181J Psalterium Latinum.

A early fifteenth century Manuscript

Psalter  surrounded on every page by an untitled 18th century English History manuscript.

                                 Tours, France circa 1430                       $95,000





Quarto: 19.5 X 14 cm. 171 parchment leaves plus 1 unsigned with vertical catchwords.

A fifteenth-century manuscript Psalter with an early eighteenth-century English manuscript written in the margins throughout. The English work is mainly historical with long polemical passages concerning the Church of England. The primary aim of the author, who writes with a strong Catholic bias, is to demonstrate the illegitimacy of the reformed Church. This copy has been recently rebound in appropriate style , of full calf and clasps.



This psalter has a long English Provenance, stretching back to the first quarter of the sixteenth-century, when this Psalter was owned by Alice Lupset, the mother of the English humanist Thomas Lupset (See below for a full discussion.)


The Psalter:


The illuminations in this volume is exquisite, with all of the large initials done in gold and colors, with great skill. The nine large (7-line) gilt initials are all accompanied by fullIMG_0743 illuminated borders containing leaves, fruit, flowers, and vines in many shades of blue, red, green, yellow, and orange, with gilded highlights. There are several other 4-line gilt initials in the text as well as many two and one –line initial letters.

IMG_0745This manuscript prayer book contains the complete text of the Psalms of David. The first 118 Psalms. These are followed by eighteen named Psalms(Beth, Gimel, et cetera) These are followed by Psalms 119 through 150 and, finally, eight other Psalms.




This manuscripts dates to ca 1430. None of the popular saints canonized in the 1440’s and 1450’s appear either in the calendar or in the litany of saints. This manuscript contains almost exclusively the names of universally honored saints and festival occasions for the church as its “red letter days”



1) The sixteenth century:

A sixteenth century inscription on the final leaf informing us that this book belonged to Alice Lupset (died 1543/4) wife of the goldsmith Thomas Lupset (died 1522/3) and mother of the English Humanist.


The Inscription reads:

“Thes boke belongeth unto syster Lupshed sum tyme the wife of Thomas Lupshed gol smyth”


A second shorter inscriptionapparently in the same hand reads:

“Lent to syster Baker”

The feast days for English saints have been added to the calendar in an early sixteenth century hand (for example Cuthbert lear 2 recto) In accordance with Henry VIII’sIMG_0737Proclamation of 1534 the word “Papa” has been duly erased from all entriesin the calendar bearing the names of popes. The Addition of English names(which are written in an English cursive hand similar to the one usedfor the ownership inscriptions) and the erasure of the word “

Pope’ were quite possibly made by Alice Lupset herself.

2) Now to the seventeenth-century. There is a single signature, only partly legible, on the final leaf: “George {???}”

3) The eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century: The ownership inscription of James Leatherbarrow appears on the first leaf and reads :


“Jas Leatherbarrow’s book 1751 No[vember] 13”

A nineteenth-century inscription on the rear flyleaf records the names of the subsequent owners of this manuscript: “This book belonged to James Leatherbarrow in 1751. See the name on the first page_by whom it was given to his Brother John Leatherbarrow, who gave it to his Daughter Mrs. Ann Lithgow, who gave it to her edest Daughter Mrs.Gasney & from her it came into the possession of her sister Elizabeth Lithgow. February 14, 1841” In another inscription John Lithgow identifies hiself as the son of Anne Lithgow.

From John Lithgow the manuscript passed to William Ormerod (1818-1860)


The English manuscript :IMG_0734

Surrounding, or rather filling the entire margins of the Psalter. The work is part religious, part history, and part chronicle. The, as of now, unidentified author’s purpose is to expose the usurpation of the Church and the throne of England by Protestants, beginning with Lord Somerset, and to demonstrate the legitimate authority of the Catholic Church by tracing the history of Christanity in England and chronicling – using lists excerpted from other sources- the succession of the kings and bishops of England. A number of printed and at least one manuscript work are quoted in full while others are digested or presented only in excerpt. The author of the manuscript then comments then comments upon these works, often at length, making the voices of our author and his sources difficult to parse.


The author cites a number of late seventeenth-century works, including Burnet’s “History of the Reformation”,and Jeremy Collier’s Historical Dictionary. A reference to John Harris’ Lexicon Technicum gives a terminus post quem of 1704.