred Budny, Leslie French et al.


Invitation to '16th-Century Interventions in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts' Seminar on 13 April 1990The next Seminar considered
“Sixteenth-Century Interventions in Anglo-Saxon and Related Manuscripts”
(Parker Library, 13 April 1990).

Most of the Seminars on the Evidence of Manuscripts considered manuscripts, types of text, approaches to scripts and layout, and challenges for transcribing, editing, translating, and analysing the evidence upon the pages, chosen for the Handbook, which engaged our collective attention throughout the rest of the Research Project and, to a limited extent, beyond.

With the requirement at short notice to find a different base for the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence following the completion of the Project, rather than the base that had been contracted, some intended publications fell into disarray for a while.  The Handbook was one of them.  Now, in digitising and recording more of the Research Group’s records on our website, we can present a clearer representation of the vision of that plan.  Watch this space.