Pages ix-xi

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 1, St. Paul's, London. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1968.

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The revision of Le Neve's Fasti for the period 1066-1300 presents some problems not encountered in the compilation of the volumes for 1300-1541, already published. (fn. 1) These problems arise chiefly from deficiencies in the historical material for 1066-1300. For the greater part of the period there are no bishops' registers. Only two English dioceses have registers surviving from before 1250, and the series of registers in five dioceses do not begin until after 1300. In ten dioceses registers begin between 1250 and 1300, but in four of these they do not appear until after 1290. (fn. 2) In the absence of these rich sources of information, it is often impossible to ascertain the dates of collation, resignation, death, etc., of the great majority of cathedral clergy. It is fortunate, however, that for the small minority of dignitaries and canons who were appointed by the kings or provided by the popes, there is good evidence for the thirteenth century in the royal patent and close rolls, and in the papal registers. But the lack of episcopal registers is a fundamental difficulty, and the search for alternative sources is without limit. limit.

For the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and also to a considerable extent for the thirteenth century, the two classes of historical record which yield most information for the Fasti are chronicles and charters. But their use involves some difficult problems. Chronicles, which often purport to give precise dates of appointments, deaths, etc., cannot be used indiscriminately: their evidence has to be critically evaluated. The same chronicle may be reliable in parts and unreliable in other parts, according to its time of composition and its own sources of information. In general, if two or more independent chronicles provide a date for the Fasti, only one is cited-and that the one thought to be most reliable at that specific point. Where there are divergences between good authorities, whether chronicle or record sources, all the differences are noted.

Chronicles have the advantage for the student of being comparatively few in number and mostly easily available in printed editions. It is otherwise with charters, of whose colossal total number only a small proportion is in print. A problem of crucial importance for the Fasti is that few charters are dated. To give limits of date to undated charters reference is made to the terms of office of witnesses, so that as the work of compiling the Fasti proceeds, the dating of charters has to be constantly revised, in turn necessitating further revision of the Fasti itself. Footnotes are provided to supply the evidence for dates assigned to charters in manuscript, and for revised dates assigned to charters in printed editions.

Dependence on somewhat unsatisfactory sources has important effects on the structure of the Fasti. For the most part, all that can be achieved in the way of chronological information on the terms of office of individual dignitaries and canons is a collection of various dates of occurrences, themselves often only approximate. From these the dates of first and last occurrences are usually selected for inclusion in the entries of the Fasti. A list of succession constructed by such piecemeal methods can never be complete, so that the frequent gaps should not be filled by hypothetically lengthening the terms of office of men whose names are listed. Conjectures are sometimes made in the Fasti as to the dates of death of men who appear in obituaries and whose last occurrences can be closely dated, but normally the date of an obit is taken to be simply the date of commemoration and not necessarily the date of death. (fn. 3)

The presentation of the Fasti is also influenced by certain problems connected with the identification of men and their offices. Dignitaries commonly occur in the sources without their full names and without their official titles, so that it is necessary to include in many entries corroborative evidence of identity where this is available. It should perhaps be emphasized that in the Fasti for 1066-1300, as in the volumes published for 1300-1541, the details given in the entries are reduced to the minimum. (fn. 4) Biographical information appears only where it sheds light on a problem of identity or chronology. (fn. 5) Where reference is made to an individual's tenure of office in another English or Welsh cathedral, no authorities are cited, as these will be found in the appropriate volume of the Fasti to be published. Authorities are given, however, for Irish, Scottish and foreign appointments. The family relationships of individual dignitaries and canons are omitted, except where relevant to the Fasti of the diocese in hand.

The first names of individuals are normally anglicized. Surnames are given in the most usual Latin form found in the sources, except in the case of identifiable placenames. Place-names are not identified unless they are obviously cities or major towns (such as London or Northampton), or unless there is documentary evidence to support the identification in the case of a particular individual, and then a footnote is given referring to that evidence. When the place is identified, the individual's name is fully anglicized, e.g. Ralph of Langford; when the place is not identified, the name is given in its most usual Latin form, e.g. William de Mareni. Significant variant Latin spellings of surnames and place-names (both identified and unidentified) are to be found in the index. As in the Fasti 1300-1541, the title 'M.' is given in the entry headings for men who regularly appear as magistri, but for the period 1066-1300 academic degrees are not given, and for these reference should be made to Dr. Emden's biographical registers. (fn. 6) Where there are two or more individuals in the Fasti of one diocese who have the same name, they are differentiated by the use of I, II, III etc., chronologically. (fn. 7)

Sometimes it is not possible to make a positive identification of the dignity or prebend held by an individual. In the twelfth century archdeacons often occur without precise territorial title, and throughout the period 1066-1300 there occur canons whose prebends are unidentified. (fn. 8) Wherever identifications of archdeaconries or prebends in the Fasti are conjectural, the entries are placed in square brackets in the appropriate lists. (fn. 9) Where no conjecture can be made, the entries are placed in separate lists of unidentified officials. (fn. 10) It should be remembered, however, that some canons may never have held prebends, and that the duties of some early archdeacons may not have been defined on a strictly territorial basis.

It is important, therefore, that the conventions adopted in the Fasti should not obscure the fact that much is uncertain about cathedral organization in the period under review, especially in the first half of the period. (fn. 11) In general, a man is thought to have relinquished lesser benefices on becoming a bishop, but there was considerable diversity in practice as to the actual date of surrender-whether at election, grant of temporalities or consecration. There are cases in the thirteenth century of papal dispensations allowing bishops to retain benefices previously held, and in the late eleventh century some bishops actually gained and held lesser benefices during their episcopates. A great deal is uncertain about the status, duties and methods of appointment of early dignitaries: it is not even clear, for example, if before the late twelfth century deans were normally elected in chapter. (fn. 12)

Deficiencies in the historical sources for the period 1066-1300 have had the various effects on the method of compilation and presentation of the Fasti which are described above. These deficiencies and their effects have to be emphasized, but they must not be exaggerated. The very existence of the present volume and of earlier revisions of Le Neve bears witness to the abundance of records useful for the compilation of chronological lists of dignitaries. (fn. 13) In recent times various scholars have made revisions of the Fasti for particular dioceses in the period before 1300. Sir Charles Clay's York Minster Fasti is the most complete, with chronological lists of all the York dignitaries and prebendaries to 1307, illustrated by documents, but the archbishops are not included, nor are unidentified canons. Professor Z. N. Brooke projected lists of cathedral dignitaries above the rank of canon for the period before 1215, and with C. N. L. Brooke published a list for Hereford. After Professor Z. N. Brooke's death the scheme was continued by Professor C. N. L. Brooke, who kindly made available the accumulated notes for the present revision of Le Neve. Professor Brooke has published important lists for St. Paul's. A bibliography of these and other reliable modern revisions of Le Neve for the period 1066-1300 is given in Appendix III.


  • 1. For an account of the problems and method of compilation for the period 1300-1541, see Mrs. Joyce Horn's Introduction, in Fasti 1300-1541 XII (1967) 7-10.
  • 2. See C. R. Cheney, English Bishops' Chanceries, 1100-1250 (Manchester, 1950) pp. 100-10, 147-9.
  • 3. For examples illustrating the danger of treating an obit date as a date of death, see below M. Geoffrey de Lucy, dean, p. 6, and M. John Witing, prebendary of Rugmere, p. 75.
  • 4. See Fasti 1300-1541 XII (1967) 9.
  • 5. See, e.g., Luke the chaplain, prebendary of Pancratius, below p. 70.
  • 6. A. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to 1500, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1957-9); and A Biographical Register of the University of Cambridge to 1500 (Cambridge, 1963).
  • 7. See, e.g., John de Chishull I (below pp. 4, 7, 11, 40), John de Chishull II (p. 63).
  • 8. At Exeter the prebends never had distinguishing names: for this special case, see Fasti 1300-1541 IX (1964) pp. xiii-xiv.
  • 9. See, e.g., Reinger, in the list of archdeacons of London, below pp. 8-9.
  • 10. See, e.g., the unidentified prebendaries and canons below pp. 89 ff.
  • 11. For some comments on the obscurity of the organization of secular cathedrals at this time, see K. Edwards, English Secular Cathedrals in the Middle Ages (2nd ed., Manchester, 1967) pp. 11-22.
  • 12. K. Edwards, English Secular Cathedrals pp. 121-2.
  • 13. The sources found particularly valuable for London are listed and briefly described below, pp. xiii- xiv. Similar select lists of sources will appear in the volumes now in preparation for the other English and Welsh dioceses.