Our Name and Mission

In his Gesta Regum Anglorum from ca. 1125, William of Malmesbury recounted how King Alfred the Great kept a notebook or Enchiridion into which he copied his favorite writings. William probably consulted this celebrated Enchiridion for details about King Alfred. Unfortunately, the manuscript disappeared and remains unrecovered, a truly shattering cultural loss. The Enchiridion may fairly be called “the world’s most famous lost medieval book.” Even a single page from this legendary notebook could have conveyed a wealth of knowledge about King Alfred and his turbulent age. When King Alfred’s Notebook was launched in 2010, its name was chosen to convey the inestimable learning that could be derived from medieval books like the Enchiridion, no matter their state of preservation. Our mission remains the recovery of once-treasured manuscripts, a “lost” cultural legacy particularly suitable for university teaching and research.

Our Past Catalogues

Between 2010 and 2015 King Alfred’s Notebook distributed twenty-seven PDF catalogues online, up to five issues per year. Enchiridia 2, 3, and 5 each had supplements. Enchiridion 1 appeared in 2010, and the final PDF Enchiridion, number 21, was issued in early 2015. In 2014 separate catalogues were produced of manuscript books (Enchiridia 19-21: Codices), and of fragments, leaves, and cuttings (Enchiridia 19-21: Fragments). Our final PDF catalogue, Enchiridion 22, circulated only to a handful of clients.

Text Manuscript

Our Past Inventory

Past sales of manuscript books and important fragments have included:

We have also sold leaves from early bibles, including the St. Albans Abbey Bible, the Bohun Family Bible, and the St. Oyan Bible; from service books, including the Llangattock Breviary, the East Anglian Breviary, the Breviary of Bertrand de Chalençon, and the Warburg Missal; folios and calendars from Books of Hours and other devotional books, such as a Passion Sequence by Pietro Ursuleo; miniatures from Hours, calendars, choir books, bibles, and service books, including a Crucifixion scene probably representing the first example of perspective in northern Europe; science texts, including mineralogy, horse medicine, and health; texts in Latin, Old French, German, Italian, and Dutch. Our manuscript offerings have included rare palimpsests, chansons de geste, troubadour lyric, Visigothic Minuscule, and legal, scholastic, and religious sources. We often produce teaching portfolios of leaves, such as “Decorative Arts of the Middle Ages,” “Medieval Books in the Age of Print,” and “A Collection of Medieval Manuscripts Illustrating the History of the Bible.”