Cartulary

Cartulary

Cartulary

Cartulary

Excerpt

The cartulary of the priory of St. Gregory, Canterbury, was acquired by Cambridge University Library in 1715 (present press-mark Ll.ii.15). It had been part of the library of John Moore, bishop of Norwich and Ely, whose magnificent collection was purchased by King George I in 1708 for 6,000 guineas and presented by him to the University. Moore's collecting zeal had been prodigious, and the magnitude of his library proves an obstacle to any attempt to trace the source of a single item, so that the early provenance of the cartulary is unknown. It may have remained in Canterbury for some time after the dissolution of the house, for William Somner, the seventeenth-century historian, appears to have used it there. Battely, in his edition of Somner's Canterbury of 1703, mentions a' lieger book' of the priory, which he could not find. Thomas Baker, however, who consulted it when it was in Bishop Moore's possession, made extracts from it which throw a little light on its condition, for he took transcripts from some folios which do not now exist in the cartulary. This fixes the period when the volume sustained losses as quite late in its history.

The cartulary now consists of a volume containing sixty-three parchment folios, each measuring approximately 8½ inches wide by 11 inches long. Each folio is written on both sides, and each page is pricked and ruled to contain about thirty lines, except the last few pages, which, ruled more closely, have up to thirty-eight lines on a page. All pages except fo. 63 are written in two columns, and entries begin in nearly all cases with a descriptive title in red ink and a rubricated first letter. Most of the folios are in good condition except for some slight staining, with a few exceptions. The volume is foliated throughout in a seventeenth-century hand, apparently the same as that which added some marginal annotations, which, though of no great importance to the text, are sometimes an aid to the topographical location of an entry. The volume is bound in an eighteenth-century binding.

The volume as it now stands is obviously incomplete. The absence of fo. 56 appears to be an error on the part of the foliator, as the text is continuous, but fos. 3-6 are certainly missing, and there are breaks in the text, indicating missing . . .

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