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September, in a Martyrology

September, in a Martyrology

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1430

Shelfmark: Additional MS 22285

Item number: f.55v

Length: 27

Width: 17.4-00-00 00:00:00

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This martyrology or book of saints belonged to the English nuns of St Brigitta (or Brigittines) whose house, Syon, was originally located near Twickenham. After Henry VIII dissolved Syon in 1539, the Brigittines relocated in the Netherlands but then returned with the accession of Queen Mary (1557) only to be exiled again after her death. After wandering in France and Spain, they settled in Lisbon, taking this book with them. The manuscript contains a listing of saints arranged by the calendar of their feasts, notes relating to the monastery, lists of abbesses, confessors, and benefactors, and an obituary list of members down to 1639. On a page for September, the names of feast days and saints are inscribed in red by the dates, a practice which inspired the expression 'red-letter day'. The names of members of the community (many of them 'soror', 'sister'), benefactors and others to be commemorated on the dates of the deaths are listed with years as well. They include Petronilla Davenport, Christina Feede, Alicia Elderton, and Walter Falkley.

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