TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Ritual and Processional (Franciscan Use; Use of Rome)

In Latin, decorated manuscript with musical notation on parchment
Northern Italy, c. 1450-1500

TM 560

i (marbled paper) + 113 + i (marbled paper) folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil, top outer corner recto (collation, i10 ii - v12  vi14 [-14, following f. 71, cancelled] vii - ix12 x6), horizontal catchwords, center lower margin, no leaf or quire signatures, faintly ruled in lead with single vertical bounding lines (justification 118-120 x 75 mm.), written in a rounded gothic bookhand in black and red ink on up to 16 long lines by one scribe, with text by additional hands on ff. 70-71 and ff. 112v-113v, or in four lines of text, many leaves include four 4-line red staves with square musical notation in black ink, red rubrics, paragraph markers in blue, one 4-line initial (f. 72), two 3-line initials (ff. 4, 6), and numerous two- to one-line initials alternately in red and blue with pen decoration in the opposite color, full-page line drawing of cityscapes (f. 71v; see Provenance below), pen trials on f. 113v, paper flyleaf detached, some pages show minor ink loss. Bound in an ORIGINAL binding of blind-stamped brown calf over wooden boards, covers decorated with concentric rectangular frames, formed by two sets of triple filets interspersed with annular dots, with an outer border of s-shaped stamps, surrounding a rectangular center panel of diamond motifs with blind-stamped eight-petalled flowers, spine skillfully rebacked in the eighteenth century on two bands, marbled endpaper and brass scalloped-shaped clasp and catch are contemporary with rebacking, lettered in gilt on red leather panel on spine, “RITUALE S. ECCL ROM, covers worn, especially at edges, with a crack and missing leather in the upper cover.” Dimensions 170 x 130 mm.

A striking Italian Ritual and Processional, preserved in its original binding and with musical notation on over half of its folios. With its clearly-written script and small format, this manuscript was meant to be used as a personal text by a Franciscan brother during rituals and feasts. Italian Processionals are relatively uncommon. This example is particularly noteworthy, as it contains the unusual procession for the feast of All Souls’ Day. Special additions, such as the line-drawings of medieval towns and added prayers and absolutions, hint at its continued use into the 16th century. 


1. The evidence of the script, decoration, binding and parchment indicate that this manuscript was copied and bound in Northern Italy in the second half of the fifteenth century. From the evidence of the text, it was made for use by the Franciscan Friars, as masculine forms are used in the prayers (text follows Franciscan Use; see below, text). Absolutions (ff. 70-71) were added soon after the manuscript was completed in an Italian gothic bookhand. Italian hand, slightly later, added prayers (ff. 112v – 113v) in humanistic cursive script. 

Includes a full-page line drawing of a number of cityscapes (f. 71), added within the first century after the manuscript’s production.The drawing reproduces an early Renaissance city in great detail.Religious structures are documented with crosses, while other buildings have pennants at their highest points. In fact, it seems quite possible that the drawing is meant to convey the actual physical site of the processions described in the text of the manuscript. If that is the case, it is a remarkable example of the illustration of a liturgical text.Given the amount of detail, it may ultimately be possible to ascertain what town the artist represented in the drawing.

2. Belonged to William Grace, 1837. His signature and date are inscribed on a detached front flyleaf. This may be Sir William Grace, 2nd Baronet (d. 1841), who purchased what is now Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Lat. misc. f. 40 when visiting Siena in 1840. Grace’s manuscripts were sold by J. F. Jones in Dublin, 8, November 1840.

3. Belonged to Rev. Henry Thomas Griffith, B.A. (1828-1897), Rector at Smallburgh Rectory, Norwich (1881-7). His armorial bookplate on the front pastedown, with motto, “Y Fynno Dwy Y Fydd.” (Bookplate is described by Jones in his Welsh Book-Plates, p. 33). Also owned by Rev. Charles Edward Osbourne Griffith (b. 1859), Vicar at Eggleston Vicarage, Durham, who added his inscription on the bottom of the bookplate. 

4. Loose paper dated 1902 with a brief description of the manuscript by J.T. Fowler, Canon of Durham (1834-1924).

5.William Carr (1863-1925) and by descent to Brigadier General William Greenwood Carr (1901-1982); the latter was the Commanding Officer of the 22nd Armoured Brigade Group and was decorated with the award of Companion, Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.). Sold at his son’s sale at Sotheby’s 1, December 1982 as lot no. 75 to London bookseller, Alan Thomas (d. 1992).

6. Joseph Pope of Toronto (d. 2010), investor banker and prominent collector of medieval manuscripts. Purchased from Thomas in June 1983, where it became Bergendal Collection MS 41 (described in Pope, 1999, and online, Bergendal Collection; mentioned in Stoneman, 1997, p. 183; an account of the collection is given in Pope, 1997).


ff.1-69, Ritual for the Last Sacraments, Ordo ad communicandum infirmum. . ., incipit, “Miserere mei deus. . .”; f. 3v, Ordo ad ungendum infirmum . . ., incipit, “Miserere mei deus. . .”; f. 10v Ordo commendationis animae . . ., incipit, “Kyrie eleison . . .”; f. 20v, Tunc fratres quibus preceptum fuerit lavent corpus. . ., incipit, “Kyrie eleison . . .”;

Text follows the Franciscan Ritual for the Last Sacraments, Ordo sepulturae, Van Dijk, vol. 2, 1963, pp. 385-397, including the liturgical directions; here with the musical sections (with notation).

ff. 70-71, Two Forms of Absolution, added by a later hand soon after the manuscript’s completion; incipit, “Auctoritate dei et beatorum apostolorum petri et pauli et sancte romane ecclesie tibi concessa …”; f. 71, incipit, “Dominus noster yhesus christus te absolvat et ego auctoritate ipsius et beatorum apostolorum petri et pauli et summi pontificis michi commissa [et] tibi in hac vice concessa …”;

London, British Library, Add. MS 35310, a fifteenth-century Franciscan breviary, copied at Piacenza in 1480, includes a series of five absolutions after Rituals for the Last Sacrament, including the two added to this manuscript (see Van Dijk, 1963, vol. 1, pp. 239-240). 

ff. 71v, Full-page sketch of medieval towns (see Provenance). 

ff. 72-84v, Procession for the Feast of Purification of the Virgin, In festo purificationis beate marie virginis finita tertia sacerdos indutus sine casula cum ministris indutis procedit ad benedicendum candelas in medio ante altare dicens, incipit, “Dominus uobiscum. . .”; f. 72v, Cum inceperint distribuere candelas a choro cantatur ant., incipit, “Lumen ad reuelationem genitum . . .”; ff. 76, Hiis omnibus expletis cantatur antiphona, incipit “Exurge domine . . . ”; f. 77v, Deinde fit processio et cantantur ant., incipit, “Ave gratia plena . . .”; f. 79, V, incipit, “Adorna thalamum tuum . . .”; f. 81, Ant., incipit, “Responsum accepit simeon . . .”; f. 82v, R, incipit, “Optulerunt . . .”; f. 83, V, incipit, “Postquam autem impleti sunt . . .”;

ff. 84v-104v, Procession for Palm Sunday, In die palmarum completa tertia et aspersione aque more solito sacerdos indutus procedit sine casula cum ministris indutis et ramis in medio ante altere positis . . ., incipit, “Osanna filio david. . .”;  f. 86, Postea duo fratres ramos fratribus in locis suis manentibus, distribuunt et interim a choro cantantur ant., incipit, “Pueri hebreorum portantes . . .”; f. 88, Postea fit processio et cantantur antiphone subscripte uel omnes uel alique pro dispensatione cantoris. Ant, incipit “Cum appropinquaret dominus ierosolimam . . .”; f. 92, Ant., incipit, “Cum audisset populous . . .”; f. 95, Ant., incipit, “Inte [sic]sex dies . . .”; f. 97, Ant., incipit, “Occurunt turbe . . .”; f. 98, Ant., incipit, “Cum angelis et pueris . . .”; f. 98v, Ant., incipit, “Turba multa que conuenerat . . .” f. 99v, Sicut a principio, incipit, “Gloria laus et honor tibi. . .”; f. 100, V, incipit, “Israel es tu . . .”; f. 100v, V, incipit, “Cetus in excelsis . . .”; f. 101v, V, incipit, “Plebs hebrea tibi . . .”; f. 102, V, incipit, “Hii tibi passuro . . .”; f. 102v, V, incipit, “Sit pia pro palme . . .”; f. 102v, V, incipit, “Et tibi victrici . . .”; f. 103, Postea intrat procession ecclesiam de cantando, incipit “Ingrediente domino . . .”; f. 104, V, incipit, “Cumque audisset . . .”;

ff. 104v-113, Procession for All Souls’ Day, Incipit officium processionis in crastino omnium sanctorum . . ., incipit, “Qui Lazarum . . .”; f. 105v, V, incipit “Qui venturus es . . .”; f. 106, V, incipit, “Requiem eternam . . .”; f. 106v, incipit, “Ne recorderis peccata . . .”; f. 107v, V, incipit, “Dirige domine dues meus . . .”; f. 108v, incipit, “Libera me domine . . .”; f. 109v, V, incipit, “Tremens factus sum . . .”; f. 110, V, incipit, “Dies illa dies ire . . .”; f. 110v, V, incipit, “Requiem eternam . . .”; f. 111, R, incipit, “Memento mei deus . . .”; f. 111v, V, incipit, “De profundis . . .”; f. 112v, V, incipit, “Requiem eternam . . .”;

The procession for All Souls’ Day (2 November); the text is similar to the first nocturne of the Office of the Dead, Franciscan Use (Van Dijk, vol. 2, pp. 191-195). 

ff. 112v-113v, Additional prayers added by a later hand, incipit, “Hic accipiet domini est terra . . .”; f. 113, incipit, “Omnipotens et mitissime . . .”; f. 113v, incipit, “Omnipotens sempiterne deus sante (sic.) puritatis amator ….”

Processionals include the texts and chants necessary for liturgical processions and are of special interest to musicologists, since they sometimes include texts and music not found in other liturgical manuscripts. The text in this manuscript follows Franciscan Use (that is, Use of Rome), and as such includes the Procession for the Purification of the Virgin (Candlemas, on 2 February) and Palm Sunday. Franciscan Processionals include fewer processions that manuscripts copied for other religious orders (Huglo, 1999-2004, p. 38* and tableau viii, p. 54*). This particular manuscript is small and portable, designed for practical use by a Franciscan brother. Despite its small size, both the script and musical notation are large enough to be easily read during the processions. 

This manuscript adds a procession for All Souls’ Day, which is similar to the first nocturn of the Office of the Dead (Van Dijk, vol. 2, pp. 191-195). This is an unusual addition and may reflect the needs of a particular community in commemorating their departed. This procession includes the hymn Dies Irae, which is traditionally attributed to the noted Franciscan Thomas of Celano (d. 1265), who also penned one of the first biographies of Francis of Assisi, Vita Beati Francisci

The added Absolutions and prayers suggest the manuscript continued to be used by members of the Franciscan order into the sixteenth century. Absolutions formed a key part of the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Penance, wherein a priest could absolve a parishioner’s various sins through absolutions. Along with the Rituals and Processionals, this volume contains many of the practical liturgical references that a priest would need throughout the year. 

The origins of the Franciscan Order can be traced back to its charismatic founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who presented himself and his small group of followers in 1210 to Pope Innocent III, who granted them permission to live Francis’s radical vision of a life of complete apostolic poverty. The Franciscan Order grew rapidly and attracted members throughout Europe. Since it was an international order, the need for a uniform liturgy was felt from an early point in their history, and the Rule of 1223 specified that the Friars were to follow the Office “according to the order of the Roman Church”, which is actual the liturgy of the Papal Court. This became the basis for the Franciscan liturgy (see Van Dijk, 1963) and was the basis for the liturgy mandated by the Council of Trent to be used throughout the Roman Catholic Church.


Davies Jones, Evan. The Welsh Book-Plates in the Collection of Sir Evan Davies Jones, Bart ., M. P. of Pentower, Fishguard; a Catalogue, with Biographical And Descriptive Notes, London, A. L. Humphries, 1920.

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

Huglo, M. Les livres de chant liturgique, Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental, 52, Turnhout, Brepols, 1988.

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

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume I, Autriche à Espagne, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (1), Munich, 1999.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume II, France à Afrique du Sud, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (2), Munich, 2004.

Palazzo, Eric. A History of Liturgical Books from the Beginning to the Thirteenth Century, translated by Madeline Beaumont, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1998.

Plummer, John. Liturgical Manuscripts for the Mass and Divine Office, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1964.

Pope, Joseph. One Hundred and Twenty-Five Manuscripts. Bergendal Collection Catalogue, Toronto 1999.

Pope, Joseph. “The Library that Father Boyle Built”, in A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard Boyle, O.P., ed. Jacqueline Brown and William P. Stoneman, Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press, 1997, pp. 157-162.

Stoneman, William P. “A Summary Guide to Medieval and Later Manuscripts in the Bergendal Collection, Toronto” in A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard Boyle, O.P., ed. Jacqueline Brown and William P. Stoneman, Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press, 1997, pp. 163-206.

van Dijk, S.J.P., ed. Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy: The Ordinals of Haymo of Faversham and Related Documents, 1243-1307, 2 vols. Leiden, 1963.

Online Resources

British Library, Database of Bookbindings

Bergendal Collection of Medieval Manuscripts

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

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