Click here to skip to content

Hymns and prayers for Christmas Day, in the Penwortham Breviary

Hymns and prayers for Christmas Day, in the Penwortham Breviary

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1310

Shelfmark: Additional MS 52359

Item number: f.31r

Length: 21.5

Width: 13.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A breviary is a prayerbook giving the prayers, hymns, and readings for divine office, the cycle of devotions which monks recited daily. They can vary in size, this one being on the small side and so considered to be a 'portable breviary.' Its origins are uncertain, but in 1486 Thomas Harwode, chaplain, gave it to the parish church of Penwortham, Lancashire. The Penwortham Breviary preserves one of the oldest, most complete examples of the divine office according to Sarum Use, or as recited in much of medieval post-Norman England. On a page of hymns and prayers for the Christmas Day, a small picture of the Nativity decorates the responsory (hymn sung by a soloist and based on a scriptural passage that varies with each day's office). Musical notation is rare in a small, 'portable' breviary. Four coats of arms (from left to right, of the Despenser, Warren, Fitzwilliam and Constable families) hanging from the lower border were probably added soon after the manuscript was made.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites

Newsletter

Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: