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Medieval text comes home

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Medieval text comes home

SEVEN hundred years ago medieval monks in Dumfriesshire carefully wrote, by hand, 400 pages of text onto 200 vellum sheets to create the Sweetheart breviary.

Very few complete manuscripts survive from this period in Scotland making the Sweetheart breviary even more special – and now it is returning home thanks to a loan from the National Library of Scotland.

It will go on display at Dumfries Museum for the summer, until August 31, and a host of events are being arranged to mark the occasion.
University of Limerick lecturer Dr Eleanor Giraud, who is originally from Dumfries, will give a talk at the museum on August 24; she will also host a chant workshop in New Abbey, which will include an opportunity for participants to sing words from the breviary in Sweetheart Abbey.
In addition, inspired by the medieval manuscript and life in the 14th century, the museum has a wide range of family activities taking place on Tuesdays throughout the school summer holidays.
Councillor Andy Ferguson said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for local people to view a unique piece of our local history.
“The beautiful ruin of Sweetheart Abbey is an iconic visitor attraction in the region and this small and very precious book gives us a tangible link to the monks who lived there in its heyday.”
Stuart Holmes, of Historic Environment Scotland, added: “I’m delighted to see the Sweetheart breviary return home to Dumfries, especially fitting as we celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. I hope that seeing the Sweetheart breviary on display will inspire locals and visitors alike to take a trip to Sweetheart Abbey, and explore the historic site where this unique manuscript was written.”

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