Help needed: Editing Thomas Betson’s Herbal

[Posted on behalf of John Adams]

Syon Abbey Herbal, AD 1516: The Last Monastic Herbal in England: Middle English and Mediaeval Latin proof-readers required

Members of the Syon Abbey Research Associates in London have been working for the past two years on the Herbal section in Latin and Middle English of Thomas Betson’s notebook (MS E6, St John’s College Library, Cambridge), with a view to publication later this year. This is the last surviving monastic herbal compiled in England before the Dissolution in 1539. Betson was responsible for the catalogue of the famous library at Syon.

They are looking for researchers with Middle English and/or Mediaeval Latin skills to correct their text and supply the gaps. Betson’s handwriting is at times perplexing, so some palaeographic experience would also be necessary. The transcription is about 95% complete and they also have the original text in digital images, allowing for easy comparison.

They are hoping to split the text between a Mediaeval Latinist and a ME expert, to expedite the work – the two sections seem to be independent. This might perhaps appeal to a PhD student researching Herbals.

They would of course be happy to include an attribution when they finally go to print, in time for the 600th anniversary of the founding of Syon in 2015.

Comments and corrections are needed by around Easter this year – say end April.

For further information contact John Adams, Syon Abbey Research Associates


T: 00  44 (0)208 645 0405

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