THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE CORPORATION OF LINCOLN.
The records of the city of Lincoln, which are kept in the offices of
the Town Clerk, consist—i. of Royal Charters; ii. of some miscellaneous
documents; iii. of the Chamberlains' Rolls of Account; and iv. of the
Registers of the Acts of the Corporation. There are no files of court
proceedings, and no original letters or petitions. The Royal Charters
extend from the reign of Henry III. to that of William III.; but unhappily, while some that were supposed to be lost have in the course of
the present investigation come to light, some which were in existence a
quarter of a century ago have strangely disappeared. The records
were about that time carefully examined by one Mr. John Ross, who
printed a series of notices respecting them in a local newspaper. These
notices were reprinted in 1870, after his death, in a small privatelyissued volume, entitled Civitas Lincolnia, from its municipal and other
records. Abstracts of the Royal Charters are there given; of some now
found to be safely preserved transcripts were obtained from the Record
Office because the originals were not then forthcoming, while no fewer
than six originals which Mr. Ross described have since then disappeared.
The subsequent contents of his volume include notices of the earlier
volumes of the Registers, and of some other documents, amongst which
also there are a few which seem now to be lost, including unfortunately
a volume of the accounts of the Churchwardens of St. Martin's parish
from 1554 to 1636. Mr. Ross's private collections for Lincoln were
purchased after his death by the present Viscount Oxenbridge. A list
of the recently lost documents is appended below to the calendar of the
The Registers are in good condition, and the extracts from them will
be found to contain much of interest. The particulars relating to the
guild pageants, and their lingering existence subsequently to the
Reformation, with the Christmas poem of the Three Senators; the
destruction of churches and monastic buildings, and the sale of their
materials; the mention of the plague, as prevailing in 1515, 1521, and
other years; the illustrations of the depressed condition of the city at
various times under the fluctuations of trade; the regulations for various
trade-guilds; the agreement in 1612 about gleaning; the coinage of
tokens by the city in 1669; and the frequent violent disputes between
members of the corporation, are among the many matters which will be
found to make the municipal story of Lincoln very interesting and
readable. But the entire lack of all record of the Great Civil War
period is extremely disappointing. The volume which contained it must
have perished in the confusion of the time. And another cause of
disappointment is the fact that the extant rolls of accounts only reach
back to the year 1685.
Since I made my examination of the records, many of the royal
charters and other documents have been carefully repaired and cleaned.
under my superintendence.
William Dunn Macray.