Ely, Cathedral, Dean and Chapter 1/1 "Liber Eliensis"

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Michael Wright
Stephanie Hollis


127. Ely, Cathedral, Dean and Chapter 1/1

Held at Cambridge University Library

"Liber Eliensis"

[Ker 113; Gneuss --]

HISTORY: An early 13c manuscript containing "Historia Eliensis Insulae," a charter-chronicle of the abbey and cathedral of Ely from its beginnings until the early 13c. This manuscript is Blake's "F". Book 1 has the form of a "Life of St. Etheldreda" fleshed out with historical materials; Books 1 and 2 draw on Bede, "Florence" Oohn) of Worcester, William of Poi tiers, and other historical sources, identified and unidentified; Book 2, chs. 1-49, is based on "Libellus quorundam insignium operum beatil Æthelwoldi," preserved also in BL Cotton Vespasian A.xix [252], ff. 2r-27v, and Cambridge, Trinity College 0.2.41, pp. 1-[64v], a work, according to Blake (1962: xxxiv, li-liii; Prologue and Chs. 1-3 from 0.2.41, pp. 395-99), originally written in OE; the later part of Book 2 is based on a "Gesta Herwardi"; Book 3 is composed almost entirely from Ely sources, with materials in Books 2 and 3 depending heavily on material drawn from Ely cartularies (cf. Blake 1962: xxxix-xlii). A slightly earlier copy, differing in details, exists in Cambridge, Trinity College 0.2.1 [87] (late 12c, Blake's "E"), and still another, in rather more altered form, in Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud Misc. 647 (14c, Blake's "O"). Numerous other manuscripts preserve parts of "Liber Eliensis" (see Blake 1962: xxv-xxvi). Blake (xlvi-xlix) attributes the composition of the whole to a single monk of Ely and dates the composition of Book 1 to after 1131, of Book 2 to after 1154, and of Book 3 to 1169 x 1174.

A late 13c/early 14c hand, perhaps that of TCC 0.2.1, has made important additions on ff. 47r and 92v; 13c notes on ff. 59v and 61v (Blake 1962: xxiv). Other annotations in medieval and early modern hands, including comparisons and corrections, on e.g., ff. 2v, 40v, 134r; on f. 2r in the top margin there is the library mark: '' 6' 6Ø' (or 'G').

Leather binding of 18c; a note records that this binding was repaired in 1930. The manuscript is now housed at Cambridge University Library.

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