Will Noel passes away

Will Noel, a leading librarian of medieval manuscripts, has passed away after being injured by a vehicle in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was 58 years old.

Police Scotland released details of an accident that took place on April 10th. They note that “Mr Noel was a pedestrian at the time of the collision, which happened on Trinity Crescent around 5.50pm, and also involved a white Citroen Relay van. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where he died as a result of his injuries during the evening of Monday, 29 April.”


The driver, a 40-year-old man, has been arrested in connection with the accident.

Will Noel will be remembered by many medievalists for his work in medieval manuscripts and finding ways to make them more accessible to scholars and the general public. In 2020, he was appointed Associate University Librarian for Special Collections at Princeton University Library. Prior to this he served as the Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies and the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at The Walters Art Museum. He earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1992.

Noel led several projects to digitize and provide access to medieval and pre-modern manuscripts. This includes the Archimedes Palimpsest Project and digital collections at the Walters Art Museum. He also helped to found Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies – in this article he and Mitch Fraas write about its creation.


Will also frequently spoke about his work and passion for this field, including this lecture from 2012:

Many of his colleagues have commented about Will’s passing:

See also:

His article on The Syriac Galen Palimpsest Project: An Introduction

His article on The Archimedes Palimpsest: Old Science Meets New Science 

His lectures on The medieval manuscript and its digital image