Gameson, Earliest books of Canterbury CathedralLondon: The Bibliographical Society and The British Library, in association with the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, 2008.

416 pages (including index and bibliography); 63 colour illustrations
Hardback (buckram); colour jacket.
Price £60.

Members of the Society received a copy of this publication as part of their subscription and are able to buy a second copy at a special members’ price of £30. Non-Members in Canada should order from University of Toronto Press. Non-Members in USA should order from University of Chicago Press.

One of the greatest literary centres throughout the Middle Ages, Canterbury, still preserves – despite horrendous losses – a significant collection of medieval manuscripts. All its pre-thirteenth-century books are catalogued and discussed for the first time in this book; each is illustrated in colour. Highlights range from the oldest copies of the Alfredian translation of Gregory the Great’s Dialogues, and of Lanfranc’s gloss on the Epistles, through fine liturgica, to an extraordinarily grand copy of Peter Comestor’s Historia scholastica. Clear descriptions are complemented by broad-ranging analyses that explain the significance of these works in general and of the Canterbury copies in particular. A substantial Introduction traces the history of book-production in Kent and Canterbury up to c. 1200, the development and use of its collections in the later Middle Ages, and the fate of its books at the Reformation.

Richard Gameson and Archbishop Rowan Williams at the book launchRichard Gameson is Professor of the History of the Book at Durham University; he has published some seventy studies of medieval manuscripts, illumination, and book collections.