The Vision of Leofric: Manuscript, Text and Context

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This article deals with the manuscript and historical contexts of the Old English ‘Vision of Leofric’, an account of miraculous visions seen by Earl Leofric of Mercia (d. 1057). This text has rarely been studied and never in its manuscript context. It is shown here that the only surviving manuscript of the ‘Vision’ was written at Worcester at the end of the eleventh century, copied in the context of attempts by the bishop and community at the cathedral to recover lands lost to or threatened by the secular nobility including the sons of Earl Leofric himself. Two of the other texts in the same manuscript have been re-dated, and one of the scribes identified as ‘Hemming’, the scribe who copied part of and possibly composed sections of a cartulary. The textual transmission of the ‘Vision’ is also discussed, and comparison is made to a similar account in Osbert of Clare’s Vita Sancti Edwardi Confessoris, particularly an account there of a schedula upon which the earl’s vision was said to be written. Finally, a new edition and translation of the ‘Vision’ is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-550
Number of pages22
Issue number261
Early online date22 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2012


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