The Calendar and Martyrology of St. Thomas Abbey

TCD MS 97, Dublin, 13th-14th century

With MS 97 we enter the era of the Anglo-Irish monastic houses. The martyrology in MS 97 was copied for the Augustinian canons of St. Thomas (hence modern Thomas Street). The text is based on the Martyrology of Usuard (d. 875), a ‘historical’ martyrology which was widely copied in the Middle Ages. Despite being based in Dublin, the abbey was primarily an English foundation and this calendar adds only a bare minimum of Irish saints to the pre-existing list. These are St. Brendan, St. Kevin, St. Moling, St. Aidan and St. Laurentius (Laurence) of Dublin. On f. 67v (l. 5), you can see the entry for St. Laurence. Additional entries for English and Welsh saints show that the copy used by the scribe probably came from an English Dominican exemplar.

A memorandum of an arrangement, dated 1478, details that the community of St. Thomas abbey agrees with the abbot of St. Mary’s (Dublin), to have prayers said for certain souls in return for a sum to be used in the repair of the monastic church (f. 3). F. 276 contains the autograph Per me Henricum Duff. Henry Duff, last abbot of St. Thomas, surrendered the abbey in 1538 during the Dissolution. The bulk of the volume contains various ‘rules of life’ (regulae), including that of the Order of St. Victor, to which the abbey ascribed.

The martyrology and calendar in this manuscript also both have extensive astronomical annotations. In the martyrology tables with lunar key-letters have been included here above each entry, while the calendar page (f. 4r) includes a concordance of Dominical letters for the months July to December.