My illuminating theory about a lovesick monk | Letter

A possible explanation from Marianne Puxley for the secret marks discovered on a medieval manuscript

So the theory is that a woman called Eadburg repeatedly scratched her name, almost invisibly, in the margins of an ancient religious text (Woman’s name and tiny sketches found in 1,300-year-old medieval text, 28 November)?

The PhD student who found the names is quoted as saying “I don’t know why you would write somebody else’s name so many times like that”.

I hate to burst the bubble here – I would love this to be an example of a rare literate woman making her mark. However, I couldn’t tell you how many times I wrote Paul McCartney in the margins of my school books when I was 13. Later on it was Gerald (a boy in my class). My friend Marie did it with George, and then Peter. If we could have found a way of doing it invisibly, I’m sure we would have done so. Surely there are still pencil cases, jotter covers, satchels everywhere embellished repeatedly with names: Harry, Ed, George, Taylor, Rihanna, Tom, Dick or Harriet.

Here’s an alternative theory: a mooning monk, pining for forbidden pleasures of the flesh, has a crush on the lovely Eadburg. He scores her name passionately, secretly, 15 times into the small book of scriptures he is supposed to be concentrating on.

The sketches, of “a person with outstretched arms, reaching for another person who is holding up a hand to stop them”, surely support this theory. He is the hopeful with outstretched arms, the adamant Eadburg is repelling his advances.
Marianne Puxley

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