Medieval Lending Libraries

The Flower of Nature (MS 11390) is a natural encyclopedia and bestiary in Middle Dutch verse newly put into its digitised manuscripts collection by The British Library. In addition to its fantastical drawings, it also provides rare evidence of a medieval lending library. An oath is written on the last page, which states that its borrower swears on the cross drawn next to the text that he or she will return the manuscript or die! The oath is signed by a woman, in a 14th- or 15th-century hand, who identifies herself as ‘abstetrix heifmoeder’ (‘obstetrix’ means midwife).

http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/02/the-flower-of-nature.html

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Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

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