Edward Samuel Dewick • 1893
The text is a translation done into English for use in the Brigittine monastery of Syon by the priest Richard Whitford (fl. 1495-1555?), the 'wretche of Syon', as he often signed himself, a well known translator and compiler of devotional texts in the vernacular. It was printed by de Worde (STC 17532) 'for the edificacyon of certayn religyous persones vnlerned, that dayly dyd rede the same martiloge in latyn, not vnderstandynge what they redde'. The English text follows in essence the text represented by the Latin Syon martyrology, London, British Library, Additional MS 22285, but from a different, more correct copy which contained additional entries. Additional MS 22285 was devised for the male Brigittine community, but was conserved in exile by the female community until 1809, when it was sold to the Earl of Shrewsbury.
The 'additions' mentioned are not liturgical in character, but are somewhat careless gleanings from Jacobo de Voragine's Legenda Aurea, Petrus de Natalibus, Catalogus Sanctorum, and a work Sanctilogium Salvatoris, all employed so as to furnish a devotional rather than a liturgical text in the vernacular.
The reference to Salisbury (Sarum) in the title of the printed volume is explained by the fact that Syon was founded in 1415, the year after the London diocese (in which the monastery was situated) adopted the Sarum Use, and that the Brigittine custom was to follow the local use. It would seem doubtful that a uniform Sarum martyrology ever really existed. In this edition readings are collated from the Latin martyrology to be found in a Sarum breviary in London, British Library, Harley MS 2785. On a broader view, the Syon martyrology followed a rather corrupt text of Usuard with numerous variations and interpolations.Purchase now at Boydell & Brewer