Regula Sancti Benedicti (The Rule of St Benedict)

St Benedict of Nursia put together his Rule for monks in about 540. It spread to become the principal monastic code of Western Europe, and both eloquently expresses the principles of monastic life and provides a practical guide to daily observance. This is the earliest surviving manuscript of the Rule. It was made in England around AD 700 and is of the highest quality. The origins of the manuscript are obscure, although the beauty of the script and the generous use of the parchment, an expensive material, indicate a wealthy patron. St Benedict’s Rule was yet to establish itself fully in the country, so perhaps the manuscript was intended to promote its status and to provide an authoritative version of the text.


In Latin, on parchment; seventy-seven leaves, 305 x 215 mm

Eleventh-century (?) English binding: white tawed leather over wooden boards