Wednesday, March 24, 2010

12th century music manuscript discovered at the Heart of Hawick

Rachel Hosker, Archive Manager, and her staff at the Heritage Hub, Heart of Hawick, in Scotland, have unearthed an incredibly rare music manuscript. The 12th century music manuscript would have been used by monastic orders for Holy Week and has excited medieval music experts throughout the world.

On Monday 19 April, Matthew Cheung Salisbury, Worcester College, Oxford University will be visiting Heart of Hawick to talk about the importance of this document and how it was used - with some excerpts of the manuscript being played for the first time since its discovery.

The music manuscript was found in an uncatalogued collection of family and solicitors’ papers relating to the Rutherfords of Knowesouth, near Jedburgh, and the mystery of how it was found in this collection is still being investigated. The document will be on public display for a short period and a series of events are being planned to highlight the findings.

Matthew Cheung Salisbury said: "The medieval liturgical manuscripts that have survived to the present represent a very small fraction of the number that were produced. Only careful study and preservation of every part of this important cultural evidence, including the Hawick missal fragment, will help to shed light on what is arguably the central feature of medieval spiritual life; the complex but fascinating body of texts that was the liturgy”.

The manuscript is a fragment from a Missal, the liturgical book that contained the texts used by the priest for Mass; in this case a noted Missal, containing the items sung by the choir as well. The first recto and verso give part of the procession on Palm Sunday; the second give the second half of Monday after Palm Sunday and the beginning of the following Tuesday. The second recto begins in the middle of the gospel reading for the Monday after Palm Sunday. Then follow the offertory, secret, communion, post communion; then for Tuesday the introit, collect, lesson, gradual, and part of the Gospel reading.

Rachel Hosker, Archive Manager Heritage Hub said: “We’re delighted to have discovered the manuscript and to have Matthew Cheung Salisbury and other experts so excited about what it can tell us about medieval life. The team at the Heritage Hub will be working further on the Rutherford collection to see if more can be found out about the mystery of how it came to be there”.

Commenting on the rare find, Graham Garvie, Executive Member for Culture, Sport and Community Learning said: “Matthew Cheung Salisbury’s talk will give us a fascinating insight into the spiritual world of the 12th century. The detective work involved in finding this manuscript and bringing it to the attention of world medieval music experts demonstrates the essential role professional archive services have in preserving our culture and heritage”.

Source: Heart of Hawick Heritage Hub