The St. Cuthbert Gospel of St. John the Evangelist

Happy feast day of St. Cuthbert, and especially to Fr. Matthew Cuthbert Dallman, Obl.S.B.

In addition to celebrating the saint’s feast, bibliophiles can also celebrate the survival of the earliest instance of bookbinding in the West, which is associated with St. Cuthbert, since a bound copy of the Gospel of St. John was buried with St. Cuthbert in 687.

It was made by tooling of goatskin leather, dyed red, over boards of thin birch wood with the gathering of pages sewn into holes in the boards with flax thread.  The cover has a raised pattern of vines on the front, as shown in the photo.

And here is a photo of the beginning of the Gospel account.

The survival of this book is also interesting and is presented briefly here.

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