Manuscript Fragments from the Ripon Cathedral Library

Homiliary (Fragment), Leeds, University of Leeds Libraries, Special Collections, MS Ripon Cathedral Fragments/21

Partner Project

Full Title: Manuscript Fragments from the Ripon Cathedral Library Collection

Partner Institution: University of Leeds

Project Leader: Dr. N. Kıvılcım Yavuz, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds 

This project conducts research on manuscript fragments that are used in bindings of early print books from the Ripon Cathedral Library Collection. The project leader, Dr. N. Kıvılcım Yavuz, is Lecturer in Medieval Studies and Digital Humanities at the University of Leeds and has been investigating these fragments specifically with an interest in identifying the types of repurposing done during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries as well as in using them as part of her teaching in her master’s class, “Medieval Manuscripts in the Digital Age.” The project is envisaged as long-term, taking into account contributions from Leeds students and other collaborators, with the aim to ultimately digitize, catalogue and make available in the coming years some 1,000 fragments, the majority of which are hitherto unstudied.

The origins of Ripon Cathedral, less than 35 miles north of Leeds, go back to the Church of St Peter in Ripon founded by St Wilfrid in 672. Celebrating its 1350 anniversary in 2022, with its historic building and community still active, the Cathedral receives over 100,000 visitors each year. Items from the Ripon Cathedral Library have been on long-term deposit at the Department of Special Collections at the Brotherton Library of the University of Leeds since the 1980s. These include medieval and early modern manuscripts as well as early printed books, most of which were collected by Anthony Higgin, Dean of Ripon from 1608 to 1624. Only a handful of these items have been the subject of detailed study. Even less studied, and many as yet unknown, are the manuscript fragments that are found as part of the bindings of books (and manuscripts) in this collection.

Initial cataloguing and publication of about a dozen fragments was facilitated through a workshop conducted by William Duba (Fragmentarium) and Laura Albiero (Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes – Paris) in May 2023 as part of the ‘Digital Explorations: Opening the Medieval Manuscript Fragments from the Ripon Cathedral Library’ Project supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Research England under the Enhancing Research Culture funding stream.  

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