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Mediaeval Birthing Girdle from the Wellcome Trust

This example of a European birthing scroll shows how traditions of Divine protection during the dangers of childbirth were common for centuries.

Vie de Sainte Marguerite: in verse [Beginning wanting]. Written in a neat gothic script, on one side only. c. 1465. Saint Margaret is said to have been martyred at Antioch in the last quarter of the third century, and later her cult was celebrated by the Orthodox Church under the name of Marina: her feast was on July 20. This cult, especially in its connection with childbirth, where the Saint is particularly invoked as Protectress and Patroness of women in travail, is found in the poem by Wace, and in contemporary and later vernacular versions. It seems to have flourished most vigorously in Normandy, Flanders, and England from the twelfth century onwards, and down to at least the end of the seventeenth century in France.

1 volume Scroll. gothic char. 250 x 11 cm.

On thin vellum. The beginning, containing

probably about 50 lines, has been torn away,

the first six lines are mutilated.

There are tears and stains of bodily

fluids in the text.

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