An introduction to the decentralised collection of manuscripts with provenance of Llanthony Secunda Priory: archivist’s project

As volunteer archivist for the Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust, I have spent 6 months toiling with information management and cataloguing software to spur the direction of the information we will be offering in the right direction. I have now settled into trying to re-discover the Llanthony manuscripts and present them in a different way in the future, and it is this endeavour of reuniting them digitally that I will be writing about as I find provenance and am able to experience those manuscripts “in the flesh.”


What does reuniting a collection digitally mean?

“Digital technologies make it possible to reunite scattered leaves online so that scholars can study them together” (The Special Collections Handbook 2016).

Scattered leaves can be books or manuscripts or pieces of either of these that previously formed a Special Collection, or, form a Special Collection based on their provenance. In the case of Llanthony, the decentralised collection is a scattered collection of manuscripts with Llanthony provenance, or ownership history. The digital reunification is the process of cataloguing these books in such a way soas to link them together into an obvious collection. In the 21st century, this means the cataloguing of manuscripts via digital software. 

 

The manuscripts are currently held at various places such as the British Library, Lambeth Palace and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. They have legitimately arrived at their holding institutions via purchases and bequests, once researched by the medievalist (and published author) M.R. James. I am hoping to engage with some of these manuscripts and look towards presenting them on the future Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust website. I will also be delving deeper into the journey of these manuscripts, as well as looking to work by Clement of Llanthony.

My research will include MS24061 (British Library) HISTORIA Anglorum contexta ab Henrico Huntudonensi ( sic ) Archidiacono anno gratie millesimo centesimo tricesimo quinto, which has the provenance at the foot of f. 142  the memorandum “Gaufridus prior Lant’ [Lanthony] consecratur,” and on the fly-leaf at the end is the name of “Robertus Catlyn” in a 16th century hand. 

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