Looking forward, looking back
Country Life UK|January 06, 2021
In the first of a new monthly series, Amy Jeffs reflects on the medieval pastime of January: feasting with family and friends
Amy Jeffs

AMEDIEVAL January, for all its dreary skies and sodden fields, saw the last golden days of Christmas. It was a time of reflection, as well as—if you could afford it —feasting and present giving, punctuated by stories of the Christ Child, not to mention the festivals of saints whose legends you had known since childhood.

By the late Middle Ages, it was commonplace for the wealthier laity to commission manuscripts from scribes and artists (places such as Oxford had a lively landscape of commercial workshops). Psalters were especially popular and contained Psalms to guide Christians in their daily devotions. The books were often decorated, and the text preceded by a liturgical calendar.

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