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Vigil of St Andrew's feast, in a Missal

Vigil of St Andrew's feast, in a Missal

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1425

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 109

Item number: f.162r

Length: 43

Width: 28

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

A missal provides all the prayers, hymns, and readings necessary for the celebration of Mass over the course of the year. This deluxe 15th-century missal made for use on the altar was given to the church of St Lawrence in London by William Melreth, alderman, textile merchant of Broad Street and eventually member of Parliament, probably just before he served as Sheriff of London. Feast-days of the saints have special prayers and readings, and the feasts of major saints, such as St Andrew on 30 November, provide mileposts through the year.

The vigil (eve) of St Andrew's feast day is highlighted with an elaborate border decorated with beautifully painted plant ornament and shiny gold. The prayers are complicated by the feast's position at the beginning of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas. Sometimes it falls before the first Sunday in Advent, sometimes after. The prayers take this into account, providing alternatives to suit the situation. The prayers begin with a picture of his crucifixion and a hymn which alternates a gospel reading on the calling of the apostles with verses adapted from a psalm.

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