RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 262/4
Datec 1423-1430s
Extent257 leaves
TitleHorae (Book of Hours, Bridgettine)
pp. 11-22 Sarum calendar, with additions of Bridgettine feasts
pp. 27-109 Hours of B.V.M. of the use of Sarum
pp. 113-140 Penitential psalms, Gradual psalms and 'letania'
pp. 141-200 Office of the dead
pp. 201-204 Commendations
pp. 224-227 Prayers to the persons of the Trinity
pp. 227-232 Alia oracio Domine ihesu christe qui septem uerba in vltimo vite tue...
pp. 232-233 Oracio ad sanctam mariam...
pp. 233-239 Memoriae of John Baptist, John ev., and the guardian angel

Attributed by Ker and Piper as having been written in England for Bridgettine use (men or women) at Syon Abbey in c 1423 or 1424. Yardley and Mann suggest that the later addition of Bridgettine feast days to the calendar indicate that it was not originally written for Syon Abbey, but that it was part of its medieval library (see publication note, pp. 65-66). Hogg suggests that the manuscript was used by a priest associated with Syon Abbey in middle of the 15th century (see publication note, p. 49). This manuscript was reacquired by the community from Myers & Co. Booksellers and Printers in 1921 for £120.

215 x 142 mm
Original binding of bevelled wooden boards covered with white (once pink) leather
Two strap-and-pin fastenings, straps missing
Musical notation
Cadels with human profiles, including some musical (p. 85, 93, 94, 140, 141, 143, 147, 149, 150, 152, 157, 160, 167, 168, 176, 178, 184, 186, 191, 194, 196, 197, 214, 234)
Illuminated initials and borders in red, blue, green and gold
First part of the manuscript dates to 1420s-1430s, but later additions to the manuscript include the full psalter, the Hours of the Holy Ghost and the Office of the Dead
The catchwords on quires 8, 11, 13-14 have human profiles
Pen trials by the scribe at the end of the manuscript
Spaces left for initials that were never added
Inscription in front of manuscript: “'his book belongs to the Bridgettine nuns of Syon Abbey now at Sout Brent. S. Devon—Sep. 22nd 27'
Annotations in the calendar indicating the start of the astrological sign Libra (p. 19) and Scorpio (p.20)
Admin HistorySyon Abbey was a monastic house of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, also known as the Bridgettine Order. The house was founded directly from the Mother House in Vadstena in Sweden in 1415, and the community followed the Rule of St Bridget of Sweden. This enclosed Bridgettine community - comprising both monks and nuns and governed by an abbess - was known for its dedication to reading, meditation and contemplation. In addition, it was unusual in being the only English Catholic community of religious to have continued existing without interruption through the Reformation period. In the wake of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, the community dispersed into smaller groups in which they continued their religious practice, with some remaining in England whilst others sought refuge abroad. Syon Abbey was restored for a short period in England under the Catholic rule of Mary I; however, following the accession of Elizabeth I and the return to Protestantism, the community went into exile. The community spent over half a century migrating through the Low Countries (Antwerp, Dendermonde, Haamstede, Mishagen, Mechelen) and France (Rouen), before eventually finding a new home in Lisbon, Portugal in 1594. In Lisbon, the community survived a convent fire in 1651 and the Lisbon Earthquake in 1755, but both events presumably resulted in the loss of many of Syon's early records. The last brother of Syon Abbey died in 1695. In 1809, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, the community - with the exception of three sisters, who remained in Lisbon - attempted a return to England; however, by 1815, they were struggling financially, and eventually they relinquished many of their ancient treasures to the Earl of Shrewsbury in exchange for financial support (many of these treasures were auctioned at the The Great Sale of 1857 at Alton Towers). One sister returned to the community in Lisbon, whilst the last of the nuns in England died in 1837. Following the arrival of new postulants in the early nineteenth century, the community in Lisbon recovered and regained its strength. In 1861, amid rising religious tensions in Portugal, the community successfully returned to England, where they initially resided in Spetisbury, Dorset. Following a further relocation to Chudleigh, Devon, in 1887, the community finally settled in South Brent, Devon, in 1925. On account of dwindling numbers and the age of the remaining nuns, the decision was made to close Syon Abbey in 2011. In the same year, the archive was transferred to the University of Exeter, where it joined other previously deposited collections relating to Syon Abbey, including printed books and manuscripts from the Syon Abbey library. The community attracts considerable research interests throughout the world.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialSee EUL MS 389/LIB/5/1 for the Myers and Co. Illustrated Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, Rare Books, and Autograph Letters' (1922) advertising the manuscript 'Syon Horae' and an invoice dated 15 December 1921.
Creator_NameSyon Abbey; 1415-2011; Bridgettine
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2024