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British Library bids to buy Europe’s oldest book

The British Library needs £9 million in order to buy Europe’s oldest in-tact book – The Cuthbert Gospel, which is a palm-sized leather-bound copy of the gospels buried 1,300 years ago in the coffin of Saint Cuthbert. This historic illuminated book has been on display at the library since 1979.

Saint Cuthbert was an Anglo-Saxon monk, hermit and bishop, and became the patron saint of Northern England. He is famous for being one of the first people to give two hoots about the poor and unfortunate, and, believe me, the poor and unfortunate had a rough time in 7th century Britain.

The Lindisfarne Gospels by Janet Backhouse is a rather more affordable reprint of Saint Cuthbert’s writings.

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