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les Enluminures

Missal for Selected Feasts (use of Sarum)

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
England (London), 1400-1425 (before 1423?)

TM 1016
  • 141 200 €
  • £126,300
  • $160,000

iv + 151, modern foliation in pencil 1-151 followed here, lacking six leaves, two cancelled with no loss of text (collation i6 ii-v8 vi8 [-3, one leaf after f. 40, with loss of text] vii8 viii5 [original structure uncertain, probably a quire of six with fourth leaf cancelled following f. 56, no loss of text] ix8 [- 6, one leaf after f. 63] x-xi8 xii8 [-5, one leaf after f. 85] xiii-xiv8 xv8 [-4, one leaf after f. 107, with loss of text] xvi-xviii8 ix8 [-8, following f. 142, cancelled with no loss of text] xx9 [complete, structure uncertain, but possible a quire of ten with the first leaf cancelled]), horizontal catchwords lower inner margin, leaf and quire signatures in quire sixteen, ruled in lead with the top two and bottom two horizontal rules full across, and with extra double rules in the upper and lower margins, full-length vertical bounding lines with an extra set of double vertical rules in the outer margin, prickings sometimes remain outer and bottom margins (justification 118 x 88-85 mm.), main text written in a gothic bookhand in two columns of twenty-four lines, with the Ordinary and Canon, ff. 59-79, (justification 113-112 x 85 mm.) in two columns of twenty lines, contemporary additions in two hands, ff. 79-81v and 139v-142 (following layout of main scribe), and ff. 143-151 (justification 142-138 x 77 mm.) in 23 long lines, red rubrics, one-line alternately red and blue initials with contrasting penwork, two-line blue initials with red penwork, 18 LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS with scrolling acanthus borders (see below), some water damage to lower margins, minor soiling, initial on f. 47 excised, initials occasionally smudged, “papa”(pope) erased throughout.  CONTEMPORARY BINDING(?) of wooden boards, cut flush with the book block, covered in white leather, with the coat of arms of Ralph Sheldon (1623-1684) added, deeply stamped in gold (sable a fess between three sheldrakes argent), two strap-and-pin fastenings, fastening front to back, straps missing, spine with six raised bands, and more recent paper label, “Missale sec. usum sarum,” in ink, modern paper front pastedown, front flyleaves and upper and lower boards detached, leather peeling from spine, rubbed and stained. Dimensions 215 x 150 mm.

English illuminated manuscripts and English liturgical manuscripts are both increasingly uncommon the market; this is a rare opportunity to acquire a manuscript that fits both categories.  Its illuminated borders, classics of their type, are skillfully executed. Detailed provenance evidence includes a contemporary inscription that securely localizes it to the Church of St Mary’s of Wallington (then in Surrey) in 1423, and subsequent inscriptions trace its ownership in Catholic hands through the seventeenth century.


1. Copied and illuminated in England, most likely in London, in the early fifteenth century, based on the evidence of the text, script, and illumination.  A contemporary inscription dated 1423 on the front fly leaf, f. i verso, localizes it to the church of St. Mary’s of Wallington, and there is no reason to doubt that this Missal was copied for use at St. Mary’s before 1423: “Memorandum quod xiij° die Iunii anno domini millesimo ccccxxiij <litera?> dominicale accidentur super literam C capella beate Marie de Waliton infra parochiam de Beddyngton ante summo altare eiusdem in honorore natvitatis beate marie et sancti Johannis Baptiste dedicatis fuerat per reuerendum patris Iohannem episcopum Enachdunensis et suffraganeum reuerendi in Christo patrem et domini domini Henrici Wyntonensis episcopum et anno regni regis henrici sexti primo.”

The church of St. Mary in Wallington, in the parish of Beddington, now in the London borough of Sutton, but fomerly county Surrey, perhaps dates as early as the thirteenth century, although the church building itself probably dates from the fourteenth century.  Nicholas Carew I, who died in in 1390, bequeathed £20 for rebuilding work at the church (sources differ; one suggests the renovations may have involved the tower, the porch, and possibly the chancel; another that the work included the South chapel and the West tower). In any case, the 1423 dedication recorded here on the front flyleaf almost certainly followed these renovations. The inscription names King Henry VI (reigned from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471), John Boner or Bonner (Cotton, 1850, p. 55), bishop of Enachdune (or Annaghdown) in Ireland and suffragan bishop in the dioceses of Salisbury and Hereford in 1421 and Exeter in 1438 (Irish bishops at this time often did not reside in their diocese, but instead served as assistants to English bishops; bishops of Enachdune, in fact, are associated with bishops of Winchester), and the bishop of Winchester at that time, Henry of Beaufort (d. 1447). Wallington is in the diocese of Winchester.

2. Belonged to Francis Walker: his late 16th-century inscriptions on front flyleaf, f. iii verso, “This is Ffrancis Walker booke …”; and on f. 151v, copied three times, “This is Ffrancis Walkers booke. God made him a good man so be yit. Amen.…”

3. Belonged to John Gregory Mallett O.S.B. (1604-1681), chaplain at Ralph Sheldon’s seat at Weston in Warwickshire from 1653 until his death: later inscription front flyleaf, f. iv., in ink, “Ex dono Domini Greg. Mollet O.B.”; he may have shared Sheldon’s antiquarian interest in medieval manuscripts (Fendley, 1997).

4. Belonged to Ralph Sheldon (1623-1684), his coat of arms on the binding. A Roman Catholic, Sheldon suffered considerable persecution for his faith. He was an ardent collector of antiquities, particularly of books and manuscripts, coins and medals, and a student of heraldry. His library was sold in 1781 in the Weston Park sale of William Sheldon by Christie and Ansell (whether this manuscript was included in the sale is unverified).

5. Front flyleaf, f. iiv, a shelfmark, “E 2/ 8.”

6. Belonged to Matthew Holbeche Bloxam (1805-1888), of Rugby, England, an accomplished antiquarian and architectural historian, who published two volumes and hundreds of articles on Gothic architecture and other topics; he bequeathed his collection of books and manuscripts to the Rugby School library; inscription dated January 1888, front flyleaf, f. i, “Rugby School Library the gift of Matt. H. Bolxam, January, 1888; f. i (note in pencil, inside front cover, “Bloxam 1009”).


Front flyleaves, f. ii-iii [added in a cursive script in two hands, late fifteenth-sixteenth century], Pro amico defuncto, pro seipso, pro defunctis;

ff. 1-6v, Graded calendar in red and black; the word “pope” had been expunged  throughout, but the mentions of St. Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas Becket) are untouched; as in Legg, ed., 1916, except with Osburga, added (January 23), David, in red, nine lessons, duplex (March 1), Chad, in red, nine lessons (March 2), Richard, in red, nine lessons (April 3), translation of Nicholas, in red, nine lessons (May 9), translation of Edmund of Cantebury, in red, nine lessons (June 9), translation of Richard, in red, duplex (June 16), translation of Thomas martyr (July 7), “Notandum est quod proxime die post festum translationis sancti tome martyrum fiat festum reliquarum secundum usum sarum,” Anne, in red, nine lessons (July 26), Cuthburga (August 31), [lacks Francis on October 4], translation of Edward, Wulframnus, in red, nine lessons (October 15), Hugh, in red, nine lessons (November 17), Clement (added on November 23, and deleted November 21), deposition Osmund, added (December 4);

ff. 7-9v, Exorcismus salis et aque;

ff. 10-57v, Temporale from Advent to Corpus Christi:  f. 10, First Sunday in Advent; (with a long series of rubrics pertaining to the Mass at different times of the year); f. 14, second Sunday Advent; f. 16v, third Sunday Advent; f. 18, Christmas vigil; f. 19v, Christmas; f. 22, St. Stephen; f. 24, St. John; f. 25v, Holy Innocents; f. 27v, Thomas martyr (rubric smudged); f. 30, Circumcision; f. 31, Epiphany; f. 33, feria iv after Palm Sunday, with the Passion according to Luke beginning on f. 35, ending at the bottom of f. 40v, at Luke 23:49; f. 41, begins imperfectly, in the Mass for Easter; f. 42v, first Sunday after Easter; (followed by rubrics about Sundays between Easter and Ascension), f. 45, Ascension; f. 47, Pentecost; f. 49v, Trinity Sunday; f. 52, Corpus Christi; ff. 54-56v, Dedication of a church, with f. 54v, Sequence for Lent; Tract and and reading for Lent; f. 56, Secrets for Pascal time; [Added in a contemporary hand], f. 56v, Missa ad delendum febres propter orationem regis sigismundi regis (see Wallis, 2010); [f. 58rv, blank];

ff. 59-79, Ordinary and Canon of the Mass; one leaf missing between ff. 63v-64, almost certainly with a Crucifixion miniature; [Ending column a, f. 79, remainder blank];

ff. 79v-81v, [Contemporary addition], Missa pro mortalitate euitanda quam dominus [pape: expunged] clemens quintus fecit et constituit in collegio cum omnibus cardinalibus suis.  Et concessit omnibus contritis et confessis predictam missam audientibus ducentos sexaginta dies uenie. Et omnes audientes predictam missam debent portare in manibus candelam ardentem pro quinque dies et tenere eam in manu sua pro totam missam genibus flexis et eis mors subitanea nocere non poterit et est certum et approbatum in auinione et in partibus circumuicinis, …; [ending to f. 81v, remainder blank];

Text is printed in Dickinson, ed., 1861-1882, although the Sequence in Dickinson is not found here.

ff. 82-117, Sanctorale with Andrew, Purification, f. 87, Annunciation; f. 89, George; f. 90v, Invention of Cross; f. 93, Nativity of John the Baptist; f. 94, Peter and Paul; f. 96, Octave of John Baptist; f. 97, Feast of the relics (mentioning the feast of St. Thomas, rubric intact; f. 98v, Margaret; f. 100, Mary Magdalene; f. 102v, James; f. 103v, Peter in Chains; f. 105, Lawrence; f. 106v, Assumption; f. 108 (beginning imperfectly); f. Nativity of Mary (Sept 8); f. 109, Michael (September 29); f. 111, All Saints; f. 112v, Martin; f. 113, Menna; and f. 115, Katherine;

ff. 117-133, [Votive masses beginning with daily Masses for the Virgin at different times of the liturgical year and on different circumstances, including f. 123v, in capella], Ad missam beate marie quotidie per aduentum quando sit plenus servitur de ea nisi in sancto conceptionis eiusdem, ….; De trinitate; Holy Spirit; Holy Cross; Angels; pro fratribus et sororibus; pro pace; commemoration of All Saints;

ff. 133-138, Masses for the Dead (and on the anniversary of a death, etc.);

ff. 138-139v, [Commemoration of St. Thomas martyr], In commemoratione sancti Thome martiris;

Note the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury has not been expunged here.

f. 139v, [prayer, copied in red], incipit, “O bone ihesu …”;

ff. 139v-142 [copied in another, contemporary hand; Mass for the remission of sins], Missa specialiter ordinata per curiam romanam pro remissione ominium peccatorum, …; f. 141v, Oratio de sancto goderico, incipit, “Ihesu pie ihesu dulcissime …”; f. 141v, Oratio specialis pro trigintali missarum, incipit, “Deus qui es summa nostra redempcio …” [cf. Dickinson, ed., 1861-1882, 883*-884*]; [f. 142v, blank, with added prayer, incipit, “In nomine ihesu omne genu flecatatur …”];

ff. 143-151, [Added in another contemporary hand; Masses of the Five Wounds and of the Name of Jesus, both preceded by indulgenced rubrics], Notandum est quod sanctus bonifacius octauus infirmitate ultima positus pene usque ad mortem … Surge de lecto tuo et scribe officium misse de quinque uulneribus christi et passionis eius …, ” [Dickinson, ed., 1861-1882, 751*-756*]; f. 147v, Qui sapientiam <?> desiderat infrascripta domino deuote porrigat …; Quicumque hanc missam deuote …, incipit missa de nomine ihesu, …” [cf. Dickinson, ed., 1861-1882, 846-51, which does not include the long rubric in our manuscript]; [f. 151v, blank with added notes; see provenance above]. 


Illuminated with 18 initials with three-quarter bar borders; initials are 3- to 6-lines, in red or blue with white floral details, on polished gold grounds, sometimes lobed, with foliage infill on gold, with gold bar borders extending from the initials in the outer margin or between the columns with intertwined vines and spiky acanthus circling around the bar in the inner and lower margins, with sprays extending into the upper and lower margins of colored vines with colored leaves of various types, usually red or blue, terminating in black ink tendrils with green highlights and tiny gold balls. In particular note the colored curled and somewhat spiky acanthus, which is a type Scott suggests is found between 1410-13 and “normally” found no later than 1430 (Scott, 2002, p. 12). Similar in style to London, British Library, Arundel MS 38, Thomas Hoccleve, Regiment of Princes, London or Westminster( (?), 1410-1413 (Scott, 2002, pp. 42-43, plate VIII):

f. 7, (Exorcism of salt and water);

f. 10, (Sanctorale), initial sumdged;

f. 19v, Christmas;

f. 30, Circumcision;

f. 31, Ephiphany;

f. 45, Ascension;

f. 47, Octave of the Ascension (initial excised);

f. 49v, Trinity Sunday

f. 52, Corpus Christi;

f. 54, Dedication of a church;

f. 63v, Prefaces; initial smudged;

f. 64, Te igitur; initial smudged;

f. 82, Sanctorale, vigil of Andrew, initial smudged;

f. 87, Annunciation;

Initials and borders may be by two artists, with the second artist working in a more detailed, fussy style:

f. 92v, Nativity of John the Baptist;

f. 94v, Peter and Paul;

f. 106v, Assumption;

f. 111, All Saints.

This manuscript is a Missal following use of Sarum.  A Missal is the liturgical book for the celebrant that includes all the texts necessary to celebrate the Mass, including not only the prayers spoken by the priest, but also the biblical readings, read or chanted by the sub-deacon or deacon, and the texts sung by the choir (here without musical notation).  “Use of Sarum” (or Use of Salisbury), is a variant (“use”) of the Roman Rite, which developed over the course of centuries, from the bishopric of St. Osmund (d. 1099), to that of Richard Poore (d. 1237), Bishop of Salisbury from 1217-1228 (and beyond, since liturgy is never static). The construction of the new cathedral of Salisbury was begun in 1225 while Richard was bishop.  Originally the local form used in the diocese of Salisbury, it was widely adopted in England in the later Middle Ages.  The influence of Sarum Use can even be traced beyond the Reformation in the Book of Common Prayer of the new Church of England.

In contrast with many (even most) Missals that include masses for the entire liturgical year, this Missal includes only a selection of masses; this type of missal is sometimes described by the Latin name, Missale festivale.  It may have been copied for use in a side chapel or intended as a supplement to a more comprehensive volume.  The early additions to this Missal, made in two fifteenth-century hands on pages left blank by the original scribe, include masses offering protection against fevers and impending death, and offering indulgences (that is reduction of time in purgatory), and are would thus have been particularly suited for masses said in a side chapel.  This liturgical attention to the perils of the world and the approach of death was a prominent feature of English devotional life in the last century before the Reformation, and indeed, well into the sixteenth century (Duffy, 2005).

The Reformation in England, begun with England’s break with the papacy under King Henry VIII, initiated by acts of parliament in 1532 and 1534, was a gradual one, and Missals such as this one continued in use until the Latin services were replaced by Thomas Cranmer’s English observances (1549, 1552).  The Reformation left its mark in this Missal.  Throughout the calendar the word “pape” (pope) was carefully scratched out, as was, although in one case only on f. 27v, the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury or Thomas Becket (wishing to undermine the cult of a saint particularly revered for defying royal authority, Henry VIII ordered in 1538 that his shrine be destroyed and that all mention of his name be obliterated in books).  The alterations to this Missal, however, were not very thorough, and most mentions of St. Thomas and rubrics promising indulgences remain untouched.  The Latin mass was, of course, celebrated by English catholic recusants for many centuries after the Reformation, often in secret, and there is evidence that this manuscript was owned by Roman Catholic families in England at least through the seventeenth century.

As noted above, Sarum Missals are now quite uncommon on the market. The Schoenberg Database lists (roughly) sixty-five, and only three of these, not counting this manuscript, were sold since 2000.  Kathleen Scott (1996) included eleven illuminated English Missals in her survey of illuminated English manuscripts from 1390-1490 (noting that in 1989 she estimated that forty-one illuminated copies survive); Aude De Mezerac-Zanetti in her 2011 dissertation analyzed the evidence of 259 English Missals, 203 use of Sarum or Hereford (the remainder use of York); of these roughly thirty were printed editions (here sample included Missals of all dates, and was not confined to illuminated copies).


Baxter, Phillip. Sarum Use: The Ancient Customs of Salisbury, 2nd. ed., Reading, 2008.

Cotton, Henry. Fasti ecclesiae hibernicae: The Succession of the Prelates and Members of the Cathedral Bodies in Ireland, vol. 4, The Province of Connaught, Dublin, 1850.

Dickinson, Francis Henry, ed. Missale ad usum insignis et praeclare ecclesiae Sarum, Burntisland, 1861-1882.

Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars. Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580, New Haven and London, 1992.

Fendley, John. “William Rogers and his Correspondence,” Recusant History 23.3 (1997), pp. 285-317, note 22.

Ker, N. R. and A. J. Piper.  Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, vol. 4, Paisley-York, Oxford, 1992, pp. 222-224 (MS Bloxam 1009).

Legg, J. The Sarum Missal, Oxford, 1916.

Macklin, C. “Stability and Change in the Composition of a ‘Plague Mass’ in the Wake of the Black Death,” Plainsong and Medieval Music 25.2 (2016), pp. 167-189.

Pearson, A. The Sarum Missal Done into English, 2nd ed., rev. and enl. ed., London, 1884.

Pfaff, Richard.  The Liturgy in Medieval England: A History. Cambridge, 2009.

Scott, Kathleen L. Later Gothic Manuscripts, 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, vol. VI, London, 1996.

Scott, Kathleen. L. Dated and Datable English Manuscript Borders c.1395-1499, London, 2002.

Wallis, Faith. Medieval Medicine: A Reader. pp. 67-68.

Warren, F. The Sarum Missal in English, Alcuin club ed., Alcuin Club collections 11, London, 1913.

Online Resources

BHO (British History Online), A History of the County of Surrey, vol. 4, London, 1912, Parishes: Beddington, pp. 168-178

De Mezerac-Zanetti, Aude. “Liturgical developments in England under Henri VIII (1534-1547),” Durham theses, Durham University, 2011, vol. 1, p. 19, no. 56, and vol. 2, pp. 124-125 (inaccurately recording the alterations in two Rugby School mss, Add. 3, and Bloxham 1009, the Missal described here, since information recorded for these manuscripts seems to have been mixed up)

Available at Durham E-Theses http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/3551

Horner, Libby, “Matthew Holbeche Bloxam (1805-1888), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, September 23, 2004, https://doi-org.turing.library.northwestern.edu/10.1093/ref:odnb/2708

Mass of the Five Wounds of Christ


Parish Church of St. Mary’s

University of Toronto Libraries, British Armorial Bindings, “Sheldon, Ralph (1623-1684)”

Folger First Folio 10, belonged to Ralph Sheldon

Sheldon also owned a printed Sarum Missal, now Bodleian M-272 http://incunables.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/record/M-272

TM 1016