Byrhtferth of Ramsey

(676 words)
  • Stewart Brookes (King's College London )

Almost nothing is known of Byrhtferth's life, and the few clues that we have are gleaned from personal asides contained within his writings. It seems most likely that Byrhtferth was given as an oblate to Ramsey Abbey (East Anglia), one of the principal Benedictine establishments in the later Anglo-Saxon period, and that he spent most of his life there as monk and schoolmaster. The two-year visit by Abbo of Fleury to Ramsey (985-87) proved highly influential upon the young Byrhtferth. Abbo was one of the greatest scholars of the time, and expert in the scientific disciplines of the quadrivium (geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, music), and the arts of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic. Byrhtferth's career and writings are, to a considerable …

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Brookes, Stewart. "Byrhtferth of Ramsey". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 November 2002
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]