Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 579 / The Leofric
Having been amended and extended
over a period of more than two centuries at three different churches, the
Leofric Missal contains an almost unique combination of materials and
is the product of a complex history. The core of the book, which modern
scholars have designated ‘Leofric A’, was
produced in northern France at the end of the ninth century. This book
was then imported to England and taken to Canterbury where many additions,
including a brief collection of computistical materials and a calendar,
were inserted between the first quarter of the tenth century and the first
third of the eleventh. These additions are now known as ‘Leofric B’.
Bodley 579 was then acquired for Exeter Cathedral by Bishop Leofric (1050–1072),
after whom the book is named, and further insertions were made over a period
extending probably into the early twelfth century, this time known as ‘Leofric
C’. In Orchard’s edition the three ‘layers’, as it
were, are helpfully distinguished with three contrasting fonts: A is
set in normal type, B in smaller, finer type, and C in courier.
Though it was produced on the Continent, Leofric A seems to have been devised
for use in England. The basic structure was derived from a primitive sacramentary
of the ‘Gelasian’ type, much modernised with the help of a
set of relatively recent service books from Arras; but various services
of English origin—including an order for the consecration of a new church
which has been adapted for one dedicated to St Andrew which can only be
the cathedral at Wells (fols. 281v–284r) and a set of prayers and blessings
to be used at the coronation of a king which will not have been of much
use elsewhere (see below)—were
incorporated by the main hand. Thus, the book’s
most recent editor, Nicholas Orchard, has suggested that Leofric A was
based chiefly on a sacramentary that had come from England, that
it was always intended to be used in England, and that it was commissioned
from a Lotharingian scribe (who was probably based at the Abbey of St Vaast)
by an English archbishop who was probably Plegmund. He was archbishop
of Canterbury from 890 to 923. One striking feature is the way in which
the original scribe has noted cues for the sung parts of various masses
in the margins with a view, perhaps, to helping the archbishop follow what
the choir were doing as he presided over a service.
It used to be argued that the Leofric-B materials were produced
at Glastonbury Abbey and added to the whole when the book was re-assembled
at Exeter: there are certainly connections with that monastery, but the
current thinking is that these items comprise a long series additions inserted
at Canterbury across the tenth century. At least ten
scribes were involved. The most substantial of
these insertions were a computistical section and the much discussed
calendar on fols. 38–59; but they also included many supplements
to the temporal and sanctoral—mostly, additional blessings. Considered
as a whole these additions show that the manuscript continued ‘to be regarded
as being a useful, working book’, but there is also something rather chaotic
about them. They include, for example, ‘stray prayers, normally without
superscription, slotted in where space could be found, regardless of the character
of the surrounding matter’ (Orchard, p. 203). That the calendar was not
copied at Glastonbury is clear from its references to the place: e.g. ‘In
glaestonia sancti Ceofriþi abbatis’ (25
September). This kind of explanatory detail would have been unnecessary
if the calendar had been produced at the abbey, but it helps to show that
Glastonbury materials lie behind the present text. The calendar also has
affinities to that found in the so-called Bosworth Psalter, a product of
St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury (London, British Library, Additional MS 37517, fols. 2r–3r). These affinities include the use of the
letters ‘F’ and ‘S’ before
many of the saints’ names. It is not known exactly what words those
letters stand for—the letter ‘F’ seems to indicate a higher
grade of feast than the letter ‘S’. But they seem to indicate
a common source, lying perhaps in a missal or a collection of computistical
materials which was brought to Canterbury by Archbishop Dunstan
Leofric C comprises the gamut of additions made after the book arrived at
Exeter through the agency of Bishop Leofric. These range from
items of local interest (such as the list of the relics possessed by Exeter
on fols. 6r–v), through to some of the latest services to emerge from centres
in France (such as the mass in honour of St Faith on fols. 375v–6r). Orchard
interprets C as a reflection of Leofric’s eclecticism and of the extent
of his personal network: ‘He acquired material from Winchester, Canterbury
and North Elmham, probably with the assistance of Stigand, or one of Stigand’s
deputies; he had access to books from Normandy and the south of France;
and he had clearly managed either to obtain manuscripts in Lotharingia
during his time there or have them sent later’ (p. 234). These insertions
continued under Leofric’s successors: it seems more
than likely that several of the eleven scribes by whom they were entered
well-active some decades after 1072. Certainly, the obit for William the
Conqueror was added to the calendar after his death in 1087 (9 September,
Facsimile: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 579.
Printed Editions: Orchard, N. A. (ed.), The Leofric
Missal, 2 vols., Henry Bradshaw Society 113–4 (Woodbridge, 2001–2);
Warren, F. E. (ed.), The Leofric Missal, as used in the Cathedral of Exeter
during the Episcopate of its First Bishop, A.D. 1050–1072, together with Some
Account of the Red Book of Derby, the Missal of Robert of Jumièges, and a few
other Early Manuscript Service Books of the English Church (Oxford, 1883).
Note: Orchard’s account of the manuscript’s development
entirely supercedes that offered by Warren.
Components for Discussion
- The Leofric–A Litany (no. 2300, fols. 266r–267v). A
type of prayer which is thought to have originated in Syria, a litany comprised petitions or requests for intercession directed at named saints and other pretersensual agents with influence in the court of heaven. Litanies
were incorporated into specific services such as that for visitation of
the sick and the dying; but the present example is apparently
free-standing, lying between the office for the dead and the pontifical
portions of Leofric A. It belongs to the original part of the sacramentary
which was copied in Lotharingia (or by a Lotharingian scribe). The grouping
of the saints into the four usual categories (apostles, martyrs, confessors
and virgins) is signalled by having the names of the first of each type
written in red (Barnabus, Iustus, Arnulf and Oportuna).
is central to discussions of the origins and making of Leofric A. The saints include many of the
major saints of Lotharingia and the Rhineland: Ragnulf, also associated
with St Vaast; Firminus and Salvius of Amiens; Boniface and Albinus, both
connected with Mainz; Maximinus, Paulinus and Modestus of Trier; Germanus
and Ursus of Auxerre; Crispinus and Crispinianus of Soissons; Bavo of Ghent,
Rictrudis of Marchiennes, Aldegundis of Mauberge, Remigius of Reims, Audoenus
of Rouen, Bertinus of Saint-Bertin, Audomarus of Saint-Omer, Richarius
of Saint-Riquier, Lupus of Sens, and so on. Written in coloured capitals,
St Vedastus (Vaast), the patron saint of Arras, is the only name marked
out for special attention. But a number of insular saints are also invoked—Alban,
Boniface, Patrick, Cuthbert, Guthlac, Brigid, and perhaps Paulinus of York.
These details suggest that the book was devised for an English patron, not least because Guthlac
is unknown in Continental litanies until after the Conquest.
- The Royal Order (nos. 2458–66, fols. 302v–305r). Comprising
a series of prayers and blessings to be used by the bishop presiding
over the coronation of a king, this is the most discussed service inthe
book. Attested in a number of manuscripts, the earliest of which is Bodley
579, it is the earliest coronation order now extant with a definite
English connection. Known as the ‘First English ordo’,
it is an integral part of ‘Leofric A’. The service
is only found in a somewhat fuller forms in two other service books,
the Ecgbert and Lanalet pontificals (Paris, Bibliothèque
nationale de France, lat. 10575; Rouen, Bibliothèque
municipale, MS 368). The former was made for a house in southern England
in the late tenth century, the other for Lyfing, bishop of Crediton (1027–46).
Janet Nelson has shown that this service represents an English, or more narrowly perhaps a West-Saxon, version of the Carolingian anointing ritual. That is, it was devised
in England in the mid ninth century, but it was later transmitted back to the Continent when it was used by Hincmar of Reims when he composed an ordo for the coronation of Judith, the daughter of Charles the Bald who married King Æthelwulf
in 856. Signs of its antiquity include the use of a helmet (galea)
to crown the king, and the role played by the magnates (principes)
in the ceremony. This form of the coronation service passed out of use
in the first half of the ninth century when it was replaced by the ‘Second
which is largely but not entirely comprised of materials drawn
from the ordines used
in western Frankia in the late-ninth century.
- Mass for
the Feast of the Ordination of St Gregory (nos. 2912–14, fol. 373v). This
set of three prayers, here designated for use on the feast of the Ordination
of St Gregory, was added to Bodley 579 after it reached in Exeter in the
second half of the eleventh century. It occupies a single folio in gatherings
44 to 48 (i.e. fols. 337r–377v), which
contain a continuous body of additional matter comprising, for the
most part, an assortment of masses and formulae for
various occasions and saints’ days. Nicholas Orchard has identified
the prayers of this particular service as having been derived from
Italian services for the feasts of St Ambrose. He thinks that they
were first adapted for use at the feast of St Gregory’s
ordination in France in the eleventh century. Certainly, the earliest
evidence for efforts to provide material for the celebration of this
feast on 3 September, as opposed to its traditional date of 29 March
occurs in late eleventh-century sacramentaries from Besançon
The new date was adopted in England during
the pontificate of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury (1093–1109).
The rubrics to the mass set in Leofric C make no mention of the date
on which they were to be used, but the scribe who added the set (Drage’s
Scribe 7) also added the feast to the calendar under
3 September (fol. 43r). Its appearance there is evidence for the
rapidity with which the new date was adopted throughout England.
Anselm seems to have introduced and promoted the new date as part
of an effort to revive the cult of St Gregory. He seems to have wanted
to stress that Gregory’s claim to being ‘the apostle of the English’.
This idea does not figure in the Leofric C mass set, but that need
not be very significant, since other materials proper to the day
but now lost (a sermon, hymns, and so on) will also have been
used for the celebration of the feast.
For texts and translations of all three items, please visit the Moodle website.
- Borst, A., Die karolingische Reichskalender und seine Überlieferung
bis ins 12. Jahrhundert, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Libri Memoriales et
Necrologia, n.s. 2, 3 vols. (Hannover, 2001), pp. 165–6.
- Conner, P. W. Anglo-Saxon Exeter: A Tenth-Century Cultural History, Studies in Anglo-Saxon History 4 (Woodbridge, 1992).
- Deshman, R. E., ‘The Leofric Missal and Tenth-Century English Art’, Anglo-Saxon
England, 6 (1977), 145–73. Available at Cambridge Core and at MVB.
- Drage, E. M., ‘Bishop Leofric and Exeter Cathedral Chapter (1050–1072):
A Reassessment of the Manuscript Evidence’ (unpubl. D.Phil. dissertation,
Oxford University, 1978), pp. 118–44.
- Dumville, D. N., ‘The Liturgical Kalendar of Anglo-Saxon Glastonbury: A Chimera?’, in his Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical History of Late Anglo-Saxon England: Four Studies, Studies in Anglo-Saxon History 5 (Woodbridge, 1992), chp. 2. Argues that the late tenth century calendar in Leofric B is not from Glastonbury but from Canterbury, hence its close relationship with the Bosworth Psalter with which it shares a common source.
- Gerchow, J., Die Gedenküberlieferung der Angelsachsen, mit einem Katalog der Libri Vitae und Necrologien, Arbeiten zur Frühmittelalterforschung 20 (Berlin and New York, 1988), pp. 253–7.
- Gittos, H. B., Liturgy, Architecture, and Sacred Places in Anglo-Saxon England, Medieval History and Archaeology (Oxford, 2013). PN.G.
- Gneuss, H., Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 241 (Tempe, AZ, 2001), no. 585.
- Hartzell, K. D., Catalogue of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1200 Containing Music (Woodbridge, 2006), no. 260.
P. A., ‘Gregory the Great as “Apostle of the English” in
Post-Conquest Canterbury‘, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History,
55 (2004), 19–57. Cambridge Journals Online. For the context
in which the mass for the ordination of St Gregory was added to the book.
- Hayward, P. A., Review of Orchard, The Leofric Missal, in Speculum,
79 (2004), 817–9. JSTOR.
- Higgitt, J., ‘Glastonbury, Dunstan, Monasticism and Manuscripts’, Art
History, 2 (1979), 275–90.
- Hiley, D., ‘Thurstan of Caen and Plainchant at Glastonbury: Musicological
Reflections on the Norman Conquest’, Proceedings of the British Academy,
72 (1986), 57–90. Journals L6. Includes some useful comments about the
chant repertoire (e.g. the post-Pentecostal alleluia series) found in Leofric
A, which is shown to be close to that found in books associated with
churches in north-eastern France: Amiens, Arrouaise, St-Valéry, Arras and
St-Vaast (pp. 59–61).
- Hohler, C., ‘Some Service Books of the Later Saxon Church’, in
D. Parsons (ed.), Tenth-Century Studies (Chichester, 1975), pp. 60–83,
- Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford,
1957), no. 315.
- Nelson, J. L., ‘The Earliest Surviving Royal Ordo: Some Liturgical and
Historical Aspects’, in B. Tierney and P. Linehan (eds), Authority
and Power: Studies in Medieval Law and Government presented to Walter Ullmann (Cambridge,
1980), pp. 29–48; rpt. in eadem, Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval
Europe (London, 1986), pp. pp. 341–60. MBS.
- Nelson, J. L., ‘The Second English Ordo’, in idem, Politics
and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe (London, 1986), pp. 361–74.
Argues that the ordo was devised for the consecration of King Edward the Elder
- Pfaff, R., et al., The Liturgical Books of Anglo-Saxon
England, Old English
Newsletter Subsidia 23 (Kalamazoo, MI, 1995), pp. 11–14, 89, 93–94,
- Rushforth, R., Saints in English Kalendars before AD 1100, Henry Bradshaw Society 117 (Woodbridge, 2008), p. 27.
- Temple, E., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, 900–1066, A Survey of Manuscripts
Illuminated in the British Isles (London, 1976), no. 17. Oversize VSRea.
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