Story behind Faddan More Psalter discovery told at John Rylands Library


The fascinating story behind a 1,200-year-old book unearthed by a mechanical digger operator six years ago in an Irish bog was told by the man who is supervising its conservation.

John Gillis, a Senior Conservator of books and manuscripts at Trinity College Library, Ireland, spoke at The John Rylands Library yesterday in an event jointly organised by the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (MANCASS), based at The University of Manchester, and Manchester Medieval Society.

As the first medieval manuscript ever found in a wetland environment, the Faddan More Psalter is one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries ever made. Mr Gillis, who is working with the National Museum of Ireland on examining and conserving the manuscript, described the latest discoveries he has made about the remarkable artefact.

New discoveries about the large leather bound illuminated book are continually being made during its six year conservation project. The lecture charted the complex and challenging conservation processes and the exciting discoveries made along the way.

Director of MANCASS Professor Gale Owen Crocker, from The University of Manchester, said: “Despite its covering of brown peat, the lettering and illuminated decoration of this book were amazingly still visible when it was discovered.

“It was immediately obvious that this was a Psalter – a book of the Psalms – datable from its decorative style to the eighth-century, a golden age of manuscript illumination in Ireland and Northumbria.

“We are delighted to host John Gillis who will be able to let us in on the latest insights into this remarkable find.”

Click here to see a video about the Faddan More Psalter

See also this report – Faddan More Psalter: A Progress Update

Source: University of Manchester

Sharan Newman