07 February 2012

St Edmund of Canterbury in the 1962 Calendar

St Edmund of Canterbury
St Edmund of Abingdon, or Canterbury, one of our saintly Archbishops of Canterbury, like his successor St Thomas of Canterbury spent a lot of time in exile, and indeed died there. He has two feasts in the 1962 Calendar in some dioceses. His main feast day in 16th November, but there is also a feast of his Translation (ie. the moving of his relics) on 9th June. He is particularly associated with St Edmund's College, Old Hall, Ware, where an important first-class relic is preserved and both feasts are celebrated; he is also the Patron of the Diocese of Portsmouth.

There are two different Mass formularies, with their own chants, for him. The one used by most dioceses on 16th November (ie Birmingham, Clifton, Liverpool, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Plymouth, Salford, Shrewsbury & Southwark) is simply the Common of Confessor Bishops, Statuit ei Domini. The other, used for the Translation in the places where it is celebrated (Brentwood, Portsmouth, and Old Hall), and in Westminster, Brentwood and Portsmouth for the feast, is taken entirely from the Feast of St Edmund in the Sarum Missal. It is unusual, and possibly unique, to see a complete adoption of a Sarum Mass formulary (set of propers) in modern books. In terms of chants the pieces can all be found in the Graduale Romanum, but the Introit and Alleluia have textual variants to include his name. The alleluia is the same as St Francis of Assisi, but with 'Hic Edmundi' instead of 'Francisci'. He is also described as 'modicus', 'modest', rather than (as with St Francis) 'humilis', humble. Perhaps this is becuase, unlike St Francis, St Edmund did not manage to resist elevation to high office in the Church.

Fitting 'Hic Edmundi' into the space where 'Fransisci' is a bit of a puzzle, and we are very grateful for the help of Colin Mawby here. Mr Mawby, who was Director of Music in Westminster Cathedral in 1960s, can remember singing it in Westminster many years ago. It is good to have this kind of knowledge passed on to future generations. His help has enabled me to add this Mass to our list of Diocesan feasts on the Latin Mass Society website.

A booklet with these chants can be downloaded from the LMS website here. You can see our whole page of diocesan feasts here:

http://www.lms.org.uk/resources/gregorian-chant/proper-chants-for-the-feasts-of-england-and-wales

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to see the use of a Sarum formulary: I wonder when it was adopted. The compilers of the Scottish propers (first published 1913, I think) liked to use pre-Reformation sources, e.g. the Sarum Use (which was prevalent in Scotland) & collects from the Aberdeen Breviary of 1509.

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