The Waltham Abbey Bible

Contributed by Epping Forest District Museum

The waltham Abbey Bible copyright Epping Forest District Museum

The Waltham Abbey Bible is written on vellum, which is made from treated animal skins.This Bible dates to about 1200 AD is all that survives from the Abbey library, which contained biblical, medicinal, philosophical and legal texts, as well as a Latin translation of Homer's Illiad. Listed in the Bible are 126 other books in the collection. Inscriptions inside the Bible tell us it was the property of the Prior (the second most important official in the Abbey). The lack of rich decoration suggests this was book used for private study and not for display within the church. The Bible contains both the Old and New Testaments written in tightly packed Latin script on some 238 pages. The Bible is written on vellum (Parchment), the standard writing material in medieval England, this was made from treated animal skins. The holes in the vellum were made when the skin was being treated, but the material was so expensive that the scribe, copying the text, used it anyway.

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In 1540 Waltham Abbey was closed.


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