The Sherborne Missal

c 1399-1407

The British Library

The British Library
London, United Kingdom

With 347 illuminated pages each measuring approximately 535 x 380mm, the Sherborne Missal is the largest and most lavishly decorated English service book to survive from the Middle Ages.

A missal is a book that contains all the texts required for celebrating Mass, the central service of the medieval Christian liturgy. Shown here is the page for the Mass on Easter Sunday (p. 216), with a decorated initial letter showing a scene of the Resurrection of Christ. In the margin, the risen Christ displays his wounds, seated in an architectural structure. Below are images of Robert Brunyng, the abbot of Sherborne from 1385–1415, who probably commissioned the manuscript, and Richard Mitford, bishop of Salisbury from 1396–1407, flanked by Sts Peter and Paul. Below them are images of the master craftsmen who created the manuscript, John Siferwas, the artist, and John Whas, the scribe. They all offer up prayers to Christ. The page is surrounded by an elaborate frame containing scenes from the Old Testament, portraits of prophets, angels, birds, plants, fantastical knights and wild men.


  • Title: The Sherborne Missal
  • Date Created: c 1399-1407
  • Location: British Library, London, UK
  • Location Created: England, probably the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary’s, Sherborne, Dorset
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Original Source: Add Ms 74236
  • Rights: Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. For more information visit: https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-reuse-images-of-unpublished-manuscripts

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps