medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
From: Jim Bugslag <[log in to unmask]>
> Is "suffrages" too general? It might work in some contexts, no?
i've never seen the term before.
the OED styles it "archaic", with a real last instance of use in 1885.
Use at Own Risk, i'd say.
in any event, it refers to the *prayers*, not the gift given to buy them, the
1. collect. pl. and sing. Prayers, esp. intercessory prayers, intercessions.
c1380 WYCLIF Wks. (1880) 303 In alle ise wordis ben feyned of gostliche
suffrage wi-oute grounde. 1432-50 tr. Higden (Rolls) I. 431 Vn til thei aske
the suffrage and helpe of Seynte Wenefride. c1450 Godstow Reg. 182 In massys,
in matyns, in oer owrys, suffrages, almys, fastynges. 1513 BRADSHAW St.
Werburge I. 3259 Also by her merite, suffrage and peticion Euery humble
creature had helpe and succour. 1553 BECON Reliques of Rome (1563) 197* The
Suffrages and sacrifices of the Masse. 1602 WARNER Alb. Eng. XIII. lxxvii, Not
tedious suffrages they ask't, nor Sacrifices strate. 1660 WOOD Life (O.H.S.)
I. 345 The chappell being onlie for privat or secret suffrages. 1681 BURNET
Hist. Ref. II. I. 64 That the Sacrifice might bring to them a greater
Indulgence, being offered up by the Suffrages of the Saint. 1865 KINGSLEY
Herew. i, Of what use to you then the suffrages of the saints? 1904 M. HEWLETT
Queen's Quair I. viii. 110 The Queen was at prayers which is more than can be
said for the priest who should have lifted up her suffrages.
b. spec. Prayers for the souls of the departed: esp. in phr. to do
c1440 Alphabet of Tales 58 He..garte do message & oders prayers & suffrage
of halie kurk for hym. c1450 Godstow Reg. 206 So at ey scholde haue in mynde
the sowlys Afore in alle here prayeris suffrages & benefettes for euer. 1483
CAXTON Gold. Leg. 348/2 That generalle Suffrages temporal myght be done for
them. 1521 Extr. Burgh Recs. Stirling 14 Oct. (1887) 13 Twa markis of obit
silver..for sufferagh to be doun for the saullis of wmquhill Allexander lord
Elphinstoun and Sir Johen Elphinstoun, his fader. c1554 in 10th Rep. Hist.
MSS. Comm. App. I. 87 To do suffrage for the sawll of the deid. 1584 R. SCOT
Discov. Witchcr. XV. xxii. 434 Whose soule art thou?.. Wantest thou any
suffrages, masses, or almes? 1596 R. H. tr. Lavaterus' Ghostes & Spir. 107
Whether he require any aide by prayers and suffrages? 1848 K. H. DIGBY Broad
Stone Hon. III. Morus 280 Their prayers and suffrages for the dead.
c. phr. suffrages of prayers; cf. med.L. orationis suffragium, OF.
suffrages d'oroisons. Obs.
The original sense was prob. ‘help given by (intercessory) prayer’: cf.
1447 in Anstey Epist. Acad. Oxon. (O.H.S.) I. 261 We commend us unto owr
goode lordschipe wt the gostly suffrages of oure prayers. c1613 in Cath. Rec.
Soc. Publ. (1914) XIV. 34 We humbly request the Suffrages of your Devout
Prayers of Charity.
d. pl. Liturgical intercessory petitions; esp. in the Book of Common
Prayer, (a) the intercessory petitions pronounced by the priest in the
Litany (also sing., any one of these); (b) a series of petitions pronounced
by the priest with the answers of the people, a set of versicles and
Also by some writers (see quots. 1657, 1732, 1796) used for a responsive
petition (or response to a versicle, etc.).
1532 ELYOT Let. in Gov. (1880) I. p. lxxix, [In Germany] the Preest [at
mass] in vestmentes after oure manner singith everi thing in Latine as we use,
omitting suffrages. 1548-9 (Mar.) Bk. Com. Prayer, Evensong, Then the
suffrages before assigned at Matins. Ibid., Litany, The Letany and Suffrages.
1587 HARRISON England II. i. 138/1 in Holinshed, After morning praier also we
haue the letanie and suffrages. 1657 SPARROW Bk. Com. Prayer 95 These Forms of
prayers, (where the peoples devotion is so often excited..by continual
Suffrages, such as Good Lord deliver us; We beseech thee to hear us good
Lord,) were called , earnest or intense Petitions. 1662 Bk. Com. Prayer, Form
of Prayer 5 Nov., In the Suffrages after the Creed, these shall be inserted
and used for the King. 1697 J. LEWIS Mem. Dk. Glocester (1789) 78 He..would
answer very properly at prayers, in the Suffrages and different parts of the
Liturgy. 1714 Order in Council 1 Aug. in Lond. Gaz. No. 5247/3 In the
Suffrages next after the Creed, instead of Queen read King. 1732 NEAL Hist.
Purit. I. 54 They compiled a Litany consisting of many short petitions
interrupted by Suffrages. 1796 PEGGE Anonym. (1809) 145 Tu autem..is the
beginning of the suffrage, which was supposed to follow the reading of the
Scripture, which the reading scholar was to continue, by saying, Miserere mei,
Domine. 1855 PROCTER Bk. Com. Prayer 255 After the suffrage for the Church,
those for the ecclesiastical orders usually come first. 1882-3 Schaff's
Encycl. Relig. Knowl. II. 1327 A brief litany, in which the people continually
respond to the various suffrages, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us’. 1885 Pall
Mall Gaz. 23 May 7/2 Installation of the Dean of Gloucester... The Bishop then
said some suffrages. 1885 DIXON Hist. Ch. Eng. III. 496 The Suffrages which
the clerks were wont to sing in the time of the communion [viz. the Agnus Dei,
transf. 1701 NORRIS Ideal World I. ii. 35 This great and solemn suffrage of
the adorable Trinity, Let us make man.
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