A Biographical Register of the Franciscans in the Custody of York c. 1229–1539.

Burton, Janet (2020) A Biographical Register of the Franciscans in the Custody of York c. 1229–1539. History the journal of the Historical Association, 105 (366). pp. 487-488. ISSN 1468-229x

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The Franciscan custody of York comprised seven friaries located in two counties, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire: Beverley, Boston, Doncaster, Grimsby, Lincoln, Scarborough and York. Arriving in the north of England in the late 1220s, the Franciscans of the York custody saw the suppression of their last house, Scarborough, in March 1539. Using the biographical index compiled by the late John R. H. Moorman, bishop of Ripon (1959–75, d. 1990), noted historian of the Franciscans, supplemented by his own further and exhaustive research, Michael Robson has produced a biographical register of friars of the York custody which runs to 1,704 names. The first part of the volume begins with a short introduction to the variety of documentary sources mined by Moorman and then by Robson. This is followed by ten short essays, the first of which provides the reader with an outline of the structure of the Franciscan Order and life within its friaries. The remainder discuss the value of specific types of sources: episcopal registers that uncover aspects of the ministry of the order, revealing as they do the names of ordinands, preachers and confessors (sometimes with family details); probate registers, which are important for bringing to light testamentary bequests to the Franciscans; and municipal, ecclesiastical and royal records that can throw light on their role in local society. The information gleaned from this wide variety of sources allows Robson next to take a prosopographical approach to friars’ careers: their admission, education, progress to ordination, progression through the educational structure of the Order, and the ministry of the York friars within their church there through their sermons and urban ministry. The careers of a number of friars are analysed in detail. Franciscan suffragan bishops are not neglected, with discussion of those appointed to office in the crusader states as well as within English and Irish dioceses. The final section considers the ways in which northern chronicles and historians, such as the Louth Park chronicle, Thomas Burton, abbot of Cistercian Meaux, and Walter, chronicler of Augustinian Guisborough, and many others, described the friars’ activities in the region. The Franciscan friars’ footprints on the north emerge clearly here. The second part of the volume comprises the biographical register of those friars known to have been members of the Franciscan houses of the Custody of York. Some appear to have spent their careers in one friary. Others clearly moved from one to another. The entries for many of these 1,704 men are brief, reflecting the paucity of evidence. About the first name, John Abney, for instance, we know only that he was the guardian of the Doncaster friary in 1442 when he appears in the plea rolls for the Hilary term (p. 85). The sole detail for John de Berways is that he was ordained subdeacon on 19 December 1349 at the York church of St Michael le Belfrey (p. 101). We know only that Reginald de Kenington was licensed to hear confessions in the diocese of York in 1300 (p. 182). But for others there is a wealth of detail about their family connections or about their careers. Take, for instance, Roger de Frisby, friar of Boston, who was ordained subdeacon in June 1354 (p. 150). By the time he was ordained deacon (19 March 1356) he was a brother of the Stamford friary, and when he proceeded to the next stage, ordination as priest (March 1357), he was a member of the Grantham house. A Doctor of Theology at Cambridge, he was at the council which examined the opinions of John Wyclif, and he heard William Swinderby, priest of the Lincoln diocese, recant his error in Lincoln cathedral in 1382. He ended his life, hanged at Tyburn, in 1402, having been found, along with his brother, Richard, to have adhered to the prophecies of John of Bridlington, and maintained that were King Richard II still alive, he would be the true king. These few examples should whet the appetite of readers who seek to know more about those who lived in, or were based at, the friaries of the York custody, and to see them as actors, in many roles, on the local, national and international stages.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Franciscans Monasteries York
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Users 10 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2020 11:46
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2020 10:22
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1445

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