The Murthly Hours
First appearing in the 13th century, the book of hours was a new type of private prayer-book devised for use by members of the laity, often by women. While contents vary, the defining text is the Hours of the Virgin Mary. The Murthly Hours is not only of great art historical interest but is equally important as a document of the piety, beliefs and literacy of its owners over three centuries. The earliest addition to the text may have been made for the original owner. In Anglo-Norman French it provides a vivid expression of secular belief in the power of the Virgin to protect her devotees 'from shame and ill repute from sudden death and from all ills and from the pains of hell'. This is followed by a prayer to be said by a woman to her guardian angel. Most startling are some additions in Gaelic, written in the West of Scotland some time around 1400, which include protective charms based on a kind of folk Christianity.
Further information and links:The Murthly Hours
Book of Hours