Scotland-OxfordPosted: January 2, 2013
It’s been quite a while – and quite a distance – since the last entry. A time when academic investigation and life seems to have merged.
The project officially ended on 31 August. As usual in this business, its spirit lives on, and there’s still much work tying the loose ends of manuscripts. Currently, I am writing up the essay on Lollardy in medieval Scotland, based on the manuscript note of a few posts back. Trying to establish how the Bible made its way from Oxford to Culross, I looked at the movement of books between the two places, with the earlier evidence being probably the Iona Psalter (which has recently become a bit of a celebrity in the NLS, printed on coasters, chocolates (!!!) and worktops).
Digital resources seems to have been made specifically for this kind of statistical analysis. I was delighted to come across a digitised register of the students in the University of Oxford (available here for free, but you may have to email and explain your need). Identifying Scottish students who studied in Oxford and a bit of number crunching followed. The result was unexpectedly reassuring, offering a new solution to an ongoing problem – when did the manuscript make its way to Culross. I suspected that the exlibris was written c. 1400 – and the register supported this. It seems that the number of Scottish students in Oxford – the most obvious means of bringing manuscripts up north – fell sharply after 1400, corroborating my initial assumption (always a good thing).
And all this work hits a strong cord with me at the moment, as I started in September a new job as a departmental lecturer in medieval history at Oriel College. Still between Oxford and Scotland, I look forward to continue the blog as I work through the materials, and there is another article on Scottish Bibles to finish, and a virtual exhibition to finalise. More to come.