17. The Churchwardens Book of Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire 1496-c.1540. Edited by David Dymond
The first full edition of a document justly famous for the light it sheds on medieval drama and the English parish church on the eve of the Reformation
“There is an antient book of churchwardens’ accounts in this parish, which contains many particulars wothy of notice..” ( Lysons 1808-8)
Scholars have known about the churchwardens Book of Bassingbourn since the eighteenth century, and have frequently quoted from it. Here, for the first time, the entire text is made available in print, with related wills and a tax-return. These financial accounts span over forty years, and come (in contrast with other published examples) from a predominantly agricultural community.
They illustrate nearly all aspects of parochial life now being debated by historians, but of particular interest are the inventory of church goods 1498 and later), the open-air play of St. George (1511), and the campaign to provide the church with an image of St George (1511-23). For all students of the late medieval parish and of contemporary drama, these detailed accounts are essential reading.
There is extensive annotation, of the text, and appendices of illustrative material: the wills of 17 local people 1494-1549, and the Lay Subsidy of 1524 for Bassingbourn and Kneesworth.
ISBN: ISBN 0 904323 18 ; 978 0 904323 18 4
Price: £ 15.00
Introduction. Text of the Churchwardens’ Book. Appendix 1 - Additional wills. Appendix 2 – Lay Subsidy of 1524 Glossary. Notes on people. Index of persons and places, Index of subjects. 327 pp. Softback
David Dymond has for forty years lectured in local and regional history for the Institute of Continuing Education of the University of Cambridge. He was formerly editor of The Local Historian, and chairman of the British Association for Local History. Among his publications are Archaeology and History (1974), The Norfolk Landscape (1985), The Register of Thetford Priory (1955/6) and Researching and Writing History (1999).