The Coventry Pontifical

The ‘Coventry Pontifical’ (Cambridge University Library MS plays an important role in the Bangor Pontifical Project, for it enables conjectural restoration of the lost opening of the Bangor rite for the Dedication of a Church, where five leaves are missing at the beginning of the manuscript.

The Coventry manuscript was copied in the thirteenth century for the use of the bishops of the Coventry and Lichfield diocese, and though more modest in scale and decoration than its Bangor counterpart, the two manuscripts share much common textual and musical material. Examination of the opening of the Coventry Dedication rite (ff.1r-15v) suggests that fifteen plainchant melodies, several prayers, and a series of ritual instructions are missing from the corresponding Bangor rite, which begins halfway through with an incomplete item on f.12r. Thereafter, the two Dedication ceremonies continue in a markedly similar way (ff.16r-20r in the Coventry Pontifical, ff.12r-20r in the Bangor Pontifical).

The digital images below are delivered through the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music and reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. A full description of the Coventry Pontifical may be accessed via the DIAMM site.