Medieval boost for York library

A Japanese academic has donated fragments of Latin medieval manuscripts and early printed books to the University of York

Each fragment consists of one or two leaves (pages) from a medieval manuscript or early printed book, of dates ranging from the 10th to the 16th centuries.  Many include coloured or gold-leaf decorated initials.

Professor Toshiyuki Takamiya, of Keio University in Tokyo, presented the box of fragments to Linne Mooney, Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies and Professor of Medieval English Palaeography in the Department of English and Related Literature at York.

He said: ‘I recognised that there were few original medieval manuscript sources in York in relation to the numbers of faculty and graduate students studying the Middle Ages at the University, so I thought these fragments would be a welcome addition to the University’s collection.’

Professor Takamiya’s manuscripts will join the thousands of archival medieval records at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University. The University is home to the largest concentration of medieval scholars in the UK: 36 staff and over 120 postgraduate students at York study the literature, history, art and archaeology of the Middle Ages.

Professor Mooney said: “We are tremendously grateful to Professor Takamiya for this generous donation to the Centre for Medieval Studies and the University of York.”

The collection, to be known as the Takamiya Manuscript Fragments Collection, will be kept at the Borthwick Institute for Archives on the University of York campus and will be made available for study in the Borthwick searchroom. An exhibition focusing on the manuscripts will be held later this year.

Last year, Professor Takamiya placed the bulk of his collection of medieval English manuscripts on long-term deposit at the Beinecke Library at Yale University in the USA.  It was the world’s largest private collection of medieval manuscripts written in English

For more information about the Centre for Medieval Studiers at the University of York, please visit


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