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Medieval Sourcebook:
Abbot Cuthbert of Durham:
Letter to the Archbishop of Mainz Soliciting Glaziers, 758

Already in the seventh century glassmaking had been introduced into England by Benedict Biscop, but this industry could not have been in a flourishing condition in the eighth century. Abbot Cuthbert, therefore, wrote to the Archbishop of Mainz for a craftsman to teach the making of glass to the men of England, so that they might glaze the windows and lamps of the church, not to mention other vessels.

If there is any man in your diocese who knows how to make glass vessels well, when a suitable occasion presents itself, kindly send him to me; or if by any chance there is any one in a neighboring diocese, I ask your fraternity to persuade him to come to us, because we are ignorant of this art, and in great need of such a person. And if it should happen by any chance that any of the glassmakers should by reason of your diligence, and with God's will, be permitted to come to us, I shall receive him with every kindness, and he shall live as a teacher. It would please me also to have a zither-player who can play on the zither, which we call "rottae," for I have a zither and do not know how to play it. If it is not asking too much put such a man at my disposition also.


From: J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1862), Vol. XCVI, p. 839; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p.235.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, October 1998