Dr Monk has been busy creating a short video for Rochester Cathedral on my YouTube channel. I know, I'm a generous soul.
The video relates to eighteenth-century scholar Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1758) and her interaction with Textus Roffensis, arguably the most important collection of early medieval English laws in existence (in your twenty-first century, that is).
Elstob was a pioneering scholar of Old English (Anglo-Saxon) during the reign of Queen Anne (r. 1702-14), whom I once met. It's a long story, for another time.
Anyhow, as well as publishing editions and translations of major Old English texts, she is celebrated for writing the first Old English grammar to use modern English, rather than the expected Latin, thus making the study of Old English works far more accessible, particularly to other women of the time.
In the short video below, Dr Monk takes a look at the 'Saxon Characters' she left behind on one of the pages of Textus Roffensis, produced by a very industrious monk-scribe at Rochester's Cathedral Priory, around 1123.
If you wish, and I can recommend it, you can also watch the video as part of a more detailed piece about Elstob on Rochester Cathedral's website, written by Lindsay Llewellyn-MacDuff, Bishop's Chaplain at the cathedral.
May you all be blessed!
Here's an update on the Song of the Wildlands Project in which the other Monk has been involved, as the writer of the Old English words for the choral sections of the record.
Crime Records has released an official lyric video of the dramatic Dragon Fire. You can sing along with Beowulf and also the Wildland Warriors choir as they belt out the Old English bewailing of the flames.
If you can work out the meaning of what the Wildland Warriors are singing, let me know in the comments, and I will offer you an extra prayer.
You will find below my YouTube interview with historical novelist Patricia Bracewell.
We not only talk about her motivations for writing her 'Emma of Normandy trilogy' and the difficulties of writing a story from patchy history records, but we dive into the problematic world of eleventh-century names for a twenty-first-century readership.
How do you pronounce Ælfgifu? How do you spell the king's name: is Ethelred right? What allowances does Patricia make for her audience?
You can let me know what you think of the interview here or on my YouTube channel, to which I know you are just itching to subscribe.
May you be blessed!
The Medieval Monk, fresh from the eleventh century, meets prog-rock legend Clive Nolan to talk about Nolan's spectacular new album, Song of the Wildlands.
Bringing together the earthiness of medieval instrumentation, the big "noise" of symphonic rock, and the awesome sound of choralists singing in Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Clive has created a musical landscape worthy of the great, early medieval poem.
Listen in as they talk about the inspiration for the album, the impact of the 1000-year old language on the music, and how Clive overcame Lockdown to record his 200-strong choir of international singing warriors.
And there are snippets of the music too!
Blessed ones! How I have been amiss.
My life has been even more cloistered than usual over the last few months: both illness and the work of a monk-scribe have overtaken me at times. So I must apologise for not venturing into your twenty-first century much this year, where I understand life has been so difficult for so many folk.
To cheer you up, I hope, I have posted below the link to the other Monk's Christmas video, all about how to make two medieval pastries from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
The spices involved are celestial – ginger, cinnamon and mace – and so I grant you all permission to indulge, with moderation of course.
May you all be blessed and I wish you all a safe and hallowed Christmas.