Lucas, Peter J.

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  • Publication
    A Psalter from Maillezais at Maynooth
    (2019-10-25) Lucas, Peter J.; Lucas, Angela M.
    A Psalter from the third quarter of the fifteenth century is preserved in the collections of St Patrick’s College now housed in the Russell Library at Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland. The psalter was evidently made in a Benedictine monastery in south-west France, probably Poitou. One particular saint occurs in both the calendar and the litany. St Rigomer, though little known elsewhere, was specially venerated at Maillezais in the marshes of bas-Poitou, where the abbey, founded c.1000, was provided with incoming funds from pilgrims by the transfer there of the saint’s relics c.1020, and they were given a place of special importance in the chapel to the south of the main altar. The monks at Maillezais had a good library of which there is a catalogue from the end of the twelfth century. Of the small number of these books that still survive one is identified as a Maillezais book because it includes a mention of St Rigomer. It is extremely likely that the psalter now at Maynooth came from Maillezais. This journey cannot have been direct. Maillezais suffered heavily in the Hundred Years War and the French Wars of Religion and the books from the monks’ library were probably dispersed in the 1560s. What happened to the psalter between this time and when it arrived in Maynooth probably in the first half of the eighteenth century is moot, but we can now be reasonably certain of its place of origin as well as knowing where it is housed now.