The Mmmonk Corpus

Mmmonk unites the manuscripts that were once part of the libraries of St Bavo’s, St Peter’s, Ten Duinen and Ter Doest. But over the course of the centuries, the manuscripts have been dispersed to different parts of the world. Research is necessary to determine whether a manuscript once belonged to these abbeys. Fortunately, there many types of evidence that allow us to retrace the provenance of a manuscript. We will come back to this later in a post dedicated to provenance marks from the four abbeys, but here are already two distinct examples:

Brugge, Openbare Bibliotheek, Ms. 78. Folio 152v reads: ‘Liber Sancte Marie de Thosan ex dono domini Ioseph decani Sancti Donationi [sic] in Brugis. Si quis abstulerit uel folium deciderit seu decurtauerit anathema sit. Amen.’ (“Book of Our Lady of the Dunes given by Joseph, lord decan of St Donatian in Bruges. Whoever steals it or takes a leaf or cuts out a leaf, is cursed. Amen.”)

Chantilly, Bibliothèque du château, Ms. 724. Folio 191v reads: ‘Hunc librum scribi et ornari fecit reverendus pater in Christo dominus Philippus Conraldi, primus hujus nominis abbas monasterii Sancti Petri juxta Gandavum.’ (“Lord Philippus Conraldi, reverend father in Christ, first abbot of this name at the Abbey of St Peter near Ghent, had this book written and decorated.”). Folio 1r of this manuscript also has the following 17th century provenance mark:  ‘Monasterii Sancti Petri Blandiniensis iuxta Gandavum’.

The compilation of the list of manuscripts is based on the study of secundary sources, e.g. the Corpus Catalogorum Belgii and the Bibale database, as well as on first hand observations and research. As the research continues, new Mmmonk manuscripts keep surfacing. This will probably continue to happen in the future, especially when new technologies like IIIF and Artificial Intelligence will be applied to provenance research. It is, for instance, perfectly plausible that we will soon start training computers to scan large IIIF bodies of images to search for the 17th century library stamp from the Dunes Abbey or for the handwriting of a specific scribe from the St Peter’s scriptorium.

Mmmonk is currently at Fase 2 of the project (november 2020 – november 2021). This is the fase were we, among others, create and collect building blocks for our virtual library. On this page we wish to share the preliminary results of our work. This is work in progress, which will ultimately serve as the foundation for our virtual library. The list is updated regularly.

A caveat about the way we count manuscripts. For now, we consider every individually existing item as one manuscript. In other words: every object that has a shelf mark or call number, counts as one manuscript, even though it might be a single leaf coming from a codex that also survived. This is a pragmatical decision. The virtual Mmmonk library will be build with IIIF manifests, and manifests are created per call numbers.

Question about the corpus? Contact Evelien Hauwaerts (evelien.hauwaerts [@]

Download the corpus list (Excel file)
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