Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wzw2p Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-29T00:42:19.652Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Recalling Anglo-Scottish Relations in 1291: Historical Knowledge, Monastic Memory and the Edwardian Inquests

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2019

Alice Taylor
Affiliation:
King's College London
Get access

Summary

On 8 March 1291, Edward I sent out a writ under his privy seal addressed to Evesham abbey. Not all the text survives but what does is clear:

We command and enjoin you [the abbot and convent], by the faith and love which binds you to us, to scrutinize your chronicles, and everything which you find there concerning those things which touch our kingdom and the governance of Scotland—whatever it may be— you must, without delay, send it to us under your seal. Just as we trust in you, so too should you not fail to do this.

Edward I had thus ordered the abbot and monks of Evesham abbey to consult their historical archives to find evidence which touched ‘our kingdom and the governance of Scotland’. Whatever they found, they were to send back to the king, whose commissioners would examine the information to establish Edward's authority over Scotland. In the background was the need to prove the legality of Edward's lordship over the Scottish kingdom so as to establish him as judge over, rather than arbitrator of, the claims of the ‘competitors’ to the kingship of the Scots. The messenger who delivered this writ must have made the urgency clear; the monks managed to send a return back to Edward on 12 March 1291, although they complained of the brevitas temporis in which they had to complete the task. The urgency was understandable. On 10 May 1291, the Great Cause opened at Norham, apparently with some sort of statement detailing the historical evidence behind Edward I's claim to dominium over the kingdom of the Scots. Evidence was required fast and, accordingly, was received quickly.

Evesham was not the only monastic house to receive a writ of this kind. We have surviving copies of writs sent to Chester and Sawtry abbeys which demanded the collection of historical evidence. This endeavour is known as the ‘First Appeal to History’ and was novel in the conscious application of alreadyexisting historical accounts in the formulation of legal arguments. The enquiry was a large one. In addition to Chester, Evesham and Sawtry, we know that the monasteries and houses of regular canons of Bath, Battle, Bridlington, Carlisle, Colchester, Coggeshall, Crowland, Dover, Evesham, Faversham, Gloucester, Holy Trinity Aldgate, Huntingdon, Malmesbury, Newburgh, Norwich, Reading, Salisbury, Sawtry, St Albans (although its return does not survive), Tewkesbury, Waltham and Worcester all returned information.

Type
Chapter
Information
Thirteenth Century England XVI
Proceedings of the Cambridge Conference, 2015
, pp. 173 - 206
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×