Missale ad vsum ecclesie Eboracen[sis] tam in ca[n]tu q[uo] in litera recognitu[m], co[n]grue[n]tibus historijs adornatum, marginalib[us] quotationib[us].

Paris, Prosisq[ue] ac varijs additamentis locupletatum sumptibus Fra[n]cisci Regnault, 1533.


4to. ff. 206 unnumbered leaves. A8, a-m8, n4, o-z8, ²a8 [et]10. Gothic letter, in red and black throughout, double column. Title within white on black criblé woodcut border incorporating Regnault’s device at foot, with woodcut vignette, white on black criblé woodcut initials, numerous small woodcut illustrations in text, two full-page in the canon, typeset music. Contemporary autograph of Nicholas Jackson (of Leeds?), with his early annotations on title-page and next page, including four lines in both Latin and English about the purchase of the book, slightly later autograph of “William Standley Edward” on h2 verso, engraved armorial bookplate of John Towneley (1731-1813), of Corney House, Chiswick (the heir of Charles Towneley, the antiquarian of Towneley Hall, Lancashire), whose library contained a notable collection of Caxtons and other early English printing, sold at Evans, 8 June 1814, lot 710, to Richard Heber for £2-3-0, his sale, again Evans, part VI, 3 April 1835, lot 2363, to Thorpe for £4 (and then bought by Mendham from Thorpe; there is the note “very rare 5/15/6” above the Towneley bookplate (probably Thorpe’s price), old Law Society stamp on flyleaf and A4. Light age yellowing, title-page and verso of last somewhat dusty, occasional light soiling, small tear in margin of n2 just touching a few letters on verso, small ink hole in blank margin of last quire, small light water-stain in lower blank margin of a few leaves. A good copy in English speckled calf c. 1700, rebacked, with original spine neatly laid down, red morocco label, all edges red.

An exceptionally rare complete Missal for the York rite, which was used across the north of England; it is the fifth and final York Missal listed by STC, the first of which was printed in1509 (?). “It was a received principle in medieval canon law that while as regards judicial matters, as regards the sacraments, and also the more solemn fasts, the custom of the Roman Church was to be adhered to; still in the matter of church services (divinis officiis), each Church kept to its own traditions (see the Decretum Gratiani, c. iv., d. 12). In this way, there came into existence a number of “Uses,” by which word were denoted the special Liturgical customs which prevailed in a particular diocese or group of dioceses: speaking of England before the Reformation, in the south and in the midlands, the ceremonial was regulated by the Sarum Use, but in the greater part of the north the Use of York prevailed.” Catholic Encyclopedia.

There are significantly fewer editions printed of the “use of York” than the Sarum Missal and they have survived in very, very few copies. There were 51 printings of the Sarum as compared with 5 of the York. “The state of liturgy in Britain before the Prayer Book is often described in the words of the well known preface: ‘some folowing Salisbury use, some Herford use, some the use of Bangor, some of Yorke, some of Lincoln; now from henceforth all the whole realm shal have but one use.’ The passage implies the continued existence of established local rites, although the author may have overstated their diversity. It has long been accepted that in later medieval England the use of Sarum, which had developed from the customs of Salisbury Cathedral, eventually superseded most of the other local patterns. At least one significant regional use did remain at the English reformation: that of York, a counterpart to Sarum used throughout the northern province. The origins and survival of the use of York in spite of the ascendancy of Sarum demand explanation.” Matthew Salisbury ‘The Use of York: Characteristics of the Medieval Liturgical Office in York’.

The date of this printing marked the end of the trade in books from the Continent destined for the English market, not simply because of the Act of Supremacy of 1534, but another Act passed that same year to restrict the activities of foreigners in the English book trade was the real cause. Regnault, as the primary importer, was the most affected and he wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1536 to plead his case. This missal is exceptionally rare with only six copies recorded in libraries, and only one in the US at Illinois. An attractive, complete copy with exceptional provenance.

ESTC S120751. STC 16224. Weale-Bohatta 363.


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