Friday, February 20, 2009

Question from Chloe - Catherine of Aragon's missal

I have a question about Catherine's of Aragon's missal. It once belonged to Henry VIII's mother Elizabeth of York and has White Roses and other Yorkist emblms on it. Henry gave it a s a gift to Katherine in 1510 in which he had incsribed into it in French, which both he an Katherine spoke fluently "If your rememberance of me be through my affection, then I shall not be forgotten in your daily prayers, for I am yours, Henry R., forever" Katherine wrote underneath this rhyming verse in English "By daily reverance you shall find me to be both loving and kind". There are entries in the calender of several Spanish Saints in normal handwriting(not illuminated) presumably this was written by Katherine.

I've read in a couple of places it is housed in Leeds Castle, Kent I do not however know how old these sources are so my question is. Does anyone know if it is still housed there? if anyone could tell me I'd be very grateful. Thanks!!!


Anonymous said...

Interesting question! And one I wish I knew the answer to!

So far the only reference to the missal that I can find comes from Weir’s work on the six wives of Henry VIII. She includes this reference:

‘Henry and Katherine’s inscriptions on her missal appear in the King’s MSS. in the British Library’.

However no further information on this missal was supplied. I did a basic google search and found no reference to it still being housed at Leeds Castle.

I did however come across a reference in J.L. Laynesmith’s work, ‘The Last Medieval Queens’ to another item owned by Elizabeth which was then passed to Katherine. Although Laynesmith does not cover Katherine’s queenship, she does observe Elizabeth of York’s and does discuss the Bohun Psalter held in Exeter College, Oxford. The Psalter was owned by Elizabeth who on the first page wrote, ‘Thys Booke ys myn Elizabeth ye Quene’. Laynesmith briefly concludes that the Psalter ‘was probably made in the latter half of the fourteenth-century for Humphrey Bohun, earl of Hereford, grand-father of Henry V, and it was later owned by Katherine of Aragon’ (p.261). The Psalter also contains Katherine’s signature.

Ironically, Anne Boleyn wrote a similar message to Henry in her Book of Hours:

‘Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,
To be to you bothe loving and kynde’.

Anonymous said...

I found one reference to it being at Leeds. I don't know how accurate it is though:

missal at Leeds

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info Nasim!

Lara said...

I took a look through my guidebook from Leeds, where I visited in 2003, but didn't see anything. I do however remember that there was a book that I saw in the chapel (or maybe the corridor outside the chapel?) that caught my eye and that I lingered on. But I can't for the life of me remember more than that!

Claire Ridgway said...

I know this is an old question but it's one I've been asked about on various occasions.

Like Nasim, I've only found this exchange of messages being referred to as between Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII in Alison Weir's "Six Wives". Her reference is:

"Henry and Katherine’s inscriptions on her missal appear in the King’s MSS. in the British Library."

But the missal owned by Elizabeth of York and passed on to Catherine is, according to the Bodleian Library: "A royal psalter, Exeter College, MS 47, Gift of Sir William Petre (1506–73), Exeter College, MS 47

This richly illuminated psalter was originally made c. 1360–70 for Humphrey de Bohun. Through marriage it passed into royal ownership and belonged in turn to Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII, and to Katherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII. Along with other books, lands, and money it was donated to Exeter College by Sir William Petre, a lawyer who studied at Exeter and served four Tudor monarchs."

However, the Book of Hours in which Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn exchanged messages is in the British Library and is "Kings Ms. 9, f.231v & f.66" - is that actually what Alison Weir is referring to? She does reference "Kings MS". Henry VIII wrote in French what translates to:

“If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. forever.”

and Anne replied in English under the miniature of the Annunciation (the angel telling the Virgin Mary that she would have a son):

“By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind.”

I wonder if it's simply a case of misattribution, I don't know.