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An Anglo-Norman Treatise on the Mass: An Edition


Charles Roe

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This article examines the textual history of a treatise in Anglo-Norman French containing instructions for meditation during mass directed at the laity. The treatise has received scarce previous study. The article consists of a thorough study of the treatise’s textual history, which includes its frequent abridgement and excerption, and mistaken listing as three separate texts in Dean (720--22), as well as brief observations on the treatise’s language. It further provides a best-text edition of the only surviving version of the treatise in its unabbreviated form, corrected against the other manuscripts in clear cases of error.

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1087-6781
ISSN: Print 2754-4575
ISSN: Online 2754-4583
DOI: 10.57686/256204/2

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© 2021 Charles Roe
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It has become widely known that the Fourth Lateran Council encouraged a proliferation of works of religious instruction in thirteenth-century western Europe.1

This movement produced some of the most widely circulated Latin texts in medieval Europe, along with the most widely copied and influential French texts in thirteenth-century England.2 One of the greatest successes in the close aftermath of Lateran IV was the Mirour de Seinte Eglyse. The Mirour is an Anglo-Norman French translation of the Speculum religiosorum, an instructive and devotional treatise on the life of faith originally composed for professional religious by Edmund of Abingdon (Archbishop of Canterbury 1233–1240, canonised 1246). The French Mirour saw a much wider circulation than the Latin Speculum in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and became the basis for both a further translation back into Latin, which itself saw extensive circulation, and a series of Middle English adaptations.3 The Anglo-Norman French text itself is one of the most widely extant in the corpus, surviving in at least twenty-eight manuscripts and fragments.

One curiosity of the Mirour is its treatment of the mass. The Fourth Lateran Council’s first canon sets the Eucharist at the heart of the Church:

Una vero est fidelium universalis ecclesia, extra quam nullus omnino salvatur, in qua idem ipse sacerdos et sacrificium Iesus Christus, cuius corpus et sanguis in sacramento altaris sub speciebus panis et vini veraciter continentur, transsubstantiatis pane in corpus et vino in sanguinem potestate divina, ut ad perficiendum mysterium unitatis accipiamus ipsi de suo, quod accepit ipse de nostro.

The universal Church of the faithful is one, outside of which absolutely no one is saved, in which is that same priest and sacrifice Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine, with the bread transubstantiated into the body and the wine into the blood by divine power, so that to the fulfilment of the mystery of unity we may take up from him of himself that which he took up himself from us.4

Considering the primacy of the Eucharist in the Council’s canons, the Mirour treats it with surprisingly little emphasis. It briefly lists it as one of the sacraments, ‘le sacrement de l’auter, ke conferme le penant e le done force k’il ne rechete autrefie en peché, e le susteint, e le recunsile’ (‘the sacrament of the altar, which confirms the penitent and gives him strength that he might not fall again into sin, and sustains him, and reconciles him’), and only grants it further elucidation towards the end of the text, in the course of a meditation on the Last Supper.5 There it urges consideration of Christ’s delivery of the sacrament: ‘de la cene devez penser coment a tele hore dona Nostre Seygnur son cors e son sanc en semblance de payn e de vin, ke nus pouns ver e le verray cors e le verray sanc Jhesu Crist, ke nus ne pouns pas ver de oil charnel’ (‘regarding the Last Supper you ought to think how at that hour Our Lord gave his body and his blood in the semblance of bread and of wine, so that we might see both the true body and the true blood of Jesus Christ, which we cannot see with our fleshly eye’). It further addresses the grace to be received in the sacrament as offered by the Church, with a brief rationale for its institution:

Pur ço ke nus averyuns hydur [quant] a nostre cors pur manger char e beyvre sanc de homme, pur ço nus dona il sun cors e son sanc en semblance de payn e de vyn, pur conforter nostre sen corporel par teu manger ke nus sumus a hus de ver, e pur edifier nostre fey, par ço ke nus veums une chose e creums un’ autre. E pur ço kant vus devez aprocher l’auter pur estre acomuyngnee, ausi recevez ilokes cel sacrament cum si vus le receussez tut droyt hors de sun costé.

Given that we would have horror in our bodies at the prospect of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a man, on this account he gave us his body and his blood in the semblance of bread and of wine, to comfort our corporal senses with such sustenance as we are accustomed to seeing, and to edify our faith, on the basis that we see one thing and believe another. And, therefore, when you are to approach the altar to receive communion, receive this sacrament as if you received it straight out of his side.6

The Mirour’s audience clearly desired a treatment of such a fundamental subject which was more complete than these passing references. Wilshere edits two versions of the Mirour, the ‘A-text’ quoted here, and a ‘B-text’, which he understands to be a revised form of the treatise, prepared with a lay audience in mind. One respect in which his ‘B-text’ diverges most fully from his ‘A-text’ is its expansion of the summary of the Seven Sacraments; this has the result that the Eucharist is introduced more thoroughly on its first treatment in the text, with attention to the Last Supper, the exclusive ability for a priest to perform the consecration, and the demand for annual communion at Easter instituted at Lateran IV.7

This article provides an edition of a similar attempt to remedy this perceived defect in the Mirour — a set of instructions for a lay person to follow when hearing mass, which is appended to four copies of the ‘A-text’. These instructions take the form of an Anglo-Norman French prose text which explains Christ’s institution of the sacrament and consists of directions in which members of a congregation should turn their thoughts ‘a chekune parcele de la messe’ (‘at each part of the mass’) that their devotion might ‘estre esprise par bone pensés’ (‘be kindled with good thoughts’) (l. 18). It is not directed towards the ordained, as it expects its audience to be viewing the mass without taking a direct role in the celebration, and to be ‘acumonié espiritalement tut ne recevez vus pas veablement le sacrement’ (‘in receipt of communion spiritually, albeit that you do not receive the sacrament visibly’) (ll. 122–23). In Dean and Boulton’s Anglo-Norman Literature, the text is listed as items 720, 721, and 722; this article establishes that these three entries are in fact different forms of a single text.8

This text has only received sustained scholarly attention in the abbreviated form found in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS f. fr. 13342 (listed as Dean 722). This version of the treatise is reduced to a series of captions which accompany illustrations of the stages of the mass; it has received magisterial attention from Paul Binski under the title ‘What to Do and Think at Mass’, in relation to the cultivation of a particular clerical and classical habitus through thirteenth-century English art, a ‘basically clerical agenda of orderliness, doctrinal clarity and decency of behaviour’.9 Binski identifies ‘striking discursive similarities between the instructions in the treatise and the Mirour [de Seinte Eglyse]’, including ‘the way in which the Mass is used to provide a series of devotional cues in the text, in the same way as the Hours of the Office are used in the Mirour’ and ‘the integration of catechetical material into devotional activity itself’.10 Study of the full textual history of the Anglo-Norman treatise reinforces this impression; it appears to be intimately associated with the Mirour de Seinte Eglyse. The treatise follows the Mirour in four of its six surviving copies; of the other two copies, one survives in a relatively ephemeral form, roughly copied on unbound bifolia with a trilingual vocabulary and some culinary receipts and the other is reduced to a series of excerpts which supplement prayers to be said during mass in a Book of Hours. Two copies feature no distinct visual division between the Mirour and the treatise at all. Dean and Boulton go so far as to claim that the original text of the treatise is ‘Possibly by St. Edmund Rich whose Mirour it follows in three MSS’.11 This is not impossible, but it is hard to support: the manuscript descriptions in Helen Forshaw’s edition of Edmund’s original Speculum religiosorum do not indicate the presence of any Latin treatment of the Eucharist following the text she edits, all French versions of the Mirour clearly emerge from the same translation of that Latin text, and most do not contain this supplement. The simplest explanation for this is that the treatise on the mass was composed in French as an appendix to the French Mirour which expands its treatment of the Eucharist in line with its meditations and broader integration of catechesis and devotion. This would suggest a date of origin between the composition of the French Mirour (suggested by Wilshere to follow Edmund’s canonisation in 1246) and the production of the earliest extant manuscript at the turn of the century.12 Whilst localisation of any Anglo-Norman text is difficult, given the lack of known regional variation within the dialect, all six of the treatise’s extant manuscripts can be placed in the midlands or East Anglia, with the possible exception of BnF MS f. fr. 13342 (see below).

The treatise is relatively precocious for a vernacular treatment of devotions to be undertaken during mass. The Latin tradition of commentary on the mass is long and sophisticated, with prominent contemporary examples including Innocent III’s De mysteriis missae, William Durandus’ Rationale divinorum officiorum, and Albertus Magnus’ De sacrificio missae. This treatise, however, is the most thorough set of Anglo-Norman instructions for hearing mass; other shorter collections of prayers appear in devotional books, including alongside the extracted passages from this treatise in the Carew-Poyntz Hours, but do not constitute a full or widely circulated commentary on the liturgy.13 Extensive treatments of the Eucharist are found in longer instructional texts, like Robert of Greatham’s Corset and the Lumere as lais, but these explain doctrine rather than guiding lay participation in the service. A more readily comparable tradition of commentary on the mass in English emerged later and lasted until the Reformation.14 The texts which constitute this tradition have received limited critical attention, but excerpts from most of the more prominent examples can be found in Thomas Frederick Simmons’s 1879 edition of the so-called Lay Folks’ Mass Book. The Lay Folks’ Mass Book proper, the longest text which Simmons edits and the name of which he invented, is itself is an early northern English contribution to the genre in octosyllabic couplets, which claims to drawn ‘In-til englische’ (‘into English’) from a book by ‘ane | dam Ieremy was his name, | a deuoute man & a religyus’ (‘one by the name of Dom Jeremy, a devout man and a religious’).15 Simmons surmises that this indicates an original French text, and he is likely to be correct given the obvious impracticality of a Latin exposition of the liturgy for the laity; Simmons’s hypothetical connection of this French text to a mid-twelfth-century Archdeacon Jeremias who moved between Rouen and York is less convincing given the scarcity of such concentrated devotional instruction in French at such an early date.16


The treatise survives in six manuscripts, in part or in whole. Of the manuscripts listed under Dean 720, London, British Library, Royal MS 12 C. xii (R), Oxford, Corpus Christi College MS 36 (C), and London, Westminster Abbey MS 34/11 (W) provide a complete text of the treatise, while Cambridge, Emmanuel College MS 106 (E) provides only the opening section; of these, Royal 12 C. xii offers a distinct and longer version of the text. The Carew-Poyntz Hours (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum MS 48 (M)), listed under Dean 721, offers sections excerpted from the shorter version of the treatise, while the captions which accompany illustrations of various stages of the mass in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS f. fr. 13342 (F), listed as Dean 722, are another set of excerpts from the shorter version.

Stemma showing the relationship of the six surviving manuscripts.

R: London, British Library, Royal MS 12 C.xii is celebrated for its anglicana hand (shared with London, British Library, Harley MSS 2253 and 273) thought to be that of the ‘parish chaplain in Virgin’s Chapel in the Parish Church of St Bartholomew’ near Ludlow, and for its sole witness to Fouke le fitz Warin.17 Its 123 folios (230 x 150mm) unite a broad array of texts in Latin, French, and English, including an office for Thomas of Lancaster, charters in favour of the Hospitallers, satirical verses, medical notes, recipes, prognostications, Fouke le fitz Waryn, a unique version of the short English metrical chronicle, Amys e Amillyoun, and the astronomical Liber experimentarius; a relatively thorough description can be found in the most recent edition of Fouke le fitz Waryn.18 The book is composed of eight booklets, one of which is constituted by the Mirour de Seinte Eglyse and the treatise on the mass. This particular booklet was clearly produced as a separate undertaking, as the text is presented in two different textualis hands on a parchment slightly stiffer than that found elsewhere in the book, and the Mirour opens with the only historiated initial in the entire manuscript. Carter Revard suggests that it was obtained ‘perhaps the year after’ the short metrical chronicle was copied, which would be c. 1317, and observes that ‘the last five lines may be in [the scribe’s] hand’.19 The initial contains a damaged image of a bearded man likely to be St Paul, given his presence at the opening of the text in E and identity as the apostle whose words ‘Videte vocacionem vestram’ are used at the text’s opening.20 The treatise on the mass occurs 30va-32vb, in a close gothic textualis media textus semiquadratus hand. This hand occasionally uses an unusual single compartment a, alongside the common textualis two-compartment a, which can misleadingly resemble an n or u; examples of its use can be found in perdereiaent (l. 3), fraunces (l. 41), tyrauns (l. 59), and nostra (l. 97). This hand is distinct from the formata hand of the Mirour, and the final lines of the treatise are written in an anglicana hand which may be that of the Harley scribe. It is separated into sections with rubricated capitals and headings, red paraph signs, and capitals touched in red.

The text presented in R is more extensive than any other which survives. It features a unique long list of the joys of heaven at the sequence, and a more thorough explanation of the various possible conclusions to the mass. It also frequently presents longer clauses than those found in the other manuscripts. Typical examples include:

Kaunt l’em chaunte Cristeleyson, pensez de la humilité Jesu Crist, coment celui ke fu si haut devint si povere pur vus, e de sa povere nesçaunce, e de la debonereté de sa vie, e de sa dure mort pur vus deliverer de mort, de sa duce resurrectiun, e de sa haute ascensiun

When they sing Christe eleison, think of the humility of Jesus Christ, how he who was so high became so poor for you, and of his poor birth, and of the sweetness of his life, and of his hard death to deliver us from death, of his sweet Resurrection, and of his high Ascension. (ll. 31–33)

for the shorter

Tant cum l’en chante treis feiz Cristeleyson, pensez de la humilité de l’incarnaciun, e de la nessance le duz Jesu Crist, e de la debonerté de sa vie e de sa mort, la duçur de sa resurreciun, e de sa assenciun

For as long as they sing Christe eleison three times, think of the humility of the Incarnation, and of the birth of sweet Jesus Christ, and of the gracefulness of his life and of his death, the sweetness of his Resurrection, and of his Ascension. (C 145rb)


puz parlez a duz Jesu cum a celui ki est ilec prescent en cors, en alme, e en deité, e recummaundez vus e vos amis a lui, e dites lui voz especials bosoines si cum vostre quer desire e si cum vostre cumgé vus aprendra

Then speak to sweet Jesus as if to one who is present there in body, in soul, and in deity, and commend yourself and your friends to him, and tell him your particular needs as your heart desires and as your sense of permission will advise you. (ll. 108–10)


pus parlez od le duz Jesu. Ore comandez li present vus memes e toz vos amis, e dites voz especiaus bosoignes si cum vostre quer vus aprendra

Then speak to sweet Jesus. Now commend to him, present, yourself and all your friends, and tell him your particular needs as your heart will advise you. (C 145vb).

This is either the result of a very thorough process of amplificatio at one point in the text’s history, or it suggests that all of the other extant versions are descended from a single abridgement of the longer form of the text witnessed by R. The prevalence and irregularity of R’s greater prolixity suggests the latter. On this account, R is the basis of the text edited here. R is also unusual in its reference to ‘vostre fraunces’ (‘your French’) (l. 41) which linguistically divides the audience from the clerks attending the altar and from the speaker’s voice. This is accompanied by French translations of most of the prayers and canticles the audience are expected to pray privately during the mass where the other texts provide Latin, abridged in every case but F. The presence of these translations is likely to reflect the particular social position of the original audience of the quire preserved in R and cannot be assumed integral to the longer text of the treatise; it would not be surprising if they are a localised addition.

C: Oxford, Corpus Christi College MS 36 is listed in the surviving mid-fourteenth-century catalogue to the Augustinian priory of Lanthony Secunda, Gloucester, as ‘Vnus liber incipiens cum sermonibus. Dominus ac saluator noster. et biblioteca in gallic’. magnum volumen’.21 R. M. Thomson’s Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of Corpus Christi College Oxford describes it as a book of ‘159 leaves (1+158), 290 x 215 […] mm.’22 Thomson dates the manuscript to the second half of the thirteenth century, where Dean and Boulton specify the last quarter, and Wilshere prefers the beginning of the fourteenth.23 All of the texts are written in the same textualis media, textus rotundus hand, and the text is clearly divided into sections by red and blue initials, smaller red or blue ones, along with red paraphs and highlighting.

The book contains the French homilies of Maurice de Sully (Dean 587), a set of Latin homilies on the New Testament, the Mirour de Seinte Eglyse with the treatise on the mass appended without any break, The Fifteen Signs of the Day of Judgement (Dean 639, incomplete), and the Poème anglo-normand sur l’Ancien Testament edited by Pierre Nobel (Dean 462).24 According to the fourteenth-century catalogue, there were very few French books in the library at Lanthony Secunda and it is intriguing that this manuscript is entered, at the bottom of the list for the first shelf, by one of ‘at least five other scribes’ who later ‘inserted new titles’.25

Given that the information and guidance it contains is unfittingly basic compared to that in the Latin biblical and exegetical works the priory held, it is most plausible that this book was at Lanthony Secunda for the instruction of local lay people — despite Andrew Reeves’s assertion that ‘later in the century the canons were making less use of such texts’ as Maurice’s sermons for the education of the laity. 26 Beyond the usual interaction which canons would have with secular members of society, they appear to have had contact with Eleanor of Provence’s household when it was resident at Gloucester Castle after the death of Henry III, as Eleanor had been allowed a bridge to connect the castle grounds to the priory’s gardens by 1277.27 Eleanor is already recognised to have been a notable patron of Anglo-Norman literature, with both John of Howden’s Rossignos and Matthew Paris’s Estoire de seint Aedward le Rei dedicated to her, the Rossignos in the period after Henry III’s death.

W: London, Westminster Abbey MS 34/11 provides the only extant full version of the treatise which is not preceded by the Mirour de Seinte Eglyse. It consists of three adjacent, unbound bifolia which are dominated by the treatise (3v–6v) in an anglicana media hand, badly faded in places, in a single column. The opening letter N is a rough red large initial, and similar red paraph marks appear throughout the text, along with red touches to the following capitals. Alongside the treatise on the mass, the bifolia contain early culinary receipts (Dean 398) and a Latin, French, and English word list which has been edited by Tony Hunt (Dean 303).28 Little context is available for the bifolia; the English words are difficult to locate dialectally given their lack of inflection, but display no conspicuous northern or southern features and therefore suggest an origin within the area of circulation suggested by the other manuscripts. The text of the treatise they present is very similar to that in C, but also displays readings otherwise exclusive to R. It occasionally truncates the treatise severely.

E: Cambridge, Emmanuel College MS 106 is a small book (111 x 76mm) of 196 folios, dated by Dean and Boulton to the second quarter of the fourteenth century. It consists primarily of devotional material in Anglo-Norman French, but also contains the Office of the Dead (13v–26r), a calendar (56r–62r), and other prayers in Latin, as well as the English ‘How the Good Wife taught her Daughter’ (48r–52r). Given that the latter is a text with guidance for household management and ‘What man þat þe wedde’ (49r), the book is likely to have had a female lay audience. It is lavish: save for the final item, the Anglo-Norman Gospel of Nicodemus in an anglicana hand (193r–196v), the manuscript is executed in a small and graceful textualis formata, textus semiquadratus hand with illuminated initials, and the v for videte at the opening of the Mirour (62r) is historiated with a sitting figure of St Paul, the apostle with whose words it opens. Tauno Mustanoja identifies an audience of relatively modest social rank for ‘How the Good Wife taught her Daughter’:

With riche robes and gerlondes, and swich riche þing,
Ne cuntrefete no leuedi, as þi lord were a king.
With swich as he þe mai finde paied schalt þou be,
Þat he lese nouȝt his countenaunce for þe loue of þe.

Do not counterfeit being a lady with rich robes and garlands, and such rich things, as if your husband were a king. You should be paid with such things as he can acquire for you, that he might not lose his standing for the love of you.29

This is problematic, given the rich decoration of the manuscript. Mustanoja agrees with M. R. James on a West-Midland origin for the manuscript: looking at both the linguistic features of the How the Good Wife taught her Daughter’ and the calendar, Mustanoja suggests that the E-text of the Good Wife was written in the then diocese of Worcester, probably in modern Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, or Oxfordshire.30

The treatise on the mass is only distinguished from the Mirour by an illuminated opening initial, similar to that which opens the Mirour’s section on the Pater Noster, and it consists of the introduction alone: it concludes with ‘qui mestier unt de aide a ceo que ele croit’ (‘who have need of aid from that which she [Holy Church] believes’), given in the place of R’s ‘ke unt mester de [estre] qete’ (‘who have need to be released’) (l. 16). The text is similar to that found in C, but abridges the list of sacred figures present at the mass (ll. 11–12: ‘si cum al duz Jesu, e a sa duce mere, e a ses apostles, e a ses martires […]’ ‘as if to sweet Jesus, and to his sweet mother, and to his Apostles, and to his martyrs’) to ‘a duz Jesu meimes, e a sa douce meere, e a ses espouses, e a ses autres feaus’ (‘to sweet Jesus himself, and to his sweet mother, and to his brides, and to his other faithful’) (105v), a set which would suit the audience of laywomen ‘How the Good Wife taught her Daughter’ addresses.

F: Paris, Bibliothéque nationale de France MS f. fr. 13342 has received the most attention for the treatise on the mass studied here, as the text is abridged and rearranged to accompany a sequence of thirteen illustrations of the relevant stages of the mass, produced by artists associated with the Queen Mary Psalter and the English copy of the Somme le roi in Cambridge, St John’s College MS S.30 (256).31 This manuscript consists of 53 leaves (205 x 125 mm); Paul Binski summarises that it was ‘illuminated somewhere in south-eastern England or East Anglia’ and ‘dates to the first decades of the fourteenth century’.32 The treatise is executed in a textualis prescissa hand, and is preceded by Dou Pere qui son filz enseigne and the Mirour, each opening with an illustration similar to those found in the treatise: a master teaching a young clerk before a gathering of clerks and St Edmund teaching a mixed congregation of male and female religious and laity, respectively. It is followed by Latin psalms and prayers. Lynda Dennison has identified two other fragments of the same volume in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 79, containing full-page illustrations of the life of the Virgin Mary and a prose legend of Seth and the Holy Rood.33 A unique caption is provided for the Confiteor — ‘Responetz misereatur nostri et cetera, e puis dites vostre Confiteor devotement’ (‘Reply misereatur nostri et cetera, and then say your Confiteor devoutly’) (45r), whilst very similar versions of the other passages can be found in C and W. After the Confiteor, this excerpted version of the treatise addresses the introit, the Kyrieeleison, the Sanctus, the elevation, the Pater Noster, the Agnus Dei, and the reception of Communion. Uniquely, F provides most of the Latin prayers and canticles the audience are expected to use at their full length, in Latin.

M: the illuminated and illustrated Carew-Poyntz Hours (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum MS 48) present a series of prayers to be said during mass on 22r–29v; this includes devotions for the Pater Noster (23v), Agnus Dei (24r-v), and the priest’s communication (29r-v) excerpted from the treatise in a version similar to those found in C, W, and F. These prayers are executed in a textualis formata, textus quadratus hand with the instructions regarding the point at which the devotion should be undertaken rubricated. The Hours are widely considered to have been produced for the wife of John de Carew in the mid-fourteenth century; Francis Wormald suggests that one miniature shares an illuminator with Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Liturg 198 and the Fitzwarin Psalter (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale MS. f. lat. 765), a position which Lynda Dennison follows to tentatively posit a Cambridge origin for its earliest illuminations.34

Audience and Context

The treatise audience is expected to have some understanding of the liturgy’s Latin without a thorough knowledge of the language — ‘La vus entendez latin, la u les clers licent u chauntent u oreisuns dient, dites od eus ce ke vus savez. La ou vus n’entendez pas, issi poez ocuper vostre cuer par penser de cestes choses qe si sunt escrites’ (‘Where you understand the Latin which the clerks read or sing or speak in their prayers, say that which you know with them. Where you do not understand it, there you can occupy your heart with thought of these things which are thus written’) (ll. 133–35) — and they are expected to have knowledge of at least the Veni Creator Spiritus, the Nunc Dimittis, and the Te Deum in Latin; beyond this, they are expected to occupy themselves with private devotions. The limited level of education this implies anticipates the use of French, which is far more prevalent than English in the extant thirteenth-century corpus, and is therefore likely to have been the written medium most conventionally available for such written guidance through the Latin liturgy. Nonetheless, this still means that the text was for a select audience. French had ceased to be a first language to most in English society by the thirteenth century: Ian Short roughly estimates that ‘as far as the secular population was concerned, there were more than four times more monolingual Anglophones than bilingual Francophones’ in the England of 1348.35 It served a practical function as a supralocal medium, given the great variation in English dialects and wide influence of French on the Continent, but was also a language of prestige, particularly associated with the clergy in their less formal capacities, female religious, and the secular aristocracy.36 This treatise’s manuscript record supports the likelihood of a relatively privileged lay audience, with four of the six manuscripts illuminated.

Whilst the audience is distanced from the clergy and their position at the altar, they are expected to attend relatively closely. The treatise provides no identification of the separate stages of the mass it names and sometimes uses passages of Latin as cues for meditation (‘Quant le prestre se turne ver le peple e dit bas Orate fratres’ (ll. 85–86), ‘Quant le prestre dit per omnia secula seculorum’ (l. 111)). It also engages with the Latin liturgy on a more sophisticated prosodic level, taking up its lexical and syntactic features. The introduction’s summative memorial of Christ,

En remenbraunce de la incarnatiun, e de la passiun, e de la resurrectiun, e de la assentiun si chaunte l’em la messe, e par ceo deit pensé de hume ke oit la messe estre occupé en cel tens pur Deu loer e mercier.

The mass is sung in remembrance of the Incarnation, and of the Passion, and of the Resurrection, and of the Ascension, and on that account the thought of a man who hears the mass ought to be occupied in this time with giving praise and thanks to God. (ll. 19–21)

closely recalls the canon of the mass’s

Unde et memores domine nos tui serui. set et plebs tua sancta christi filii tui domini dei nostri beate passionis. nec non ab inferis resurrectionis. et in celos gloriose ascensionis. offerimus preclare maiestati tue de tuis donis ac datis.

Mindful, therefore, O Lord, not only of the blessed Passion of Christ, your Son, Our God, but also of his Resurrection from the dead, and his glorious Ascension into the heavens, we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your utmost majesty things granted and given by you. 37

This initiates a regular practice of listing and explication which emerges throughout the rest of the text and the liturgy, as seen in

quel travail aveint les apostles, e les martires, e les confessurs, e les autres amiz Jesu Crist a confermer nostre feie, coment Deu lur dona force de veintre les enchaunteurs, e les faus deus, les faus prophetes, e les tyrauns, e les heresies par lur simplesce, e par lur pacience, e par les miracles del Seint Espirit

What suffering the Apostles had, and the martyrs, and the confessors, and the other friends of Jesus Christ to confirm our faith, how God gave them strength to vanquish the enchanters and the false gods, the false prophets, and the tyrants, and the heresies by their simplicity, and by their patience, and by the miracles of the Holy Spirit (ll. 57–60)


Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis de multitudine miseracionum tuarum sperentibus partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis apostolis et martyribus. cum Iohanne. Stephano. Mathia. Barnaba. Ignacio. Alexandro […]

Also that you might deign to grant to us sinners, your servants, hoping in the multitude of your mercies, a certain part and society with your holy Apostles and martyrs, with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander […].38

The liturgy is marked by prominent hypotaxis, to an extent which is rare in Old French prose. Even the relatively sophisticated Mirour de Seinte Eglyse opens with a predominance of parataxis:

Videte vocacionem vestram. Ceo moz de l’apostle partinent a nus gent de religion. “Veez,” fet il, “a quey vus estes apelee.” E ço dist il pur nus exciter a perfection. E pur ço, quele hure qe [jo] pens de mey memes, de nuyt u de jur, de une part ay jo joi[e] grant, de autre part grant dolur; joie pur la seinte religion, dolur e confusion pur ma fieble conversacion.

Look to your calling. These words of the Apostle pertain to us people of religion. “Look,” he says, “to what you are called.” And he says this to excite us to perfection. And on that account, whichever hour I think of myself, night or day, on the one side I have great joy, on the other side great sorrow; joy for holy religion, sorrow and confusion for my feeble conversation.39

There is subordination in ‘E pur ço, quele hure qe [jo] pens de mey memes, de nuyt ou de jur, de une part ay jo joi[e] grant, de autre part grant dolur’, but it is nonetheless followed by the asyndetically paratactic explanation ‘joie pur la seinte religion, dolur e confusion pur ma fieble conversacion’. The treatise on the mass, however, is unusually hypotactic from its opening passage:

Nostre Seygnur Jesu Crist, quaunt il volet partir de cest secle, pur ce k’i ne bea pas plus venir pur reindre peccheurs e il saveit ben ke ceus ke sunt reint par sa passiun pecchereient encuntre sun duz Pere e perdereiaent lur redemptiun, pur ceo livera il a Seinte Eglise le sacrement de penaunce e le sacrement de sun beneit cors e de sun precius saunc, pur offrir a sun duz Pere en memorie de sa pitiuuse passiun, e de sa gloriuse resurectium, e de sa seinte asscensiun, en remissiun de lur pecchez ke creireient en lu dekes a la fin del secle.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, when he wanted to depart from this world, given that he did not plan to come again to redeem sinners and that he knew well that those who were redeemed by his passion would sin against his sweet Father and would lose their redemption, on this account he gave to Holy Church the sacrament of penance and the sacrament of his blessed body and his precious blood, to offer to his sweet Father in memory of his piteous Passion, and his glorious Resurrection, and of his holy Ascension, in remission of the sins of those who would believe in him until the end of the world. (ll. 1–6)

Here, hypotactic qualification persists throughout the explanation of the sacrament’s institution: the temporal location and the reason for Christ’s gift are subordinated, even before the main verb is reached, and are chiastically followed by further reasoning and temporal location.

The subjects which the meditations instruct their audience to consider during the mass are likewise patterned like the liturgy of the Eucharist ‘En remenbraunce de la incarnatiun, e de la passiun, e de la resurrectiun, e de la assentiun’ (‘In remembrance of the Incarnation, and of the Passion, and of the Resurrection, and of the Ascension’) (ll. 19–20). During the consecration and elevation, the audience is directed towards the celestial orders praising God and operating in creation, then invited to descend and arise through Christ’s incarnation in the hymn Jesu nostra redemptio. This hymn, set for compline on the vigil of the Ascension, summarises this process of Christ’s descent to earth, passion, and ascent to heaven with his faithful; it therefore aptly anticipates the consecration, when Christ’s body is made present again on earth for those ‘reint par sa passiun’ who ‘pecchereient encuntre sun duz Pere e perdereiaent lur redemptiun’ after the Passion, Ressurection, and Ascension. Christ’s presence in the sacrament is hailed with the words of Thomas, relieved of his doubt as he physically encounters Christ, and is followed by the triumphal Te Deum: ‘Mun Deu, mun seignur duz Jesu, eez merci de mei […] Tu rex [glorie] Criste’ (‘My God, my Lord sweet Jesus, have mercy on me […] Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ’) (ll. 106–07). The meditations of the congregation are therefore to work in concert with the actions of the priest and the divine work of grace; it is a fitting arrangement that the audiences of the Royal and Corpus manuscript are likely to have been directed by those in holy orders — the chaplain of the Lady Chapel in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Richard’s Castle, near Ludlow, and the Augustinian canons of Lanthony Secunda, in Gloucester, respectively. The treatise’s meditations are clearly set within the ‘fidelium universis ecclesia’ (‘Church of all the faithful’) outlined in the Lateran prescriptions, whom the sacrement works to ‘unir e encorporer a [Jesu Crist] meimes cum membris a lur chef’ (‘unite and incorporate to Jesus Christ himself as members to their head’) (ll. 118–19).


On the whole, the language of this meditation on the mass is typical of thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman; this includes significant difference from continental dialects of French and a very high degree of orthographic variation. Further details are most easily found in Short’s Manual of Anglo-Norman. Remarkable features of R include <ou> only used in cases of possible diaresis (loums (l. 42), pousté (l. 70), pour (l. 67)), a possessive vos differentiated from vus (‘Quant vus veez le cors Nostre Seignur, levez […] vos meins’ (l. 105)), and a complete evasion of -ion (passiun, resurectiun, asscensiun, remissiun (5 and numerous other times)). The Anglo-Norman Dictionary’s verb communer is preceded by a vowel in both of its appearances (acumonié (l. 123), ecumunez (l. 133)), possibly a residual form of the preposition a considering the preceding form of estre in both cases.40

There are few highly unusual words in this meditation; this is unsurprising for a text aimed at elucidation. Specialised vocabulary relating to the mass is present, but it is relatively common in thirteenth-century literature from both England and France. Even the names of the celestial orders are present in John Pecham’s Jerarchie and similar expository texts. As common as much of this specialised vocabulary may be, it is supplemented by words in more general usage, the presence of which represent theological concepts on more familiar grounds (feus (l. 12), franc (l. 28), privez amiz (l. 95)). An extraordinary conjunction of specialised and demotic vocabulary occurs only in R, with ‘welcomez vostre creatur’ (l. 106): this clause occurs at the climactic moment of elevation and combines the Latinate creatur (the audience have recently been called to say the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus at the preparation of the chalice before the canon) with a relatively rare English loan, attested in Geffrei Gaimar’s Estoire des Engleis and the version of the Ancrene Wisse found in Cambridge, Trinity College MS 883 (R.14.7).41 The latter’s ‘messager de grant haut noble riche prince deit l'em hautement wolcumer’ demands a notably similar sense of humble admittance when confronted with the divine.

Establishment of the Text

This edition presents an emended version of the text found in London, British Library, Royal MS 12 C. xii (R), on the basis that all other witnesses appear to derive from a single abbreviated version. Emendations have been made according to sense and the likelihood of scribal error, taking the readings of other witnesses into consideration when they include the passage in question. Where other witnesses provide a reading for a passage which has been emended this is recorded and clearly marked, even if that reading is not accepted. Alternative readings from the other manuscripts are not provided where R does not appear in need of emendation, given the extent to which the abbreviated version of the text alters the syntax and thus establishes different parameters for scribal reading. Additions have been made in square brackets, whilst erroneous readings from R which have been emended in the text are noted at the bottom of the page.

Instructions for the epistle are absent from R, and this is almost certainly due to homoioarche: the repeated Quant, introducing in the meditation for the collect and the meditation for the gradual on either side of its use for the epistle would make the epistle’s instructions easy to overlook. No mass would have been said without an epistle reading, so the least compressed reading offered by another manuscript, that from C, has been inserted in square brackets.

Modern capitalisation and punctuation have been imposed and the relatively infrequent abbreviations have been silently expanded.

1[30va] Nostre Seygnur Jesu Crist, quaunt il volet partir de cest secle, pur ce k’i ne bea pas plus 2venir pur reindre peccheurs e il saveit ben ke ceus ke sunt reint par sa passiun pecchereient 3encuntre sun duz Pere e perdereiaent lur redemptiun, pur ceo livera il a Seinte Eglise le 4sacrement de penaunce e le sacrement de sun beneit cors e de sun precius saunc, pur offrir a 5sun duz Pere en memorie de sa pitiuuse passiun, e de sa gloriuse resurectium, e de sa42 seinte 6asscensiun, en remissiun de lur pecchez ke creireient43 en lu dekes a la fin del secle.

7Cest sacrement est si digne e si haut ke nul ne i deit aprocher si il ne seit ben apparailé par 8ferme creaunce e par bone [30vb] volunté de ben fere e par verreie confessiun e penaunce, kar 9saunz dute les angles, il sunt present o graunt reverence.

10Cest sacrement offre Seinte Eglise quaunt ele weut mercier Deu le Pere par sun cher Fiz Jesu 11Crist e le Seint Espirit des benfetz44 ke il li ad fet, si cum al duz Jesu, e a sa duce mere, e a ses 12apostles, e a ses martires, e a ses espuses, e a ses autres feus ke il ad honuré par miracles, e 13pur ce chaunte l’em messes dé sollempnes festes Nostre Seignur Jesu e de ses seins. Cest 14sacrement offre Seinte Eglise pur ces feus [en] vie ke sunt bosinus, e freles, e chetivus, kar nule 15oresun n’est de si graunt vertu. Cest sacrement offre ausi Seinte Eglice pur ces feus ke 16sunt mors e en peines ke unt mester de [estre] qete.45 Pur ceo, quaunt nus venum pur oir messe, 17nus devum apparier nos quere a devotium e a preere fere pur les vifs e pur les mors.

18Nostre devotiun deit estre esprise par bone pensés, e a chekune parcele de la messe devum 19aver diverse contemplatium par bone pensés. En remenbraunce de la incarnatiun, e de la 20passiun, e de la resurrectiun, e de la assentiun si chaunte l’em la messe, e par ceo deit pensé 21de hume ke oit la messe estre occupé en cel tens pur Deu loer e mercier.

22Quant l’em chaunte le introit [31ra] de la messe, pensez del desir ke les patriarches, e les 23prophetes, e les autres seins humes aveient46 jadis ke le fiz Deu vendreit en terre pur eus 24reindre par sa passiun, e ce ke il deservirent.47 Nus l’avum ja sentu, e de ce ke il est c[i] 25avenu, e nus ad reint de sun precius saunc, celui devum mercier. E pur ceo agenulent les clers 26u enclinent kaunt il chauntent le Credo a la messe, quant il venent a cel mot: Et homo factus 27est.

28Quant l’em chaunte primes48 treiz feiz Kyrieleyson, pensez cum Deuz est franc de fere a vus 29mute maners de bens, tut le eez vus malement deservi, e cum il ad graunt patience a suffrir 30vos maus, e ke il est pitiuus e prest a vuz pardoner vos trespaz.

31Kaunt l’em chaunte Cristeleyson, pensez de la humilité Jesu Crist, coment celui ke fu si haut 32devint si povere pur vus, e de sa povere nesçaunce, e de la debonereté de sa vie, e de sa dure 33mort pur vus deliverer de mort, de sa duce resurrectiun, e de sa haute ascensiun.

34Taunt cum l’em chaumte autrefez Kyrieleyson, devez penser e prier Seint Espirit ke il vus 35deigne conseyler, e enseigner, e en voz tribulatiuns vus conforter, e ke il seit entre[31rb]bat 36entre vus e Deu pur vus acorder. Kyrieleyson dit autaunt en frances: Sire eez merci de nus. E 37tute cetes choses ci escrites apertement a la merci le Pere, e le Fiz, e le Seint Espirit.

38Quaunt l’em chaunte Gloria in excelsis Deo, merciez la Seinte Trinité de vostre sauvatiun. Le 39Pere ke il envea sun cher Fiz pur vus sauver, le Fiz ke si ducement deigna venir, le Seinte 40Espirit par ki il fu cunvu e par ki il vint.49 Chauntez vus dunkes en vostre quer en vostre 41fraunces ceo ke les clers chauntent en latin:

42Gloria seit a Deu en haut, e en terre pes a gent de bone volunté. Nus vus loums, nus vus 43benesciums, nus vus adorums50, nus vus glorefiums, graces a vus rendums pur vostre graunt 44glorie, Seinur Deu, rei51 celestien, Deu le Pere tut pussant, Sire Deu le Fiz Jesu Crist. Sire 45Deu, aignel Deu, Fiz le Pere, vus ki ostez les pecchez del mund, recevez nostre preere, qui 46seez a destre nostre Pere, eez merci de nus, kar vus sul estes seint, vus sul estes Seinur, vus 47sul estes le plus haut Jesu Crist od le Seint Espirit en la glorie Deu Pere. Amen.

48Quant le prestre salue le [31va] peple e dit Dominus vobiscum, ce est a dire Nostre Seinur seit 49o vus, responez Et cum spiritu tuo, e si seit il o vostre espirit. E quant il dit sa oresun, oez ce 50ke il dit saun ren dire de buche, e eez en vostre quer ke il seit oi en la curt de cel, e de tut 51vostre quer responez Amen. Taunt cum le prestre dit ses oreisuns, priez Deu la chose ke vus 52avez plus mester a cors e al alme, e metez vostre oreisun od le oreisun le prestre.

53[La Pistle oiez cum la voiz del Seint Espirit, e pensez quel peril e quel peine suffrirent trestuz 54les apostles, les patriarches, les prophetes pur la lei Deu, e nepurqant descendirent trestuz les 55martirs en enfern pur le pecché Adam. E si vus volez estre oy de Deu, il covent saver ce que 56li seinz vus apernent e sivre lur ensample.]52

57Quant l’em chaunte le grael, pensez quel travail aveint les apostles, e les martires, e les 58confessurs, e les autres amiz53 Jesu Crist54 a confermer nostre feie55, coment Deu lur dona 59force de veintre les enchaunteurs, e les faus deus, les faus prophetes, e les tyrauns, e les 60heresies par lur simplesce, e par lur pacience, e par les miracles del Seint Espirit. Al vers del 61grael, pensez dé virtuz des seinz, lur saver a choisir le ben, lur mesure en fesant le ben, lur 62force a suffrir persecutiun pur ben fere, lur pure entente enver Deu e lur prome.

63Quant l’em chaunte le Alleluia, pensez de la loenge ke Deu le Pere ad par Nostre duz Seignur 64Jesu Crist en Seinte Eglise, en terre, e en purgatorie, e en cel. En vostre quer loez Deu e [31vb] 65merciez de tuz les bens k’i vus ad fet, e fet checun jur, e fra saunz fin.

66Quant l’em chaunte la sequence, pensez cum la joie de cel est graunt, u l’em avera joie saun 67pour e saunz peine, sauncté saunz maladie, plenté saunz defaute, force sanz feblesce, 68fraunchise saunz servage, delit saunz amerté, beauté saunz teche, sen e saver saunz folie, duz 69amur saunz haine, concord saunz descord, leesce saunz tristesce, pes saunz turbatiun, graunt 70honur, grant pousté, enceinte saunz pour, veue e conisaunce de Deu e de Nostre Dame e de 71tuz ceus ke serrunt en cel, repos saunz travail, e joie sanz fin.

72Quant l’em chaunte le tret a la seisun, pensez dé grant penances ke les seins suffrirent jadis e 73ke bone gent suffrent56 unkore: en junes, en veiles, e en aspre vestures, en disciplines, en 74lermes, en pelrinages, dunt il aveint joie de quer par bone conscience e nule pour de la mort.

75La Seinte Evangelie oez en silence saunz ren dire sicum li duz Jesu parlast od57 vus. Pensez 76de la dreiture le vie e de la verreie doctrine, e dé merveiluses overes Jesu Crist. Aprés le 77Ewangelie dites ce: En loez sé [32ra] vus duz Sire Jesu, le fiz Deu, ke deignastes venir en cest 78mund pur nus sauver. Beneit seit le ventre ke vus porta e lé mameles ke vus letastes. Amen.

79Al Credo in unum dites vostre credo si vus ne savez pas l’autre ke l’em chaunte, e priez Deu 80ke il vus doine ferme creaunce de tuz les articles de la fei.

81Quant l’em chaunte le offrende, pensez e priez Deu ke il vus doine grace ke vus li puisez 82offrir une alme enfurmee e aurné dé set vertuz, ke sunt humilité, debonerté, simplesce, 83castité, pité, purté, e lur conestable si est pacience.

84Quant le prestre offre le caliz, dites Veni Creator Spiritus dekes a la fin, e priez pur celu ke la 85messe chaunte e pur tuz ceus ke le oient. Quant le prestre se turne ver le peple e dit bas Orate 86fratres, responez a li e dites bas Nostre Seinur receive ce sacrifice de vos mains al loenge e a 87la glorie de sun nun, e a nostre pru e de tute Seinte Eglise. Le prefaz oiez en silence e en 88reverence si cum le evangelie, e pensez dé nef ordres des angles ke sunt dewant Deu tuz jurs 89loaunz la Seinte Trinité: les premeres sunt apelés angles, ke gardent les almes, les autres 90archaungles, ke gardent les terres, les terz [32rb] vertuz, ke funt les miracles, les quarz 91potestates, ke amestrent e desturbent lé diables k’il ne facent mie taunt de male cum 92vodreient, lé quinte principas, ke ordienent les dignetez en tere, les simes seinurages, ke 93ordeinent lé tens e temprent les elemenz, lé setimes sunt apelés trones, ke sunt si cum justices 94ke donent les jugemens, les utimes cherubin, ke sunt cum consulers, lé nevimes sunt apeléz 95seraphin, ke sunt privez amiz e ardaunt de l’amur Deu.

96Aprés dites o les aungles Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus e pus, en memorie de la passiun, e de la 97resurrectiun, e de la ascensiun Jesu Crist, dites cel ympne en fraunces, Jesu nostra redemptio: 98Jesu nostre redemptiun, e nostre amur, e nostre desir, Sire Deu ke totes choses chriastes,58 e 99a la fin hume devenistes. Quele debonerté vus venqui ke vus volez porter noz pecchez, e
100suffrir pur nuz cruele mort pur deliverer nus de mort. Les encloistres de enfern penastes,59 e 101vos cheitifs recharastes par noble victorie, le diable venquistes, ore sceent li destre Nostre 102Pere. Cele vus offre60 ke dunc amez ke noz mauz vus pardonez, e de ben fere nus donez61 103 pussaunce, volunté ke de [32va] vostre wue en cel seum a saisie. Seez vus nostre joie k’estes 104nostre loer, nostre glorie seit en vus par tuz secles saun fin.

105Quant vus veez le cors Nostre Seignur, levez vostre quer e vos meins dekes a vos els, e cheez 106a genuiz e welcomez vostre creatur, e dites Mun Deu, mun Seignur duz Jesu, eez merci de 107mei, puz si volez si poez dire Tu rex [glorie] Criste e tuz les autres vers dekes a la fin de Te 108Deum laudamus, puz parlez a duz Jesu cum a celui ki est ilec prescent en cors, en alme, e en 109deité, e recummaundez vus e vos amis a lui, e dites lui voz especials bosoines si cum vostre 110quer desire e si cum vostre cumgé vus aprendra.

111Quant le prestre dit per omnia secula seculorum, turnez tut vostre quer e vostre entente a sa 112voiz e dites Amen. A la Pater Noster, metez tut vostre quer de prier Deu od le prestre e od 113tute Seinte Eglise, ke il vus doigne les prieres ke leins sunt contenues.

114Al premer Agnus Dei, priez duz Jesu merci de ce ke vus avez pecché par les set mortels 115pecchez.

116Al secund Agnus Dei, priez pardun de ce ke vus avez trespassé encontre les diz 117commendenz.

118Al terz Agnus Dei, priez Jesu ke il vus doine la pes del Seinte Espirit od ses set duns, puz 119pensez de la graunt fraunchise Jesu Crist ke vus livera cest sacrement pur vus unir e encorporer 120a li meimes cum membris a lur chef, [32vb] e pur justifier cels ke sunt en tere, e 121pur deliverer ceus ke sunt en purgatorie, e pur regraciez Deu la Pere pur ceus ke il ad pris a sa 122glorie. Eez en memorie la passiun Jesu e sa resurrectiun, en ki remenbraunce la messe est 123chaunté, e issi poez vus estre acumonié espiritalement tut ne recevez vus pas veablement le sacrement.

124Qaunt62 cum l’em chaunte le communium, dites tut cele petite saume Nunc dimittis, od 125Gloria Patri pur tendre graces a la Seinte Trinité pur le sacrement ke il vus dune, e ke pur vus 126est offert.

127E puz oez les oreisuns del prestre ausi cum vus le deissez, kar il prie ke le sacrement vus seit 128sauvable. Si vus avez ben e enterement e a devotiun de cestes choses ben pensé, bone messe a 129vostre pru avez oie.

130E quant il dit Ite missa est u Benedicamus Domino, plusours se partent, ou meintenaunt aprés 131le Agnus Dei, a lur damage, kar dunc est le greinur pru de la messe, kar ceus ke dunk 132remeinent e sunt hors de mortele pecché, e en devotiun, e pensent de la passiun e de la 133resurrectiun Jesu Crist, il sunt ecumunez63 espiritalement. La vus64 entendez latin, la u les 134clers licent u chauntent u oreisuns dient, dites od eus ce ke vus savez. La ou vus n’entendez 135pas, issi poez ocuper vostre cuer par penser de cestes choses qe si sunt escrites. E quant vus 136avez oy In principio, donqe poez vus partyr a Dieu.

1 The classic summary accounts of this phenomenon are Leonard E. Boyle, ‘The Fourth Lateran Council and Manuals of Popular Theology’, in The Popular Literature of Medieval England, ed. by Thomas J. Heffernan, Tennessee Studies in Literature, 28 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985), pp. 30–43, and Leonard E. Boyle, ‘The Inter-Conciliar Period 1179–1215 and the Beginnings of Pastoral Manuals’, in Miscellanea, Rolando Bandinelli, Papa Alessandro III, ed. by Filippo Liota (Siena: Accademia Sienese degli intronati, 1986), pp. 45–56. A useful recent overview of some aspects of this development in England can be found in Andrew Reeve, Religious Education in Thirteenth-Century England: The Creed and the Articles of Faith, Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, 50 (Leiden: Brill, 2015). Thanks are due to the British Library; Westminster Abbey; Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Corpus Christi College, Oxford; the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France for use of their collections.

2 See Boyle, ‘Fourth Lateran’, and Boyle, ‘Inter-Conciliar’, along with Ian Short, Manual of Anglo-Norman, 2nd edn, Anglo-Norman Text Society, Occasional Publications Series, 8 (Oxford: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 2013), p. 41; M. Dominica Legge, Anglo-Norman Literature and its Background (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963); and the texts edited in ‘Cher Alme’: Texts of Anglo-Norman Piety, ed. by Tony Hunt with trans. by Jane Bliss, French of England Translation Series, Occasional Publication Series, 1 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2010).

3 An overview of Edmund’s life and the text’s history can be found in Edmund of Abingdon, Speculum religiosorum and Speculum ecclesie, ed. by Helen P. Forshaw, Auctores britannici medii aevi, 3 (London: Oxford University Press, 1973) and Mirour de Seinte Eglyse, ed. by A. D. Wilshere, Anglo-Norman Text Society, 40 (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1982); these are supplemented by C. H. Lawrence, St. Edmund of Abingdon: A Study in Hagiography and History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960).

4 ‘Fourth Lateran Council’, in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. by Norman P. Tanner, 2 vols (London: Sheed and Ward, 1990), I 227–71 (230); my own translation.

5 Mirour, pp. 36–38 a; my own translation.

6 Mirour, pp. 70–72; my own translation.

7 See Mirour, pp. 37–41.

8 See Ruth J. Dean and Maureen B. M. Boulton, Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts, Anglo-Norman Text Society, Occasional Publications Series, 3 (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1999).

9 Paul Binski, Becket’s Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England, 11701300 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), pp. 197–201.

10 Binski, p. 198.

11 Dean and Boulton, entry 720.

12 See A. D. Wilshere, Introduction to Mirour de Seinte Eglyse, ed. by A. D. Wilshere, Anglo-Norman Text Society, 40 (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1982), pp. iii–xlii (xx).

13 See Dean and Boulton, entries 730–735.

14 Although limited in its attention to the Anglo-Norman corpus, Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 98–108, thoroughly summarises the Latin and English traditions of exposition for the laity in a much wider context. For a useful collection of Latin tracts, mostly advising priests on saying mass, see Tracts on the Mass, ed. by J. Wickham-Legg, Henry Bradshaw Society, 27 (London: Harrison and Sons, 1904).

15 The Lay Folks’ Mass Book, ed. by Thomas Frederick Simmons, Early English Text Society, Original Series, 71 (London: Trübner, 1879), 1. 32 and 2. 17–19.

16 Thomas Frederick Simmons, Introduction to The Lay Folks’ Mass Book, ed. by Thomas Frederick Simmons, Early English Text Society, Original Series, 71 (London: Trübner, 1879), pp. xvii–lxv (xl–lxi).

17 See Carter Revard, ‘Scribe and Provenance’, in Studies in the Harley Manuscript: The Scribes, Contents, and Social Contexts of British Library MS Harley 2253, ed. by Susanna Fein (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2000), pp. 21–109 for a thorough study of the Harley scribe’s career.

18 Fouke le fitz Waryn, ed. by E. J. Hathaway et al., Anglo-Norman Text Society, 26–28 (Oxford: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1975).

19 Revard, ‘Scribe and Provenance’, p. 70.

20 Mirour, p. 4.

21 Quoted from London, British Library, MS Harley 460 in The Libraries of the Augustinian Canons, ed. by Teresa Webber and Andrew G. Watson, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 6 (London: British Library, 1998), 6. A16. 12.

22 Rodney M. Thomson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of Corpus Christi College Oxford (Cambridge: Brewer, 2011), p. 17.

23 Thomson, Descriptive Catalogue, p. 17; Dean and Boulton, p. 392; Wilshere, p. vi.

24 Poème anglo-normand sur l’Ancien Testament: édition et commentaire, ed. by Pierre Nobel, 2 vols, Nouvelle bibliothèque du Moyen Âge, 37 (Paris: Champion, 1996).

25 Libraries of the Augustinian Canons, ed. By Webber and Watson, 6. A16. 12.

26 Reeves, p. 86. In 1950 M. Dominica Legge suggested that Augustinian canons ‘turned to vulgarising and moralising to a greater extent’ than monastic writers in the thirteenth century, a tendency which Reeves restricts to the first half of the century — see M. Dominica Legge, Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters: The Influence of the Orders upon Anglo-Norman Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1950), p. 69.

27 Public Record Office, Llanthony Cartulary A. 4, fol. 215, cited in H. M. Colvin et al., The History of the King’s Works: The Middle Ages, 6 vols (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1963–82), II (1963), 652, n. 4; see also Margaret Howell, Eleanor of Provence: Queenship in Thirteenth-Century England (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), pp. 75 and 294.

28 Tony Hunt, ‘The Trilingual Vocabulary in MS Westminster Abbey 34/11’, Notes and Queries, New Series 28. 1 (1981), 14–15.

29 E-text of ‘How the Good Wife taught her Daughter’, in The Good Wife taught her Daughter, The Good Wyfe wold a Pilgremage, The Thewis of Gud Women, ed. by Tauno F. Mustanoja, Annales academiae scientiarum fennicae, B LXI 2 (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran Kirjapainon, 1948), ll. 100–03; my own translation.

30 M. R. James, The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Emmanuel College: A Descriptive Catalogue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1904), p. 91.

31 See ‘About’ on Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS f. fr. 13342, ‘Mélanges théologiques: Dialogue del piere et del filz, Mirour […];’, Bibliothèque nationale de France: Gallica (2015), <;2> [accessed 2nd August 2021]; Binski, pp. 197–201; and Francis Wormald, ‘Some Pictures of the Mass in an English XIVth Century Manuscript’ in Walpole Society, 41 (1966–68), 39–45 for detailed analysis of this specific version of the treatise in relation to its illustrative scheme.

32 Binski, p. 198.

33 See Lynda Dennison, ‘An Illuminator of the Queen Mary Psalter Group: The Ancient 6 Master’, Antiquaries Journal, 66 (1986), 287–314.

34 See M. R. James, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1895), pp. 100–01; Francis Wormald, ‘The Fitzwarin Psalter and its Allies’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 6 (1943), 71–79; Lynda Dennison, ‘The Stylistic Sources, Dating and Development of the Bohun Workshop, ca 1340–1400’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, Wakefield College, University of London, 1988), p. 74.

35 Short, p. 34.

36 Michael Richter’s study of Thomas de Cantilupe’s canonisation hearing suggests that only twenty-three out of forty urban laypeople and eight out of seventy-seven rural laypeople around Hereford were able to testify in anything other than English at the start of the fourteenth century; all of the clergymen who did not respond in Latin did so French — see Michael Richter, Sprache und Gesellschaft im Mittelalter: Untersuchungen zur mündlichen Kommunikation in England von der Mitte des elften bis zum Beginn des vierzehnten Jahrhunderts, Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters, 18 (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1979), p. 190, quoted in Andrew Reeves, Religious Education in Thirteenth-Century England: The Creed and Articles of Faith, Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, 50 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), p. 131. For thorough attention to the acquisition of Anglo-Norman French in thirteenth and fourteenth-century England from a linguistic perspective, see Richard Ingham, The Transmission of Anglo-Norman: Language History and Language Acquisition, Language Faculty and Beyond, 9 (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2012).

37 The Sarum Missal, ed. by J. Wickham-Legg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1916), p. 223; my own translation. Although it is not certain that the audience would be in contact with the Use of Sarum, it was spreading through the province of Canterbury in the period of the treatise’s composition and circulation. The treatise’s response to Orate fratres, Suscipiat Dominus hoc sacrificium de manibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem nostram et ecclesie sue sancte (Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS 36, 145vb), is not found in Legg’s edition of the Use of Sarum based on three roughly contemporary manuscripts and is common in other versions of the Roman Rite. Nonetheless, the Rite’s language is consistent enough for the prosodic elements considered here to remain applicable regardless of the use in question.

38 Sarum Missal, p. 224; my own translation.

39 Mirour, pp. 4–6; my own translation.

40 ‘communer3’, Anglo-Norman Dictionary (AND2 Online Edition), Aberystwyth University, <> [accessed 2nd August 2021].

41 ‘welcumer’, Anglo-Norman Dictionary (AND2 Online Edition), Aberystwyth University, <> [accessed 2nd August 2021].

42 R duplicate sa at start of next line omitted.

43 R creitreient.

44 R benfet.

45 C, W, E mester de aide.

46 R aveint.

47 R desuirrent, first r crossed through.

48 R primis.

49 R unt C, W, E vint.

50 R adoruns.

51 R iri.

52 R omits due to homoioarche; supplied from C, slightly shorter version found in W.

53 R amuz.

54 R crit.

55 R fere C lei W fey.

56 R seffrent.

57 R do.

58 R chirastes.

59 R perrastes Jesu nostra redemptio penetrans.

60 R offreine Iesu nostra redemptio Ipsa te cogat pietas. Emendation reads offre as third person singular present subjunctive (opero, operare) translating cogat.

61 R donet.

62 R Gaunt.

63 R ecuminez.

64 R wa.