York Use

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Christianity was established in York in the fourth century, but after the departure of the Romans the country relapsed into paganism. St. Paulinus (d.644), sent to England by Gregory the Great in 601, was bishop in 631 but fled from his see in the face of the new pagan invasion, and for a time the region was under the care of missionaries from Lindisfarne, sent by St. Aidan (d. 651). Traces of this Celtic interlude remained down to the time of the reorganization of the chapter by the Normans. Thus, up to that time the clergy of the cathedral at York was known as culdees or Colidaei.

The liturgy of York, like that of sarum, was a Norman codification of existing practice with the addition of many Norman-French practices, particularly those of a ceremonial nature. For York, unlike Sarum, we know the precise source of many of these: it was the cathedral church of Rouen. In comparison with Sarum liturgical books, those of the York Use are comparatively rare, and there are only about a half dozen manuscript Missals in existence. The Missal was printed in 1509 at Rouen, and again in 1516, 1517, and 1530.

The general features of the Mass offered considerable similarities with those of Sarum Use. Thus the prayers at the foot of the altar were in the same short form, with Psalm 42 as part of the celebrant's private preparation on the way to the altar. There were some slight ritual differences between Sarum and York at such points as the Gospel and the Offertory. At York the celebrant was directed to wash his hands twice, once before touching the host and again after incensing the altar (on this occasion while saying the Veni Creator ). The offerings of host and chalice were made simultaneously and the answer to the Orate fratres et sorores, to be made by the choir in a low voice, was the first three verses of Psalm 19. The Canon contained the mention of the king, as at Sarum, but was otherwise identical with the Roman form. At the kiss of peace the formula was not the usual Pax tibi et ecclesiae (Peace to you and the Church), but Habete vinculum pacis et caritatis ut apti sitis sacrosanctis mysteriis Dei (Keep the bond of peace and charity that you may be fit for the sacred mysteries of God). The Mass Propers included a large number of sequences (more than at Sarum), the majority of them of indifferent quality. The Breviary showed many variations, mostly of a slight character, from those of Rome and Sarum, but in its general features resembled that of Sarum.

The Manual, again while resembling the general pattern of the Sarum and other English Manuals, contained several small differences. For example, in the York marriage service, the troth plighting ran as follows: "Here I take thee, N., to my wedded wife, to have and to hold at bed and at board, for fairer for fouler, for better for worse, in sickness and in health, till death us do part and thereto I plight thee my troth" (the form omits "if holy Church will it ordain" found commonly in England and elsewhere). The bridegroom, while placing the ring on his bride's finger, said: "With this ring I wed thee, and with this gold and silver I honour thee, and with this gift I dowe thee," omitting "with my body I thee worship" of the Sarum rite, words that have been retained in the marriage service of the English book of common prayer. The color sequence resembled that of Sarum, but it is difficult to establish a really probable sequence from the scanty evidence.

Bibliography: w. maskell, The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England, According to the Uses of Sarum, Bangor, York and Herford, and the Modern Roman Liturgy (3d ed. Oxford 1882). a. a. king, Liturgies of the Past (Milwaukee 1959). w. h. st. j. hope and e. g. atchley, English Liturgical Colours (London 1918). e. bishop, Liturgica Historica, ed. r. h. connolly and k. sisam (Oxford 1918). s. w. lawley, ed., York Breviary (Surtees Society 71; Newcastle, Eng. 1880). w. g. henderson, ed., York Manual and Processional (Surtees Society 63; Newcastle, Eng. 1875). h. j. feasey, Ancient English Holy Week Ceremonial (London 1897).

[l. c. sheppard/eds.]

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