St Albans bids for its psalter
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
ST ALBANS City and District Council is attempting to ward off institutions
such as Cambridge University, the British Library and the Victoria & Albert
Museum to bring a 12th-century book of psalms back home.
The council is putting its might behind the bid for the St Albans Psalter,
which was left to the state in lieu of death duties two years ago. It believes
the psalter should return to St Albans Abbey. Illustrated with gold letters,
the Psalter was produced in the scriptorium of the Benedictines of St Albans.
The Psalter is currently in the care of the British Library. If it is
returned to St Albans, it will be after an absence of 900 years.
The council's cabinet chairman, Councillor Robert Donald, said: "The
cultural, economic and spiritual vibrancy and health of our district has relied
for centuries on a close interdependency between the Abbey and the city, and
the contribution made by pilgrims, tourists, retailers and residents. It would
be a significant development if we could add to our cultural heritage through
the acquisition of the St Albans Psalter."
Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, has welcomed the support of the council.
He said: "There is no doubt that the Cathedral is the proper home for the
Psalter. Not only are we able to conserve and display it to the highest
standards, we are also able to use it as intended in the building for which it
A council spokesman said that the council has already met the National
Archives Commission to push forward the case for ownership by the city.
He said: "For St Albans Abbey, a successful bid will be a unique return of a
book used daily by the choir of the monastic church. All of the Abbey's
manuscripts were lost after the Reformation, and can only now be found in
various collections in this country and abroad."