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The Great Cartulary of Berkeley Castle c. 1425

Bridget Wells-Furby

(Volume 28, 2014)

In this new edition, Dr Wells-Furby builds on more than 25 years' experience of working with the unparalleled medieval archive at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. The cartulary calendared here, compiled shortly after the death of Thomas IV Lord Berkeley in 1417, makes available over 1100 documents, most of them relating to the extensive Lisle estate which had come to Thomas in 1382. While some of the documents exist in other copies, much of the material presented here is unique, and little of it has appeared in print in extended form.

The cartulary dramatically illustrates the wide spread of landholdings coming under Berkeley control through the Lisle estate. The largest proportion relates to holdings in Berkshire, with further significant holdings in Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Cornwall, and minor acquisitions in a handful of other counties. The last section of the cartulary deals with holdings closer to home, in the Gloucestershire manors of Cam, Coaley, Hinton, Slimbridge, Wotton-under-Edge, South Cerney and Shornecote.

As source material, the Lisle archive is of greatest importance in documenting the process of acquisitions by marriage and purchase. It is also of considerable genealogical value, with for example plentiful evidence of the families of the Lisle lords, their daughters and younger sons. The social and political evidence provided by the witness lists helps chart the progress of the Lisles from eminent local gentry to the peerage. The Cartulary also sheds new light on other families, some of them noted in introductory vignettes drawing on Dr Wells-Furby's wide reading in English medieval sources.

The extensive indexes, a well-regarded feature of the Society's Record Series, give full access to the wealth of detail contained in the cartulary, including place and locality names; owners, tenants and witnesses; and selected subjects such as legal devices, customary rents and privileges, and other aspects of medieval land tenure.

This edition will appeal, not just to those interested in Gloucestershire and the Berkeleys, but also to local, social and family historians of the medieval period.

Dr Wells-Furby is an independent scholar who has previously produced the two-volume Catalogue of the Medieval Muniments at Berkeley Castle [currently out of print] and The Berkeley Estate 1281-1417, its Economy and Development [see Monographs].

xiv + 510 pages, 10 figures, 2 maps, 8 pedigrees, ISBN 9780900197844

Price: £30 (free postage)

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