Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340

Article excerpt

The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, Volume V. Edited by T. C. B. Timmins. [The Canterbury and York Society, Vol. XCIII.] (Rochester, New York: The Boydell Press. 2002. Pp. x, 241. $50.00.)

This fifth volume (Capitula) of Melton's register has not quite reached the halfway point of the total work (595 folios). Unfortunately, none of the five volumes contains more than a cursory introduction. This volume (folios LXVI to CXXII) "covers the cathedral chapter, the chapters of the collegiate churches of Beverley, Howden . . . Ripon, and Southwell, and the collegiate chapel of St Mary & Holy Angels . . ." (p. vii). Some of the 526 documents are transcribed in full in Latin; more are calendared in English. Most of the documents record routine administration, for example, visitations provisions, excommunications, conflicts with the dean and chapter of York, granting of indulgences, permissions to preach and hear confessions, licenses for non-residence, and controversies over prebends. As with other sources of this kind, several documents throw interesting sidelights on medieval times. For example, a chapel yard was dedicated at Haxby because of problems of distance and terrain; at least one corpse had fallen into the Foss River while being transported. There are several commissions for penitentiaries to hear confessions even in reserved cases "except poaching in [the] archbishop's parks and raping or having sexual intercourse with nuns" (#223). The editor has added two indices; his almost one thousand footnotes attest to his careful scholarship. A word processor would have helped construct a more thorough subject index since some specific examples are missing, for example, a number of references to excommunication, and several entire topics, including preaching, poaching, and rape. …

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