Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Ordinal of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity Fécamp: Fécamp, Musée De la [Palais] Bénédictine, Ms 186

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Ordinal of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity Fécamp: Fécamp, Musée De la [Palais] Bénédictine, Ms 186

Article excerpt

The Ordinal of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity Fécamp: Fécamp, Musée de la [Palais] Bénédictine, Ms 186. Edited by David Chadd. [Henry Bradshaw Society, Vols. 111-112.] (Rochester, New York: Published for the Henry Bradshaw Society by the Boydell Press. 1999, 2002. Pp. xii, 378.; viii, 379-885. $65.00 each.)

These beautifully produced volumes contain Professor David Chadd's (Department of Music, University of East Anglia) edition of the liturgical directory of the great Norman monastery of LaTrinité of Fécamp, now MS 186 in the museum of the Palais Bénédictine in Fécamp (home of the collections of Alexandre le Grand, who founded the firm that produces the liqueur Bénédictine in 1863). A number of features indicate that this manuscript was copied in the later years of the abbacy of Raoul d'Argences (d. 1219), and the editor suggests that the completion of the rebuilding of the abbey church by Abbot Raoul was the likely occasion for the redaction and careful execution of this ordinal suited to the new church building.

The core of an ordinal, according to Chadd, is "essentially a collection of rubrics and accompanying incipits, which acts as an explanatory directory to the texts (prayers, chants, lessons, and so on) contained in the various service books of a particular church," and its basic function was to provide "the codification of current practice where that was found to be satisfactory; and the incorporation into a main text of elements which had been introduced as additions or modifications to a previous edition." But in his discussion of "The Fécamp Ordinal as a Liturgical Book" (pp. 5-11) he observes that the conventional distinction between ordinal, which tells what is to be done, and customary, which tells who is to do it, is routinely blurred in ordinals from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and that in the case of ordinals produced to regulate local practice (rather than to propagate it to another locale or community), the particular melange of contents will suggest a function and even the figure to whom that function was entrusted in a particular community. …

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