Book of Mulling. IE TCD MS 60 Public Deposited

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Book of Mulling. IE TCD MS 60

Shelf Mark/Reference Number
  • IE TCD MS 60 ; former shelfmark MS A.1.15
Rights statement
  • Copyright The Board of Trinity College Dublin. Images are available for single-use academic application only. Publication, transmission or display is prohibited without formal written approval of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
Date Created
  • between approximately 750-799
Physical extent
  • 99 folios
  • 165mm x 120mm (maximum)
  • IE TCD MS 60, The Book of Mulling, is an Irish pocket gospel book from the second half of the 8th century. The text collection comprises the four Gospels, a liturgical service which includes the "Apostles' Creed", and in the colophon, a supposed plan of the monastery at St Mullin’s enclosed by two concentric circles. The name derives from a former notion that the scribe was the Leinster saint St Moling (d. 697), founder of Tech-Moling (St Mullins, Co. Carlow), whose subscription occurs in the colophon at the end of St John's Gospel: [N]omen scriptori Mulling dicitur. However, the manuscript is younger and the script reveals that three scribes were involved: one for the prefaces, another for the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and a third for St John's Gospel. It remains possible that the manuscript was copied from an autograph manuscript of St Moling. Contents: (A) Book of Mulling: Folios 1-94v: (1) Gospels with (2)-(5) as indicated below. The text of the gospels makes much use of a Vetus Latina version. Subscription (pr. H.J. Lawlor, 'Chapters on the Book of Mulling', (Edinburgh 1897), 6) at end of gospel of John names Mulling as scribe, presumably intending St Mulling or Moling founder of the monastery at St. Mullins, County Carlow, who died c.697, but he is too early to have been the scribe of (1), which may however have been written at his monastery. 1-11v. (2) added. Prefaces and canon tables. 12 blank. 33v-34. (3) added. Service for visitation of the sick (pr. from TCD MS 60 by F.E. Warren, 'The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church', 2nd edn., (Woodbridge 1987), 171-173). 94v. (4) added. Liturgical fragment mentioning Patrick (ed. Lawlor o.c. 146 from TCD MS 60). 94v. (5) added. Circular plan with crosses and labelling in Irish, presumably showing the lay-out of the high crosses near the monastery at St. Mullins (the plan is reproduced in Lawlor o.c. 167). 95rv blank. (B) Folios 96-99v: (6) Gospels (fragments from Mat. 26-27 and Mar. 1-6). For the losses of text see P. McGurk, 'Latin Gospel Books from A.D. 400 to A.D. 800', Publications de Scriptorium 5, (1961), 84. The script is a fine Irish minuscule. The decoration includes illuminated initials and three surviving Evangelist full-page portraits: those thought to be Matthew, Mark and John (ff. 12v, 35v, 81v). They are all unaccompanied by symbols and are depicted frontally, standing and holding books (Mark with a fully draped hand, the others only partially draped). All are youthful and nimbed, and (?) Matthew is shown as a scribe, dipping his pen into an inkwell. The manuscript's jewelled shrine (cumdach) is also preserved. There are Irish words on the last page with the circular plan of the monastery. Please see the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library’s catalogue entry for the manuscript here:
  • Bound in wooden boards and modern vellum, rebound in Library Conservation Laboratory and refoliated in March 1977.
  • For a detailed bibliography see Marvin L. Colker, Trinity College Library Dublin Descriptive Catalogue of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts, Dublin 1991.Select bibliography:F. E. Warren, Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church (Oxford, 1881), pp. 171-73JJG Alexander, Insular manuscripts 6th to the 9th century (London 1978) pp 67-68, where a full bibliography is given. See also:For discussion on the circular plan and Irish words see HJ Lawlor, Chapters in the Book of Mulling (Edinburgh 1897)JF Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland (New York 1929) nos 456-7F Henry, 'An Irish manuscript in the British Museum', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 87 (1957) pp 147-166 passimEA Lowe, Codices Latini Antiquiores (2nd corr edn Oxford 1972) nos 276-7C Nordenfalk, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon painting. book illumination in the British Isles 600-800 (New York 1976) p 126, pl 48L Nees, 'The Colophon Drawing in the Book of Mulling: a supposed Irish monastery Plan and the tradition of terminal illustration in early medieval manuscripts', Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 5 (1983) pp 67-91Patrick McGurk, 'The Gospel book in Celtic lands before AD 850: content and arrangement', in Irland und die Christenheit (Stuttgart 1987) pp 165-189.M P Brown, The book of Cerne: Patronage, prayer and power in ninth-century England (London and Toronto 1996), no 15.
Finding aid
  • Written at the monastery of Tech-Moling (now St Mullins), County Carlow, Ireland, in the second half of the eighth century. In the eighteenth century it belonged to the Kavanagh family of Borris Idrone, County Carlow, near St Mullins, and was presented by them to Trinity College Dublin in the late 18th century.
  • Bank of America Merryl Lynch
Resource type
  • ink
  • vellum (parchment)
  • Irish
Digital Object Id
  • MS60_001
  • 0119663


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