Today sees the second instalment of the Lost Manuscripts pilot project made publicly available. The project takes as its focus the manuscript fragments to be found in the bindings of books once owned by Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York (1561-1631). He bequeathed his library to his hometown of Colchester, for the edification of the local clergy. In the twenty-first century, they are used by other seekers after knowledge as they are now housed at the University of Essex in the new extension to the Albert Sloman Library.
This latest instalment involves just over a score of fragments, eight new lost manuscripts and three highlight pages. The items include ones which remind us that the process of dismantling old manuscripts did not have to wait to the Reformation to begin, and others which reveal to us some of the different practices among binders, with some more concerned to use pristine parchment and so cut the margins off the text, recycle those margins and discard the text itself. The batch also includes the first example of a fragment in the English language, and adds to the small number of fragments with musical notation.
If you have any questions or information about these fragments, do drop us a line.