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MS 46: Book of Hours (Use of Utrecht), 15th century

Identifier: MS 46
ff. 14v-15r
ff. 14v-15r

Scope and Contents

Book of Hours in German from the 15th century.

Kalendar: starts on f. 2r. Contains commemorations of Saints and Martyr, and other festivities (the most important are written in red). Its content points to the area of Cologne.

30 January: Aldegunt iunffer (Aldegunda Virgin, hermitess and Benedectine abbess, from Hainaut); 1 March: Swicbertus, Bp. (Swithbert Bishop, founded a Benedectine monastery at Werth, on the Rhine; venerated at Cologne and Utrecht); 16 March: Heribertus Bp. (Heribert, Bishop of Cologne and prominent political figure at the turn of the tenth century; venerated at Cologne and Utrecht); 17 March: Geirdruyt iunffer (Gertrude of Nivelles, abbess and mystic); 26 March: Lutger Bp. (Ludger, Bishop of Münster); 3 June: Erasmus Bp. (Bishop of Formiae in Italy, martyr); 10 June: Maurijn Abt (Monk and abbot at the monastery of Saint Pantaleon in Cologne); 22 June: Albijn martyrer, 11.000 martyrer (Alban of Mainz, preacher and missionary to Germany, venerated at Cologne); 25 June: Lodewich Bp.; 4 July: Udalricus confessore (also known as Ulric, Bishop of Augsburg); 7 July: Willibaldus confessore (Bishop of Eichstätt); 8 July: Kyliain ind sijn gefellen (Saint Killian and the companions fallen with him, patron of Würzburg); 9 July: Agilolfus bischoff ind martyrer (Bishop of Cologne); 23 July: die heilige drij koninge (the Three Holy Kings, patrons of Cologne; in red); 13 September: Maternus Bp. (Bishop of Cologne, venerated also in Trier); 28 September: Wenzelaus maartyrer (Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia); 10 October: Gereoin ind sijn gefellen martyrer (Gereon and the companions fallen with him, martyrised near Bonn, relics translated to Cologne; in red); 21 October: die elfdusent mede (the 11,000 Virgins, died at Cologne; in red); 22 October, Cordula iunffer (one of the companions of Saint Ursula, died at Cologne); Severus Bp. (Severus, Bishop of Trier); 23 October: Severijn Bp. (Severinus, Bishop of Cologne; in red); 24 October: Evergislus Bp. (Evergislus, Bishop of Cologne, martyr at Tongres, Belgium); 3 November: Hupert (Hubert, Bishop of Liège); 7 November: Willibrordus Bp. (Willibrord, Bishop of Utrecht); 12 November: Kunibertus Bp. (Cunibert, Archbishop Cologne); 4 December: Anno Bp. (Provosto of the Cathedral of Goslar, Bishop and then Archbishop of Cologne).

Hours of the Virgin: start on f. 15r and are introduced by the rubricated words Hijr begynnent vnser lieuer vrouwen getzijde. They are divided in: Matins (ff. 15-24v), Laudes (ff. 24v-34r; recited upon rising together with 'Matins'), Prime (ff. 34r-38r; the first hour, around 6 A.M.), Terce (ff. 38r-41r; the third hour, around 9 A.M.), Sext (ff. 41r-44v; the sixth hour, around noon), None (ff. 44v-48r; the ninth hour, around 3 P.M.), Vespers (ff. 48r-54r; evening), Compline (ff. 54r-59r; recited before retiring to bed).

Hours of the Cross: start on f. 61r and are introduced by the rubricated words Hijr begynnen des heiligen cruytz getzijde. They are divided in: Matins (ff. 61r-62v), Prime (ff. 62v-64r), Terce (ff. 64r-65v), Sext (ff. 65v-67r), None (ff. 67r-68v), Vespers (ff. 68v-70r), Compline (ff. 70r-72r).

Hours of the Holy Spirit: start on f. 73r and are introduced by the rubricated words Hijr begynnen des heiligen geistes getzijde. They are divided in: Matins (ff. 73r-77v), Prime (ff. 77v-80r), Terce (ff. 80r-82v), Sext (ff. 82v-85r), None (ff. 85r-87v), Vespers (ff. 88r-91v), Compline (ff. 91v-95r).

Penitential Psalms: start on f. 96r and are introduced by the rubricated words Dic sijnt die seuen psalmen. domine. These seven Psalms (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, and 142) are particularly connected to King David, who allegedly composed them as an atonement for his sins (David therefore is normally represented at the beginning, as in this case).

Litany: starts on f. 107r. It consists in the hypnotic invocation of a list of saints; each invocation is followed by the answer Ora pro nobis (with the plural variation Orate when more than one saint is invoked). The list begins with Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison ('Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy'). It is followed by prayers.

Apostles: Saint Matthias. The Three Kings. Martyrs: Saints Pontian, Lambert, George, Albinus, Maurinus, Panthaleon, Gereon and Companions. Confessors: Saints Severinus, Kunibert, Heribert, Anno, Lutger, Servace, Willibrort, Egidius. Virgins: Walburch, Geirdruyt, Dorothea, Ursula.

Prayers before the Sacrament: start on f. 105v and are preceded on f. 115r by rubricated words Dit navolgende gebet sal man lesen als men tzo dem heiligen sacrament gayn will. Gebet. There are two prayers.

O ewige grondelose unbegrijsliche unbekante unsprechliche Got (ff. 115v-117r).

O here alre engelen glorie (ff. 117r-118v).

Prayers during the Sacrament: start on f. 118v and are introduced by the rubricated words Dit gebet salman lesen als mandat heilige sacrament untfangen hait. There are two prayers.

Here Got bestedige in mich (ff. 118v-119r)

O here ihesu christe die altzijt vur vnse sunden geoffert werdes.

Memoriae (or Suffrages): start on f. 120v. Each one of them is dedicated to a Saint or Martyr and consists of a longer prayer which normally contains details of the life of the Saint to whom each particular Memoria is dedicated. In this manuscript we find: Saints Peter and Paul (ff. 120v-121r), Saint Christopher (ff. 121v-122r), Saint George (ff. 122v-123r), Saint Anthony (ff. 123v-124r), Saint Katherine (ff. 124v-125r), Saint Barbara (ff. 125v-126r).

Office of the Dead: starts on f. 127r and is introduced by the rubricated words Hijr begynnet die vigilie zo duytschen. This office was intended as an intercession on behalf of the dead, in order to help them to reduce their term in Purgatory. A series of readings for this office are taken from the Book of Job and the sufferings of Job became an allegory for the trials endured by the penitent souls in Purgatory.

Prayers for each day in the week: start on f. 173r. A set of seven prayers, each dedicated to a different day of the week starting with Sunday.

Prayer of Pope Gregory: starts on f. 181r with the words O here Jhesu Christe ich anbeden dich yn dem cruce hangende.

Memoriae (or Suffrages): start on f. 182r. The saints honoured are: Saint Anna (f. 182r-182v), the Three Kings (ff. 183v-184v), Saint Erasmus (ff. 185v-188r).

Prayer of Saint Bernard: starts on f. 188v with the words O lieue here Jhesu Christe; it is precedend by a long rubric which begins on f. 188r.

Memoria of Saint Ursula and the 11.000 Virgins: ff. 190v-191v.


The writing is clear, black, and uniform.


Besides coloured capitals and illuminated initials of subsections, each section has, along with a full-page miniature, a large initial on a gold ground elaborately floriated in blue, pink, vermilion, green, magenta, surrounded by a floral border, with conventional foliage, natural flowers, birds, etc., mingled with roundels and scroll work of gold.


Miniatures: The book contains seventeen full-page miniatures, with probably one wanting. These are all rectangular, enclosed within plain bands of colour, and painted upon backgrounds of plain burnished gold. The figures and draperies are good.

  1. Before Kalendar (f. 1v) – The Holy Face. Head beautifully drawn and shaded.
  2. Hours of the Virgin (f. 14v) – Annunciation. Virgin kneeling by wooden desk with book and scroll with the words 'Ecce ancilla ... verbum tuum'. Gabriel, lavender robe, green and pink wings, kneels on the left, bearing a lily rod and a scroll with the words 'Ave gratia ... tecum'. Dove descends on Virgin. Green and pink tiled floor.
  3. Hours of the Cross (f. 60v) – Crucifixion.
  4. Hours of the Holy Spirit (f. 72) – Pentecost. Virgin with book, and apostles, all gold nimbed against a blue ground, nimbed Dove descending. Red and orange tiles.
  5. Penitential Psalms (f. 95v) – Judgment. Christ in glory, seated on rainbow, pink robe, showing marks of wounds. Virgin and Saint John kneeling on clouds at either side, four figures rising from graves, two women and two men.
  6. Memoriae. Saints Peter and Paul (f. 120v) – Saint Peter, pink and blue robe, with keys and book; Saint Paul, green robe, with sword. Red and orange tiles.
  7. Saint Christopher (f. 121v) – Saint in midstream, pink and green robe, with staff, bearing the Child, whose right hand blesses while his left carries the orb. Peasant with lantern on bank.
  8. Saint George (f. 122v) – Saint in gold armour bearing white shield with red cross, stands on green fire-breathing dragon and transfixes it. Pink and green tiles.
  9. Saint Anthony (f. 123v) – Saint in pink and black robe, high hat, bearing staff surmounted by cross, and book. Pink and green tiles.
  10. Saint Catherine (f. 124v) – Queen in pink robe, bearing sword and wheel. Red and green tiles.
  11. Saint Barbara (f. 125v) – Saint in blue robe with martyr's palm, tower by her side, stands on grassy hill.
  12. Office of the Dead (f. 126v) – The coffin stands on wooden trestles just visible beneath the plain loose blue hearse cloth. Upon its flat top lies what appears to be a wooden processional cross, with staff painted red and head silver. Around it stand four lighted tapers of yellow wax in large brass candlesticks with heavily moulded cups and bases. The heads of two mourners in black hoods are just visible kneeling upon the farther side.
  13. Prayers for the Week (f. 172v) – Christ in scarlet robe showing wounds, bearing resurrection banner, steps from tomb.
  14. Mass of Saint Gregory (f. 180v) – Saint Gregory kneels before an altar upon which the Image of Pity is standing. The altar is vested in a plain pale heliotrope frontal which is gathered or pleated at the top, and covers the end as well as the front of the altar. A deep fringe of red, blue, and green goes round the front and end below the edge of the mensa in place of a frontlet. It seems to hang from a narrow gold border attached to the fair linen cloth which only covers the actual surface of the mensa. Below the frontal at the end of the altar a moulded stone plinth is just visible. Before the altar, and of the same length, is a wooden footpace divided into two steps. Upon the mensa is a golden chalice in the middle, a brass candlestick with a lighted candle at each side, and a wooden desk supporting an open book on the left. Behind the mensa rises a low reredos, with a single plain panel, the central part of the whole being raised. At the end of the reredos is a green riddel curtain. Saint Gregory is kneeling on a scarlet cushion below the footpace, and is vested in alb, unapparelled, amice with short apparel, and pink chasuble with gold Ψ cross orphrey. Behind, an assistant, apparently in a cope, holds the papal tiara, and in the background are the instruments of the Passion.
  15. The Three Kings (f. 183v) – Virgin with Child, cruciform nimbus, seated in flowery meadow, three kings with their gifts around her, one kneeling, one black.
  16. Erasmus (f. 185v) – Figure is standing in unapparelled alb, amice which seems to be apparelled, plain scarlet dalmatic with gold border, blue cope with gold border and gold quatrefoil morse, white mitre and gloves, holding a crosier to which a short vexillum is attached. In the background it is possible to see a windlass, the instrument of his martyrdom.
  17. Saint Ursula and her Maidens (f. 190v) – Queen, with spear and palm, shelters under her cloak four maidens. Red and black tiles.


  • Creation: 15th century

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

Kalendar, Litany and Memoriae all suggest the area of Cologne, as most of the important saints of that diocese figure in them. The prominence given to the feast of the Three Kings also seems to point in this direction.

There is an inscription on f. 1 in a modern hand: Zum Geburtstag seiner cousine Ottilie geschenkt ('Given as a present for the birthdat of his cousin Ottilie').

Previous reference

Laing 14.

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Original, oak boards covered stamped leather. In the centre there is a crucifixion with Virgin and Saint John, and the inscription Mihi absit gloriari nisi in Christo ('That I may not pride myself if not in Christ'). Around the central scene there appear the figure of Christ with halo, repeated, and bearing the inscription Ego sum lumen mundi ('I am the light of the world'); the Virgin crowned [?] with inscription De fructu ventris ('Of the fruit of the womb'); and other indecipherable stamps. The silver clasps have a three-quarter-length naked figures in relief, a man and a woman.

Collation: a13(+1), b9(+1), c8-f8, g9(+6), h8-x8, y 9(+8), z7(+1, 8 and 9 cut out) = 191.


14.61 cm x 10.48 cm


Secundo folio: text Sijn alle enden.

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 191, 17 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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