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Dr Monk continues with his highlights from Rochester Cathedral
I was asked by the volunteers manager at Rochester Cathedral, the excellent Lisa Johnson, to make a presentation to the volunteers about Custumale Roffense, the thirteenth-century Rochester customs book, a book about the dues and rents owed the monks at St Andrew's Priory. It's one of numerous medieval books located in the cathedral's newly refurbished library, and it's fascinating.
There were a number in the audience who work as live interpreters, taking on the personas of monks and nuns from medieval Kent, educating and entertaining visitors at the same time. With them in mind, I thought I would include a couple of unusual, shall we say, practical texts from the customs book which they may or may not wish to incorporate in some way into their performances.
Whether my choices were a good thing, I'll leave it up to you decide. Just click on the video above to see some of the strange things inside the Rochester customs book.
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In the first of a series, the Anglo-Saxon Monk invites his alter ego to pick out his highlights from a recent visit to Rochester Cathedral.
What a wonderful time I had at Rochester Cathedral last week. I spent three days delivering workshops and talks about two of the cathedral's remarkable medieval books: Textus Roffensis, which contains copies of English laws and other legal documents, the earliest of which goes back to the year AD 600; and Custumale Roffense, a thirteenth-century customs book, which deals with the everyday lives and the livelihood of the monks at Rochester priory.
The audiences for the workshops were made up primarily of cathedral volunteers, who are, quite simply, outstanding. The cathedral would not function as it does without them. They made me feel very welcome and there was a remarkable interchange of enthusiasm and knowledge as we looked at Rochester's two treasures.
What I'm going to do over the next few weeks is provide a few highlights from the workshops and the public lecture I also gave: a few snippets, if you will, which appeared to capture the imagination; and then I shall expand upon these a little.
So let's start with one of the charters in Textus Roffensis: