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Calendar for September, in a Missal

Calendar for September, in a Missal

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1340

Shelfmark: Harley MS 2787

Item number: f.5r

Length: 39.2

Width: 25.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

A missal contains all the prayers and readings for the celebration of mass. Usually a missal also contains a calendar because its user would need to determine the dates of saints' days and the feasts of the church to know which readings were correct for the day's mass. This missal, a rare survival from a pre-Reformation English church, was for use by a priest. Its beautiful decoration may be due to association of the church, All Saints, Maldon, in Essex, with the monastery at Beeleigh, through which the church might have acquired it, or the parish could have commissioned it from a workshop in London or elsewhere. All Saints. Maldon, has very beautiful stone carving in its nave which could have been about contemporary with this missal.

The page from the calendar for September originally had a large decorated initial, but it, like all the other large decorated initials, was cut out, probably after the 17th century. September merited a large decorated initial because the anniversary of the dedication of All Saints. The day is marked on the calendar, near the end of the page and is written in red. Important days were written in blue or red ('red-letter days') in medieval calendars. It is only because of this note on the calendar that the missal can be connected without any doubt to Maldon.

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