Missal, Use of Sarum.


MISSAL, USE OF SARUM. Missale ad vsum ecclesie Sarisburiensis. M.D.liiij.

[Rouen], Richardi hamillonis, in edibus honesti viri Roberti valentini, M. D. liiii. [i.e. 1555]


4to. ff. [viii], cxxxvi, lxiiii, lv, [i]. [maltese cross] , a-r , A-G , ²A-G . [lacking a1] Gothic letter, in red and black, double column, 47 lines. Valentin’s fine woodcut device of two unicorns on title and verso of last, woodcut musical notation, several column width woodcuts, one half page woodcut crucifixion, white on black criblé woodcut initials, ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph’ in contemporary hand on verso of last, bookplate of the Monastery of St. Michael at Belmont, Herefordshire on pastedown. Light age yellowing, title page dusty with small restoration on verso to lower blank margin, scattered single worm holes at blank gutter in first eight quires, some lower edges waterstained, minor soiling, worm trail in some blank gutters, cut a little close at fore-edge, side notes just touched in a few places, tear to lower outer corner of F7 with loss of a few words, marginal rust hole (from clasp nail) in last four leaves, single worm hole to text at last fifty odd leaves. A good copy, on crisp, thick paper, in contemporary dark calf over wooden boards, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, middle panel filled with an acanthus leaf roll, (Oldham MW.d (8) 870), shield blind stamped at centres (not in Oldham), spine, rebacked with original spine laid down, remains of clasps and catches.

A extremely rare edition of the Sarum Missal, one of the last of its kind, and one of the very few examples of the missal printed during Mary I’s reign, in a contemporary London binding. The Sarum (an abbreviation for ‘Sarisburium’, Salisbury) rite was the principal pre-Reformation rite of the English Catholic Church. Traditionally, it has been credited to Osmund, a Norman nobleman who arrived in England in 1078 and became the second Bishop of Salisbury. It now however seems more likely that Richard le Poore, dean and later Bishop of the diocese from 1217 to 1228 was responsible for its development. Sarum was by far the most important rite in England and Wales, far superseding those of York, Hereford, Bangor and Lincoln. A breviary contains the offices for the canonical hours, the daily prayers of the Catholic Church. All secular priests were obliged to read the prescribed passages from the breviary every day. It includes lessons and psalms for every day of the year but excludes the eucharistic office.

Under Henry VIII additional emphasis was placed on the Sarum Rite in order to create a more uniform national liturgy, and local uses such as the Hereford and York Rites were discontinued. It was suppressed during the reign of Edward VI as the Protestant reformers under Cranmer replaced all liturgical works with the ‘Book of Common Prayer’, but restored by the Catholic Mary Tudor. This edition dates from a year after Mary’s accession to the throne. It is one of the last printings of the Rite as a living liturgy, before its final suppression at the beginning of Elizabeth I’s reign.“[on Mary’s accession], with Mary’s authorisation, Gardiner, of Winchester, celebrated for Edward VI a Latin requiem Mass according to Sarum use. In parish churches both Latin and English formularies were used simultaneously for some months. But in the autumn an Act repealed all the late enactments regarding the Pope and his religion. It was excepted that an English lesson be read at Matins and Evensong on Sunday and holidays and that the English Litany of 1544 (it had been familiar in the vernacular primers current before Henry VIII’s time) should remain in use. With this exception the country returned to the use of the old books. In effect these appear to have been mainly of Sarum use, which may then have come to be regarded as the national use of the Church of England as absolved by Cardinal Pole and reconciled to Rome.” Stanley Morison ‘English Prayer Books: An Introduction to the Literature of Christian Public Worship.’ Sarum Breviaries of this period are particularly rare as having been ordered defaced or destroyed by Edward VI in his injunction of 1549, they finally met their demise, after the brief respite of Mary’s reign, when Elizabeth I, by Royal injunctions of 1559, reiterated the Edwardian decree that the Sarum books should be “utterly abolished, extinguished, and forbidden.” They continued to be used in English Roman Catholic seminaries abroad until the Roman Breviary of 1568 and Roman Missal of 1570. The editions printed in Mary’s reign were the last printings of the Sarum rite until the revival under Cardinal Newman and Pusey in the early nineteenth century, when the Sarum Breviary was translated into English.

“The Sarum Missal, above all, was certainly in greater demand than any other single book in preReformation England, for every mass-saying priest and every church or chapel in the land was obliged to own or share a copy for daily use…..In a total of forty-eight editions of the Sarum Missal from 1501 to 1534 (the year when the final break with Rome was signalized by Henry VIII’s Statute of Supremacy) twenty-six were printed in Paris, sixteen at Rouen, two at Antwerp, and only four in London…. After 1534, except for a brief reappearance in 1554-7 under Mary Tudor, when five editions were produced (two at Rouen, one in Paris, two in London), the Sarum Missal was printed no more. Existing copies seemed useless or even damnable, except to a clandestine few, their possession became dangerous to life or liberty, and nearly all were destroyed by fire, or neglect, or used as waste paper. In our time, when men value them again at last for their sanctity, or beauty, or as monuments of religious or printing history, or as bibliographical marvels, these missals are rare indeed.” George D. Painter. ‘Two Missals printed for Wynkyn de Worde.’

ESTC S125313 (No copies recorded in American libraries.) STC 16216. Weale-Bohatta 1452.
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