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MS 59: Psalter, early 15th century

Identifier: MS 59
Psalter (MS 59)
Psalter (MS 59)


The manuscript is an English Psalter that was created in the early 15th century. This manuscript is also Brigittine, meaning that it relates to that order of monks and nuns. It was therefore probably made for Syon, this being the only Brigittine foundation in England.
The Kalendar starts on f.1r.
Entries in the Kalendar that suggest and English and Brigittine origin are as follows. 7 May: Saint John of Beverley, cum regimine chori (in red, with his Translation, 25 October, in black); 28 May: Translation of Saint Bridget, Majus Duplex; 23 July: Birth of Saint Bridget, Majus Duplex; 13 July: Saint Mildred.
Other significant entries are as follows. 28 February: Saint Oswald, Bishop of Worcester and York; 30 April: Saint Erkenwald, ix lc; 11 May: Saint Fremud; 10 May: Saint Brendan, Abbot; 4 September: Translation of Saint Cuthbert, ix lc.
The Psalter starts on f.7r. It is missing Psalms 24:14-Psalms 25:4; Psalms 50:9-Psalms 52:4; and Psalms 79:19-end of Psalms 81lxxxi.
The Canticles and Quicunque vult start on f.112r.
Writing The hand is Gothic, fairly written. The ornament consists of plain red and blue verse initials; blue and red filigree Psalm initials, and floriated initials, blue and lake on burnished gold grounds, at the divisions of the Psalter.
Illumination The initial to Beatus vir (f.7r) has a full border consisting of two narrow bands of gold and colour with circular bosses at each corner and feathery branch work with foliage and gold balls. The others have partial borders of similar design (for example f.30r, f.80v, f.92r). Probably four of the floriated initials are missing.


  • early 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

Both internal and external evidence point to English origin, the Kalendar being English and Brigittine, and the illumination English, characteristic of the first half of the 15th century. For entries in the Kalendar that particularly point to this origin, see ‘Scope and Contents’.
The probability is that it is a Syon book, this being the only Brigittine foundation in England. The occurrence of Saint Mildred and Saint Erkenwald further suggest London district. There are some curious insertions in a 16th century hand, the significance of which is not clear. They are as follows. 9 January: Saint Marcyan; 19 January, Saint Henry [?]; 23 January: Saint Babile [?]; 6 February: S[...]oye Virgyn Quoyne; 31 March: Saint Arnulph; 2 April: Saint Theodosia; 5 April: Saints Agapy, Thyony, and Hereny; 31 August: Saint Edbrad [Eadbyrht, Lindisfarne?]; 9 September: Saint Dorothy.
There is also a 16th century entry in the lower margin under December (f.6v), Elynor Mowise Lowe was borne into yis world upon ye innocenttys day in ye mornyng betweyne xii and on of ye cloke ye yere of our Lord 1543. God make her a good woman, ye 25 day of December yan beyng on a Fryday. According to an inscription on a fly-leaf, the manuscript was presented to the Library by the graduates of the year 1636.

Previous reference

D. b. III. 9

Material: Vellum

Binding: Modern. Rebound by S.M. Cockerell in red Morocco, 1957.

Collation: a6, b8, c7 (wants 7), d8 (wants 7), e8, f7 (wants 1), g8 , h7 (wants 6), i8-p8, q1=116.


19.69 cm x 14.61 cm


Secundo folio: Quoniam tu percussisti
Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 116, 26 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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