Singing from a different Hymn sheet

‘While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night’ is one of the best-known Christmas carols. It is based on the Annunciation to the shepherds, as described in the Gospel of St Luke. An angel appeared to the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem and told them of the birth of Jesus in a scene that has …

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. …

Manuscripts Mysteries: Canada, Cake and Clergymen

The stereotypical, romanticized view of archives is one where researchers delve into a box of yellowed, long-forgotten papers to uncover clues and solve a mystery. But what happens when the boxes present more questions than they answer? For the last few months we’ve been turning to social media in an attempt to find out more …

Doodles and Divinity

This is a guest post by Ashleigh Fowler, student from the School of English. Since November 2014 I have been cataloguing the Ashby de la Zouch Parish Library as one of three student volunteers chosen to work on the collection. The library is, unsurprisingly, largely theological texts with a large helping of classical Greek literature, but …

“Macaroni looks like serpents”: A Victorian arm-chair traveller’s guide to Europe

“Superficial, incomplete, trifling! Such is the true character of this book. Inaccurate we hope it is not…the world, old as she is, would not sit still for her picture.” So begins the 1849 book ‘Near Home, or The Countries of Europe Described’ by Favell Lee Mortimer, nee Bevan (1802-1878). Now almost forgotten, Mortimer wrote 16 …

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 …

A Family Reunion

This is a guest post by Library Assistant Nicholas Blake. I never expected to discover that my new place of work was home to an archive collection of my family’s documents dating back hundreds of years.  It was only after I’d been interviewed for my library assistant post here at the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts …