The Domesday of Crown Lands: A Study of the Legislation, Surveys, and Sales of Royal Estates under the Commonwealth

The Domesday of Crown Lands: A Study of the Legislation, Surveys, and Sales of Royal Estates under the Commonwealth

The Domesday of Crown Lands: A Study of the Legislation, Surveys, and Sales of Royal Estates under the Commonwealth

The Domesday of Crown Lands: A Study of the Legislation, Surveys, and Sales of Royal Estates under the Commonwealth

Excerpt

The Domesday of Crown Lands, now happily completed, owes its existence to a combination of most fortunate circumstances: its title, for instance, to Mr. Leadam's Domesday of Inclosures; its preparation to suggestions made between 1918 and 1920 by the late W. J. Corbett, of King's College, Cambridge, and Dr. Lilian Knowles, of the London School of Economics; its progress to advice, introductions, and many official courtesies received at Oxford, Cambridge, and in London; and its completion to the care bestowed upon the work by the printers and publishers. I greatly fear, however, that when the suggestion was first made, we none of us realized the magnitude of the task that lay ahead; but the hours spent in research remain among the treasured recollections of the past, owing to the interest taken in the work by Dr. Hubert Hall, Dr. R. H. Tawney, Dr. Claude Jenkins, the late Sir Charles Firth, Professor H. S. Foxwell, and H. E. Malden. To the officials (so many of whose names might be mentioned) of the Public Record Office, British Museum, Duchy of Cornwall Office, and the Society of Antiquaries of London, I am particularly indebted, for without their aid this single-handed piece of work could not have been accomplished within a lifetime. It is a privilege and a pleasure to pay a tribute to the faithfulness with which the old tradition of friendly service to scholars is maintained by the present generation of the staff, especially in the departments of the British Museum and the Public Record Office. In an especial degree my thanks are due to Mr. A. I. Ellis, who has added to his many kindnesses by reading the proofs; Mr. A. E. Stamp, for permission to photograph the original record of Domesday; Mr. Marchant, and the staff of the British Museum, for numerous photostats and photographs of records; Mr. Jenkinson for the use of his block to illustrate exchequer tallies, and the Commissioners of Crown Lands for advance information relating to the revenues of the present year.

That so many discoveries have been made in the present work is largely due, I feel, to the ease with which one may follow the clues provided by the official calendars. King James I declared that he would make his State Paper Office "the rarest office of that quality in Christendom"; and it was acknowledged by the Master of the Rolls in 1855 that the records in his charge undoubtedly constituted "the most complete and perfect series of their kind in the civilised world." But, as the Deputy Keeper, Sir Francis Palgrave, admitted in his letter to the Master of the Rolls, 27th October, 1848: "I

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