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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 041: Old English Bede.

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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 041: Old English Bede.
Alternate Title:
Bedae Historia Saxonice
English, Old (ca. 450-1100) and Latin
ff. 244 + 2
Approximate Date:
[ca. 1000 - 1099]
Parker Manuscripts
MS 41 contains the Old English translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History. This text is one of those made as part of Alfred the Great's campaign to translate into English "those books most necessary for men to know". MS 41 was written in the first half of the eleventh century probably somewhere in the south of England. It has a colophon asking for readers' blessings on the unnamed scribe. The manuscript is large in format, written in grand round script, and was obviously intended to be a high-grade book. Already in the eleventh century advantage was taken of its wide margins to add a variety of marginalia, ranging from the Old English poem Solomon and Saturn to liturgical texts and Old English charms. Probably at least some of these additions were made at Exeter: MS 41 was one of the manuscripts given to Exeter Cathedral by Bishop Leofric (1050-72), and still contains the bilingual donation inscription cursing anyone who removed it thence. The decoration of the book consists of numerous ornated initials in brown outline and a drawing of Christ crucified.