Record

Reference numberMS/45
LevelSubFonds
TitleAn ecclesiastical and astronomical calendar, together with agricultural almanack, tables and figures of the zodiac
Datec.1383-1415
DescriptionA folding calendar on a sheet of parchment folded into two rows of 24 sections each.

In both rows on one side, is a perpetual calendar running from January to December and marking saints' days and Christian festivals. Each month is represented in a table spread across four folds with a row representing each day of the month. The second half of January is missing. The ruling is in red and green inks. Feast days are colour coded according to their importance, with those written in blue ink being the most important Marian feasts, followed by other major feasts such as Christmas in red ('red letter days'), evangelists', apostles' and martyrs' days in green, and finally the lesser feasts in black. Entries in red include Edwardii Regis and Translacio Edwardi Regis (20 March, 13 October); in black, Translacio Mildride (13 July). Each feast is illustrated by a conventional head, sideways, in coloured penwork: kings crowned, abbots tonsured etc. and accompanied by their symbol (keys for St Peter, a lion for Mark the apostle etc.)

On the other side, the other way up: (a) in the upper row, the sign of the zodiac in each month, followed by its occupation, mostly agricultural in character - picking apples, slaughtering livestock etc.; (b) in the lower row, an astronomical calendar, 1 January to 15 June on 22 folds, four to a month. Each monthly tables lists the following in columns: the day of the month (in arabic numerals), the dominical letter (a method used to determine the day of the week for particular dates based on when the first Sunday fell in the year), the Roman calendar organised by Kalends, Nones and Ides (used throughout the Middle Ages), the Golden Number (used to indicate the dates of all the calendric new moons from which the dates of moveable feasts such as Easter are calculated), the length of the night (nox) and the length of the day in hours and minutes, the rising of the Sun ('Sol' the sun's angle at sunrise in relation to the ecliptic) and the date, hour and minute in a year on which the conjunction of the sun and moon will occur for three 19 year cycles.

(a) The January sign and occupation are missing. The December occupation came on the fold which was exposed when the sheet was closed and has been rubbed away.
(b) The first two folds were left blank.
LanguageLatin
Extent1 volume, MS Very Small (vol)
FormatManuscript
Physical descriptionVellum, folding sheet, in a slip case. When closed measures 97 x 62 mm and when open twenty four times 62mm in width and twice 97mm in height. Originally two rows, each of twenty four folds, but the first folds in the lower row ( lower if the sheet is looked at from the side containing art) are missing and the first fold in the upper row has been sewn to the foot of the second fold. Three membranes were joined to make a sheet.
Dimensions97 x 62 mm (closed) 194 x 1,488 mm (fully opened)
NotesThe calendar has been dated by Pamela Robinson, Institute of English Studies, University of London. She determined a likely date range of 1383 to 1415 based on certain saints' days. St Anne, mother of the Virgin, whose feast was established in England in 1383 is represented on the calendar but David and Chad, adopted in 1415, are not. St George's day is listed in black, as a minor feast day, suggesting a date before the elevation of his feast to a 'red letter day', which took place after the battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Access statusClosed
Access conditionsCurrently not available due to conservation being carried out, expected return by Oct 2021
Related materialSee N R KER 'Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries; I London' (1969) Oxford. Clarendon Press.
P Robinson, 'A 'very curious Almanack'; the gift of Sir Robert Moray FRS, 1688'. in NR 2008 vol 62 pp 301-314
Fellows associated with this archive
CodeNameDates
NA8261Moray; Sir; Robert (1608 - 1673)1608 - 1673
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