Many Books of Hours contained Marian devotional material known as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Beinecke MS 10 now contains only the Office of the Dead and the Penitential Psalms, two other important components of these devotional books. Even in those prayers, Mary often appears as an intercessor—as she does in this example. One of the primary figures of personal devotion in the later Middle Ages was thus represented in the manuscripts that were themselves the essential vehicles of that devotion.
Mary was also embraced more publicly. In Takamiya MS 17, we see Marian verses composed by the famed fifteenth-century poet John Lydgate. Entitled “Fifteen Joys of Our Lady,” the fourteen lines of this poem are separated by a scroll upon which is written ave maria (hail Mary). The text on the preceding page — “Ihesu lord that madyste me,” a hymn written by Richard de Caistre, a vicar in Norwich— suggests that these verses may have been intended to be sung.