Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: Volume 12, Introduction and Errata. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1967.
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John Le Neve's single volume of Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae appeared in 1716. (fn. 1) Unlike many antiquarians of the leisured eighteenth century, Le Neve was not a wealthy gentleman, nor a clergyman with time on his hands, but his work was the result of stringent financial necessity. His original intention had been to revise and bring up to date Francis Godwin's De Praesulibus Angliae, which consisted of lists of the bishops of England and Wales, and was published in 1616. (fn. 2) However, the dean of Peterborough, White Kennett, put his valuable collection of manuscripts (fn. 3) at Le Neve's disposal, and as he had for years been collecting materials for lists of deans and other principal dignitaries, Le Neve decided to enlarge the scope of his work to include these, together with lists of prebendaries in most of the post-Reformation chapters, the provosts of Eton, deans and prebendaries of Westminster and Windsor, and heads of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge.
Le Neve was very conscious of his indebtedness to White Kennett, and frequently pays tribute to his 'unparallel'd Generosity', declaring that as to his own part, he aims 'at no higher a character than that of a faithful transcriber'. Browne Willis maintained that 'though Mr John Le Neve has the name and credit of the Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, yet the real compiler of that useful work was bishop Kennett'. (fn. 4) Thomas Duffus Hardy agreed that on comparing Le Neve's book with White Kennett's collection, it seemed that Le Neve had done little more than publish a different arrangement of those materials. However, Browne Willis's judgment on Le Neve seems a harsh one, since in addition to White Kennett's collection, Le Neve worked through several other collections. He used the library and manuscripts of Sir Robert Cotton (moved from Cotton House to Essex House in the Strand in 1712), and quotes extensively from the manuscripts of Matthew Hutton, who had copied many extracts from the diocesan registers of Lincoln, York, Bath and Wells, and London, with a view to continuing Godwin's De Praesulibus. He also used the collections of William Fleetwood, bishop of Ely (on St Asaph), Roger Dodsworth (then in the Bodleian, on York), and John Featley, prebendary of Lincoln. As further evidence of his industry, he cited a formidable list of manuscripts consulted for the diocese of Canterbury, as a sample of the work involved. He received assistance from various people besides White Kennett. One Mr Reynold, registrar of Hereford, provided lists of Hereford deans, Thomas Tanner gave lists of the prebendaries of Ely, John Evans, bishop of Bangor, the Bangor deans, and archdeacon Richard Bowchier gave assistance at Chichester. (fn. 5) The list of chancellors of Norwich was taken from Sir Thomas Browne's Posthumous Works (London, 1712), checked by Thomas Tanner, and the lists of St Paul's dignitaries from Richard Newcourt's Repertorium Ecclesiasticum Parochiale Londinense (2 vols., London, 1708).
Le Neve based his work where possible on standard works, such as Godwin, Battely's edition of Somner's Antiquities, Isaacson's Chronology and Wharton's De Episcopis et Decanis. (fn. 6) He also consulted the bishops' and archbishops' registers in the various dioceses, and made occasional use of some chapter material. His practice is generally to give full page references to printed works, but hardly ever to give folio references to manuscripts. (fn. 7) Moreover, if information were supplied to him by a person of scholastic eminence, that person's authority was thought to outweigh the need for full references. (fn. 8) The same applies to information given from memory. (fn. 9) In other instances, Le Neve gives tantalisingly vague references, such as 'Cart. Orig.', 'Ex cartis in Baga de Dioc. Cicestr.', 'A Deed in the possession of Peter Le Neve, Esq.', 'In an Old Charter at Chichester', 'in an ancient MS. in the Church of Exeter', or 'MS. in Bibl. Bodl.'.
Le Neve declares in his Preface that he faced 'many Difficulties and Discouragements' in compiling the Fasti, even to the extent of suffering a 'maliciously contriv'd Imprisonment, purposely intended to ruin both the author and the design'. (fn. 10) He was unable to secure access for work on the prebendaries of Rochester, Worcester, Chester and Durham. There are several indications that he was in a hurry to get the material printed, which affected the order of the lists, and caused some sections to be included in the addenda. (fn. 11)
The Fasti were not immediately well received, and in consequence Le Neve did not produce the supplement which he had intended. Although 750 copies were printed, there were only forty-five original subscribers. The value of the work was soon apparent to scholars and antiquarians, and most of the eminent men of the eighteenth century possessed and annotated copies, and several of them made proposals for a second edition.
Probably the most assiduous collector of material for a revision was the antiquarian Browne Willis. He had a copy of Le Neve's Fasti interleaved, in order to insert additions and corrections, (fn. 12) and when he found he had sufficient for a small volume, offered the material to Le Neve with the request that he should produce a supplement or a new edition. Le Neve, however, had been discouraged by the reception given to his work, and refused to continue it, 'alledging that he could not meet with the least Encouragement'. (fn. 13) Browne Willis therefore published his material in a different form, as surveys of the four Welsh cathedrals, and of a considerable number of English ones. (fn. 14) Some of the lists were prepared for him by others. That for Durham was given to him by Nathanial Ellison (a prebendary there who died in 1721), and enlarged by John Rymer, head master of the College School (1711-33) and by some of the Durham prebendaries. For York, he used the list of James Torre up to 1693, and continued it to 1722. (fn. 15) William Walmisley, dean of Lichfield, extracted information about the dignitaries at that cathedral from the bishops' and chapter registers. In addition to the contributions and suggestions of friends such as bishop Kennett, Dr Tanner and Mr Maker, Browne Willis sought material at the Rolls Chapel, Prerogative and First Fruits Office, Cottonian and Lambeth Libraries, and also made collections from the Bodleian, Ashmolean and private libraries, and examined diocesan and chapter archives for each cathedral in the country, apart from Carlisle. (fn. 16) Being a man of considerable private means, Browne Willis had the leisure to pursue his researches without the pressing need that they should yield financial reward, which restricted Le Neve's activity.
As a result, Browne Willis declares that he was able to add to Le Neve's lists for the churches of York, Lichfield and Hereford 'no less than 370 Precentors, Chancellors, Treasurers and Archdeacons . . . besides about 400 Archdeacons and Prebendaries in the Churches of Durham, Chester, Worcester and Gloucester, that he has made no Mention of, not to insist on what I have done in other Cathedrals, or my rectifying numerous Dates of Collations etc.' (fn. 17) Unlike Le Neve, Browne Willis attempted lists of prebendaries for such of the cathedrals of the old foundation as he dealt with. He also prepared Fasti for several of the cathedrals not covered in his Surveys. His notes on these were transcribed by William Cole, and form part of volumes 27-29 of the Cole MSS. in the British Museum. (fn. 18)
Other antiquarians left annotated copies of Le Neve with materials for a revision. In the Bodleian Library, in addition to Browne Willis's copy, there is one with additions by John Blackbourne and Samuel Drake, (fn. 19) and copies formerly belonging to Thomas Tanner, (fn. 20) Richard Gough, (fn. 21) William Cole, (fn. 22) one Brooke, an attorney, (fn. 23) John Denne, (fn. 24) Richard Rawlinson and Samuel Carte, (fn. 25) and Robert Masters. (fn. 26) Further copies were at Cambridge (fn. 27) and in the British Museum. (fn. 28)
It was not until 1854 that a revised edition of Le Neve was eventually produced by Thomas Duffus Hardy. In his introduction, he describes some of the earlier abortive attempts. The Rev. William Richardson of St John's College, Cambridge, issued a Prospectus about 1825 for a new edition in two folio volumes, but lacked sufficient subscribers to defray the expenses. Edward Herbert, 2nd earl of Powis, purchased an interleaved copy of Le Neve filled with annotations and additions by several people, and offered its use to the Roxburghe Club, but the project was not sufficiently popular, and was abandoned. The Rev. John Gutch of Oxford considered producing a revision, and 'was only deterred from the undertaking by its extreme labour, and from the fortunate circumstance of his obtaining the easier and more profitable employment of Registrar to his University'. (fn. 29) Later, the Rev. Charles Coates would have brought out a new edition, had the University of Cambridge been willing to publish it. Hardy, likewise, collected materials for many years, but could not find a publisher willing to take the risk of an expensive production unlikely to sell in large numbers. At length the Oxford University Press agreed to undertake the work.
Hardy was at this time working at the Branch Record Office at the Tower of London, and later, in 1861, became Deputy Keeper of the new Public Record Office in Chancery Lane. Le Neve's single volume was now enlarged to three, and his 11,051 entries to 30,000. Hardy continued Le Neve's lists up to his own day, incorporating additional lists of prebendaries for some of the post-Reformation cathedrals, and making occasional corrections and additions from his own researches. He also added a list of the canons of Southwell collegiate church, prepared by the Rev. J. F. Dimock, and appended an Index of Persons, although no attempt was made to identify people of the same or similar names. The principal new sources of information used by him were the patent, charter and close rolls (then at the Tower and Rolls Chapel), the Church Books (in the Home Office), and bishops' certificates (at Carlton Ride and Queen Anne's Bounty Office). He also made use of White Kennett's copy of Le Neve in the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps, (fn. 30) and that belonging to Earl Powis. He used such of the diocesan registers as he was able to obtain access to, and consulted local antiquarians, such as the Rev. G. Oliver, whose Lives of the Bishops of Exeter was published in 1861. (fn. 31) Unlike the first edition, the revision is not based on Godwin and Le Neve's other authorities, but Hardy declared that he had tried to consult the original authorities to whom they referred. He admits that he was not able to see many of these documents, and in these instances he cites the secondary authorities.
If Le Neve is accused of publishing a transcript of White Kennett's material, Hardy may be accused with even more justice of drawing heavily on Browne Willis. The lists of prebendaries are often copied verbatim from the Surveys. Often they are abbreviated, and Browne Willis's valuable references to monumental inscriptions are reduced to an unsupported statement of the date of death. Occasionally some information from the patent rolls is added with references. The bishops' lists are more independent of Browne Willis, though in parts the copying was clearly word for word. Hardy usually abbreviated the biographical material, and added mention of his sources in the chronicles. For the London prebendaries, Hardy reprinted Newcourt's lists, again largely unaltered. The other cathedrals for which Browne Willis did not publish lists (namely, Canterbury, Chichester, Exeter, Norwich, Rochester, Salisbury, Wells and Winchester) are altered only in small details from Le Neve, and otherwise left entirely the same, with the addition of lists of prebendaries, based principally on the bishops' certificates at the Public Record Office. Hardy attempted no pre-Reformation lists of prebendaries, however. For Salisbury, the list of prebendaries begins in 1538, contains not a single reference in thirty-four pages, and gives the prebendaries in chronological order. Hardy clearly did not consult Browne Willis's notes among the Cole MSS. or he could very easily have given reasonably complete lists under their respective prebends. The Wells lists begin about 1537, and although the prebends are listed separately, the only references are to the Valor Ecclesiasticus or bishops' certificates. (The list for the prebend of St Decumans goes back to 1295, and a few pre-Reformation prebendaries are also given for Wiveliscombe and Shalford, the latter taken directly from Newcourt's list of patrons presenting to the vicarage of Shalford in Essex. (fn. 32) ) The Exeter list begins in 1588, and that for Chichester in 1714, again not given according to prebends. One is left with the impression that Hardy's alleged attempt to check Le Neve's secondary authorities by their sources was ineffective. Even his method of giving references is still far from satisfactory. Incomplete references are given for the chronicles, and many other references are of the vaguest. (fn. 33) The patent roll references are given more fully and are generally traceable. Occasionally folio references are given for bishops' registers, but this is not the regular practice. There are still very many unsupported statements and dates: whole pages, particularly on Welsh dignitaries, are completely lacking substantiation.
Hardy's revision is thus not an unqualified improvement on Le Neve. Moreover he seems to have accepted somewhat uncritically the information given him by others. Thus his Exeter lists incorporate the mistakes of Oliver, and are less reliable in places than the 1716 edition. (fn. 34) In addition, in most cathedrals, he still left untouched chapter act books, account rolls and sundry other records. Small errors and inconsistencies abound, especially before the Reformation. Sometimes references given are wrong, and some names seem purely fictitious.
The need for a revision of Le Neve-Hardy has long been apparent. In several dioceses Fasti have been produced which have succeeded in improving considerably upon the 1854 work. Much fuller lists of the prebendaries of St Asaph had already been published in 1801 in Willis' Survey of St. Asaph, considerably enlarged, comp. Edward Edwards (2 vols., London, 1801). Only forty copies were printed, and Hardy does not seem to have used it. Oliver's Lives of the Bishops of Exeter was published in 1861, but as Hardy had consulted Oliver, this adds little to the 1854 Fasti. The Fasti Herefordenses, compiled by F. T. Havergal (Edinburgh, 1869) likewise adds little to Hardy's work, although it contains fuller biographical detail. Of much greater importance was Edward Yardley's manuscript on St Davids entitled Menevia Sacra, which although compiled in 1739-61, had disappeared at the compiler's death in 1770, and was discovered in 1879 in the earl of Cawdor's library at Stackpole Court, Pembrokeshire, and was given by him to the cathedral library at St Davids. (fn. 35) Yardley had corresponded with Browne Willis, who urged him to publish his work, saying that the 'series of succession of the Members of each Stall is beyond expectation or imagination compleat, & what no one else would or ever could have so well digested & ranged'. (fn. 36) Hardy, therefore, did not see Menevia Sacra, and it is a particularly important compilation as four of the bishops' registers cited by Yardley have been lost since his time. In fact, Hardy's lists of dignitaries include some (from patent roll sources) not known to Yardley, but Yardley gives a considerable number of medieval prebendaries, unlike Hardy whose lists begin in 1714. W. H. Jones produced Fasti Ecclesiae Sarisberiensis (2 vols., Salisbury and London, 1879-81), a detailed though not entirely accurate work, making use of chapter material, and of Browne Willis's interleaved Le Neve in the Bodleian Library, and his notes in vol. 29 of the Cole MSS. in the British Museum. The latter are copies of the annotations made by Browne Willis in his copy of The History and Antiquities of the Cathedral-Church of Salisbury and the Abbey-Church of Bath [comp. Richard Rawlinson] (London, 1719), which contains fairly detailed lists of dignitaries, but exceedingly patchy lists of prebendaries, and is greatly improved by Browne Willis. Jones added references and much biographical material. His lists are more complete, as he used the chapter acts fully, and also consulted the lists of prebendaries with prebends in Dorset drawn up in The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset, comp. J. Hutchins (2nd ed. London, 1796-1814). G. Hennessy in his Novum repertorium ecclesiasticum parochiale Londinense (London, 1898) succeeded in improving greatly on Newcourt, and his Chichester Diocese Clergy Lists (London, 1900), although no references are given, lists many pre-Reformation prebendaries. Sir Charles Clay has recently produced York Minster Fasti (Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Record Series, cxxiii, cxiv, 1958-9) covering the period prior to 1307.
The late Professor A. Hamilton Thompson was particularly concerned about the importance of a revision, and left his annotated copy of Le Neve-Hardy to the Royal Historical Society, with especially full notes of York, Hereford and Lichfield. He indeed planned a new edition for the period up to 1541 with a view to its publication by the Royal Historical Society. At his death, however, the Society felt unable to undertake this, and in 1955 the Institute of Historical Research agreed to assume the responsibility, the period 1300-1541 being chosen as the first portion to be revised. (fn. 37)
Since 1854 several new sources of information for this period have become available. The publication of the Calendar of Papal Letters and Calendar of Papal Petitions has revealed far more claimants to prebends and dignities than were previously known, and has made it possible to fill in the accounts of disputes, or supplement the information when no bishops' registers exist. The Public Record Office Calendars of patent, close and fine rolls have likewise produced much more information than Hardy extracted from the public records. The publication of many bishops' registers, especially when these are thoroughly indexed, has made it possible to trace individuals more satisfactorily than in an unpublished register. The massive undertaking of the Rolls Series of mediaeval chronicles, published 1858-96, made access to these sources much simpler, even though in some cases the indexes are not sufficiently detailed. Moreover in many cathedrals records have been classified and catalogued for the first time, as archivists have been appointed.
In the work of preparing the revised edition, all the bishops' registers (printed and manuscript) in each diocese have been thoroughly combed, together with chapter act books and other relevant archive material, in order to draw up fresh lists, which have been checked against earlier ones, but by no means based on them. This has been supplemented by a thorough search of the archbishops' registers at Lambeth Palace Library and the registers of the prior and convent of Christ Church Canterbury. Where dates of death are otherwise unknown, the wills of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury at Somerset House have been consulted. At the Public Record Office, the following classes of records have been consulted fairly thoroughly: Chancery Miscellanea, ecclesiastical (C 47), Ecclesiastical petitions (C 84), Exchequer ecclesiastical documents (E 135), subsidy rolls (E 179) and papal bulls (SC 7), with occasional reference to others such as plea rolls (CP 40) and coram rege rolls (KB 27), though these have been by no means exhaustively searched. The Valor Ecclesiasticus, Calendars of the patent, close and fine rolls, and of papal letters and petitions, together with the Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, have also been fully checked, and a large number of printed chronicles consulted. All cardinals have been checked in Eubel's Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi (Münster, 1913-23).
The compilers of the revised edition of the 1300-1541 section of Le Neve have adopted a fairly rigid editorial method in order to give uniformity to the series of volumes. The framework of each volume, however, is not as uniform as it was in the 1854 edition, where the offices for each cathedral were given in the same order. As the order of precedence among the dignitaries in fact varied from place to place, the present edition has followed the order in use in each particular diocese. (fn. 38) The sub-dean has been included when he was a member of the chapter. The compilers, being faced with a great variety of forms for the names of the prebends, decided to choose the name used currently in each diocesan handbook, even though it may occasionally differ from that at present written over the appropriate prebendal stall. For some dioceses a table of variant names has been drawn up. (fn. 39) In the case of prebends which now no longer exist, the present place-name has been used. (fn. 40) This practice has occasionally caused a change in the alphabetical order of the prebends as given by Le Neve-Hardy. In Exeter where the prebends were all of the same value and had no distinguishing name, the topographical arrangement of the prebends could not be followed and a chronological one has been substituted.
The account of each man's tenure of office is headed by his name, degree and dates. Where there is more than one claimant, they are grouped together, as it is sometimes difficult to determine which man actually gained possession. Unsuccessful claimants to the bishopric (where it is relatively certain who was successful) are given in square brackets. In general, the name chosen to describe a man is that most commonly found among the variant spellings in the records, for the spelling of names was far from consistent, even within a single diocese. Versions that differ considerably from the principal one are included in the index to each volume, though by no means all the variations found, some of which have only slight differences from each other. If a man was known by alternative names which are completely different (e.g. William Basyng or Kingsmill), (fn. 41) these names are given also in the text. Sometimes slightly different names are given to the same man in different dioceses, (fn. 42) and in this case, the variant names are brought together in the cumulative index. An attempt has also been made in the cumulative index to distinguish men of the same name, by giving their date of death if known, or the period during which they were known to have been active. Unless there is sufficient evidence for the certain identification of two men with the same name, they are entered separately. As several members of the same family often had the same Christian name it is dangerous to conclude that two men of the same name and period must be one person. Names are normally given in the contemporary form. Thus 'de' has been left in the names (except in the first volume of the series), until it was dropped round about 1390. An exception has been made in the case of a few famous men, such as William of Wykeham, whom it would seem pedantic to refer to otherwise. This method of following contemporary usage has meant that place-names used as surnames have not always been rendered by their modern counterpart. John de Cantebrugg, (fn. 43) for example, is not referred to as John de Cambridge. This method ensures uniformity of style with the other surnames, and avoids anachronisms and the numerous pitfalls in identifying a place of origin, especially since this may relate to the man's forebears several generations previously. Where foreigners occur, their Christian names have been Anglicized if possible, (fn. 44) and their surnames given in the language which they appear to have spoken. In the volume on the Welsh dioceses, personal names have been rendered in the Welsh form, except when it is impossible to tell whether a man was Welsh or English. (fn. 45) Cross-references in the cumulative index bring together Welshmen who may be given in both the Welsh form and an Anglicized form in different volumes.
Dr A. B. Emden's Biographical Registers of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (fn. 46) have been followed for degrees, and the forms LL.D. and S.T.P. which occur on occasion in Le Neve-Hardy have been rejected in favour of D.C.L. and D.Th. etc. (except in the first volume). The Biographical Register of Oxford was only partly published when the first volume went to press, and that for Cambridge was published midway through the revision of the 1300-1541 section of Le NeveHardy. Consequently there are some additional degrees given in the errata and addenda, especially for men occurring in the earlier volumes of the series. Our grateful thanks are due to Dr Emden for supplying many of these. The degrees given are the highest known to have been held at the beginning of a man's tenure of office (or his first occurrence), rather than the highest which he ultimately obtained. Thus there will be differences in any one volume in the degrees given to one man, if he entered various offices at different dates. (fn. 47) The description 'M' has been given if it is found sufficiently regularly in the sources. This was supposed to indicate a University graduate, but seems to have been used frequently as a courtesy title.
After the man's name and degree, details are given of any particularly important office held at the time of appointment, such as a bishopric or cardinalate. In view of the varied descriptions of the cardinals' titles, the forms given in Eubel's Hierarchia Catholica have been adopted throughout. Next, dates have been given for the man's tenure of the office in question. If both the terminal dates are known with certainty these are given. If one is uncertain, a question mark is substituted in the heading, and in the text the earliest or latest occurrence is given with references. It should be understood that any entry is given to an individual only when he appears explicitly in the relevant documents. The occurrence of an individual as a canon of a given church is always specified as such, as it in no wise guarantees his possession of a prebend. If neither terminal date is known, the date of an occurrence is given in the heading, or if more than one is known, the earliest and latest, separated by a comma. The man may of course be known to occur on other occasions between these two dates. The first date given for bishops is that of their first claim to the office (not licence to elect), rather than their consecration. (fn. 48)
The account of a man's tenure of office is not a biography, and not all known material has been included. Essentially it is a description of how and when the man secured and left the office. Thus, for each bishop, an attempt has been made to discover the licence to elect, election, archbishop's confirmation and royal assent (unless the appointment was by papal provision), followed by the consecration or translation, enthronement, and manner of terminating his tenure of the see. In the case of prebendaries, where possible, the appointment of each (whether by bishop's collation, royal grant, or papal provision), his admission and installation, and his death, resignation, relinquishment by exchange or deprivation are recorded. If a man terminated his tenure of office on becoming a bishop, the normal practice in the revised Fasti has been to give the first date at which he had a claim to the bishopric, as the terminal date for his tenure of the previous office. If the consecration was delayed for more than a year, this fact has been noted. (fn. 49) In some dioceses, where there is a dearth of episcopal and chapter material, lists have been supplied of men occurring as canons, or receiving papal grants of a canonry with expectation of a prebend. (fn. 50) These men may or may not have secured actual enjoyment of a prebend. In the dioceses with fairly complete series of records, lists of this kind have been considered unnecessary, as it is unlikely that anyone reaching the position of a dignitary or prebendary would not find a mention. It must also be pointed out that it is not within the range of the introduction to indicate the ways in which this edition offers fresh material for a fuller understanding of the sort of men who were promoted to be dignitaries of the cathedral churches.
In view of the amount of repetitive material, space has been saved by the use of a certain number of abbreviations, and by not repeating the year date already given in the entry. No references are given when a man terminated his tenure by going to another prebend in the same diocese, or by becoming a bishop, as these may be found in detail in the appropriate place, or in Eubel in the case of foreign bishops. Nor are references given if a man entered office by exchange with the previous holder, as details may be found in the account of the latter's tenure. The titles of printed works which are cited three or more times in a volume are given in an abbreviated form, and these abbreviations are listed at the beginning of each volume, together with a full bibliographical description of the work. These lists of works do not by any means include all the works consulted.
Where major differences from Le Neve-Hardy occur, for example the omission through lack of evidence of a name given in the original edition, this fact is noted in a footnote. It is not overlooked that there are divergences between the revised Le Neve and other standard works, such as the Handbook of British Chronology, Dictionary of National Biography, Victoria County History and diocesan histories. These differences, however, are not mentioned, as the revision is primarily concerned with Le NeveHardy, and has been made from manuscripts and not from secondary authorities. As references are given for all statements, it is assumed that these can be checked and compared with those given in secondary works.