Seminar IX: Liturgical Books

Of the various kinds of medieval manuscript, liturgical books are among the most consistently individual and, therefore, potentially the most revealing about their makers and users. There are three dimensions to this individuality. There is, firstly, the way in which the types of books in use evolved over time and varied from place to place as the clergy worked out how best to manage the performance of the liturgy. It was not until the thirteenth century that the liturgical books with which we are familar today and which are to be found in almost universal use in the Catholic Church—books such as the missal and the breviary—finally arrived at something close to their modern forms. In the preceeding period different regions and churches evolved their own variant sets of books (albeit within certain norms and limits), each item in a set fulfilling a subtly different range of functions.

The second dimension to this individuality lies in the way in which these books reflect the unique customs of the region, of the religious order, and of the particular church for whom they were produced. Higher authorities—kings, popes, archbishops, bishops, and synods—often attempted to impose a uniformity of usage within the areas subject to their jurisdiction; but whilst edicts enforcing particular rules and practices were often widely adopted, many aspects of the liturgy elluded effective regulation from the centre. It is invariably the case that a medieval liturgical book bears witness to some usages which were unique to the church or religious community for whom it was produced—usages such as the observance of the feast of a particular local saint, or perhaps the use of unique prayers of local invention at certain universal feasts such as, say, Easter or Christmas. These variations in usages—and the variations in the dissemination and adoption of the usages which were being promoted by other churches as well as those demanded by higher authorities—reveal much about religion, culture, identity, authority, and law in the medieval world. The surviving corpus of liturgical books provides perhaps the most reliable record for measuring the effectiveness of central authority in the early and high medieval worlds.

The third dimension to this individuality lies in the way in which these books reflect the personalities and careers of the people for whom they were made—or perhaps, the hopes of the people they represented. Many of the books now extant—and this is especially true of the books which were made for bishops, the pontificals and benedictionals—were used by identifiable figures. We have, for example, in Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 369, a pontifical which was made for Æthelgar, bishop of Selsey (980–988), possibly at the New Minster, Winchester. We have, likewise, in Trinity College, Dublin, MS 98, a pontifical that was used by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury (1093–1109). The contents and especially the additions that were made to these books often speak to their owner’s peculiar interests and, sometimes, to the politics of their careers. They are precious documents in an age for which there are few genuine biographical sources.

In this week’s session we will look at three examples of this type of book. In one case some comparison will be made with a book from the beginning of the fifteenth century, but all three are from later Anglo-Saxon England. This might seem like an unrepresentative selection, but it is the Anglo-Saxon examples that have been studied most thoroughly in recent years, setting a model for what needs to be done for the twelfth century and beyond.

Topics for Discussion

  1. The main types of liturgical book and their history: (a) Mass-books, (b) Chant-books, (c) Lectionaries, (d) books for the Divine or Daily Office, (e) books of sacraments and rites (e.g. pontificals and benedictionals).
  2. How to overcome the technical challenges presented by liturgical books.
  3. The ways in which historians can exploit the materials found in medieval liturgical books.

Manuscripts for Discussion

  1. London, British Library, Additional MS 49598 / The Benedictional of Æthelwold
  2. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 579 / The Leofric Missal
  3. Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 422 / The Red Book of Darley

Introductory Reading

Further Reading

Some Online Facsimiles of Liturgical Books

  • London, British Library, MS Harley 2094 (s.x2, ‘The Ramsey Psalter’). Note especially the litany on fols. 209r–211r, which has a number of English saints: Alban, Oswald, Kenelm, Edmund, Ethelbert, Cuthbert, Guthlac, Wilfred, John of Beverley, Chad, Erkenwald, Swithun, Birinus, Judoc, Machutus, Etheldreda, Sexburg, Withburg, and Werburg.

Some Interesting Examples in Print

  • Banting, H. M. J. (ed.), Two Anglo-Saxon Pontificals (the Egbert and Sidney Sussex Pontificals), Henry Bradshaw Society 104 (London, 1989).
  • Corrêa, A. (ed.), The Durham Collectar, Henry Bradshaw Society 107 (London, 1992).
  • Davril, A. (ed.), The Winchcombe Sacramentary (Orléans, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 127 [105]), Henry Bradshaw Society 109 (Woodbridge, 1995).
  • Günzel, B. (ed.), Ælfwine’s Prayerbook (London, British Library, Cotton Titus D.xxvi + xxvii), Henry Bradshaw Society 108 (London, 1993).
  • Hughes, A. (ed.), The Portiforium of St Wulstan, 2 vols., Henry Bradshaw Society 89–90 (Leighton Buzzard, 1958–60).
  • Legg, J. W. (ed.), Missale ad usum ecclesie Westmonasteriensis, 3 vols., Henry Bradshaw Society 1, 5 and 12 (London, 1891–7).
  • Muir, B. J. (ed.), A Pre-Conquest English Prayer-Book (B.L. MSS Cotton Galba A.xiv and Nero A.ii, ff.3–13), Henry Bradshaw Society 103 (Woodbridge, 1988).
  • Orchard, N. (ed.), The Sacramentary of Ratoldus (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 12052), Henry Bradshaw Society 116 (London, 2005).
  • Rule, M. (ed.), The Missal of St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury (Cambridge, 1896), Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 270.
  • Schneiders, M., ‘The Irish Calendar in the Karlsruhe Bede (Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Cod. Aug. CLXVII, ff. 16v–17v)’, Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft, 31 (1989), 33–78. Written in Irish script of about 850 but possibly copied on the Continent, the MS preserves information about the Irish Church.
  • Turner, D. H. (ed.), The Claudius Pontificals from Cotton MS Claudius A.iii in British Museum, Henry Bradshaw Society 97 (London, 1971).
  • Turner, D. H. (ed.), The Missal of the New Minster, Winchester (Le Havre, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 330), Henry Bradshaw Society 93 (Leighton Buzzard, 1962).
  • Wilson, H. A. (ed.), The Benedictional of Archbishop Robert, Henry Bradshaw Society 24 (London, 1903).
  • Wilson, H. A. (ed.), The Missal of Robert of Jumièges, Henry Bradshaw Society 11 (London, 1916).
  • Wilson, H. A. (ed.), The Pontifical of Magdalen College with an Appendix of Extracts from Other English MSS. of the Twelfth Century, Henry Bradshaw Society 39 (London, 1910).
  • Woolley, R. M. (ed.), The Canterbury Benedictional (British Museum, Harl. MS 2892), Henry Bradshaw Society 51 (London, 1917).

Research Tools that Collect Cognate Materials from Diverse Examples

  • Borst, A. (ed.), Die karolingische Reichskalender und seine Überlieferung bis ins 12. Jahrhundert, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Libri Memoriales et Necrologia, n.s. 2, 3 vols. (Hannover, 2001). Whatever the validity of the thesis that underpins this ‘edition’, the apparatus remains immensely useful for the way in which it collates so many of the early calendars.
  • Forbes, A. P. (ed.), Kalendars of Scottish Saints (Edinburgh, 1872). Prints the calendar of the Drummond Missal, copied in an Irish miniscule of s.xi, at pp. 1–32.
  • Hartzell, K. D., Catalogue of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1200 Containing Music (Woodbridge, 2006). Describes 364 MSS held by 75 institutions and individuals: extremely useful, not least for people working on liturgical books, as many contain some music.
  • Lapidge, M. (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Litanies of the Saints, Henry Bradshaw Society 106 (London, 1991).
  • Moeller, E. (ed.), Corpus benedictionum pontificalium, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 162, 4 vols. (Turnhout, 1971–9).
  • Moeller, E. (ed.), Corpus praefationum, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 161, 5 vols. (Turnhout, 1980–1).
  • Moeller, E., J. M. Clément, and B. C. ´T. Wallant (eds), Corpus Orationum, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 160, 13 vols. (Turnhout, 1992–2003).
  • Rushforth, R., Saints in English Kalendars before AD 1100, Henry Bradshaw Society 117 (Woodbridge, 2008). Indexes the feasts that appear in 27 Anglo-Saxon liturgical calendars, and sets out the entries in tables that permit this aspect of their construction to be compared with relative ease. It needs to be noted, however, that this just one of many aspects of a calendar that needs to be considered when attempting to determine their origins and significance: attention also needs to be given to their chronological apparatus, to their illustrations and layout, and to the notes defining the attributes of the various months and seasons—to the brief notes that appear at the head and foot of each page.
  • Wormald, F. (ed.), English Benedictine Kalendars After A.D. 1100, 2 vols., Henry Bradshaw Society 77 and 81 (London, 1939–46). Vol. 3 never appeared.
  • Wormald, F. (ed.), English Kalendars Before A.D. 1100, vol. 1, Texts, Henry Bradshaw Society 72 (London, 1934). Has nineteen of the 27 English calendars dating from before 1100. Vol. 2 was never published.

Liturgical Books and the Liturgy in General

  • Batiffol, P., Histoire du breviaire romain (Paris, 1893) [PR.G]; trs. A. Baylay, The History of the Roman Breviary (London, 1912).
  • Bedingfield, M. B., The Dramatic Liturgy of Anglo-Saxon England (Woodbridge, 2002). YAAD.S.PR.
  • Borst, A., Die karolingische Kalenderreform, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Schriften 46 (Hannover, 1998). Cf. the review by W. M. Stevens, Speculum, 78 (2003), 144–7; and P. Meyvaert, ‘Discovering the Calendar (annalis libellus) attached to Bede’s Own Copy of De temporum ratione’, Analecta Bollandiana, 120 (2002), 5–64 (esp. p. 15).
  • Boynton, S., and I. Cochelin (eds), From the Dead of Night to End of Day: The Medieval Customs of Cluny, Disciplina monastica 3 (Turnhout, 2005). POWDC.
  • Boynton, S., Shaping a Monastic Identity: Liturgy and History at the Imperial Abbey of Farfa, 1000–1125 (Ithaca, NY, 2006). POWDid.
  • Brückmann, J., ‘Latin Manuscript Pontificals and Benedictionals in England and Wales’, Traditio, 29 (1973), 391–458. Journals Y6.
  • Cabrol, F., The Books of the Latin Liturgy, trs. by the Benedictines of Stanbrook (London, 1932). PR.G.
  • Cohen, A. S., The Uta Codex: Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany (University Park, PA, 2000). +VSRki.B.
  • Dendy, D. R., The Use of Lights in Christian Worship, Alcuin Club Collections 41 (London, 1959).
  • Duchesne, L., Christian Worship: Its Origins and Evolution. A Study of the Latin Liturgy up to the Time of Charlemagne (5th edn, London, 1919).
  • Dumville, D. N., Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical History of Late Anglo-Saxon England: Four Studies, Studies in Anglo-Saxon History 5 (Woodbridge, 1992).
  • Fassler, M. E., and R. A. Baltzer (eds), The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography. Written in Honor of Professor Ruth Steiner (Oxford, 2000).
  • Gittos, H. B., and M. Bradford Bedingfield (eds), The Liturgy of the Late Anglo-Saxon Church, Henry Bradshaw Society Subsidia (Woodbridge, 2004). MVC.K.
  • Gneuss, H., ‘Liturgical Books in Anglo-Saxon England and their Old English Terminology’, in M. Lapidge and H. Gneuss (eds), Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies presented to Peter Clemoes (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 91–141. YBL5. Offers in effect a catalogue of manuscripts.
  • Harper, J., The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century: A Historical Introduction and Guide for Students and Musicians (Oxford, 1991). VWVOA8.
  • Hartzell, K. D., ‘Some Early English Liturgical Fragments in Sweden’, in J. Brunius (ed.), Medieval Book Fragments in Sweden: An International Seminar in Stockholm (Stockholm, 2005), pp. 83–98.
  • Heffernan, T. J., and E. Ann Matter (eds), The Liturgy of the Medieval Church (Kalamazoo, MI, 2001), pp. 73–105. PO.B.
  • Hughes, A., Medieval Manuscripts for the Mass and Office: A Guide to their Organization and Terminology (Toronto, 1982). PR.G23.
  • Jones, C., G. Wainright, E. Yarnold and P. Bradshaw (eds), The Study of Liturgy (2nd edn, London, 1992). PN.G.
  • Jones, C. W., The Saint Nicholas Liturgy and its Literary Relationships (Ninth to Twelfth Centuries) (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1963).
  • Jungmann, J. A., The Early Liturgy to the Time of Gregory the Great, trs. F. A. Brunner, Liturgical Studies (Notre Dame, IN, 1959). PN.G.
  • Jungmann, J. A., The Mass of the Roman Rite, its Origins and Development, trs. F. A. Brunner, 2 vols. (Westminster, MD, 1986). PR.G.
  • Kantorowicz, E. H., Laudes regiae: A Study in Liturgical Acclamations and Mediaeval Ruler Worship, with a study of the music of the laudes and musical transcriptions by M. F. Bukofzer, University of California Publications in History 33 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1958). PR.G.
  • Larson-Miller, L. (ed.), Medieval Liturgy: A Book of Essays (New York and London, 1997).
  • Little, L. K., Benedictine Maledictions: Liturgical Cursing in Romanesque France (Ithaca, NY, 1993). An interesting example of how the social historian can put liturgical books to good use.
  • McRoberts, D., Catalogue of Scottish Medieval Liturgical Books and Fragments (Glasgow, 1953).
  • Nelson, J. L., ‘Coronation Rituals and Related Materials’, in J. T. Rosenthal (ed.), Understanding Medieval Primary Sources: Using Historical Sources to Discover Medieval Europe, Routledge Guides to Using Historical Sources (London, 2012), pp. 114–30. MB.
  • Page, C., The Christian West and its Singers: The First Thousand Years (New Haven, CT, 2010). Brilliant.
  • Palazzo, E., L’espace rituel et le sacré dans le christianisme: La liturgie de l’autel portatif dans l’Antiquité et au Moyen Age (Turnhout, 2008).
  • Pfaff, R. W., Medieval Latin Liturgy: A Select Bibliography, Toronto Medieval Bibliographies 9 (Toronto, 1982). PR.G.
  • Pfaff, R. W., New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970).
  • Pfaff, R. W. (ed.), The Liturgical Books of Anglo-Saxon England, Old English Newsletter Subsidia 23 (Kalamazoo, MI, 1995).
  • Pfaff, R. W., The Liturgy in Medieval England: A History (Cambridge, 2009). Constructed using the learning of a lifetime devoted to the study of the medieval liturgy, but often downright misleading. To be used with care.
  • Sandler, L. F., The Peterborough Psalter in Brussels and other Fenland Manuscripts (London, 1974).
  • Smith, K. A., Art, Identity and Devotion in Fourteenth-Century England: Three Women and their Books of Hours (Toronto, 2003).
  • Toy, J., English Saints in the Medieval Liturgies of Scandinavian Churches, Henry Bradshaw Society, Subsidia 6 (Woodbridge, 2009).
  • Vogel, C., Medieval Liturgy: An Introduction to the Sources, trs. W. G. Storey and N. K. Rasmussen (Washington, 1986). Not held and complex, but still offers the best guide to some features, esp. the various ordines that appear in benedictionals and pontificals.
  • Wainwright, G., and K. B. Westerfield Tucker (eds), The Oxford History of Christian Worship (Oxford, 2006).

Studies of Particular Books—A Few Examples

  • Brown, M, P., The Book of Cerne: Prayer, Patronage and Power in Ninth-Century England, The British Library Studies in Medieval Culture 1 (London, 1996). Cambridge, University Library, MS Ll.1.10 = a prayerbook which was produced in central or western Mercia, c. 820-40. Its association with Cerne Abbey (Dorset) depends on two late additions, which may not have been added until the seventeenth century. POea.B.
  • Gibson, M. T., T. A. Heslop and R. W. Pfaff (eds), The Eadwine Psalter: Text, Image and Monastic Culture in Twelfth-Century Canterbury, Publications of the Monastic Humanities Research Association 14 (London and University Park, PA, 1992). Oversize VSRea.B.
  • Hartzell, K. D., ‘An Eleventh-Century English Missal Fragment in the British Library’, Anglo-Saxon England 18 (1989), 45–97.
  • Hartzell, K. D., ‘An Unknown English Benedictine Gradual of the Eleventh Century’, Anglo-Saxon England 4 (1975), 131–44.
  • Hen, Y., and R. Meens (ed.), The Bobbio Missal: Liturgy and Religious Culture in Merovingian Gaul, Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology 11 (Cambridge, 2004).
  • Jones, C. A., A Lost Work by Amalarius of Metz: Interpolations in Salisbury, Cathedral Library, MS 154, Henry Bradshaw Society, Subsidia 2 (London, 2001).
  • Orchard, N. A., ‘An Eleventh-Century Anglo-Saxon Missal Fragment’, Anglo-Saxon England, 23 (1994), 283–9. London, B.L., MS Harley 271.
  • Orchard, N. A., ‘The Bosworth Psalter and the St Augustine’s Missal’, in R. Eales and R. Sharpe (eds), Canterbury and the Norman Conquest: Churches, Saints and Scholars 1066–1109 (London and Rio Grande, Ohio, 1995), pp. 87–94.
  • Orchard, N. A., and R. Rushforth, ‘A Lost Eleventh-Century Missal from Bury St Edmunds Abbey’, The Bodleian Library Record, 18 (2005), 565–76.
  • Pfaff, R. W., ‘The Dublin Pontifical (TCD 98 [B.3.6]): St Anselm’s?’, Scriptorium, 55:2 (2001), 284–94. Argues that both liturgical-historical evidence and codicological-palaeographical evidence point to this pontifical having been compiled at Christ Church, Canterbury, for Anselm’s use. Plates 58–60 at the end of the volume.
  • Pfaff, R. W., ’The Kenilworth Missal (Chichester Cathedral, MS Med. 2)’, in J. Haines and R. Rosenfeld (eds), Music and Medieval Manuscripts: Paleography and Performance. Essays dedicated to Andrew Hughes (Aldershot, 2004), pp. 400–18.
  • Smith, K. A., The Taymouth Hours: Stories and the Construction of the Self in Late Medieval England (London, 2012). A study of London, British Library, MS Yates Thompson 13.

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