The Piper

The Luttrell Psalter:
The Instruments

Geoffrey Luttrell with Wife & Daughter

In the early 14th Century (circa 1320-1330), Geoffrey Luttrell (died 1345), a large landowner in Lincolnshire, commissioned the production of his own psalter. At the beginning of the book is a picture of the Luttrell familyas well as the usual collection of saints and figures from the Bible. More importantly alongside the prayers and psalms are a calendar together with a description of the village of Gerneham in Lincolnshire which he owned (now known as Irnham) and a series of pictures that illustrate everyday life on the Luttrell estate.

Whilst these are not the first rural scenes to be included in psalters or books of hours what makes the illustrations in the Luttrell Psalter so useful is that they are the most detailed and realistic pictures of everyday life that have survived from the Middle Ages. The artist (we do not know whether it was a he or a she) produced a range of pictures that has given historians vital information of what life must have been like for the people on his estate in the 14th century.