Book of Hours (Use of Rome, Péronne)

Scope and Content

Book of Hours of Roman use, written and illuminated for female use at or near Péronne, France, with calendar, hours of the Cross, of the Holy Ghost, hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seven penitential psalms, litany of the saints, litany of St.Peter of Luxemburg (d 1387), memorials of saints, office of the dead, and numerous prayers, some written for use by men and some for use by women. The rubrics throughout are in French, as are some prayers. There are additions in late 15th century and 16th century hands. On the last leaf, folio 227v, there are two notes of ownership: (i) 'Ces heures somt et appartiennent a marie Le long, feme a nicolas Le Machon procureur dem[eurant] a Perone' and (ii) 'Ces heures somt et appartiennent a marie matron feme de nicolas cordier merchier demeurant a Peronne... 1538'. As well as illumination throughout the volume, there are four full-page miniatures depicting the Crucifixion, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Annunciation and David praying.

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).

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

5¾" x 4". 20th century binding. Illuminated with decorated initials in blue, pink and gold, other capitals in red and blue, and black and gold, and line fillers of gold and blue.There are four full-page miniatures, with framed floral borders on 3 sides.

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

An inscription on folio 1 of the manuscript, 'from the library of the Cardinal de Retz', has not been substantiated any more than has the tradition that the Book of Hours once belonged to Marie Antoinette's confessor. Its known provenance begins with Edmund Waterton (1830-1887) of Walton Hall, near Wakefield, whose signature, dated 1843, also appears on folio 1, together with a note in another hand 'from P Murray'. From Waterton the manuscript passed to Miss Mackie, daughter of R.B.Mackie, MP for Wakefield in 1880. She made a gift of it to the Right Reverend H.L.Gwyer, one-time bishop of George, South Africa, (but in 1956 of Amberley, Sussex). It was bought from him by Thomas Sydney Blakeney (1903-1976), who had the manuscript rebound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe (c 1960) and his own bookplate inserted. The manuscript was bought from Blakeney by the University of London Library in 1960.

Geographical Names