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November, in a Martyrology

November, in a Martyrology

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1430

Shelfmark: Additional MS 22285

Item number: f.63v

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. November in the calendar of saints is typical in its listing of saints' days in red letters (the origin of 'red-letter day') and the dates of death of members of the community, including Katina Clinton, Elizabeth Langthorn, and Margareta Russett. At the bottom of the second column the long inscription in red records Queen Mary's restoration of Syon and the death of Cardinal Reginald Pole on the same day in 1558.

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