Click here to skip to content

Feast of the Holy Innocents, in the Stowe Breviary

Feast of the Holy Innocents, in the Stowe Breviary

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1325

Shelfmark: Stowe MS 12

Item number: f. 25v

Length: 29

Width: 17.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Called the 'Stowe Breviary' because it was in the collection at Stowe House, this prayerbook may have belonged to a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Norwich. The exceptional quality of its handwriting and decoration suggest that the original owner was an important person. Two artists painted the pictures within letters (historiated initials) and another artist created the decoration. Their work resembles other East Anglian art, showing the superb skills of the region's 14th-century scribes and artists. Several parts, however, are lost from it, and the section at the end was added later in the 14th century. It has the prayer services used in much of England after the Norman invasion (Sarum usage).

A few days after Christmas (28 December), the Massacre of the Innocents (Mt 2:16-18) was commemorated in the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Prayers, readings and hymns for the daily prayer for that day are given on this page. The first letter of one of the prayers has a horrific depiction of the event. The beautifully painted border features an imaginary creature who points upward toward the picture.

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: