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by Gun∂ormr Dengir and Eleanor Catlyng

As the end of the reign of our Majesties Edward and Thyra approaches, we have started work on a scroll to commemorate their reign. The pattern is that of a Mortuary Roll. These were sent upon the death of an Abbot, Prioress or other high-ranking member of a religious community to other, related houses. The roll began with an obituary for the deceased and then, upon arrival, each house added a short, usually formulaic, prayer. These begin with the place name, introduced with the word “Titulus”, and then proceed to offer a prayer for the deceased. In some cases, they then tack on the names of deceased members of their houses, with the admonition “When praying for them, please also remember ours”. The final scroll, in some cases more than 10 meters long, then returned to the original house with a complete record of its travels.

One titulus, that of Notre Dame in Watten, from the roll for Abbot Foulques of Corbie with the title line of the following one, for St. Omer. Despite Folques having died in 1095, the roll probably dates to about 1106. (BNF Latin 11636, f.208v)

Mortuary RollUsing this pattern, we are constructing a memorial roll for the soon-to-be-former King and Queen. A modified text has been written to use as a skeleton for the Tituli.   In addition to asking for prayers for the soul of the dead, we’re remembering the wisdom, deeds or fame of those who have left us for other lands or those whose deeds inspire words and songs that travel the world.

The goal is to represent as many of the Baronies, Shires and Cantons of this and even other kingdoms to with contributed Tituli, adding any members from their local community whom they wish to celebrate. Where possible we are working with resident scribes, but the fates are harsh mistresses and the end of the reign draws nigh. Therefore we’re hoping to have other local groups contribute names to be remembered, with the Titulus added by whichever scribes may dedicate themselves to this work.

As such, those who wish to contribute one for remembrance, should submit information here.

We shall arrange a scribe to record your memorial, provided that we receive your contribution by the 22nd of March.

Those who may wish to lend their hand to the project as a scribe are also welcome to submit their interest here.  One does not need to be a well practiced scribe, as those who laid letters historically also ranged in skill, but a willingness to learn the appropriate hand for this project is necessary.

For more information about this project and the research behind it, please visit: www.wiglaf.org/~aaronm/edward-thyra/ or contact Gun∂ormr Dengir or Eleanor Catlyng.