The Calendar and Martyrology of All Hallows

TCD MS 194, All Hallows, London, ca. 1250-1300

This composite English book belonged to the thirteenth-century community of All Hallows in London and contains, beside a calendar and accompanying martyrology, a number of tracts on time and rhetoric, as well as a Carmelite Rule and ordinal. The calendar and martyrology in MS 194 have naturally been updated to reflect feasts and events important at the time, such as the translation (i.e. the move of the relics of) Margaret of Scotland, and the deaths of the parishioners, which have been entered into the calendar in a later hand.

Both the calendar and the martyrology also commemorate the dedication of the church in which they were (presumably) kept on July 28 [v kl aug]: Dedicacio ecclesie omnium sanctorum ad fenum (f. 113r). This is the dedication date of St. All Hallows.

Folio 112v lists both the feastday of St. Columba of Iona and that of St. Æthelthryth of Ely. The story of her chastity, her suffering and her uncorrupted body was popular in medieval England and is summarised in a matching entry in the martyrology.

In the right margin the number of lessons to be read for each commemoration are listed: three (in black) for the regular feasts and nine (in red) for the greater feasts, such as that of St. Columba.

The text of the martyrology on f. 116r is derived from that attributed to the Venerable Bede (d. 735), who was the first author to write a ‘historical’ or ‘narrative’ martyrology. In this type of martyrology, there is greater emphasis on the narrative and topographical details associated with the saints. Bede’s martyrology forms the basis for a series of later martyrologies, by Florus of Lyons (d. 860), Ado of Vienne (d. 875) and Usuard of St. Germain-des-Prés (d. 875) as well as the Old English Martyrology. These in turn, and the Martyrology of Usuard in particular, would continue to be copied throughout the early modern period, until the establishment of the Roman Martyrology, which is now the official martyrology of the Catholic Church.