Medieval Kings Of Mann Manuscript Returns To Isle Of Man For Gallery Opening

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 29 June 2007
photo of a page from a medieval manuscript

The Chronicle was first created in 1257 at Rushen Abbey on the Isle of Man. Photo Manx National Heritage

The Isle of Man’s most significant medieval manuscript is to return to the island after a deal with the British Library, which currently holds it.

The Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles will be displayed at the Manx Museum in Douglas from July 5 until December 2007 after a loan agreement was successfully reached with the library.

“We are very grateful to the British Library for agreeing to lend the Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles for a number of months,” said Dr Andrew Foxon, Head of Professional Services at Manx National Heritage.

“It really is the Island’s most important medieval document and we are pleased to be able to display it again for the Island to see.”

photo of a man standing next to an old book and a map of the British Isles

Dr Arnold Hunt of the British Library placing the Chronicles in the Manx Museum. Photo Manx National Heritage

The manuscript has not been on display on the island for 10 years and will form part of the new Viking and Medieval Galleries at the museum, which also open on July 5, which is Tynwald Day, a Manx national holiday.

The main part of the manuscript is believed to have been written at Rushen Abbey on the island around 1257 as a look back at significant events in Manx history. Written in Latin, it records the island’s role as the centre of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles.

Several notes taking the Chronicle up to 1316 were later added by the abbey’s Cistercian monks. After the abbey was dissolved in 1540 the manuscript is thought to have passed through a number of private hands until becoming the property of Sir Robert Cotton, whose collection of medieval works was one of the founding collections of the British Museum and are now cared for by the British Library.

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