Manuscripts and Special Collections

Prayer book (WLC/LM/11)

 WLC/LM/11, cover

Latin, 1450-1475. 44 ff

A fifteenth-century prayer book containing many prayers to the Virgin Mary, and near the end prayers to saints associated with East Anglia, such as Edmund, Etheldreda, Helena (identified with Colchester), and also Frideswide.

The volume has been damaged and the condition is fragile. The opening page is handsomely illuminated with border scrolls of leaves and flowers. Painted on the end-leaves are three shields that have yet to be fully identified.

It is in a fine Oxford binding, blind-tooled calf over wooden boards backed by a legal document from the diocese of York. The stamps on the binding are those associated with a known prolific binder who was based in Oxford. These distinctive stamps allow us to date the binding of the book to sometime in the 1470s. For the binding tools see Strickland Gibson, Early Oxford Bindings, 1903, p. 16, plates III and XXXIII.

Dating is based on the most recent catalogue description: second half of the 15th century, in conjunction with the bookbinding evidence (Reference: The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts)

Image shows the cover of prayer book in Oxford binding, c. 1470

View catalogue record

View zoomable images of the following folios from WLC/LM/11, together with transcriptions and translations of selected parts of the text, on our Wives, Widows and Wimples online learning resource:


Further Reading

  • Historical Manuscript Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of Lord Middleton Preserved at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire, compiled by W. H. Stevenson (London, 1911), pp. 240.
  • M. Foot, Studies in the History of Bookbinding (1993), 116, n.29.
  • Catalogue description by R. Hanna, in Ralph Hanna and Thorlac Turville-Petre (eds), The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: Texts, Owners and Readers (Boydell and Brewer, 2010)

Next page: WLC/LM/37

Manuscripts and Special Collections

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