On the 17th May, Professor Michael Jones came to talk to us about the new edited edition of The White Book of Southwell. A really informative talk and the White Book should be a source of archival interest for future generations. This description of it is taken from the publisher’s website (Boydell and Brewer):
“The White Book of Southwell derives its name from its white vellum cover. Compiled between c.1350 and 1460, with a few later additions, its 500 pages record 620 individual documents from c.1100 onwards. They range widely from papal bulls and royal charters, quo warranto inquiries, privileges granted by many archbishops of York to the Chapter at Southwell, individual canons (or prebendaries) and the parishes where the Minster held lands or controlled livings. The majority date from c.1200-1460 and concern properties which the Chapter owned and administered through its courts, for which some rare proceedings are preserved. Because of their variety, the documents it contains are important not simply for ecclesiastical history but for broader social and economic trends in medieval Nottinghamshire either side of the Black Death. The volume also furnishes a remarkable amount of little-studied onomastic and linguistic evidence in medieval Latin, Anglo-Norman French and Middle English as well as strong traces of earlier Anglo-Scandinavian influences on Nottinghamshire.
First brought to attention by the pioneering county historian Robert Thoroton (d. 1677), the White Book has been consulted in all subsequent generations. However, while some of its contents have been published in their original language or in translation, this is the first systematic, complete scholarly edition. A substantial introduction sets the White Book in context, describing its structure and content. Extensive commentary helps to date many undated individual documents and identify persons and places named, a detailed Fasti provides details on the personnel of the Minster and its appendant churches, while detailed indexes assist consultation”.