Found: One of the First Books Ever Printed in England

Nicholas C. Rossis

Medieval text | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookThe pages were instantly recognizable due to black typeface and hand-painted red paragraph marks. Image: University of Reading/The Independent

Pages from one of the first books ever printed in England were recently found by librarians at the University of Reading. The pages, which were hidden away for decades in the pages of a different text, were meant to tell priests how to plan feasts.

Sarum Ordinal

According to Atlas Obscura and The Independent, the librarians found two pages from a priest’s handbook called Sarum Ordinal or Sarum Pye, which had been pasted inside of another book to reinforce its spine. A librarian working to restore that book noticed and pulled out the pages from the priest’s handbook; they date to between 1476 and 1477.

The librarian said she instantly noticed the “trademark blackletter typeface,” the layout, and red paragraph marks, which were typically added by hand after printing and…

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