Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Medieval music of monks unearthed

The manuscript is to be put on public display for a time and some excerpts will be performed for the first time since its discovery

A 12th century music manuscript used by monastic orders during Holy Week has been unearthed in the Borders.

The discovery was made by Archive Manager Rachel Hosker and her staff at the Heart of Hawick cultural centre.

It was contained in papers relating to the Rutherford family of Knowesouth, near Jedburgh.

The document will now go on public display and some excerpts from the manuscript will be performed for the first time since its discovery.

The manuscript is a fragment from a missal, the liturgical book that contains the texts used by a priest for Mass.

It also includes the items sung by the choir.

The public will get a chance to examine the manuscript when it goes on display for a time at the Heart of Hawick centre.

Central feature

In addition, medieval music expert Matthew Cheung Salisbury of Oxford University will visit the Borders next month to give a talk on the significance of the find.

He said: ''The medieval liturgical manuscripts that have survived to the present represent a very small fraction of the number that were produced."

He added that evidence such as the Hawick missal fragment could shed light on what was "arguably the central feature of medieval spiritual life".

Ms Hosker said they were pleased to have discovered the document which had experts "so excited about what it can tell us about medieval life".

She added: "The team at the Heritage Hub will be working further on the Rutherford collection to see if more can be found out about the mystery of how it came to be there."

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