folio 16v before the Gospel of Mark

The Book of Deer is a tenth century illustrated manuscript which measures 154mm x 107mm, otherwise the size of a postcard.  Being so small it is described as an “Irish Pocket Gospel Book”.  Where it was originally constructed and written is not known, although a range of possible places has been suggested.  At one time, around the 12th century, the book was in the possession of the monks of the Monastery of Deer, hence it became known as “The Book of Deer”.  The lost monastery is thought to be located somewhere near Old Deer village in the Buchan area of North-East Scotland.  A Cistercian Abbey was founded nearby in 1219.  As the only pre-Norman manuscript from Northern Pictland it is a unique treasure of that time since it provides a rare glimpse into the Pictish way of life during this period.

The book can be described as in two parts – the original gospels which, it is thought, were written around 850 to 1000A.D., and the later entries thought to have been written in the 11th or 12th century.

The Gospels

Later entries

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