The Worcester Antiphonarium, GB-WO F. 160, is a massive, 355-page volume of monastic chants prepared for Worcester Cathedral, of which the main portion was created in about the year 1230. It was copied out into three sections by two different scribes, the first two parts by a skilled hand writing in an early English gothic script, and the third part (which is an appendix) in a rougher, low-gothic hand. At some point, the Worcester Antiphonarium was re-bound in such a way that these sections became mixed up, though in the partial published edition in Paléographie musicale xii (1922 -- 1925) the material is reshuffled into the right order.
The first section contains the antiphoner proper and a series of processionals. The antiphoner constitutes a nearly complete set of antiphons for the church year, running from the first week of Advent to the 25th week after Trinity. The processionals, however, break off after the Feast of Rogations, indicating that this part of the book is missing. The first section resumes after the appearance of the third, and this portion contains a church calendar, an incomplete Psalter including a litany to murdered Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, hymns, collects, and a second antiphoner. The latter is intended for use on feast days and special occasions, includes an office for the dead, and concludes with a tonary. The second section follows and concludes the actual volume with a Gradual containing troped Kyries and Glorias and a few Sequences -- likely most of the Sequences were lost somewhere along the way. The third portion of the Worcester Antiphonarium, already mentioned, consists of offices and masses, many of which are dedicated to persons of local significance within the church hierarchy.
There is only one other Benedictine English antiphoner (GB-Cmc F.4.10), a fourteenth or fifteenth century manuscript once owned by Samuel Pepys. Before the reformation, chant modified for so-called "Sarum Use" was far more common in England, and the vast majority of English Catholic service books were wiped out during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VII between 1534 and 1539. Given its early provenance, wealth of content, and comprehension, the Worcester Antiphonarium is one of the most important sources of Benedictine chant to be found outside of continental Europe. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi