All posts by Martha

The Medieval Hospital: New book by Nicole Rice

Nicole Rice’s original study analyzes the role played by late medieval English hospitals as sites of literary production and cultural contestation. The hospitals of late medieval England defy easy categorization. They were institutions of charity, medical care, and liturgical commemoration. At the same time, hospitals were cultural spaces sponsoring the performance of drama, the composition of medical texts, and the reading of devotional prose and vernacular poetry. Such practices both reflected and connected the disparate groups—regular religious, ill and poor people, well-off retirees—that congregated in hospitals. Nicole Rice’s The Medieval Hospital offers the first book-length study of the place of hospitals in English literary history and cultural practice. Read more in the flyer below and at the book’s page at the University of Notre Dame’s press (here).

Found leaf, found books

Another leaf of the Beauvais Missal has turned up! Read all about it in the Huffington Post (here). In the photo, note the label giving its date as 1285, describing it as an “illuminated manuscript on vellum,” and then giving its price as $75.00 (!?). As the article notes, the lucky purchaser’s queries about the leaf led to Lisa Fagin Davis’s getting wind of it and identifying it as having once been a part of the Beauvais Psalter. It has now been virtually re-united with other leaves at Davis’s Reconstructing the Beauvais Missal site (find it at the top of the “Recently Added Items” column).

In related news, a “forgotten archive” of medieval manuscripts and print books was recently discovered in the Ropemakers’ Tower of St. Margaret’s Church in the Romanian town of Mediaș. As EBS member Antony Henk sums it up, “This find includes 139 printed books dating to between 1470 and 1600, two manuscripts from the early 16th century and about sixty charters and other documents dating to between the 14th and 16th centuries, along with MS fragments kept inside parish records. The earliest of these dates from the Carolingian era.” Read more here.

In Memoriam: Anne F. Sutton

The Early Book Society will miss Dr Anne F. Sutton, who died on Saturday 18th June 2022 in her hometown of Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk). In spite of her declining health, she had been able to remain at home until very near her death, where she was able to enjoy the company of visitors, telephone calls, letters and cards from her friends and well-wishers from around the world.

Anne’s contribution to scholarship is truly outstanding. She was a highly regarded scholar and a prolific writer, and the recent publication of her book The King’s Work: The Defence of the North Under the Yorkist Kings, 1471–85 (Donington, 2021) has not only been well received, but it also brought her much pleasure.

Medieval scholarship has lost a truly gifted and remarkable historian, one who didn’t suffer fools gladly, but who provided great hospitality, encouragement and friendship to others. Anne was a private person with great dignity and presence, but she also had a wonderful sense of humour and enjoyed nothing better than being with her friends and talking about King Richard and the events of the fifteenth century. She had a formidable memory and was able to find connections that others could not. She was one of a kind, and, although she will be deeply missed, her publications will remain a mainstay of scholarship for many years to come.

— Christian Steer
Read more at the website for the Richard III and Yorkist History Trust (here).

Just out: Patterns of Plague, by Lori Jones

EBS member Lori Jones announces the publication of her book, Patterns of Plague: Changing Ideas about Plague in England and France, 1348–1750, which discusses various aspects of plague tractates including their transition from MS to print, shifting emphases, and their use of images. Members interested in receiving a discount are asked to contact Lori directly at

Follow this link to publisher’s site.

Second Ian Doyle Memorial Lecture: April 6

The long-postponed second Ian Doyle Memorial Lecture will be given in conjunction with the Medieval Insular Romance Conference, to be held in Durham, UK, from 5th-7th April.  The lecture will be given by Tony Edwards and will take place on Wednesday, 6th April, at 4:30pm in Elvet Riverside 140.  Tony’s title is ‘Ian Doyle and the Study of Middle English Manuscripts’.  A reception will be held on the Tunstall Gallery, University College, afterwards. 

Just out: Scribal Cultures in Late Medieval England

Description from the publishers site (here)
Linne R. Mooney, Emeritus Professor of Palaeography at the University of York, has significantly advanced the study of later medieval English book production, particularly our knowledge of individual scribes; this collection honours her distinguished scholarship and responds to her wide-ranging research on Middle English manuscripts and texts.

The thirteen essays brought together here take a variety of approaches – palaeographical, codicological, dialectal, textual, art historical – to the study of the English medieval book and to the varied environments (professional, administrative, mercantile, ecclesiastical) where manuscripts were produced and used during the period 1300-1550. Acknowledging that books and readers are no respecters of borders, this collection’s geographical scope extends beyond England in the east to Ghent and Flanders, and in the west to Waterford and the Dublin Pale.

Contributors explore manuscripts containing works by key writers, including Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, John Wyclif, and Walter Hilton. Major texts whose manuscript traditions are scrutinized include Speculum Vitae, the Scale of Perfection, the Canterbury Tales, and Confessio Amantis, along with a wide range of shorter works such as lyric poems, devotional texts, and historical chronicles. London book-making activities and the scribal cultures of other cities and monastic centres all receive attention, as does the book production of personal miscellanies. By considering both literary texts and the letters, charters, and writs that medieval scribes produced, in Latin and Anglo-French as well as English, this collection celebrates Professor Mooney’s influence on the field and presents a holistic sense of England’s pre-modern textual culture.