Whittington’s Gift: Reconstructing the Lost Common Library of London’s Guildhall

This three-year project, led by Dr Ryan Perry at the University of Kent and Dr Stephen Kelly at Queen’s University Belfast, has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£367,000) and will appoint two postdoctoral research assistants, one to be located at each institution.

On the project: Whittington’s Gift aims to demonstrate that London citizens created new programmes of religious education for both the City’s clergy and for literate lay communities that have hitherto gone largely unnoticed by scholarship. Thanks to the legacy of Richard Whittington (d. 1423), perhaps London’s most storied mayor, an extraordinary resource for religious education emerged under the auspices of Whittington’s innovative executor, John Carpenter, common clerk of London’s Guildhall. By tracking the transmission of texts that the applicants contend were sourced from the Guildhall Library, we aim to radically complicate understanding of fifteenth century literary culture in the capital and beyond.

Candidates must have excellent palaeographical and codicological skills, and have a research focus on fourteenth and fifteenth century English devotional literature and culture.  

The PDRA based at Kent will work closely with Dr Ryan Perry on the codicological assessment of the project’s corpus, with a view to identifying codices the project team believe were either produced or copied from exemplars originally held at the London Guildhall Library.

The PDRA based at Queen’s will have responsibility for producing diplomatic transcriptions of the project’s textual corpus, for inclusion in one of the project’s main outputs, Meke Reverence and Devocyon: A Research Anthology of Late Medieval English Religious Writing (the first since Hortsmann in the 19th century). Familiarity with the protocols of contemporary textual scholarship will be a benefit.

It is hoped that posts will be advertised in the summer with the PDRAs hopefully commencing in late September (current circumstances allowing).


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