Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

19 October 2018–19 February 2019

Exhibition Overview

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

Spanning six centuries, from the eclipse of Roman Britain to the Norman Conquest, highlights from the British Library’s outstanding collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts will be presented alongside a large number of exceptional loans at Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms.

The Codex Amiatinus, one of three giant single-volume Bibles made at the monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow in the north-east of England in the early eighth century and taken to Italy as a gift for the Pope in 716, will be returning to England for the first time in more than 1300 years, on loan from Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence. It will be displayed with the St Cuthbert Gospel, also made at Wearmouth-Jarrow around the same time, and acquired by the British Library in 2012.

Major objects from the Staffordshire Hoard found in 2009 will be displayed, including the pectoral cross and the inscribed gilded strip, on loan from Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils. Bringing together the four principal manuscripts of Old English poetry for the first time, the British Library’s unique manuscript of Beowulf will be displayed alongside the Vercelli Book on loan from the Biblioteca Capitolare in Vercelli, the Exeter Book on loan from Exeter Cathedral Library, and the Junius Manuscript on loan from the Bodleian Library.

The exhibition will also include Domesday Book, which records unparalleled evidence of the English landscape and the Anglo-Saxons’ sophisticated tax-collection system. Domesday Book will be on loan from the National Archives.

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