Page v

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: Volume 8, Bath and Wells Diocese. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1964.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



Work on the diocese of Bath and Wells has presented a number of difficulties and in many cases the lists of prebendaries and dignitaries are very fragmentary and sketchy, because of the many gaps in the cathedral records at Wells and in the series of bishops' registers. The registers of bishops Barnet, Harewell, Skirlaw and Erghum have been lost which has meant a scarcity of precise information for the period 1363-1400. This fourteenth-century gap is not as serious as that of the sixteenth century since for the former century cathedral registers and the Calendars of Patent Rolls and Papal Letters have been available as supplementary sources of information. The scarcity of any records in the sixteenth century has proved a serious handicap; John Clerke was bishop of Wells 1523-1541 but his register does not extend beyond 1527, and the register of bishop Barlow, 1548-1553, has been lost. There is an almost complete dearth of cathedral records for the greater part of the sixteenth century, since the chapter acts, calendared by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, extend from 1487 to 1513, and start again in 1571. Owing to this lack of records for the sixteenth century it has been necessary to use the Valor Ecclesiasticus extensively, and for some of the prebends this has proved the only source of information until the end of the century. The series of Ledger Books which cover a period 1523-1813, and which are to be found in the chapter library at Wells, have not been of any assistance in making the lists of prebendaries, since the material consists mainly of copies of leases granted by the chapter during this period. No attempt was made in Hardy's edition of Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae to list the Wells prebendaries, except in the case of prebendaries of St Decumans, before the time of the Valor. Some information about the prebendaries of Wells 1300-1541 has been obtained from the registers of other bishops, since three of the prebends of Wells were situated in other dioceses, Holcombe in Exeter, Shalford in London and Warminster al. Luxville in Salisbury, and from examination of the registers of these dioceses further information has been obtained.