This early fifteenth-century manuscript is a liturgical book (Lectionary) with musical notation, interestingly donated by a married couple of lay people to their parish church in Amiens:
« Enguerran de Noyelle et Symonne du Puys, se femme, donnerent chest livre à l’esglise Saint-Remy en Amiens pour partir aus biens et priere fais en le ditte esglise, le XIIe jour de decembre l’an de grace mil IIIIc XXXV. Priés pour eulx » (f. 215v).
“Enguerran de Noyelle and Symonne du Puys, his wife, gave this book to the parish church of Saint Remy in Amiens in order to dispose of their wealth and to have prayers said for them in aforementioned church, the 12th day of December in the year of grace 1435. Pray for them”.
While the vast majority of liturgical texts and songs in this manuscript are in Latin, the last 46 pages reproduce so-called épitres farcies: liturgical Epistles intended to be sung in Latin alternating with translations into French/Picard, for the feasts of Saint Stephen (26 December), the Holy Innocents (28 December), and Saint John the Evangelist (27 December)
The inscription mentioning Enguerran and Symonne as donators of the manuscript is in the same hand as the rest of the texts, thus suggesting that it was their intention to have these liturgical readings in French included in the manuscript. Consequently, it was this couple of lay people that, by donating the manuscript, shaped the liturgy of some of the most important Christian feasts of the year by introducing French/Picard vernacular translations of liturgical Bible readings.
The French/Picard texts indicate manifestly that the intended audience consisted of both clerics and lay people:
“Entendes tuit a chest sermon/ et clerc et lay tout environ” (f. 193r).
“Listen all to this sermon/ Clerics and lay people alike”.
The inclusion of Epistles in French/Picard in the manuscript was explicitly intended as a means of religious and biblical knowledge transfer to the widest possible audience:
“Or escoutes grant et petit
traies vous cha vers chest escript
Si attendes tant que jaie lit
cheste lechon et chest chant dit … (f. 207r)”
“Now listen, old and young,
draw near to the book here
and give your attention until I have read
this ‘Lesson’ and said this song…”
(Transl. Stephens 1986, pp. 245-246)
The book given by Enguerran and Symonne explicitly played a role in disseminating religious and biblical knowledge to the widest audience possible, while using the parish church of Saint Remy and its clergy as instruments for the realisation of this goal.