The Wollaton Antiphonal Spread 0

The Wollaton Antiphonal Spread 0 cover
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About the Wollaton Antiphonal


Antiphonals (also called antiphoners or antiphonaries) are books of music for religious services. They contain the words and music to the sung portions of the Divine Office, celebrated in churches or religious houses, and are usually very large to allow them to seen by members of a choir.
This Antiphonal measures approximately 575 x 366mm, and is made of over 400 vellum sheets. It was a large sumptuous manuscript volume, even by the standards of the 15th century.


This digital resource provides access to 75 pages from the Antiphonal. The entire work contains over 800 pages, but here you can see all of the most richly illuminated pages, containing miniatures and intricate borders. Other points of special interest are also included, such as the Calendar and the chants for the Office of St John of Bridlington.

This digital publication is presented as if the Wollaton Antiphonal were a single volume. In fact, since its conservation it has been rebound in two volumes.

For more information about the creation of this resource, see the Acknowledgements note attached to the final fly leaf.


The Wollaton Antiphonal was created in England, probably in East Anglia. It is a noted Sarum Use breviary without lections. It has been dated by Kathleen L. Scott to between 1412 and 1458, probably c.1430.
The majority of medieval Antiphonals from English churches have not survived and the Wollaton Antiphonal has special significance. It is one of only two surviving Antiphonals illustrated with miniatures, although others have illuminated borders. Its long associated with a particular parish is also very rare.
Heraldic shields within the volume reveal that the original patrons were Sir Thomas Chaworth of Wiverton, Nottinghamshire (d 1459), and his second wife, Isabella de Aylesbury, whom he married in 1415. The will of Sir Thomas, proved in York on 27 March 1459, mentions several service books in his possession.


Research into the life of Sir Thomas Chaworth indicates that the volume was probably put up for sale after his death and suggests that its relocation to Wollaton was linked to the role of Richard Willoughby of Wollaton as Chaworth’s executor. According to a note on folio 206v, the Antiphonal was bought by the executors of William Husse, the late rector of Wollaton (d 1460) for ten marks, and presented by them in perpetuity to St Leonard’s parish church, Wollaton.
After the Reformation it came into the possession of the Willoughby family and was kept in the library at Wollaton Hall. It was given back to the church by Lord Middleton in 1924. The Parochial Church Council deposited it at The University of Nottingham in the Department of Manuscripts in 1974.


Title: The Wollaton Antiphonal
Creator: Manuscripts and Special Collections. The University of Nottingham
DateText: 24/01/2012