ARCHIVES: SPRING 2019 ISSUE: TOC AND ABSTRACTS

CONTENTS

Marianne Wilson,Reformation on the record’: Developing the Reformation programme at The National Archives

Stephanie Thomson, What have wills got to do with it? Women’s religious patronage in early Reformation England, c.1530-1558: Evidence from the PCC

David E. Thornton, The prosopography of English monastic orders at the dissolution: evidence from The National Archives assessed

Simon Lambe, The dissolution of the monasteries in Somerset: The records of the Court of Augmentations at The National Archives, Kew (E 321)

Sylvia Gill, ‘… for the honour of God and the weal of his majesty’s realm …’: Reformation stories from documents in The National Archives

 

ABSTRACTS

REFORMATION ON THE RECORD’: DEVELOPING THE REFORMATION PROGRAMME AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

By Marianne Wilson

The National Archives holds a wealth of records charting the history and impact of the Reformation in England. Yet whilst many have been mined by scholars, others remain under exploited despite their potential to offer a deeper insight into this period. This article discusses the formation of a programme to increase awareness and engagement: with the public as well as with academic researchers. This involved sharing the skills and knowledge needed to interpret these collections as well as creating Reformation-related local and regional outreach events and engaging with other archives and heritage institutions.

 

WHAT HAVE WILLS GOT TO DO WITH IT? WOMEN’S RELIGIOUS PATRONAGE IN EARLY REFORMATION ENGLAND, C.1530-1558: EVIDENCE FROM THE PCC

By Stephanie Thomson

Despite the attendant methodological issues, probate records are an invaluable source for the study of lay piety and the English Reformation. This article examines some of the ways in which wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, now held in the National Archives, can inform our understanding of women’s religious patronage during this period of religious change. It focuses in particular on women’s support for preaching, their bequests of objects to churches and clergy, and their sponsorship of domestic chaplains, but also addresses some of the broader implications of this research.

 

THE PROSOPOGRAPHY OF ENGLISH MONASTIC ORDERS AT THE DISSOLUTION: EVIDENCE FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ASSESSED

By David E. Thornton

This paper evaluates a number of classes of document at The National Archives as evidence for the prosopography of monastic orders in England and Wales during the second half of the 1530s. In particular, the testimony of the acknowledgements of the Oath of Supremacy in 1534 (TNA, E25), the certificates of the suppression commissioners in 1536, the deeds of surrender from 1538-40 (TNA, E322), and the various types of document which outline monastic pensions, are assessed in so far as they record the identity and numbers of monks, regular canons and nuns at the time of the Dissolution. The paper demonstrates that, despite the importance of these various primary sources, none when taken alone necessarily completely and accurately describe the religious personnel of individual monasteries, and concludes with a call for a fresh examination and publication of the relevant documents.

 

THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES IN SOMERSET: THE RECORDS OF THE COURT OF AUGMENTATIONS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, KEW (E 321)

By Simon Lambe

In 1536, following the onset of the English Reformation, Thomas Cromwell established the Court of Augmentations to manage the large-scale accumulation of former monastic property. These documents, held at The National Archives (E 321), record cases of debt, riot or any matter ‘in any wise touching or cencernyng the same premises or any parte of theym’. In other words, the Court of Augmentations dealt with the transfer of property and goods following the dissolution of the monasteries as well as arbitrating the quarrels and incidents that accompanied them. Taking the county of Somerset as an example, this paper shows how Somerset’s resident gentry sought to purchase as much of the county’s former monastic property as possible in an effort to prevent those from outside the county from intruding into the county structure. The paper argues that compliance with royal instructions was a critical factor in land acquisition and local knowledge was an equally important factor in identifying profitable religious houses and their associated lands. What emerges from the evidence, albeit unsurprisingly, are three key avenues for acquiring this land: Thomas Cromwell, Edward Seymour and, finally, the court.

 

‘… FOR THE HONOUR OF GOD AND THE WEAL OF HIS MAJESTY’S REALM …’: REFORMATION STORIES FROM DOCUMENTS IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

By Sylvia Gill

The survey records of the court of augmentations (collectively referred to as the ‘chantry certificates’) provide invaluable evidence of the process of Dissolution including details of property used to endow the chantries and the purposes for which it was intended. The survey carried out during the reign of Edward VI adds personal details of the priests who were employed to offer prayers for the founders. This article demonstrates the importance of these documents and related material, and their use to uncover more about the priests whose lives were disrupted by the Dissolution, and the endowments that supported their foundations as well as the officials and practices of the Court of Augmentations itself.

 

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