Seminar on the Evidence of Manuscripts (March 1993)

September 25, 2016 in Manuscript Studies, Reports, Uncategorized

“Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts from Worcester”
Pembroke College, Oxford
13 March 1993

Invitation Letter for 13 March 1993

Invitation Letter for 13 March 1993

RSVP Form for 13 March 1993

RSVP Form for 13 March 1993

In the Series of Seminars on the Evidence of Manuscripts
Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Invitation in pdf.

The previous Event in the series considered

“Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 44: A Workshop”
Parker Library, 27 February 1993

[First published on 26 September 2016]

This was the second of the three Seminars in the Series on “The Evidence of Manuscripts” to be held at the University of Oxford and hosted by our Associate, Professor Malcolm R. Godden.  This was the second also to be held at his College, whereas the third took place in the English Faculty.

First came the session on

“Research on Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts at Cambridge and Oxford”
Pembroke College, Oxford, 20 June 1992

Later came the session on
“King Alfred and His Legacy”
Faculty of English, University of Oxford, 20 April 1994


The 1-page Invitation Letter (shown here and downloadable with the 1-page RSVP form here) sets out the plan.

We will hold the next meeting of this seminar on Saturday, 13 March.  The subject will be:  Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts from Worcester.  We will consider the production of manuscripts at Worcester in the late Anglo-Saxon period, the migration there of manuscripts produced elsewhere and the use of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts at Worcester in subsequent centuries through copying, glossing and annotating.

View of Worcester from the top of the Cathedral tower looking NNW. Photograph by Bob Embleton (2008) via Creative Commons.

View of Worcester from the top of the Cathedral tower looking NNW. Photograph by Bob Embleton (2008) via Creative Commons.


As customary, “Speakers will include members of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and others”.  The Line-Up:

Photographic Exhibition Included

As by now customary for sessions of the Seminar elsewhere than at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, a travelling photographic exhibition accompanied the event.

There will be a photographic exhibition of relevant manuscripts from the Parker Library.

Sign for Photographic Exhibitions of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, laid out in Adobe Garamond, with the Research Group logo in monochrome, and crediting the 'Photography by Mildred Budny'The exhibition was prepared by Mildred Budny and Leslie French.

This illustrated element derives from the first of the Seminars at Oxford in the Series, demonstrating “Research on Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Cambridge and Oxford” (June 1992), whereby the Research Group brought a travelling exhibition of images to represent aspects of the materials and the research in hand. Soon after, similar exhibitions accompanied the Research Group Visit to Japan in November and December 1992. The return of the Series to Pembroke College for the Worcester Manuscripts Seminar naturally called for a photographic exhibition to represent the manuscripts by proxy, in honour of our host and his hospitality. Thus was strengthened the tradition of the Group’s Photographic Exhibitions & Masterclasses.

Logistics and Refreshments

The meeting will take place in Lecture Room 8 at Pembroke College.  Coffee will be served from 10:30.  The seminar will begin promptly at 11.  A buffet lunch will be provided at Pembroke; (sadly) it will be necessary to charge £5 for this.  We expect to end at about 4:30.  Space is limited so please let us know as soon as possible if you are coming.


Invitations were sent to:

R.I. Page, Mildred Budny, Tim Graham, Catherine Hall, Leslie French, Nicholas Hadgraft, Nigel Wilkins, Patrick Wormald, Malcolm Godden, Michael Winterbottom, Andrew Watson, Malcolm Parkes, Bruce Mitchell, Benedict Benedix, Martin Kauffman, Michael Turner, Dana Jacobson, Nigel Ramsay, Susan Irvine, Jane Roberts, Terry Hoad, Tony Hunt, John Blair, Jeremy Griffiths, David Howlett, Hrney Mayr-Harting, Richard Gameson, Marilyn Deegan, Stuart Lee, Joy Jenkyns, Richard Sharpe, Hiroshi Ogawa, Tadahiro Ikegami, CHris Fell, Carole Hough, Fiona Gameson and Rohinie Jayatilaka.

The RSVP forms were directed, when completed, to be sent to Malcolm Godden; they did not enter the Research Group Archives.


Published soon afterward in the Old English Newsletter and now available freely online, an illustrated report of 14 pages records the proceedings of the Seminar and describes aspects of research on the materials.

As this Report says,

In February 1993, Malcolm Godden invited the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence to hold a seminar at Pembroke College, Oxford, on “Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts from Worcester.” . . . The seminar gave the opportunity to draw together many strands of th[e] Research Group’s work related to Worcester.

Cover for "Selected Pages from Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Palaeographical and Textual Handbook" by Mildred Budny, Leslie French et al.The numbered sections of the Report examine:

1) Worcester Manuscripts at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

2) The Research Group and the Leverhulme Trust Research Project

3) Linking Conservation and Research:  MS 557

4) The Palaeographical and Textual Handbook:  MSS 12 and MS 178, Part II

5) The Illustrated Catalog

6) The Future

The report concludes on a characteristically sanguine note.

Detailed scrutiny of a single manuscript that treats the object or monument as a whole will not answer all questions.  Yet it may resolve some problems, eliminate some conjectures, and refine or redefine the questions.  By such means, increasing knowledge of individual manuscripts and centers of production can cast much light on other surviving manuscripts and their centers.  The future lies in looking beyond one collection to combine our detailed knowledge with the broader context of other studies across all the related fields.  We hope that the fruits of the work on Worcester manuscripts might offer case-studies upon which to apply this broader approach, so as to contribute to Anglo-Saxon studies as a whole.

The Illustrated Catalogue

Gold stamp on blue cloth of the logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence. Detail from the front cover of Volume II of 'The Illustrated Catalogue'The 2-volume Catalogue of Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1997) includes all but one of the Corpus manuscripts addressed at the Seminar and in the published Report.

  • MS 9 = Budny Number 41 (The Corpus Portion of the London–Cambridge Legendary:
    The Earliest Witness to the “Cotton–Corpus Legendary”)
  • MS 12 = Budny Number 12 (The Corpus Alfredian Pastoral Care)
  • MS 146 = Budny Number 31 (The Samson Pontifical:
    Winchester Pontifical and Benedictional, with Worcester Supplements)
  • MS 178, Part II = Budny Number 35 (Bilingual Rule of St. Benedict)
  • MS 198 = Budny Number 36 (Old English Homilies by Ælfric and Others,
    Supplemented probably at Worcester)
  • MS 391 = Budny Number 43 (The Portiforium of St. Wulfstan)
Entrance to Pembroke College. Photo by Jakob Leimgruber (JREL) via Wikipedia Commons

Entrance to Pembroke College. Photo by Jakob Leimgruber (JREL) via Wikipedia Commons.

The Long View

The publication of MS 557 appeared separately, not long after the completion of the Leverhulme Trust Research Project.

Many publications by various scholars have expanded knowledge about the activities of the “Tremulous Worcester Hand” — responsible for annotations on MS 557, allowing an attribution to Worcester or its region for ownership or location in the 13th century.  Similar progress pertains to other manuscripts and subjects explored in the Seminar on a calm Spring day in 1993 at Pembroke College.

The occasion brought together scholars, teachers, and students from diverse backgrounds and with varied interests and expertise to consider complexities and connections concerned with some manuscripts made at Worcester in the Anglo-Saxon period or brought there from elsewhere, as revealed through the processes of copying, annotating, glossing, reading, and transmitting to present times.

Invitation Letter for 13 March 1993

Invitation Letter for 13 March 1993

Related Seminars in the Series

Some other Seminars in our Series considered relevant subjects and some of the same manuscripts.  For example,


The next Seminar in the Series on “The Evidence of Manuscripts” considered

“Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 201”
Parker Library, 19 June 1993

Invitation for 'Corpus MS 201' Seminar 19 June 1993The full list of the Series explores its range.