Tag Archives: manuscript

House deeds

Sunday 24th July 2022, 4.45pm (day 3,986)

House deeds, 24/7/22

Property is on the mind at the moment. It’s nice to have an excuse to pull out the collection of deeds to the house; when we moved in here 21 years ago we inherited this huge envelope full of documents, the oldest of which (the one at the bottom of this shot) dates back 210 years, to 1812 — although our house was built around 1890, the plot of land on which it stands was first enclosed and sold in that year. Anyway, I love these deeds, their copperplate handwriting and archaic terminology (‘messuages’, ‘indenture’). Should we ever sell this place I’m going to pretend these don’t exist, and keep them.

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The MacDurnan Gospels (marginal note)

Tuesday 21st June 2022, 10.15am (day 3,953)

MacDurnan Gospels, 21/6/22

The page of text you see here was enscribed some 1,150 years ago, in the later part of the 9th century AD. This is a page from the MacDurnan Gospels, created in Ireland and now held in the library of Lambeth Palace in London. What you see here are the originators of the idea of a cross-reference: this must be a passage from the gospel of John, because here, the scribe has noted that the same events are also recounted in Matthew, Mark and Luke (listed from the top down).

It’s to look at, and be taught about, beautiful things like this that I am in London this week and this was certainly a good place to start the day. Michelle Brown, whose fingers you see here, is such an expert on this time and subject that listening to her is like being immersed in a river of learning: we’re coming up every so often for breath but it’s no hardship to get back in afterwards, and I was actually disappointed when the day ended at 5pm. And it’s been a while since I could say that about certain other aspects of my job.

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