Missale ad vsum Sa[rum] incipit feliciter.
Place of origin
Lyme, Cheshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at
The Lyme Missal is the single most important printed book in any National Trust collection. It was published in 1487 by England's first printer, William Caxton. He sub-contracted the work out to a Parisian printer and it is the only surviving copy of the first edition of the Sarum Missal, the standard service book used in English churches before the Reformation. The Missal belonged to the Leghs of Lyme from at least 1507. It is covered in annotations which tell their own story. For instance, prayers for the Pope have been crossed out in accordance with Henry VIII's instructions. The Missal was purchased with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund and other supporters.
The only copy known to survive of this 1487 Missal, which has been at Lyme since at least the sixteenth century. It was printed in red & black by William Caxton: leaf G6v has probably the earliest occurrence of his famous device (cf. W. Blades, William Caxton, no. 103 ). According to A. Labarre: "The two woodcuts were used in 1481 in the Missale Parisiense printed by Jean du Pré and Didier Huym, 22 September 1481 ... They are the first woodcuts used in printing in Paris" (cited in Hellinga's Supplement)
 leaves . fol.. Imperfect: wants leaves *1,2,4,5,7,8, a1, a10, b1-8, c1,2, n3-6 [i.e. 22 leaves according to Hellinga's collation]. Many leaves damaged at foot, removing signatures and text; illuminated? initial cut out on a2r. Some manuscript initials in blue. The full-page illustrations on m8 & n1 are hand-coloured, but imperfect. The English portion of the marriage service on E8r is written in by hand. Numerous annotations, including "in a sixteenth-century hand contemptuous references to Richard Mody who was rector of Standish nr Wigan during the reign of Queen Mary I" (de Ricci). Extensive annotations on G6v, giving instructions for the service of St. Thomas of Canterbury. References to the Pope deleted on k7r and G5r. Exhibited at the Caxton Exhibition, [London] 1877 'Class A. 128' & the Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition [Manchester, 1888?] '280' (labels on front pastedown). Nineteenth-century collation notes, including manuscript slips pasted in place of missing leaves. Letter from W.B. Rye at the British Museum (1873-12-31) and typescript of articles by William Blades & Edward Scott inserted at rear pastedown, along with two typescript exhibition labels. . Binding: Nineteenth-century binding, incorporating front panel from original? late fifteenth or early sixteenth-century blind-stamped (stamps of roses, some with fleur-de-lys) diaper calf binding. Old repairs to many pages.
Probably acquired directly from Caxton by Sir Piers Legh of Lyme (c 1455–1527) either on publication or shortly after and then by descent in the Legh family at Newton or Lyme. Deposited by Lord Newton at John Rylands (and so recorded in ISTC). Acquired by the National Trust by private treaty in 2008 with the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Foyle Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust, the Friends of the National Libraries, the Art Fund, the Robert Gavron Charitable Trust, the Royal Oak Foundation and private individuals.
Makers and roles
Catholic Church William Caxton (1422-1491) Guillaume Maynyal (fl.1479-1490)