StorageSiteUCL Special Collections
Reference Number MS LAT/6
TitleBreviary and Missal
Date13th century
DescriptionThirteenth-century manuscript volume. The volume comprises fragments of two different manuscripts: Breviarium (breviary, ff 1-18), written for Franciscan use and including hagiographical texts; Missale (missal, ff 19-27v).

The size of the quires is no longer apparent. The parchment is extremely thin and fine, and for this reason likely to be uterine parchment. Most folios now very discoloured, although fols. 10v-18v (the Breviary) are in better condition. Much of the text on f.19 (start of the Missal) is now missing, particularly on the verso where only the red and blue initial letters remain legible. The folios from the Missal are generally very discoloured and much of the text has been rubbed away.

The text of the Breviary is in two hands: (1) ff. 1r-17r; (2) ff.17v - 18r; and the text of the Missal is in a third hand (ff. 19r-27v). In each case the text is a neat 13th century gothic minuscule, 49 lines per column, ink raging from sepia to brownish-black. The text is rubricated throughout (except ff.17v-18r) with headings, words underlined in red, and various intial letters crossed through in red. Initials alternate red and blue. The similarity of script in text and heading indicates that the scribe also did the rubrication. F.19v has a gold leaf initial and on f.19r there is a fine miniature depicting the Crucifixion on a blue background. The left-hand figure is missing as it has been torn from the leaf.

Other interesting features of this work include the graded calendar in the breviary, written entirely in black, with the word ‘pape’ and the entry of St Thomas of Canterbury on 29 December erased, and the variations regarding standard Franciscan saints’ days – for example, All Souls (2 Nov), Clare (12 Aug) and Bernard (20 Aug) are all missing, possibly removed after the Reformation. Three English saints have, however, been added in the 14th century: Wulstan, Chad and William (19 Jan, 2 Mar and 8 June). Folios 17–18 contain the Office of St Anthony, also added in the 14th century.

The first initial of the second fragment, the Office of the Mass, which starts on folio 19, is an historiated T of Te igitur, in a frame. It is followed on folios 20–27 by the text of the Sanctorale, devotional saints’ days 21 March to 21 December, the common of the saints, a dedication of church and altar, and votives. For most feasts, including that of St Francis (the one modern saint), only the collect, secret and postcommunion are provided, finishing with the Office for the Sick on folio 27.

The spine bears the inscription: Fragment of 13th century lectionary.
Extent1 volume containing 27 leaves
AdminHistoryBoth manuscripts were probably written in England.
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.
FindingAidsDorothy K Coveney, 'A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of University College London' (London, 1935); N R Ker, 'Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries' (London and Oxford, 1969), which summarises the contents of the manuscript; handlist at University College London Special Collections.
PublnNoteSherry L Reames, 'A Recent Discovery concerning the Sources of Chaucer's "Second Nun's Tale" ', Modern Philology, lxxxvii(4) (May 1990), which identifies the text on Saint Cecilia which appears in MS LAT 6 as a source for Chaucer.
Add to My Items