herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

400-year-old manuscript safely returned to Irish shores

St Mary's Abbey Medieval Manuscript Comes Home to Dublin to Trinity College Library
St Mary's Abbey Medieval Manuscript Comes Home to Dublin to Trinity College Library

An ancient manuscript produced at Saint Mary's Abbey has safely returned to Irish shores after a 400-year absence.

The Cistercian Abbey of Saint Mary's was the wealthiest monastic house in medieval Ireland.

The manuscript was produced in the wake of a devastating fire at the abbey in 1304, and its pages detail daily life and times of the abbey, as well as Dares Phrygius' account of the Trojan War, detailed descriptions of the topography of Ireland, and Geoffrey Monmouth's pseudo-history of the Kings of Britain.

Its owners over the past four centuries have included Welsh poet and scholar Lewis Morris, the first Earl of Marlborough James Ley, and 18th century British MP John Somer Cocks.

It is the first medieval manuscript to be offered for public sale in a century and was bought by Trinity at a Christie's auction in London in November last year.

A small number of other manuscripts from St Mary's Abbey also survive and are held in other libraries in Britain.

hnews@herald.ie

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