Institute of Historical Research



W. H. Bliss (editor)

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'Preface', Calendar of Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 2: 1305-1342 (1895), pp. I-II. URL: Date accessed: 24 October 2014.


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The text of the present volume has been prepared upon the system described in the Preface to the first volume of this series of Calendars. Greater liberty has, however, been taken in the rendering of proper names. Although the writing of the Papal Registers of the fourteenth century is clearer than that of many contemporary English MSS., the entries in them were for the most part founded upon petitions or letters from different countries, and the scribes in the Papal Chancery must have experienced even greater difficulty in copying English proper names than English students experience nowadays in reading the early Chancery Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office. Not having local or personal knowledge, they constantly misread doubtful letters.

The commonest errors are, of course, those in which letters are formed by a series of upright strokes, which may be grouped in a variety of ways. “To take a simple instance, the letters Do followed by four upright strokes and an e may stand alike for Donne, Doune, Douve, Doime, Domie, or Doinie.” (Preface to the Calendar of Close Rolls.) The commonest forms of confusion besides that exemplified in the above quotation are the following:—
c and t, as Bech for Beth.
r and t, as Swynfler for Swynflet.
f and s, as Bisfeld for Biffeld (Byfield).
bb and w, as Awerwik for Abberwik.
lb and bb, as Alberwik for Abberwik.
h and li, as Juhanna for Juliana.
x and y, as Ayford for Axford.
B and G, as Groke for Broke.
B and G, as Bower for Gower.

B and W, C and S, B and K, R and L, K and L, are also occasionally confused.

In many such cases the form in the Papal Register is not the current English form, but has been derived from it by misreading letters or groups of letters or portions of letters. Accordingly where the origin of the error was unmistakeable, the appropriate correction has been made either in the text of the Calendar or in the Corrigenda, which are therefore somewhat numerous.

The Editor has to thank Mr. C. Johnson of the Public Record Office for very valuable assistance in the revision of the Index.

May 1895.

Papal Chronology