In addition to the surviving documents and manuscripts from before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, scholars rely on later medieval records for their understanding of Anglo-Saxon history. An exhibition currently on display in the Long Room presents some of the sources for Anglo-Saxon history and culture preserved in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. An accompanying online exhibition is also available.
The manuscripts that preserve Anglo-Saxon history are valuable not only as textual sources, but also for what they reveal about attitudes to and uses of these records. The examples displayed range from large, expensively-decorated manuscripts, probably intended for monastic libraries, to volumes that could be easily transported, studied or worked upon. The writers of the Later Middle Ages were interested in different facets of the Anglo-Saxon past according to their contemporary needs. The exhibition thus showcases aspects of writing about the Anglo-Saxon past, including Anglo-Saxon histories, texts on Anglo-Saxon kings and saints, and the works of the twelfth-century historian John of Worcester.
The exhibition has been curated by Alice Jorgensen and Laura Cleaver (Trinity College Dublin), with the assistance of David Woodman (Robinson College, Cambridge) and mounted in connection with the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists Conference 2013. The exhibition is supported by the Anglo-Norman History Books Project (funded by the Seventh Framework programme) and the Trinity Association and Trust.
Estelle Gittins and Laura Cleaver