Psalms and Song of Songs manuscript, 15th century
Contains a liturgical calendar, the book of psalms and several canticles or hymns taken from the bible. Bound in faded brown velvet, illuminated in gold and colors, and features intricate ornamental borders. The presence of English saints listed in the calendar—Chad, Cuthbert, Oswald—points to an English provenance. The calendar also matches the Sarum (Salisbury) rite, the most common liturgical usage in Medieval England.
Psalters were used for private devotion in the Middle Ages by wealthy lay people. Many were made for women and often they were given as wedding presents from a husband to his bride. A prayer at the end of this book asks, “Grant, Lord Jesus Christ, that these short verses may be effective for me, your servant N., and John your servant, both for remission of all our sins and for providing a time of living well.” N. may stand for John’s wife, or may be a placeholder for a future bride.