Friday, 15 July 2011

BOOK NEWS: British Library prepares £9 million book bid

The British Library is attempting to raise the money to buy the St Cuthbert Gospel, the oldest intact book in Europe.

The St Cuthbert Gospel
The St Cuthbert Gospel: 'a window into a rich, sophisticated culture'  Photo: AP
The book, which is palm-sized and still leather-bound in its original cover, is believed to have been buried with St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne in 698, before the saint and his tome were later reburied in what would become Durham cathedral.
The St Cuthbert Gospel has been on loan to the British Library since 1979, and the library is now appealing to arts and heritage foundations across the country to raise around £9 million for a permanent purchase.
The National Heritage Memorial Fund have already pledged to offer a £4.5m grant – the largest single acquisition grant in the library's history. The Art Fund and the Garfield Weston foundation have each promised to pledge £250,000 towards the purchase.
Should the British Library be successful in acquiring the book, it will be displayed for half of the year at Durham cathedral, on the same site where it was found entombed with St Cuthbert in 1104.
Lynne Brindley, the British Library's chief executive, described the book as "a beautifully preserved window into a rich, sophisticated culture that flourished some four centuries before the Norman conquest".

Article taken from


  1. That's quite a price for a book! As much as I'd love to see that permanently owned by the British Library... something inside me thinks it should still be buried with St. Suthbert as it originally was (though I understand we'd be losing an inportant artifact then).

  2. Yes I know what you mean, Nikki-ann, I have mixed feelings about it as well.



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