London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1370 Mac Durnan Gospels

  • Latin
  • Early Irish
  • s. ixex/xin
  • Irish manuscripts
  • parchment
An Irish manuscript of the Four Gospels, which was commissioned or written by Máel Brigte mac Tornáin (d. 927), abbot of Armagh, for whom the gospelbook is named. A later inscription provides evidence that it had found its way into England by the early 10th century and that Æthelstan, king of England (r. 924-939), apparently its owner, donated it to Christ Church, Canterbury.
Mac Durnan Gospels
Book of Mac Durnan
Provenance and related aspects
Latin Secondary: Early Irish
s. ixex/xin
Late 9th century, or early 10th.
Origin, provenance
Origin: Ireland
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Ard Macha
Ard Macha ... Armagh
County Armagh
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ass. with Máel Brigte mac TornáinMáel Brigte mac Tornáin
No short description available
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Provenance: EnglandEngland

No description available

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ass. with ÆthelstanÆthelstan
(r. 924–939)
King of England (r. 924–939), son of King Edward the Elder.
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Later provenance: EnglandEngland

No description available

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Canterbury, Christ ChurchCanterbury, Christ Church

No description available

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Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:
Scribe (Máel Brigte?)

Scribe unknown, possibly Máel Brigte mac Tornáin (Mac Durnan), abbot of Armagh.

Máel Brigte mac TornáinMáel Brigte mac Tornáin
No short description available
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Hand of inscription on f. 3v (Koenwald?)

On f. 3v, a metrical inscription is written in square capitals, possibly by Koenwald (later bishop of Worcester), which tells that the manuscript was written by or at the behest of Máel Brigte mac Tornáin and that Æthelstan, king of England (r. 924-939), donated it to Christ Church, Canterbury.

Koenwald [bishop of Worcester]Koenwald ... bishop of Worcester
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Canterbury hand(s)

Hand or hands responsible for adding texts of Anglo-Saxon charters and writs (ff. 69-70, 114-115) in the 11th century; probably associated with Canterbury. Two further writs are found on a detached leaf, now London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius B. IV, f. 87.

Metrical inscription of f. 3v
Codicological information
1 f. (flyleaf) + 216 ff. + 1 f. (flyleaf)
Palaeographical information
Category: Irish minuscule
Irish minuscule script.
four symbols of the Evangelists (prefatory folio); portraits of three Evangelists (initial pages).
Table of contents

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The above method of differentiating between links has not been applied yet to texts or citations from texts which are included in the context of other texts, commonly verses.


While it is not a reality yet, CODECS seeks consistency in formatting references to locations of texts and other items of interest in manuscripts. Our preferences may be best explained with some examples:

  • f. 23ra.34: meaning folio 23 recto, first column, line 34
  • f. 96vb.m: meaning folio 96, verso, second column, middle of the page (s = top, m = middle, i = bottom)
    • Note that marg. = marginalia, while m = middle.
  • p. 67b.23: meaning page 67, second column, line 23
The list below has been collated from the table of contents, if available on this page,Progress in this area is being made piecemeal. Full and partial tables of contents are available for a small number of manuscripts. and incoming annotations for individual texts (again, if available).Whenever catalogue entries about texts are annotated with information about particular manuscript witnesses, these manuscripts can be queried for the texts that are linked to them.


Primary sources This section typically includes references to diplomatic editions, facsimiles and photographic reproductions, notably digital image archives, of at least a major portion of the manuscript. For editions of individual texts, see their separate entries.

[dig. img.] Lambeth Palace Library, Online: Lambeth Palace Library, ?–present. URL: <>.

Secondary sources (select)

Keynes, Simon, “King Athelstan’s books”, in: Michael Lapidge, and Helmut Gneuss (eds), Learning and literature in Anglo-Saxon England: studies presented to Peter Clemoes on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. 143–201.
McNamara, Martin, “The Echternach and Mac Durnan Gospels: some common readings and their significance”, Peritia 6–7 (1988): 217–222.
James, M. R., A descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the library of Lambeth Palace, Cambridge, 1932.
[id. 1370.]

External links

Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2010, last updated: July 2022