skip to content

Medieval Medical Recipes : Compilation of texts from St Albans

Medieval Medical Recipes

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This vast compilation of theological, devotional, historical, scientific, and medical texts in Latin and Middle English prose and verse was copied in the 15th century at the Benedictine abbey at St Albans, Herefordshire. The manuscript has been tentatively identified in a list of books that were made for the monastery's library during the abbacy of John Whethamstede (1420-1440 and 1451-65) (see CBMLC 4 (1996), p. 569 [B.88 no. 30]; and 'Miscellanea theologica (Theological excerpts, formulae, etc.'), in <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>MLGB3</a> (accessed 23 June 2023)). This is also confirmed by the manuscript's contents: among these are nine excerpts from Whethamstede's <i>Granarium</i> (e.g. p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(160);return false;'>154</a>) [see Hiatt (2014), p. 16 n. 13], and a selection of his poems and letters (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(123);return false;'>117-127</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(187);return false;'>179-180</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(199);return false;'>191-192</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(232);return false;'>222-227</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(311);return false;'>311</a>). The manuscript also contains one of the three extant copies of the <i>Tractatus Horologii Astronomici</i>, a work of 1327 by Richard Wallingford (1292–1336), abbot of St Albans, which describes the workings of his renowned astronomical clock (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(36);return false;'>30-36</a>); and epitaphs of Thomas de la Mere (1309-1396), abbot of St Albans (p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(210);return false;'>202</a>), and John Bernwell (d. 1400), who was buried in St Peter's Church, St Albans (p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(141);return false;'>135</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>In cataloguing this manuscript, moreover, there has been discovered a previously unknown, unfinished copy of the metrical life of St Alban by Ralph of Dunstable [Ralph of St Albans] (fl. 1180?), a monk of St Albans (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(321);return false;'>321-324</a>). This adds another witness to the surviving copies of Ralph of Dunstable’s work (which until now had only been identified in three medieval manuscripts) and further strengthens the St Albans provenance of this manuscript [On Dunstable, see Bateson (1885), p. 218; McLeod (1980), pp. 412, 414 fn. 13].</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Several previously unnoticed short instructional texts have come to light as well. These include sequences of prayers that are either directly derived from or based on the revelations of the Benedictine nun Mechtild of Hackeborn (1240/1241–1298), as recorded by two of her sisters in religion in the <i>Liber Specialis Gratiae</i> (see pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(333);return false;'>334</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(334);return false;'>334-335</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(335);return false;'>335-336</a>; <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(338);return false;'>338-339</a>); a macaronic (Latin-Middle English) medical recipe (p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(168);return false;'>162</a>) and a method for keeping ink from freezing (p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(185);return false;'>177</a>); and an encrypted Latin text that describes a magical method to establish how many sexual partners a woman has had (p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(314);return false;'>314</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Clarck Drieshen<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

Want to know more?

Under the 'More' menu you can find , and information about sharing this image.

No Contents List Available
No Metadata Available


If you want to share this page with others you can send them a link to this individual page:
Alternatively please share this page on social media

You can also embed the viewer into your own website or blog using the code below: