Bangor Pontifical on the Web: Phase One Complete

One of the Bangor Pontifical's illuminated pagesOne of the Bangor Pontifical's illuminated pagesThe Bangor Pontifical Project, launched exactly one year ago as a partnership between the University and the Cathedral to ensure the long-term preservation of Bangor’s most precious medieval manuscript, has just reached its first significant milestone. Completion of phase one, funded by a Welsh Assembly grant, has enabled conservation and rebinding of the Pontifical and digitization of its 340 pages. The manuscript was photographed by the cutting-edge Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM) last spring, and viewers may now zoom in on the excellent high-quality images via the open access Bangor Pontifical Project website.


The manuscript itself returned to the University Archive last week from the Conservation Unit of the National Library of Wales, where it has been fully restored and provided with a new medieval-style goatskin cover. Its return will be publicly celebrated at a special service of dedication in Bangor Cathedral on Sunday 6 February 2011 in the presence of the current Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andrew John.

The rebound and boxed PontificalThe rebound and boxed PontificalThe Bangor Pontifical Project is now well into its second phase, which will culminate with the launch of a new-look website. This will serve not only as a high-level research tool but will also emphasize heritage and education. Complete parallel transcriptions of the text and music in the Pontifical, translations, commentaries, and sound files of some of the plainchant melodies will be added gradually to the site, some of the material prepared with the assistance of the Project’s associated PhD student, Christopher Edge, who is funded by a 125 Anniversary Scholarship bursary. The site will also incorporate interactive learning tools for students of palaeography, church history, music, worship and art, together with special resources for visitors and school children. A touch-screen kiosk connected permanently to the site will be installed in Bangor Cathedral.

The progress of the project is also celebrated in this year’s Art Fund Lecture (Wednesday 27 October, 6.30 pm). Dr Lynda Dennison FSA, a member of the Cambridge Illuminations Project team, will use a number of the digitized images to illustrate her discussion of ‘A Rare Survival: the Bangor Pontifical and its relationship to East Anglian and London Manuscript Production in the first quarter of the Fourteenth Century’. All are most welcome.


Visit the project website for further details on the project.

Publication date: 20 October 2010