Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

Scope and Content

Book of Hours of Roman use, written in north-east France or Flanders, with calendar, hours of the Holy Cross, of the Holy Ghost, mass and hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seven penitential psalms, litany of the saints and the office of the dead. Though the manuscript is illuminated throughout, there are two full-page miniatures: folio 67v shows the crucified Christ in majesty at the last judgment, and folio 80v the performance of the office of the dead by three priests and five black-robed religious around a catafalque. The manuscript can be dated to the second half of the 15th century.

Administrative / Biographical History

During the late Middle Ages, the Book of Hours developed as a popular devotional text for the laity, who would recite the particular prayer for the hour of the day and time of year according to the ecclesiastical calendar. The accompanying illuminations and miniatures of saints, the Virgin Mary, and Christ provided an opportunity for spiritual reflection and prayer for salvation.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Other Finding Aids

See N.R.Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries: I, London (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1969), pp.368-9.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

6¼" x 4½". Folios 59-66v and 68-68v are each written in a different hand, different also from, but contemporary with, the main body of the manuscript. There are decorated initials in blue, pink and gold, and other capitals in black and gold, and blue and red, throughout the manuscript; some leaves have decorated borders, heavily cropped.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

The manuscript contains the bookplates of James Bellamy, one-time President of Saint John's College, Oxford University, and of T.S.Blakeney, who bought the manuscript as item 42 in a sale at Sotheby's on 7 Dec 1953. He had the manuscript rebound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe. It was bought from him by the University Library in 1959.

Geographical Names