The Thorney Liber Vitae (London, British Library, Additional MS 40,000, fols 1-12r)

June 2015
24 colour, 12 black and white, 4 line illustrations
387 pages
27x21 cm
ISBN: 9781783270101
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, REL033000

The Thorney Liber Vitae (London, British Library, Additional MS 40,000, fols 1-12r)

Edition, Facsimile and Study

Edited by Lynda Rollason

First printed edition, with facsimile and studies, of a significant manuscript from medieval England.
The Thorney liber vitae (BL, MS Add. 40,000, fols 1-12v) consists of many hundreds of names written in the front of a tenth-century gospel book. This liber vitae is one of only three such compilations surviving from medieval England, the others being the Durham liber vitae (BL, MS Cotton Domitian A vii) and the New Minster liber vitae (BL, MS Stowe 944). Begun at Thorney abbey (Cambridgeshire) in the late eleventh century and continued into the late twelfth, it purports to be a record of the names of confraters of the abbey, that is of those people who, through their friendship and gifts to the abbey, were included in the daily prayers of the monks of the community.
The present volume is the first complete edition of this important text, and includes a complete facsimile of the pages. It also contains studies of the manuscript context, of the names included and, where possible, the identities and relationship to the abbey of those named, many of whom are also entered in the priory cartulary known as the Red Book of Thorney. The introduction provides a wide-ranging historical context for the production of the liber vitae.

Lynda Rollason is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University.

With contributions from Richard Gameson, John Insley and Katharine Keats-Rohan.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782044826), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Historical Introduction
The Manuscript Context: The Thorney Gospels
The Personal Names of the Liber Vitae of Thorney Abbey: An Introduction to the Onomasticon
Introduction to the Prosopographical Study of the Thorney Liber Vitae
The Edition
The Thorney Liber Vitae: Planning, Production, and Palaeography
The Onomasticon
The Prosopography
The Goldsmith's Entry (4r1) (a): The Language of the Goldsmith's Entry
The Goldsmith's Entry (4r1) (b): Palaeographical Commentary on the Goldsmith's Entry
The Goldsmith's Entry (4r1) (c): Palaeographical Commentary on the Goldsmith's Entry
The Entry for Turstan of Stamford the Moneyer (10v57)
The Language of Folios 9v1, 10r1b-10r1d
The Thorney Relic-List, Folio 11v
Abbreviated References
Index 1: Linguistic Index: Manuscript Forms and Lemmata
Index 2: Lemmata, the Linguistic and Prosopographical Commentaries and the Introductory Essays


The Thorney "Liber Vitae" provides a model for how future researchers might wish to edit, analyze, and present similar manuscript sources. . . . [A]ny would-be editor, paleographer, and codicologist would do well to browse its pages. SPECULUM

An invaluable research tool, one which will find a welcome place in all serious research libraries. HISTORY

This volume contains much material of high quality: the excellent facsimile pages, the clear printed text, the thoughtful accompanying essays. It is a work that will surely be used by many scholars working in the fields of Old English and Middle English, not only in onomastics but also in language and in history, and not only by scholars currently working but also by those in generations to come. In brief, this volume is an enormous contribution to scholarship. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW