This Treasure is paired with: Jewels (Jewels and scraps)

Treasures lie hidden in otherwise unremarkable bindings. Beneath the covers of many bindings from the 15th to 18th centuries are fragments of books thrown out as redundant or dangerous, recycled as scrap and cut up for binding materials. The vellum fragments shown here were all recovered from bindings, and include important English music.


Worcester fragments

These are two of the fifteen leaves of choral music from Worcester Cathedral manuscripts recovered from the bindings of three Bodleian books. The ‘Worcester fragments’ form the largest surviving repertory of English polyphonic music of the 13th and 14th centuries, preserving music sung in the middle ages by the monks of the Priory at Worcester (now the Cathedral). Without this example of early recycling, the music would not have survived.


This Treasure isn’t currently on display in the Weston Library.