Pages of England: The Stories of the Textus Roffensis, the Book of Rochester

On the evening of May 10th Dr Christopher Monk will give a lecture in Rochester Cathedral Nave about the stories told and questions answered in Textus Roffensis and other medieval manuscripts.

  • What was married life like for an Anglo-Saxon woman?
  • How would you have been treated as a slave in early England?
  • What happened to children guilty of poaching?
  • How did people manage if they had a severe disability?

These are just a few of the questions answered in Textus Roffensis and our stories do not stop there. Why, for example, did King Ethelbert of Kent decide to break with the longstanding tradition of oral law codes and put his laws into writing? What was in it for him? Why did Alfred the Great include a version of the Ten Commandments in the preface to his law? Did he think he was the new Moses? Why did William the Conqueror produce a writ introducing the English to the concept of trial by combat? And why are there numerous fraudulent charters in this medieval book, including the very foundation charter for Rochester Cathedral? Can the Cathedral’s clerics be excused for a spot of falsifying? It is when we begin to ask why, that stories relating to character and motive are opened up to us.
Textus Roffensis is so much more than a book of dry legal material. If we look carefully, we can see the stories within and behind its pages. Please join Dr Monk as he turns those pages and takes his audience into a world of medieval wonder. Aiming to entertain as well as inform, you will also hear him read excerpts in Old English; listen to him repeat a bishop’s curse containing expletives (they are in Latin so don’t worry); and find out how to get back your stolen livestock with just a candle and a song!

Join us on 10th May for Dr Monk’s fascinating lecture. Tickets are free but must be secured in advance, please call 01634 843366 to reserve your place

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