TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Noted Cistercian Processional

In Latin, with some rubrics in Dutch, decorated manuscript on parchment
The Netherlands, c. 1400-1450

TM 343

48 folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil, upper outer corner, recto, 1-46, preceded and followed by unnumbered blank leaves (collation, i10 [1, pastedown, 2, unnumbered leaf] ii-v8 vi8 [2, f. 42, single, -7, following f. 46, cancelled with no loss of text, 8, unnumbered leaf]), informal horizontal catchwords, lower, inner margin, leaf signatures, lower, outer margin in the first half of each quire, the last leaf in the first half of the quire marked “x,” written in a formal gothic bookhand in dark brown to black ink in one column with five lines of text and five lines of musical notation (square notation on red four-line staves), with text and music alternating, the text written between very lightly ruled lines in lead, with double full-length vertical outer bounding lines, and the top and bottom lines full across, prickings for text only in top, bottom and outer margins, staves in red ink added independently of ruling for text, (justification, 120-118 x 75-70 mm.), red rubrics, majuscules in text stroked with red, decorative initials, equivalent to one-line of text and music, include simple cadel initials in brown ink, red initials, and a parted initial in red and pale yellow, f. 1. Considerable cockling, but the text block is legible throughout and in good condition; f. 25, hole, with some loss of text, f. 46, bottom portion cut-away, with no loss of text. Bound in original brown leather over pasteboard (note that the parchment pastedown is an integral part of the first quire) with simple blind-tooled intersecting fillets and nail-marks; spine with three raised bands, no head and tail bands; spine now only partially covered, leaving the top and bottom exposed, lower board is only partially covered with leather, revealing the parchment leaves forming the pasteboard, worn on the corners and edges. Pasteboard, usually made from paper, was not commonly used in European bindings before the first quarter of the sixteenth century (see P. J. M. Marks, The British Library Guide to Bookbinding; History and Techniques, London, 1998, p. 16). Dimensions 170 x 108 mm.

Processionals contain the texts and music for liturgical processions. They are of special interest to musicologists, since they include texts and music not found in other types of liturgical manuscripts. This small-format processional was made for a Cistercian monastery in the Netherlands. It is preserved in its original binding of leather over pasteboard, in this case made from vellum leaves. This is an unusually early example of the use of pasteboard in a binding and deserves further study.


1. Written in the Netherlands at the end of the fourteenth century or in the first half of the fifteenth century. The contents suggest it was made for a Cistercian monastery after ca. 1381 (it includes the Feast of Corpus Christi). The manuscript is in Latin, but includes rubrics in Dutch, ff. 40-41v.

2. Unnumbered leaf before f. 1, “B 1911,” in pencil.


ff. 1-7, Procession for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, In purificatione beate marie dum cerei distribuntur, antiphona, Lumen ad reuelationem …., In prima stacione, Aue gracia plena …, In secunda stacione, Adorna thalamum …, In tercia stacione, Responsum accepit …; Ad introitum ecclesie, Hodie beata uirgo ….;

ff. 7-16, Procession for Palm Sunday, Dominica in palmis cum distribuntur rami, antiphona, Pueri hebreorum …, Dum egrediuntur de choro, antiphona, Occurrunt turbe …, Prima statio, Collegerunt pontifices …, Secunda statio, Unus autem .., In tertio stacione …, Aue rex noster …., [f. 13, In margin, in leadpoint] Hic leguntur ewangelium …, Gloria laus et honor …, Dum intrant ecclesiam, Ingrediente domino …;

ff. 16-27v, Maundy Thursday, In cena domini antiphona, Dominus ihesus postquam cenauit …, [Antiphons for the Washing of the Feet], Ad mandatum sabbatorum, antiphona, Postquam surrexit dominius …, Si ego dominus et magister …, Uos uocatis me magister …, Mandatum nouum …, In hoc congnoscent …, In die beatus illis mulier …, Maria ergo …, Domine tu michi lauas …, Karitas est summum bonum …, Ubi est caritas …, Diligamus nos …, Ubi fratres in unum … Congregauit nos Christus …, Congregauit nos in unum christi …, Maneant in nobis …, Benedicat nos …;

ff. 27v-31, Feast of the Ascension, In ascensione domini …Prima statio, Viri galylei …, Secunda statio, Pater cum …, Tertio statio, Pater sancte …, Ingressu templi, O rex glorie …;

ff. 31-33v, Corpus Christi [text begins with the second station, a note in Dutch informs the reader that the missing text for the first station is found in seven folios, see f. 37v, below] De Sacramento, O sacramentum pie …, In tertio .., Tu es cibus …, Ad introitum ecclesie, O quam suauis …;

ff. 34-37v, In assumptione beate marie, prima statio, Hodie maria uirgo …., Secunda statio, Felix namque …, Tertia statio, Ora pro populo …, Ad ingressum ecclesie, Ascendit cristus …;

ff. 37v-39, [Corpus Christi; see above, f. 31], De Sacramento a[ltari], In prima statione, Uerbum caro …,

ff. 39-43, for the Dead, Commendationes staphans als de ziele uut den lithanie es beghint me[n] Subue, Subevenite sancti dei …, f. 40, Quum effertur als me[n] de[n] dode[n] ter kerke[n] waert dracht. Libera, Libera me …, Na misse eer me[n] de[n] dode[n] uut de[n] kerken dracht …, Antifona, Clementissime dominie pro nostra miseri … super peccatore uel peccatrice.

ff. 43-46, Four Tones [f. 46v, blank, with red staves].

Processionals include the texts and chants necessary for liturgical processions. Like this manuscript, most are small, portable books. Processionals are of particular interest to musicologists, since they contain text and chants not found in other liturgical manuscripts. The texts and music in this manuscript include some of the most important feasts of the liturgical year, including the Purification of the Virgin (Candelmas), Palm Sunday, the Ascension, Corpus Christi, the Assumption, and prayers for the dead. Following Palm Sunday, the long series of antiphons sung during the washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday are included here. This text is not infrequently included in Processionals, even though it was not part of a liturgical procession.

The text of the manuscript strongly suggests that it was made for a Cistercian monastery. In general, it agrees with the text of Cistercian Processionals as reconstructed by Michel Huglo (see Huglo, 1999, tableau V, p. 49*). Cistercian Processionals commonly begin with the text, “Lumen ad revelationem,” for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, or Candelmas, celebrated on 2 February, and also include Palm Sunday, the Ascension (added to the Cistercian liturgy c. 1150), the Assumption (added between 1202-1225), and Corpus Christi (observed after 1381). The texts for these feasts in our manuscript agree with the usual texts found in Cistercian manuscripts, with the exception of Corpus Christi, which shows some discrepancies. However, since the scribe in our manuscript had originally omitted part of the text for the feast, the differences may be due to scribal error. It should be noted, however, that two feasts usually found in Cistercian Processionals of this date are not found in this manuscript, the Feasts of St. Bernard, and the Nativity of the Virgin. Further study might determine the provenance of this manuscript more precisely.

This manuscript is preserved in its original binding, which is of interest both because of its structure and material. The front pastedown is part of the first quire, and the pasteboards, which are now exposed because the leather covers have worn away, are made of parchment (the majority of fifteenth-century leather bindings use wooden boards covered with leather, and pasteboard in later bindings is commonly made from paper leaves).


Gy, P. M. “Collectaire, ritual, processional,” Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 44 (1960), pp. 441-69.

Huglo, Michel. Les manuscrits du processionnal. Répertoire international des sources musicales B.XIV.1, Munich, 1999-2004.

Huglo, Michel. “Processional,” The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, London, 2001, vol. 20, pp. 388-393.

Online resources

Introduction to liturgical manuscripts: “Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”

General introduction to liturgical processions (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Processions”)