C is for…



Bolton Library Ms 1, believed to be an encyclopaedia or relating to the quadrivium, is the collection’s oldest manuscript, as per the paschal table on p. 3 (1168). Its calendar, a regular feature of medieval liturgical material, here displays the Roman method of time-reckoning: kalends, nones and ides, Dominical Letters and Golden Numbers. Note the large KL at the top of each month – kalends – from which we get the word ‘calendar’. In cases where no other material evidence is available, calendars can prove extremely useful in ascertaining the origin of a manuscript, as the names of saints and figures deemed important locally, such as a diocese’s first bishop, were written in red.


Cashel Clerical Book Circle


Not everything in the Bolton Library is medieval or early modern. Collecting continued into the 20th century, albeit on a reduced scale, adding to the libraries gathered by Archbishops King and Bolton. Appearing on nine (so far) items from the mid-19th century, are the circulation lists of readers in the local clerical book circle. Obviously underwhelmed by the contents of the cathedral library, the circle made use of the services of Edward Fitz Henry, a bookseller in nearby Clonmel, to source more on trend reading material.