The pocket-sized book of gospels, which was written between the 8th and 10th Century, is a tiny manuscript which has had a powerful effect on the corner of Aberdeenshire where it is thought to have been made.
Believed to have been manufactured at site of a long-vanished monastery, the painted pages also feature later handwritten notes in Scots Gaelic, the earliest known written examples of the language.
For years, the Book of Deer Project has been in talks with Cambridge University Library, where it has been since 1715, to bring the book home and, following an award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this will now happen.
The Book of Deer will go on show – albeit it on a temporary basis – at the newly refurbished Aberdeen Art Gallery next summer to coincide with Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. It is a remarkable result for community who have worked tirelessly to re-connect the book with its origins.
The homecoming continues the mood for bringing our heritage closer to the people. In Kirkcudbright, a selection of the Galloway Hoard Viking-age treasure is now on show – not far from where it was buried 1,000 years ago.
The value of these historic items to our sense of place, pride and indeed local economies is without doubt. Meanwhile, the community in Aberdeenshire continue to work with archaeologists in their search for the long -vanished monastery where the Book of Deer was made, hoping to find the true back story of this remarkable little book.