Travels and Ecclesiastical Sewing Treasures

I must admit, I love to travel.  I do not travel often, but for some reason, this year, the early spring and summer season has several trips on the calendar: trips which include Ecclesiastical Sewing side trips and adventures.  Today I am returned from an extended weekend trip to St. Louis, Missouri.  And I am pleased to say, I saw many treasures of Ecclesiastical Sewing and Embroidery.

Book of Prayer with Tie Ends
Book of Prayer with Tie Ends

While it will take some time to sort through all of the photographs and do a bit of editing, I wanted to share this interesting piece of Ecclesiastical Sewing with you. It was found in a most unusual and unexpected place: a Rare Book Library.

This is an Anglican Book of Prayer.  It dates back a few years (as in a few hundred years).  Inside, the book has the prayers of the day according to the lectionary reading schedule. The cover, while now worn with age, once must have been lovely with all of the gilt work on black leather.  What is unusual with this Book of Prayer is the four ties attached to the top and bottom of both the front and back cover.  The ties are approximately 3 to 3 1/2″ wide, and 18 to 20″ long with a 2 to 3″ fringe at the lower edge.  The ties are very similar to what is often used as a Bible book marker.  The tie fabric is soft, and with age, is now crinkled and faded.  The blue color might be close to a Sarum Blue – a steel-blue color.  The ties are permanently mounted as a part of the cover. When the Book of Prayer is open, the tie ends hang straight down. I was looking closely to see if there were any hint that the ties might have been “tied” over the centuries, but the fabric showed no noticeable traces of that sort.

When I asked the curator what he knew about the book and why it had ties attached, he thought the reason behind having the tie ends permanently on the Book of Prayer was, “This was a way to add a regal touch to the service.  It was most likely a very high church item.”

This Book of Prayer is a part of the Collection of Rare Books at the Concordia Seminary Library on the LC-MS Seminary Campus in St. Louis, MO.  The Rare Books Library houses a unique collection of rare volumes relating to Church History, and specifically, Lutheran Church History. If you are traveling in the St. Louis area, please call ahead to make arrangements to see the Collection of Rare Books and this Book of Prayer in the Rare Books Collection.

I will be off traveling again in two days, but I hope to be able to post a few more items of Ecclesiastical Sewing from the St. Louis trip.

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Bible Book Markers, Book of Prayer, Concordia Seminary Library, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Rare Books


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