Contact Us

Parker Library On the Web Manuscripts in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 079: Pontifical.

IIIF Drag-n-drop
Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 079: Pontifical.
Alternate Title:
Pontificale (London)
Latin and English, Middle (1100-1500)
ff. 24 + cclix
Approximate Date:
[ca. 1300 - 1499]
Parker Manuscripts
CCCC MS 79, dating from c. 1400 and c. 1410, is the most elaborate decorated Pontifical to survive from medieval England. The text contains the church services particular to bishops, and is a specifically English version rather than the Durandus edition of the Pontifical widely used throughout Europe at this time. Its ownership can be determined from the heraldry on some of its pages, and it seems to have passed through the hands of three bishops who made additions to the text and illumination. The original patron of the book seems to have been Guy de Mohun, bishop of St Davids (1397-1407), and it then passes first to Richard Clifford, bishop of Worcester (1401-1407) and bishop of London (1407-1421) who had further illumination done, and finally to Philip Morgan, bishop of Worcester (1419-1426) and bishop of Ely (1426-1435) who added a section of text. By 1489 the Pontifical was at St Paul's Cathedral because on ff. 1v-2 are added the texts for the ceremony held there in that year of the presentation of the papal sword and cap to Henry VII by Pope Innocent VIII's nuncio. Small framed miniatures and historiated initials illustrate the various pontifical offices, and many pages have elaborate gilded borders and ornamental initials. The book was probably made in London because its artists in their ornament and figure style derive from the illuminators who made the Litlyngton Missal (Westminster Abbey MS 37) in 1383-1384.