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MS 48: Book of Hours and Prayer Book, 15th century

Identifier: MS 48


The manuscript is a Book of Hours and Prayer Book from the 15th century. It originated in Germany, possibly in Schleswig. All the prayers are for a masculine owner.

The Kalendar starts on f.1r. Some entries in the Kalendar that may reflect the manuscript’s provenance are as follows. 30 January: Aldegonde, Virgin; 17 March: Gertrude, Virgin; 3 June: Erasmus, Martyr; 4 July, Odalrici (Ulrich), Martyr; 8 July: Kilian, Martyr; 11 July: Ketillus, Confessor (of Viborg); 29 July: Olav (Olaf), King and Martyr (in red); 23 October: Severin , Bishop (of Cologne); 30 October: Theodgarus, Confessor (of Jutland); 8 November: Wilhadi, Confessor (of Breme); 19 November: Elizabeth, Widow (in red); 20 November: Bernward, Confessor.

The Rota and Table of Golden Numbers is on f.11r. This section refers to the Metonic Lunar Cycle. Meton discovered that new moons occur on the same days of the solar year in a cycle of 19 solar years.

The Tabula pro Intervallo is on f.11v.

The Tabula festorum mobilium (moveable feasts) is on f.12r.

The Astronomical Tables are on f.12v.

The Tabula de Historiis imponendis is on f.13r.

The Hours of the Virgin start on f.15r. The Hours of the Virgin contained prayers to be recited as each of the eight canonical hours: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. In this case, the “Use” (e.g. Use of Rome, Use of Paris) is unidentified. One folio is missing.

The Penitential Psalms start on f.35v.

The Litany starts on f.41v. Entries in the Litany that may indicate the provenance of the manuscript are as follows. Martyrs: Alexandria, Victoria, Erasmus, Henry (Bishop of Uppsala). Confessors: Ansgar (Archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen), Severin, Galle, Allexis. Virgins: Walpurga, Gertrude, Helena, Bridget (of Sweden).

The Suscipe Domine hos psalmos septem starts on f.45v.

The Service of the Dead starts on f.47v.

The Fifteen Oes (prayers) of Saint Bridget start on f.73r.

The Prayer of Bede on the Seven Words starts on f.78v.

The Letania propria et valde bona starts on f.80r.

Prose beginning “O Maria piissima, stella maris clarissima” (Mary, most famous Star of the Sea) starts on f.87r.

The Prayer on entering a cemetery starts on f.87v. This section begins with Avete vos omnes fideles quorum corpora.

The Prayer of Saint Bernard starts on f.88r. It begins with Illumina oculos meos.

The Prayer on going to bed starts on f.89r. This section begins D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) Sancte Pater . . . quid quod ego indignissimus famulus tuus.

The Prayer of Saint Augustine is on f.90r. It begins with Deus propicius esto michi peccatori.

The Commendacio valde bona de Beata Virgo Maria is on f.91r. This section is addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Benedictio (Blessing) is on f.92r. It begins with with Benedicat me imperialis majestas.

The Prayers for before, during, and after Mass start on f.92v. These include prayers beginning Omnipotens et magne Deus ecce ego misero peccatore ad sacramentum; D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) redemptor mundi; O dulcissime Domine Jhesu amator hominum; O clementissime D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) Rogo te; O benignissime D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) Rogo te; O J.C. (Jesus Christus) clementissime deus qui non vis mortem peccatoris; Salve Salutaris Victima; Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum; Ago tibi gracias O Deus omnipotens; Anima Christi sanctifica me; Ave Jhesu Christe verbum patris; O sacrum convivium in quo Christus sumitur; Deus qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili; Ave verum corpus Christi; Ave sacer Christi sanguis; D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) pater sancte in hac sacratissima; and O bone Jhesu, O piissime Jhesu.

The Prayers of Pope John XXII start on f. 99v. These include Pro peccatis venialibus (for venial sins), beginning O eterna et interminabilis vita; Pro peccatis mortalibus (for mortal sins), starting O imperator curie celestis; and Pro conservatione in gratia, starting O radix immortalitatis.

The Prayers of Pope Gregory on the Five Wounds start on f.101v. This section begins with Ave dextra manus.

Other Prayers of Pope Gregory start on f.104r. They begin with D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) adoro te .

The Oratio quam misit manu propria exaratam Sixtus Pape IV, Cristierno regi dacie cum esset in urbe a.d. 1474 starts on f.105r. This section features a prayer concerning Pope Sixtus IV and Cristiernum, the king of Denmark in 1474. It begins with Omnipotens et clementissime deus creator celi et terre.

The Prayer of Boniface is on f.106r. It begins with D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) fili dei vivi.

The Prayer of Saint Bernard is on f.106r. It begins with O bone Jhesu duo in me agnosco.

The Prayer of Saint Bernard to the Virgin is on f.106v. It begins with O virgo Maria, Virgo regia et via.

The Three Prayers for grace to die start on f.107r. They begin with D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) per agoniam et orationem tuam.

The Speculum beatus Augustini de contemplatione Dominus Noster Jesus Christus starts on f.108r. It begins with Amo te deus meus.

The Prayers before Confession start on f.112r. They include prayers beginning with D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) qui sacramentum confessionis and D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) fili dei vivi per quam facta sunt omnia.

The Prayers before Mass start on f.113r. They include Summe sacerdos et vere pontifex (Saint Ambrose) on f.113r, D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) pastor bone, lumen inextinguibile on f.118r and Ave sanctissimum corpus on f.120r.

The O dulcissime consolatrix vivorum starts on f.121r.

The Da nobis quesumus omnipotens et misericors deus (Saint Bonaventura) is on f.123r.

The Orationes Augustini in libro postulationum start on f.123v. These include prayers beginning Da michi domine lacrimas internas; Suscipe confessionem meam; Peccavi super numerum arene maris; Emendemus in melius quod ignoranter peccavimus; O conscientia culpabilis; D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) fili dei vivi miserere michi misero peccatori; O celestis pater ecce ego indignus recolens; Miserere, miserere, miserere mei domine; O domina mea amantissima; and Deus qui de indignis dignos et de immundis mundos.

The Preparatoria (of the priest vesting) starts on f.130r. It begins with Adjutorium nostrum in nomine domini.

The Orationes beatus Augustini post Missam start on f.139v. These include prayers beginning D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) rex eterne glorie salvator mundi; Domine sancte pater omnipotens eterne deus; and Gracias tibi ago D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) qui me ad sacerdotale officium.

The Oratio sacerdotalis post missam starts on f.143r. It begins with Rex regum dominus dominancium.

The Oratio post missam legenda starts on f.146v. It begins with Omnipotens sempitue deus qui de gloriosissima virgine.

The Oratio valde bona ad filium dei starts on f. 148r. It begins with Transfige dulcissime Jhesu medulas anime mee.

The Oratio de Trinitate starts on f. 149r. It begins with Gracias tibi lux mea quia illuminasti me.

The Prayers to the Virgin start on f.152v. These include prayers beginning Sancta et perpetua virgo Maria; Sancta Maria mater D.N.J.C. (Dominus Noster Jesus Christus); O intemerata et in eternum benedicta; Ecce ad te confugio virgo nostra salvacio; Ave Maria gracia plena; and In manus tuas Sancta Maria commendam.

The Oratio bona de Passione starts on f.160ro. It begins with D.J.C. (Dominus Jesus Christus) fili dei vivi, creator et resuscitator humani generis.

The Rosarium gloriose semper virginis Santa Marie starts on f.162v. It begins with Ave Maria gracia plena dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus.

The Prayers of Pope Benedict XII start on f.165v. They begin with Pulcer qui circumcidisti Sacrosanctam coronam Christi. Talbot references this section of the manuscript in his 'A list of Cistercian Manuscripts in Great Britain' under his entry for Jacques Fournier, who later became Pope Benedict XII (see bibliography).

The Septem Gaudia Beata Virgo Maria starts on f.168r. It begins with Gaude beatissima virgo.

The Prayers in Low German apparently for use with Psalter start on f.172r.

The Seven Masses to be said in time of difficulty, stress, or heartache start on f.173r.

The Prayers to Saint Anne are on f.175r. They begin Ave Santa Anna.

The Prayer of Confession starts on f.175v.


The script is very good and uniform. The ornament consists of plain blue and red verse initials, Psalm initials alternately blue, red, or gold, and sectional initials of blue and red filigree.


  • 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

The book would seem to be North German, from the dialect of the prayers (f.172 and what follows) and the presence of Saint Wilhad and Saint Ansgar in the Kalendar and Litany. It has also strong Swedish and Danish connections. Possibly it was written for Schleswig. For items of interest in the Kalendar and Litany, see “Scope and Contents”.

The book contains some names of owners. On f.72v the name apparently of the original owner is written in gold: Johannes Hartensteen. On ff. 178 and 181, Sum liber Gualteri a Schevichaven, Johannes a Schevichaven. The last may possibly be Johannes Hartensteen himself. All the prayers are for a masculine owner.

Previous title

Title given to the manuscript in Catherine Borland’s catalogue: Horae and Prayer Book

Previous reference

Laing 17


Talbot, C. H. “A list of Cistercian Manuscripts in Great Britain.” Traditio, vol. 8, 1952, pp. 402–418. See p.411.

Physical Facet

Material : Vellum

Binding: Brown calf, gold tooling.

Collation: a14, b7 (wants 1), c12, d8, e12, f8, g11 (wants 12), h8, i12, k8, l11 (wants 12), m10-s10=181.


12.7 cm x 9.53 cm


Secundo folio: Celi enarrant

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 181, 20 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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