The Sherborne Missal - Pages 1 and 2
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Table des Armoires and Calendar
This armorial table was added during the 18th century and gives a clue to the provenance (life history) of the manuscript. It probably survived the destruction of the Reformation because of its stunning illumination. It was in France by 1703, where it passed through several hands before returning to England sometime after 1785. It was bought by the second Duke of Northumberland in 1800 for £215, and remained at his home, Alnwick Castle, until deposited on loan to The British Library in 1983. In 1998 the twelfth Duke offered it for sale and it was acquired for the nation by The British Library, with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund in lieu of death duties.
This is the first of twelve calendar pages at the beginning of the manuscript. It shows the fixed feasts and saints' days for January. Among the most important days marked is 8th January, the feast of a local saint, St. Wulsin, who was bishop of Sherborne from 992-1001. The calendar is a simplified version of an original first used in the breviary of Jean de Belleville, made in Paris in the mid-1320s. Such calendars often featured the signs of the Zodiac and scenes depicting the labours of the months, a tradition which goes back to late Roman art.