22. The Ely Coucher Book, 1249–50: The Bishop of Ely’s manors in the Cambridgeshire fenland, translated by Edward Miller. Edited by Frances Willmoth and Susan Oosthuizen
An unparalleled description of an episcopal estate, allowing the reader the opportunity to step into the undrained medieval fenland landscape and to move among its inhabitants through its villages, their fields and fisheries.
The Ely Coucher Book is one of the great unpublished manuscript sources for the high middle ages and is of national importance. It was drawn up for the Bishop of Ely in 1249-50 to record information for each of his manors about his 'churches, demesnes, meadows, pastures, woods, marshes and fisheries', and provides an exceptionally detailed record of his manorial holdings. Its unparalleled description of one of the most important episcopal estates in medieval England allows the reader the opportunity to step into the undrained medieval fenland landscape and to move among its inhabitants through its villages, their fields and fisheries.
The translation of teh returns for all seventeen of the bishop's Cambridgeshire manors was made by Professor Esward Miller, author of teh classic account of teh Ely manors, but had yett to be made ready for publication at the time of hois death in 2000. That essential editorial work has been undertaken by Dr Frances Willmoth and Dr Susan Oosthuizen, who have also chosen the evocotive images which complement the description of each manor.
ISBN: 978 0 904323 24 5
Price: £ 37.50
252 pages, introductory text, translation, colour illustrations, index, glossary and list of sources
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Dr Frances Willmoth was Archivist at Jesus College, Cambridge and was affiliated to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge. A large part of her academic life was involved with the careers of John Flamsteed (1646-1719), the first Astronomer Royal, and his patron Sir Jonas Moore (1618-1679.)
Dr Susan Oosthuizen is Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. Her teaching and research focus on rights of common, and on the development of the English landscape between about 400 and 1300 AD.