The Arbuthnott Missal is the only extant missal (liturgical book) of the Scottish Use. It won a prestigious top award in the British Library's Hidden Treasures competition 2007.[1]

James Sibbald, priest of Arbuthnott, Scotland, wrote it in 1491 on vellum in Gothic characters with illuminations. It is the only complete service book of its kind known to have survived the Reformation in Scotland. It provides a unique and irreplaceable insight into the forms of worship practised in Scottish churches not only at the time it was made but for a period of about four hundred years before. It mainly follows the Sarum Rite.[2]

Apart from its unique significance in Scottish religion, the Missal is a rare and important example of Scottish medieval art and letters – a large, beautifully preserved volume of 248 pages, lavishly decorated with twenty three-quarter page border illuminations and illustrations, as well as finely painted miniature initials spaced throughout the text. A striking full-page miniature painting of St Ternan, patron saint of the church of Arbuthnott, is modelled on William Scheves, Archbishop of St Andrews, and can claim to be one of the earliest Scottish portraits[3].

After the Reformation, the missal became the property of the Arbuthnott family, in whose possession it remained until 1897, when it was purchased by Archibald Coats of Paisley, who presented it to the town museum.[2]

It was edited under the title Liber Ecclesie Beati Terrenani de Arbuthnott: Missale secundum usum Ecclesiæ Sancti Andreæ in Scotia by Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin and published in 1864 by his brother George Hay Forbes at the Pitsligo Press, Burntisland.


  1. Hidden treasures revealed to the nation
  2. 2.0 2.1 Catholic Encyclopedia. "Missal of Arbuthnott". Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  3. Renfrewshire Community Website - Arbuthnott Manuscripts

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