Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
Latin Text; Angular Gothic Script; Gregorian Notation
At important festival services such as Christmas and Easter these small hymnals were generally used by the laymen as they walked in procession to the various altars. Much of the material incorporated in the hymnals was based on folk melodies. Hymns, like the other chants of the Church, varied according to their place in the liturgy. Their melodies are frequently distinguished by a refrain which was sung at the beginning and at the end of each stanza.
The initial letter design of this leaf persisted with little or no change for a long period, but the simple pendant spear was used as a distinctive motif for not more than twenty-five years.