Petitions to the Crown from English Religious Houses, c.1272-c.1485

Petitions to the Crown from English Religious Houses, c.1272-c.1485

Edited by Gwilym Dodd, Alison K. McHardy


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Petitions are vital sources for our knowledge of life in the middle ages. A selection is presented here with English summaries, notes, and introduction.
Through the petitions which they addressed to the crown the people of medieval England speak to us directly: the human interest stories they reveal are perhaps the nearest thing to local newspapers which the middle ages have left us. Petitions were the subject's last resort when normal channels of law and government had failed, and offered kings the opportunity to exercise qualities of generosity, compassion, and sound judgment. However, despite their importance, they have not hitherto been recognized as a source for ecclesiastical history, a gap which this volume rectifies. A selection of over 200 cases shows the religious of medieval England taking full advantage of this mechanism, petitioning as landowners, neighbours, citizens, individuals, and religious orders. The subjects covered range from requests for tax rebates, and complaints about royal officials, to disputes with tenants, with townsmen, monastic rivals, and ecclesiastical superiors. National politics and international warfare are also represented, as are coastal erosion, and higher education. English summaries, explanatory notes and an extensive introduction enhance the reader's appreciation of this rich and remarkable resource.

Dr Gwilym Dodd is Lecturer in History at the University of Nottingham, where Dr Alison K. McHardy also taught until her retirement.

Table of Contents

Editorial Method
Part One. Routine Cases
Part Two. Royal Intercession: The Obligation of the Crown
Part Three. Royal Intercession: Matters Requiring the King's Grace
Part Four. Royal Intercession: Petitions Involving Third Parties
Part Five. Petitions from Corporate Religious Identities
Part Six. Petitions against Abbots and Priors


This is an interesting set of documents deserving of greater attention, which this volume will no doubt engender. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

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