A Woman’s Name Uncovered in the Margins of a 1,200-Year-Old Medieval Manuscript Provides a Fresh Clue About Its Real Significance
The discovery is a rare example of the involvement of women in medieval book culture.
While studying a rare medieval manuscript in Oxford’s Weston Library, PhD student Jessica Hodgkinson noticed something unusual: a series of small, barely visible indentations at the bottom of page 18. Together, the marks spelled out the name Eadburg, the abbess of a female religious community in Kent during the 8th-century.
The inscriptions, which state-of-the-art 3D recording technology discovered a further 14 times in one form or another throughout the volume, is rare evidence of women in medieval England owning, using, or creating manuscripts. So began Hodgkinson’s detective work into a highly educated woman who lived 1,200 years ago.