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Psalter and Hymnarium (Benedictine), late 14th century

Identifier: MS 60


The manuscript is an Italian Psalter and Hymnarium from the late 14th century. An hymnarium is a liturgical book that contains hymns and is a fixed part of the liturgy. This manuscript is also probably Benedictine.

The Benedictine Psalter, with noted Anthems and Hymns, and Chapters with their Versicles and Responds, are arranged in the following order:

Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Prime; Matins and Lauds for the whole week start on f.1r.

Canticles from the Commune Sanctorum with various Anthems for feasts of Apostles, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, and Virgins, and for use between Easter and Pentecost start on f.141r.

Short Lessons with Responses for use from Easter to Pentecost; and within the Octaves of Pentecost, Corpus Christi, Saint John the Baptist, Saints Peter and Paul, Assumption and Nativity start on f.146r.

Grail of Easter Day starts on f.147v. In this section, a part beginning Hec dies has been inserted at a later date.

Sundays at Prime, Terce, Sext, None; Mondays and Tuesdays at Terce, Sext, and None; Regina Coeli; and Evensong start on f.149r.

Compline; Nunc Dimittis; Gloria; and Credo start on f.192v.

The Litany starts on f.197r.

The Agenda Mortuorum starts on f.201v.

The Hymns for the Year beginning in Advent start on f.207r.

The Commemorationes Communes start on f.243r. This section is incomplete.


Good, large, uniform, Italian Gothic hand.


Besides penwork initials, there are a number of large floriated initials in the Psalter, the colours being blue, green, vermilion, yellow, and lake on square backgrounds of burnished gold with branching foliage, gold roundels and, sometimes, a bird in the margin. The 'B' of Beatus vir (f.1r) resembles these in colouring, but contains in the upper compartment a figure of Christ, and in the lower a figure of David. There is also a figure of Christ in an initial on f.169 and an angel in an initial on f.172v.


  • Creation: late 14th 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

Evidence of contents, writing, and illumination show the book to be Italian and Benedictine. Local connection does not appear to be clearly indicated. Certain slight variations from Benedictine Use, for example in the Versicles and Responds to the Chapters, and in the Anthems at Prime, may have some local significance.

In the Sanctorale at folio 224 the feast of Saint Benedict is headed In festo sanctissimi Patris Nostri Benedicti Abbatis. He heads the list of doctors in the Litany, which also includes Saint Placidus, a Benedictine saint, and Saint Ansanus (of Rome and Siena).

Previous reference

Laing 484

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum

Binding: Oak boards covered plain morocco.

Collation: a8-r8, s6, t6, v8, x8, y4 , z8-C8, D6, E8-H8, I4, K4=246.


45.72 cm x 32.39 cm


Secundo folio: text reges eos

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 246, double columns, 21 lines of text, 7 and 8 lines of music to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379