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22.04.04 Allen, The Cartulary and Charters of the Priory of Saints Peter and Paul, Ipswich, Part II

22.04.04 Allen, The Cartulary and Charters of the Priory of Saints Peter and Paul, Ipswich, Part II

This volume published in 2020 is edited by David Allen. It is the second of two volumes dealing with the charters and other documents from the Augustinian priory of Saints Peter and Paul, Ipswich, Suffolk. David was an archivist in the Suffolk Record Office and his skill with the documents is evident, as he has produced a detailed reference book not only for those who study medieval Suffolk and the communities and property around Ipswich, but for those who have interests in religious patronage during the Middle Ages. This volume contains over 200 charters, with some of the numbered entries having multiple documents recorded in them. The publication of this volume brings the total number of entries for charters and other documents across both volumes to 540. Each document, where possible, helpfully provides the reader with a good description of the charter size, the seals including any legends and imagery, and any endorsements to the charter, along with evidence to support the dating.

The majority of charters in this second volume are from the twelfth to the fourteenth century, but there are a few later ones up to the early sixteenth century. These documents are complementary to volume one in which the thirteenth-century cartulary of the priory was published in 2018. The charters in this volume are split into five separate parts: the royal grants in favor of the canons, the private grants in favor of the canons, grants by the prior and canons, leases by the prior and canons, and exchanges and other agreements. The lengthiest section of this book runs for ninety-three pages, and the majority of the documents in it are grants, notifications, confirmations, and quitclaims made to the Ipswich canons from men and women for both the priory’s core estates and its outlying holdings. The only illustrations in the main text are for three entries within this section, and these show black and white images of excellent quality source material from The National Archives that was available to David as he produced this volume.

If you have a particular interest in Ipswich, or the three parishes of Brooks, Sproughton, and Thurleston, this volume will be of relevance to you, as over fifty percent of the documents cover these parishes. Along with the names of the inhabitants, you’ll find details on property tenure like tenements, leases, and rents, including a wealth of field names, roads and boundary information, and descriptions of holdings like mills and meadows. If you have an interest in the positions people held, examples you’ll find in this volume include vintners and merchants, along with details of clerks, priests, and deans, and those of the bailiffs, sheriffs, and royal justices. But if this is the first time you’ve read a volume from the Suffolk Charters series, you’ll want to note that the series is structured with documents generally printed in full if they are dated up to c.1250, with later charters given an English abstract only. So you’ll want to head to the archives if you have an interest in the Latin text of the documents dated to later than c.1250. To help you there is a useful Appendix 1 in this volume that gives you a concordance of the original charters across both volumes, but if you want to find the details of the works cited in this second volume you’ll need to refer back to the Abbreviations and Bibliography section in Part I. For those of you studying this publication after volume one there is a short Appendix 2 of corrigenda to the first volume.

If you delve into this book without first having read Part I, be prepared that Part II contains no introduction or overview of the priory itself; it is only on the back cover that you will find two paragraphs briefly highlighting the history of the cartulary and setting out that the charters in this volume complement the contents of the priory’s cartulary published in Part I. Fraser McNair’s review of volume one for The Medieval Review (20.06.13) will give you a helpful insight into all that you’ll find in Part I. So if you are researching the priory for the first time and want to understand its origins and the context of its religious patronage, or the history of the cartulary itself, you’ll need to refer to volume one first, as this Part II starts straight in with the charters in entry 339.

There is a detailed index at the end of this second volume that covers people and places and a further index of subjects. Helpfully, when a person is listed in the index and appears in the witness list of a charter, there is a “W” after the charter number for ease of reference. But when you refer to this index, you’ll want to remember that it covers both volumes one and two. You’ll find this index essential, as the charters in this volume are split across five separate parts, and then into further sections within each part, with parishes listed alphabetically in the sections, and the documents in chronological order within each section or entry. So if you are interested in, for example, Great Belstead, the charters for this estate can be found in three different sections in this volume, and charters relating to particular families, for example the Peasenhalls, can be split between volumes and across volume sections.

This Part II is a welcome addition to the range of charter publications already in circulation, and it will be a valuable reference text that will be studied for many years to come. It is of great benefit to have another resource that highlights the wealth of information charters contain. It will be of interest to scholars of the period, in particular for those who have an interest and passion for charter work, such as paleography and sigillography, and for those who study social history and networks.