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Rare medieval Psalter joins Senate House Library collections

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Rare 13th century decorated Psalter donated to Senate House Library's medieval collections.

Senate House Library has received a significant new addition to its medieval manuscript holdings – a 13th century parchment Psalter containing the Book of Psalms in Latin translation from the original Hebrew. 

The decorated manuscript includes three large ornate initials in red and blue ink, as well as numerous decorative line fillers throughout the text. It also features an unusual example of early Arabic numeration in the margins.

The Psalter was left to the Library by the late manuscript scholar Elspeth Yeo and donated by her goddaughter Lucy Williams. Ms. Yeo had received the manuscript from her uncle Francis Wormald, the first chair of Palaeography at the University of London and former Director of the Institute of Historical Research from 1960-1967. 

The Library already holds the papers of Francis Wormald (MS809) and a collection of medieval documents donated by his widow Honoria (MS814). The newly acquired Psalter will join the Library’s collection of medieval manuscripts and documents which are used in teaching and research across the University of London.