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16th Century Primer on display

16th Century Primer on display

‘How Jesus Christ right poorly borne was. In an old crib layd all in poverty at Bethlehem’ (from the 1554 Book of Devotions)

December’s display is a 16th Century Book of Devotions. Also known as a Primer, they were the popular prayer books used by people from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

This particular Primer was created in Rouen, Normandy in 1554 for the English market during the first years of Mary I’s reign (1553-58). It contains a number of illustrations showing scenes from the life of Christ, including his birth, the adoration of the magi and the flight to Egypt.

In the image displayed from the Primer we can see the nativity scene. The overall focus of this image is the humble beginning of Jesus’s life and the promise of new life that it brings. The scene is set in a falling-down stable with Jesus surrounded by his mother Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds and wise men who came to visit him.

You can find out more about a similar nativity scene by visiting the ‘Picture This…..’ pages of the Cathedral’s website.

The Crypt is open for visiting from 10.00 to 17.00hrs Monday to Saturday and from 12.30 to 14.30hrs on Sunday. Always check the website for notice of occasional closures for special services and community events.

image of the Cathedral
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