The Hawick Missal Fragment was discovered in 2009 in an uncatalogued collection of family and solicitors' papers originally belonging to the Rutherford family of Knowesouth, near Jedburgh. The fragment was discovered by Rachel Hosker and her staff at Hawick's Heritage Hub in The Borders.
Ever since the discovery, Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury of University College, Oxford University, has been very closely involved with the study of its contents (which he is continuing as a key member of the Fragments project) and he has been able to shed a great deal of light on the importance of the surviving fragment and how it was used.
Through the study we know that this is a fragment from a Missal, the liturgical book that contained the texts used by the priest for Mass; in this case a noted Missal, containing the items sung by the choir as well.
Dr Salisbury said: “The medieval liturgical manuscripts that have survived to the present represent a very small fraction of the number that were produced. Only careful study and preservation of every part of this important cultural evidence, including the Hawick missal fragment, will help to shed light on what is arguably the central feature of medieval spiritual life; the complex but fascinating body of texts that was the liturgy”.
At the outset of the project Matthew Cheung Salisbury translated the text of the document from the original Latin and he also transcribed the music into modern notation. Shortly after this, and with Matthew’s help, the fragments project brought together a group of singers and the first ever recording of the music of the fragment was made at the chapel of Worcester College, Oxford University.
The fragment begins with the last lines of a song and, over the four pages of the fragment, contains many songs that were written for the Mass during Easter week.
A modern notation transcription of the
music of the Hawick Missal fragment by
Matthew Cheung Salisbury