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Journal > Volumes > 45 (2014) / 4 (Winter)
An Anglo-Saxon Psalter and an Early Modern Female Reader
Janet Schrunk Ericksen
University of Minnesota, Morris

British Library Manuscript Stowe 2 (Stowe Psalter) is a late Anglo-Saxon book in Latin with a continuous Old English gloss. Its marginalia include the name “Kateryn Rudston,” written in an apparently sixteenth-century hand; the same hand wrote “Kater” forty-four pages later and may also be evident in the rewriting of some Old English glosses. The signatures offer a rare example of female access to and perhaps readership of an Anglo-Saxon book in the sixteenth century, and they prompt exploration of why this particular psalter may have survived in private hands, how it might have been used by a sixteenth-century woman, and who that woman might have been. The search for Rudston does not yield conclusive identification but reveals enough plausible possibilities to suggest that Anglo-Saxon books were accessible to women and could have had interest for a wide range of women, in and beyond the sphere of major collectors. 

Pages: 875 - 895