The Use of Rolls in Monastic Towns of Medieval England (13th — 16th Centuries)
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The Use of Rolls in Monastic Towns of Medieval England (13th — 16th Centuries)
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Anna Anisimova 
Institute of World History RAS
State Academic University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

Rolls played a prominent role among the governmental records of England for a long time, encompassing paperwork of many spheres — administrative, judiciary, financial, etc. Reflection of this tendency on a lower, local level of a small town can be investigated on the example of English monastic towns. The emergence and development of these urban communities within the frame of monastic lordship allows us to trace their record production and bookkeeping in comparison with those of royal administration (on both, central and regional levels) as well as with of the manorial administration of their monastic lords. The aim is to study the surviving collections of documents of several towns, as well as their regulations from the point of view of record-keeping (if they had anything to show in that regard), in order to discover the possible correlation between the form (rolls instead of books) and the content of the documents and their usage on daily basis. This paper explores the phenomenon on the material three monastic towns in the county of Kent. Faversham, Fordwich, and Sandwich are towns whose communities started to develop under the monastic rule and eventually got different forms of recognition from both local and central authorities. The preservation of substantial medieval archives of the towns under consideration gives us an opportunity to make some conclusions concerning their practice of record-keeping, in comparison with that of royal or manorial ones. The analysis of administrative, judicial, and financial records reveals the similar tendencies in all kinds of records of these towns, namely a gradual transition from the use of rolls to the use of codices (books), although with a lingering use of both forms simultaneously.

rolls, medieval record-keeping, monastic towns, medieval towns, medieval England, small towns, urban administration, urban archives
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