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MS 47: Book of Hours, 15th century

Identifier: MS 47

Scope and Contents

Book of Hours in Latin and Flemish from the 15th century, of Dutch origin. The Use is not identified, but Kalendar, Litany, and one Flemish rubric establish a Flemish provenance, and seem to point further to Thérouanne and Saint Omer.

Kalendar: starts on f. 1r. Contains commemorations of Saints and Martyr, and other festivities (the most important are written in red). The nonth of January is missing.

15 February: Silvini(Saint Silvinus, evangelist in the area of Thérouanne); 8 March: Humfridi (Saint Humphrey, bishop of Thérouanne); 25 June: Sancti Eligii (Saint Eligius, bishop of Noyon and Tournai, in red); 16 July: Translatio Bertini (the translation of the relics of Saint Bertinus, who was a companion of Saint Omer in the evangelisation of the area of the Pas-de-Calais); 20 July: Vulmari (Saint Wulmar, founded the monastery of Samer, near Boulogne); 4 August: Walburgis (Saint Walburga); 16 August: Ostensio Humfridi (showing of the relics of Saint Humphrey); 5 September: Bertini (Saint Bertinus); 9 September: Sancti Audomari (Saint Omer, bishop of Thérouanne, in red); 2 October: Ostensio Maximi (showing of the relics of Saint Maximus); 23 October: Severini (Saint Severinus, Bishop of Cologne); 26 October: Translatio Amandi (translation of the relics of Saint Amandus, probably the bishop of Strasbourg); 3 November: Vigoris (Saint Vigor, bishop of Bayeux); 6 November: Winnoci (Saint Winnoc, monk at Sithiu [Saint Omer] and founder of the monastery of Wormhoult); 7 November: Wildebrordi (Saint Willibrord, missionary to Friesland and Luxembourg, bishop of Utrecht); 12 November: Livini (Saint Livinus, missionary to Flanders and bishop of Ghent); 27 November Maximi (Saint Maximus, Abbot of Lérins, bishop of Riez); 11 December: Fusciani (Saint Fuscian, martyr, killed at Amiens).

Prayers of the Hours of the Suffering of the Blessed Mary: start on f. 12r. Nine short prayers, each followed by a Hail Mary. The prayers are dedicated to the canonical hours which constitute the structure of the Hours of the Virgin. The first prayers begins with the words Hora matutina marie nuntiatur.

Prayer of Pope Gregory on the Five Wounds: starts on f. 15r with the words Ave dextera manus Christi. It is preceded by a rubric in Flemish on f. 15v.

Memoria (or Suffrage) of Saint Sebastian: starts on f. 17v with the words Sancte Sebastiane semper vespereque mane horis.

Hours of the Virgin: start on f. 20r. They are divided in: Matins (ff. 20r-48v), Laudes (ff. 48v-61v; recited upon rising together with 'Matins'), Prime (ff. 62r-68v; the first hour, around 6 A.M.), Terce (ff. 69r-73v; the third hour, around 9 A.M.), Sext (ff. 74r-77v; the sixth hour, around noon), None (ff. 78r-81v; the ninth hour, around 3 P.M.), Vespers (ff. 82r-90v; evening), Compline (ff. 91r-96v; recited before retiring to bed).

Penitential Psalms: start on f. 97r. 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. 110v. 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.

Apostle: Marcial. Martyrs: Livinus. Confessors: Maximus, Audomar, Folquin, Silvinus, Vedastus, Amandus.


Very rough.


There are burnished gold initials and some attempt at floral borders.


  • Creation: 15th century

Language of Materials

Latin and Flemish.

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

There are several indications of ownership: a book-plate of the Duke of Sussex (although the manuscript does not appear in the his catalogue Bibliotheca Sussexiana, printed in 1827); the signature Wm. Pierce, Mayus iv 1823; a note on the fly-leaf: Presented by Vice-Admiral Sir Ross Donelly, K.C.H..

Previous reference

D. b. IV. 3.

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Modern red morocco, gold tooling, lined with watered silk, entitled Palma Jesu.

Collation: a5, b6, c8-h8, i7 (+5), k7 (+5), l7 (+5), m7 (+5), n8, o7 (+1), p8, q7 (+1) = 117.


10.95 cm x 7.78 cm


Secundo folio: text Hora sexta.

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 117, 13 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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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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