The Register of John Waltham, Bishop of Salisbury, 1388-1395ed. by T. C. B. Timmins, and: The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, Volume IV (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 84, Number 4, October 1998
- pp. 759-760
- View Citation
- Additional Information
book reviews759 trace in the records. For their part the Franciscans cared for two houses ofPoor Clares and many béguines; neither the Augustinians nor Carmelites shared in this apostolate. By omitting the women, Rüther has told only half the story. John B. Freed Illinois State University The Register ofJohn Waltham, Bishop of Salisbury, 1388-1395- Edited by T. C. B. Timmins. [The Canterbury and York Society, Vol. LXXX.] (Woodbridge , Suffolk, and Rochester, NewYork: The Boydell Press. 1994. Pp. xxiv, 331.$45.00/£25.00. The Register of William Melton, Archbishop ofYork, 1317-1340, Volume IV Edited by Reginald Brocklesby. [The Canterbury and York Society, Vol. LXXXV] (Woodbridge, Suffolk, and Rochester,NewYork:The Boydell Press. 1997. Pp. vii, 246. $53.00/£29.50.) These episcopal registers are but two recent achievements in the Canterbury and York Society's longstanding efforts to make original source collections more accessible to students of medieval English church history. Episcopal registers are generic compilations of diocesan business and bear the necessary mark of the official, the formulaic, and the routine. Paging through these registers , one finds records of usual activities—ecclesiastical institutions, ordinations , numerous kinds of licenses of exemption, records of litigation, memoranda, papal and royal correspondence. Nevertheless, each register is different in ways that describe the unique circumstances of time, geography, religion , administration, pastoral care, and the personality of the prelate who presided over the see. William Melton's York register is a massive compilation of some 370 folios covering the broad range of archiépiscopal activities. His register is really a collection of separate gatherings representing the business of subsidiary jurisdictions (archdeaconries) and major categories of activity such as the work of suffragans,vicars general, and management oftemporalities. This particular volume , fourth in the editions ofmaterials from Melton's register, comprises the folios (400'-477r) devoted to the Archdeaconry of Nottingham. Even with this contribution,the better part of Melton's register remains still in its original manuscript form. This volume represents, in effect, a smaller register within a larger one; its contents are arranged chronologically and encompass the broad range of Melton's activities regarding that section of his archdiocese. Consequently, it can be read as a sort of administrative chronicle and discloses with occasionally fascinating detail the local church history of an archdeaconry in northern England . The editor, Reginald Brocklesby, has summarized in English many of the quotidian and repetitive entries of the register segment while rendering in full Latin transcriptions those records which he judged deserving of a fuller pre- 760book reviews sentation. It is completely satisfying in this respect. What is unfortunately lacking in this edition is an even modest introduction which would have enhanced the value of this tome for historians by noting the historical context of this register and some ofthe textual challenges the editor faced. The register ofJohn Waltham, bishop of Salisbury and Treasurer of England from 1391 to his death in 1395, is edited here in full. Typical ofmost English registers past the mid-fourteenth century, it was arranged topically according to the main areas of diocesan business.Whatever its original order, it suffered from the hands of well-intentioned seventeenth-century archivists who struggled to rationalize its arrangement. T. C. B. Timmins has taken great care in reorganizing the register as close to its original form as possible This same care is present throughout, from the reproduction of marginalia to the extensive and historically useful appendices that comprise roughly a third of the volume. These include non-registered letters from Waltham's correspondence, royal presentations to Salisbury benefices,visitation fragments, and the bishop's itinerary. This edition will be of considerable value for medieval English historians for a variety of reasons: the bishop's stature as a political figure in the reign of Richard II, his energetic pursuit of heretics in his diocese, and an exceptional devotion to parochial visitation. Records of the latter events, especially, indicate the sort of theological and religious currents prevailing in late fourteenth-century Salisbury . Unlike the Melton fragment, this register is fully translated or summarized in English, but in a style which seems more abbreviated and clipped than the economy of an edition would seem to warrant...