Fragments of a Saint

Tucked away in a bundle of 17th century natural history illustrations was a single page of comparatively plain-looking handwritten text that was obviously out of place. It began abruptly in the middle of a sentence and the edges were slightly more battered- not surprising, considering it was about 200 years older than the rest of the pages. …

Celebrating Magna Carta

Eight hundred years ago today, King John affixed the Great Seal to Magna Carta, after a week of intense negotiations with the group of barons who had rebelled against his reign. It is probably one of the most famous failed peace treaties in history. Like his father and older brother before him, John believed the divine …

Happy Easter from Manuscripts and Special Collections

As this weekend is Easter, it seems appropriate to share some Easter-related images from one of our treasures: the 15th century Wollaton Antiphonal belonging to St Leonard’s parish church. An Antiphonal is a book of liturgical music. It contains the words and music to the sung portions of the Divine Office, and had to be large enough to …

Family inheritance on display

We were delighted to welcome Sir Andrew Buchanan, 5th Baronet, and his son George Buchanan to Manuscripts and Special Collections last week, on Mark Dorrington’s first day as the new Keeper of the Manuscripts at The University of Nottingham. Over the years the Buchanan family have deposited several significant collections of papers created by ancestors …

Christmas in the Collections

What image symbolises Christmas to you? Do you think of choirs of angels round a manger, or Father Christmas leaving presents under a tree decorated with baubles? Perhaps you take inspiration from the natural world and would choose a robin or mistletoe. References to Christmas are scattered throughout the collections at Manuscripts and Special Collections. This beautiful image …

Wollaton’s Virtual Antiphonal on display

Ticket holders to a special ‘Tombs and Tunes’ event at St Leonard’s Church, Wollaton on Monday, 26th November will discover more of the history of this Nottinghamshire parish church and will have an opportunity to hear about the 15th century Wollaton Antiphonal, which is on display in virtual form in the church. Dating from about …

A clove of gillyflower at Christmas

A curious reference to Christmas Day (natale Domini) appears in this medieval deed, which records a land transaction made about 730 years ago. The parties agree to an annual rent charge of a clove of gillyflower ‘unum clavum Gariofilum’ payable at Christmas. A gillyflower is a carnation with the clove being the dried flower buds, …

Medieval treasure to be opened to public view

The 15th-century Wollaton Antiphonal, the most stunning of the medieval manuscripts cared for at the University of Nottingham, is to be made available to the public using the ‘Turning the Pages’ technology pioneered by the British Library. A research grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), awarded to Emeritus Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre (School of …