Sarum Missal (1498)

Lower Library Aa.1.38 (G.A.S. 86)

A missal contains the words and music for the Catholic Mass throughout the year: this is the version given at Salisbury, or Sarum. Our copy was presented in 1498 by the Caian Humphrey de la Pole for use in the College Chapel, and is the only one now known to survive. It barely did.

The most striking mark it bears of Britain's religious conflicts is the obliteration of every reference to the Pope: the words are blacked out, or even cut out. Two dates written on the title page quietly signify its return to the Chapel altar when the Catholic Mary I took the throne in 1554, and its removal after her death in 1558. But it somehow escaped destruction in December 1572, when the university authorities and Fellows of the College raided the rooms of John Caius, the College's second founder and then Master, and burned all the 'popish trumpery' they found.

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) << Sarum Missal (1498) >> Thomas Cranmer's books (1500, 1536)