This exquisite illuminated missal (a book containing the texts used in the Catholic Mass throughout the year) was made in the early 15th century and retains its late-medieval leather binding.

It is written on parchment in brown ink, with capital letters, rubrics (instructions for services) and major feasts picked out in red. The manuscript is decorated throughout, with large illuminated initials in gold, blue and red, with elaborate borders around the pages. It is not known where the missal was made, but the layout and instructions for the Latin mass reflect the liturgical practices of York Minster, and the book may itself have been produced in York. However, 15th-century inscriptions in the manuscript make clear that from early on it was in use in the parish church of All Hallows, Broughton, a Lancashire village within the diocese of York. It remained in the church until the mid-16th century, and from about 1845 became the property of a Lancashire family through which it has passed down the generations. It is the last York Use missal known to be in private hands. York missals are extremely rare (compared with Sarum Use missals, which covered the south of England), and only 12 manuscripts are known to survive. This example contains much detailed information on liturgical practice in the York diocese, together with annotations detailing gifts to Broughton church and notes on the building and its maintenance. For Lambeth Palace Library this extraordinarily rich historical document now represents an invaluable source of information about pre-Reformation life and religious practice in a northern English village.

Provenance

At the parish church of All Hallows, Broughton, Lancashire until the mid-sixteenth century; Butler-Bowden family of Pleasington Hall, Lancashire, by c. 1845; by descent to the present owner.


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