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Rare Anglo-Saxon treasures to go on public display at Exeter Cathedral

On Thursday 18 August some of the world’s rarest surviving Anglo-Saxon treasures are to go on public display at Exeter Cathedral. The special exhibition will showcase some of the oldest collections from the cathedral’s library and archives.

Highlights will include the 10th century Exeter Book, which is thought to be the oldest of only four surviving poetic manuscripts written in the Old English language. In 2016, UNESCO added the Exeter Book to its Memory of the World register of artefacts of global cultural significance, recognising the ancient manuscript to be “the foundation volume of English literature, one of the world’s principal cultural artefacts.”

Also on display will be the Exon Domesday of 1086 – the most comprehensive surviving source for the Great Domesday Book for anywhere in England – and Exeter Cathedral’s own Foundation Charter, created in 1050.

Organisers hope that the event, which includes an opportunity for visitors to make their own ‘Saxon copper brooch,’ will inspire visitors of all ages. As Exeter Cathedral’s Heritage Engagement Manager, Jonathan Scott, explains:

“Exeter Cathedral is an internationally significant heritage site, and the Anglo-Saxon collections are among many thousands of fascinating treasures housed in its Library and Archives.

“We want all of the communities of Devon to be able to enjoy their local heritage, and we are working hard to deliver more exhibitions, events and activities that will appeal to a wide range of people, across all age groups.”

The Library & Archives In Focus: Anglo-Saxons exhibition takes place in the nave of Exeter Cathedral on Thursday 18 August, from 10am until 1pm. Advance booking is not required, and admission is included with the standard cathedral entry fee.