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  • Who Are The Celtic Saints?

    Who Are The Celtic Saints? by Kathleen Jones. Cutting through the mists of Celtic myth, this historical account introduces the saints as real men and women in the pursuit of holiness. The Celtic period began with Patrick's mission to Ireland in 435 and ended with the submission of the British church to Rome in 715. This book tells the stories of the various branches of the Celtic church during this period and includes biographies of the outstanding personalities of the era. Available from:
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    The Lichfield Gospels

    The Lichfield Gospels have been in Lichfield Cathedral for most of the last millennium but their origins are subject to dispute. They date from the late 7th or 8th centuries. They are important for the marginalia written in Latin and Old Welsh when the Gospels were in Llandeilo Fawr, Carmarthenshire before they found their way to Lichfield.

    Fenn (1974: 29-30) argues that despite the relative poverty of early medieval Wales, and hence the limited number of large monasteries, the country's scriptoria were productive in their output of manuscripts. He contends that the Lichfield Gospels are probably the best known of these manuscripts:

    "The original scribe of the so called Lichfield Gospels left various blank spaces into which entries relating to contemporary matters, partly in Latin, partly in Old Welsh, were entered. One of these records the presentation of the manuscript to a Teilo monastery. At the head of the first page, however, there is the name, Wynsige, and the gospels evidently arrived in their Lichfield home before or during the episcopate of Wynsige, who was bishop there 974-992)."

    Fenn quotes T.D. Kendrick (1938: 137):

    "How it passed, whether by gift, exchange, purchase, theft, loan or loot is unknown."

    Fenn observes that Kendrick believed the text of the gospels to have been written down 'in or near the eighth century' and had 'a clear affinity with the Lindisfarne Gospels'. Kendrick also thought that the scribe was an Irish monk working in South Wales. According to Fenn:

    "The presence of such Irish scribes in Wales is attested by the Old Welsh colophon in the Cambridge manuscript of Juvencus' poetical version of the gospels. It is a prayer for Nuadu, the Irish equivalent to the Welsh Nudd, and the manuscript also contains other Welsh and Irish glosses."

    Kendrick is again quoted by Fenn as stating that the glosses were, perhaps:"the work of two or even three Welsh-speaking Irish men, writing in some monastery in Wales at dates varying from the ninth to the tenth centuries." But this view is not held universally. For instance, Rollason (2003: 155, citing George Henderson, 1987) states:

    "The Lichfield Gospels was (sic) definitely in Wales in the tenth century when documents were copied into its margins, so it is possible that it originated in the English midlands rather than in Northumbria."

    Amusingly - and in total contradiction - writing about the English midlands, Walker (2000: 191) declares that:"The Lichfield Gospels were not produced in Mercia themselves but represent instead perhaps the attempts by the bishops to restock their libraries after the losses suffered during the Viking invasions. They were probably produced in Ireland or Iona and were certainly in Wales at one point. It is not until the end of the tenth century in the time of Bishop Wynsige that they are first recorded as being in Lichfield."

    References

    Fenn, R.W. (1974) 'Isolation or Involvement', in O.W. Jones and D.Walker Links With The Past: Swansea And Brecon Historical Essays, Christopher Davies.

    Kendrick, T.D. (1938) Anglo-Saxon Art to AD900.

    Rollason, D. (2003) Northumbria, 500-1100: Creation and Destruction of a Kingdom, Cambridge University Press.

    Walker, I.W. (2000) Mercia and the Origins of England, Sutton Publishing.

    St David

    St Patrick


    The Tribes of Britain

    by David Miles. The diverse peoples of Britain and Ireland are revealed not only by physical characteristics but also through structures and settlements, place names and dialects. Using the latest genetic and archaeological research, the author shows how different peoples traded, settled and conquered, establishing the 'tribal' and regional roots still apparent today. Its vast scope considers the impact of prehistoric peoples and Celtic tribes, Romans and Vikings, Saxons and Normans, Jews and Huguenots, as well as the increasing population movements of the last century. Available from:  

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