New translations of royal diplomas from Textus Roffensis
You may not wish to confess it, but I suspect you all like to witness a spot of repenting now and then from someone on high. Go on, admit it. Even an eleventh-century Benedictine monk gets to see quite regularly his abbot prostrate himself in acts of penance. And enjoys such moments.
Well, today you have an opportunity to read for yourself what one infamous Anglo-Saxon king had to say about his unfortunate past deeds. Dr Monk has made available his new translations of two of King Ethelred the Unready's royal diplomas.
If you manage to plough through the ridiculously grandiloquent language of Ethelred's scribe (he would have made Aldhelm proud), you will find therein words of regret from a king who seemed to feel he had genuinely angered God by his outrageous treatment of Rochester Cathedral.
Now grovel, Ethelred, grovel!
Verily, I have been blessed myself this week with a fascinating tale from the eleventh century, which I really must get to the bottom of, and which I most heartily desire to share with you. My brethren and I were so excited to hear about it yesterday morning that we almost didn't make it to matins.
It's all about a monk from Canterbury named Joseph who wangles a visit to the imperial chapel at Constantinople where he discovers the very bones of his favourite saint, St Andrew, among the treasures there. Nothing gets a monk more excited than bones!
Now I don't wish to retell the whole story here, I'd much rather you read it for yourself, but I will just say that my fellow Benedictine monk knew that he just had to obtain these relics of St Andrew to take back to England as a gift for his neighbouring brethren at Rochester Cathedral, which is, as I'm sure the more enlightened of you know, dedicated to the very same saint.
Did he succeed? Well you can find out for yourself now in your own tongue, for the most blessed Charles West has kindly produced the first translation from Latin of the the only surviving account of our intrepid monk Joseph. Just click on the button below.