Letters of Gold – Illuminated Manuscripts

Medieval manuscripts – literally ‘copies made by hand’ – were based on classical and religious texts that had survived the decline of the Roman empire. Wealthy patrons commissioned exquisitely decorated books of psalms (psalters) and illuminated prayer books known as Books of Hours.  Ablaze with gold and brilliant colours, they were illustrated with elaborate borders and miniatures that were expressions of religious faith and devotion.

The manuscript collection in the Abbey Museum spans from the 13th century to Renaissance and Later Europe and includes a rare early polyphonic sheet for music.  There is a significant collection of 16th – 19th legal documents from the Yorkshire Dales. The Museum also has Tibetan, Singhalese, Coptic and Greek manuscripts.