Memoranda in a missal

Missals and books of hours set the standard for the organisation of liturgical time in the middle ages, a structure that would endure for centuries after its ‘reform’. This fifteenth-century York use missal has been adapted in several interesting ways by a number of readers. The word ‘pope’ has been marked throughout with crosses, though not obliterated, as it is here, qualifying the name of ‘Sancti Gregorii’, testifying to the uneasy memory of the book’s past following the break with Rome. A Matthew Gase has inscribed a few leaves, including this one—here describing himself as a ‘treweller in inlaland [i.e. England] in a lawfwl way to get a lawfwll Liuelie hood in the yere of owr Lord 1675’, in a strikingly mundane use of a sumptuous and, by his time, rather old and once sacred book. Similarly, he appears to be drafting a letter when he writes beneath the musical notation for the prefaces of the Mass, ‘Lowing father and mother my lowe being rembered to yow and to all frens in Scotland thes ar to Show you that I am in good,’ trailing off before he finishes. At the bottom of the calendar are the notes of the Reverend Marmaduke Fothergill (1652-1731), whose heavily annotated collection of medieval and early modern liturgical books were donated to York Minster by his widow, preserving not only the books themselves but Fothergill’s scholarship for future readers. BW


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