The Ordinal of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, Fécamp
Fécamp, Musée de la Bénédictine, MS 186

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 • Volume 1 of 2: [Temporale] •  9781870252133

The abbey of Fécamp, reformed in the early years of the eleventh century by William of Volpiano, abbot of St-Bénigne at Dijon, was a key institution in the development of Norman monasticism in the middle ages. As one of the most energetic monastic reformers of his time, William was noted for the attention he paid to the liturgy of the many abbeys he superintended, and his liturgical cursus was influential in English and continental monastic houses.

The Fécamp Ordinal, edited here from a manuscript of the early thirteenth century, but transmitting the liturgy observed in the abbey some two centuries earlier, is the first complete source of William's liturgical work to be printed. It is expanded by readings from complementary Fécamp service books, creating a text which gives a particularly detailed view of medieval monastic liturgy.

The manuscript Fécamp, Musée de la Bénédictine, Ms 186 is the work of two alternating scribes who undertook unequal parts in the writing. It was possibly compiled in connection with the completion of a programme of rebuilding of the Abbey church. The original manuscript has been subject to a series of annotations and changes introduced mostly from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Its whereabouts are not known between the early eighteenth century and its acquisition by the local magnate Alexandre le Grand in the course of the following century. It is now deposited in the collections of the museum he founded in connection with the Bénédictine liqueur distillery.

Among materials of particular interest are the specifications regarding the Quem quaeritis at Matins on Easter Sunday (fols. 57r-58r), which complement what has already been published from the Fécamp processional (fols. 53v-57r), reproduced here in Appendix 4. The appendices to the volume contain extracts from related manuscripts, in particular:

  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 253 (processional, early 14th cent.)
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 245 (antiphonal and hymnal, second half of the 13th cent.)
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 244 (noted breviary, late 12th cent.)
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 205 (breviary, late 13th cent.)
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 238 (collectar, c. 1150-61)
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 292 (missal, late 14th cent.)
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 290 (sacramentary/missal, early 12th, 14th and early 15th cent.)

This volume contains the Temporale; the second volume contains the remainder of the Ordinal (Sanctorale, Commune Sanctorum and Miscellanea), together with comprehensive indexes.

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