Public launch event for early English manuscripts resource, 10 November

Posted by mjs76 at Nov 02, 2010 03:10 PM |
An important new resource on early medieval manuscripts launches next week with a public event. 'The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060-1220' is the result of extensive research by academics from the Universities of Leicester and Leeds into the earliest surviving English language documents.

The five-year project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, set out with three aims:

  • To catalogue every surviving manuscript written in English between those dates.
  • To analyse the existing material in its historical and cultural context
  • To investigate the status of written English during this period, relative to French and Latin

Received historical wisdom says that English as a language went ‘underground’ after the Norman conquest, with French dominating secular life while Latin reigned supreme in religious matters. But the research that has gone into Production and Use… overturns this view. Many ordinary people continued to use English under Norman rule, not just at home but in church as well. Scribes would often be literate in all three languages and able to switch between them at ease.

By making the project data available to scholars around the world for free, the Leicester/Leeds team have opened up the field to extensive further research. To celebrate the culmination of the work and the publication of the data, there will be a public launch event on Wednesday 10 November, at 3.30pm, in the Ogden Lewis Seminar Suite underneath the Fielding Johnson Building South Wing. The Guest Speaker will be Dr Katie Lowe, the Director of the University of Glasgow Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Interested members of the public are warmly invited to attend. Please book a place by contacting Dr Orietta Da Rold, one of the project’s co-directors, on 0116 2525 2778 or