York, Minster Library Additional 1 "The York Gospels"

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A. N. Doane


494. York, Minster Library Additional 1

"The York Gospels"

[Ker 402 & Supp. Gneuss 774]

HISTORY: Probably produced at Christ Church, Canterbury (one page, f. 23v, was executed in the known hand of the Christ Church scribe Eadui Basan (fl.1012-1020s, cf. Gameson 2002), square minuscule, phase II), though St. Augustine's is a possibility ( see McGurk in Alexander et al. 1986: 41-42). Script of main text and its decoration has been dated on stylistic grounds to ca. 990-1000, however the whole book may be of Eadui's time (Pfaff 1992, esp. 270-71, and see below). The text is basically of the Touronian recension according to McGurk (in Alexander et al. 1986: 55). OE material dating between 1020-1023 pertaining to three Yorkshire estates which were of interest to Wulfstan suggests its presence in York by then (see Keynes in Alexander et al.1986: 84-88). Because the Gospels survived the disastrous fire of 1069, Norton (2004: 214-18) thinks that the book was actually kept not at the Minster but at the archiepiscopal estate of Sherburn-in-Elm et, mentioned in these documents (ff. 156v-157r). The three Wulfstan items which follow were compiled from his work expressly for this manuscript and are corrected in his own hand in the opinion of Ker (1971) and Keynes (in Alexander et al. 1986: 92); associated with the Wulfstan items is a writ of Cnut, probably of 1020. Wulfstan could have acquired the book when he attended the consecration of Archbishop lEthelnoth in 1023, at which time he would have had f. 23v supplied there (cf. McGurk in Alexander et al. 1986: 41-42). Heslop (2004: 304 et passim) argues from codicological and stylistic evidence that the whole book was commissioned by Wulfstan or gifted to him immediately upon its completion about 1020 (see below). Other later OE documents copied in the book confirm continuing association with York through the 11c. York-related documents continued to be recorded, including many ecclesiastical oaths from the 13c to the late 16c, in quires added at the front and back of the manuscript. A York inventory of 1500-1510 mentions this book: "Item unus textus ornatus cum argento non bene deaurato, super quern juramenta Decani et aliarum dignitatum ac canonicorum in principio inseruntur" (York Minster Library, Dean and Chapter muniments, M2/2d, see Barr in Alexander et al. 1986: 108 and text, at 121). The book probably lost its medieval silver-gilt cover about 1547 at the time of the royal injunction for episcopal inventories and subsequent confiscations. It must have been rebound more simply about that time. During the period of the Civil Wars or Commonwealth the Gospels appear to have left York (whereabouts unknown) because in 1678 they were returned by the executors of the will of Henry King, Bishop of Chichester, who had died nine years earlier (Barr in Alexander et al. 1986: 11-12 and York Minster Library, Dean and Chapter muniments, Chamberlain's accounts, 1677-1707, E/5; a document recording its return to York pr. Barr 1986: 123). It is not known how it might have become part of Bishop King's estate. The book was rebound in 1678 in reversed calf over paste-boards with no lettering on the spine (these covers preserved as York Minster Ms. Add. lA). It was rebound again in 1959 by K. Phillips of the British Museum in full dark brown undecorated morocco, on spine 'THE | YORK | GOSPELS: Kept in a box lined with mildew-resistant nylon velvet.

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