St John's College Oxford

Exploring the treasures of the library on a school access visit

Date 6 November 2018

A group of students from the Sacred Heart Language College in Harrow had an exciting opportunity to explore the treasures of St John’s College library, and try their hand at calligraphy during a school visit day on 31st October.

Y10 Manuscripts dayThe interactive afternoon session, led by the College Librarian and specialist in medieval literature Dr Petra Hofmann, saw the students explore a selection of original medieval manuscripts and early printed books held in the old library. This was a wonderful occasion for the students to experience first-hand the amazingly conserved resources, and spaces, of St John’s library and they were fascinated by what was on offer. 

After exploring the resources, the students then had the chance to get their creative minds working in the calligraphy master class. Using calligraphy markers and coloured brush pens, each student wrote out a passage from an Anglo-Saxon text in the style of one of the manuscripts. Many medieval texts also display intricate ornaments in the margins, which the students replicated in colourful style, as can be seen below. 

Y10 Manuscripts dayThe session constituted part of a Year 10 Exploration Day run in coordination with the Access Office. As part of their day, the students and their teachers also benefitted from an introductory lecture about the University of Oxford, quizzes and games, a critical thinking seminar, a question and answer session with some current undergraduate students and a tour around the beautiful, historic quadrangles of the College. 

Year 10 Manuscripts day