A Christmas Gift from Charles N. Prothro

[Missale. Use of Sarum].
Illuminated manuscript on vellum.
[England, c.1418]. (Prothro B-212)

In 1969, Mrs. Prothro received this magnificently illuminated Missal as a Christmas present from her husband Charles. According to an inscription added in 1863 by Rev. F. C. Husenbeth, the fifteenth-century manuscript originally was a wedding gift that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry Chichele (1362–1443), presented to his niece and her husband in the year 1418. The Missal contains all of the prayers, hymns, and biblical passages read by the priest during the celebration of the Latin Mass throughout the year. “Use of Sarum” refers to the Anglo-Saxon and Norman liturgy codified in the eleventh century by St. Osmund, Bishop of Sarum (Salisbury). An outstanding example of the typically joyful decoration of fifteenth-century English manuscripts, the Missal lies open to the various chants of “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (Luke 2:14) heard on major feast days.