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Glasgow’s Lost Book Returned After 400-Year Absence

April 3, 2007

Four hundred years ago, the Vita St Kentigern disappeared from its home in Glasgow Cathedral. Ever since then, investigators have come and gone, all of them as equally baffled as the last over its mysterious disappearance. The book, which tells the story of the city’s patron saint, is the most historic in Glasgow’s long existence.

Last month, the velum-bound tome was handed back to the city in a ceremony at Glasgow Cathedral and is tipped by city experts to spark a mini tourist boom after it goes on display at the city’s Mitchell Library.

The life story of St Kentigern, or St Mungo as he is more commonly known, was commissioned way back in the year 1180. The completed book was then lodged in the cathedral where it remained for almost four centuries before it was stolen, by culprits unknown.

300 years ago, Archbishop Marsh of Dublin acquired a copy for his library, and it has been there ever since. Glasgow’s Local History and Archaeology Working Group reawakened interest in the city’s origins when it was formed two years go, and interest began to grow, and questions asked.

The pages of the historic manuscript were photographed using modern techniques, and the resulting images used to create four replica copies of the book, each containing a full translation of the medieval Latin script.

One copy will remain in Glasgow Cathedral, a second copy to the Glasgow Archdiocese, and a third to the Marsh Library in Dublin.

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