Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Aldred the Glossator (10th cent.)

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ALDRED the Glossator (10th cent.) was the writer of the glosses in the Northumbrian dialect which are inserted in the Latin manuscript of the Gospels, known as the ‘Lindisfarne Gospels,’ or ‘Durham Book,’ and written about the year 700 in honour of St. Cuthberht (Brit. Mus., Cotton MS., Nero D. iv.). In a note at the end of the manuscript Aldred calls himself the son of Alfred and Tilwin—‘Alfredi natus Aldredus vocor; bonæ mulieris (i.e. Tilwin) filius eximius loquor.’ It has been maintained that he wrote with his own hand only the glosses to St. John, and that the rest were penned by other scribes under his direction; but there is reason to believe that he wrote the whole of them himself.

It has been suggested (Bibl. MS. Stowensis, 1818–19, vol. ii. p. 180) that Aldred may have been the bishop of Durham (Chester-le-Street) of that name, 957–68. He has also been wrongly identified with Aldred the Provost, the writer of a few collects inserted at the end of a manuscript known as the ‘Durham Ritual’ (Durham Chapter Library, MS. A. iv. 19). The body of this manuscript contains glosses which, from a certain resemblance, have been erroneously thought to be in the same handwriting as those of the Lindisfarne Gospels. The writing of the above-mentioned collects is quite different. But when once it was assumed that the glosses in the two manuscripts were the work of one writer, it was only a step further to confuse the two Aldreds; and this, although the provost had no hand even in the glosses of the Ritual.

[T. Wright's Biographia Brit. Literaria, Anglo-Saxon Period, 1842, p. 426; Orig. Letters of Eminent Literary Men (Camden Society), 1843, p. 267; The Lindisfarne and Rushworth Gospels (Surtees Society), 1854–1865, vol. iv. proleg. p. xlvi; Facsimiles of the Palæographical Society, plates 240, 241.]

E. M. T.