Lot 71
  • 71

The Register of Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, in Latin [England (Canterbury), between 1454 and 1486]

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • ink on vellum
240x165mm, vellum, iii+45+ii leaves, collation: i6, ii8, iii10-1 (wanting ix), iv8, v4 (1 or 2 bifolia missing in the middle of the quire), vi8-1 (wanting i), vii3 (single leaves), the first 23 leaves written in formal gothic script, the remainder added in less formal hands by several scribes, decorated with a VERY LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIAL ENCLOSING THE ARMS OF ARCHBISHOP BOURCHIER (f.7r), other illuminated and penwork initials, some incorporating DRAWINGS OF MONKS’ HEADS (ff.9r, 20r), generally thumbed, with darkening and wear at beginning and end, with numerous inscriptions added in blank spaces, 20th-century plain vellum binding

Catalogue Note



(1) Apparently made for THOMAS BOURCHIER, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY (1454-86), with his arms; the contents of the volume show that it was compiled for someone intimately concerned with the finances of the cathedral and diocese, and the fact that the arms are his own, rather than the arms of the cathedral or the see, makes it unlikely that the book was made for some other Christ Church official. (2) Thomas Becket’s name in the calendar was effaced at the Reformation, and later re-inserted. (3) With numerous 16th- and 17th-century names and other inscriptions, including Francis Aldrich (Registrar of the Archbishop’s Consistory Court), Edward Engham, John Hugbone, John Burrough 1571, William Shorte 1596,  Edward Harflete 1605, Robert Lawset, John and Joan Holl, and many others (ff.40r-42v, 45v, and elsewhere). (4) An added 18th(?)-century copy of a document of Pope Eugenio IV, dated 1455, is followed by a note stating that ‘Dr Thompson inserted ye above, written from an old writing at Lamb[eth] Bibl.’ (f.20r). (5) Christie’s, 9 December 1981, lot 224 (ill.).


Sarum calendar (f.1r); Gospel extracts (f.7r); a list of the names of churches and chapels in the diocese of Canterbury, arranged under headings by deanery (f.9r); a list of the religious houses of the diocese of Canterbury, including hospitals, with their order (‘Monachi nigri’, ‘fratres sancti trinitatis’, etc.) (f.16r); a list of benefices belonging to the archbishop of Canterbury, under headings by diocese and deanery, each with its value (f.17r); a copy of the agreement between Thomas [Arundel], Archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas Clifford, his archdeacon, concerning tithes, dated 1397 (f.20r); a list of churches and their tithes, arranged by deaneries, of which the grand total is £4,778 7s. 1½ d. (f.24r); copy of an agreement between the sacrist of Christ Church, Canterbury, and the abbot and convent of Faversham, dated 1340 (f.32r); copy of an agreement between Thomas Chichele, Archdeacon of Canterbury, and the Master and Fellows of the College of Wye (Kent), ending imperfectly (f.33r); a list of parishes and sums of money, beginning imperfectly, under headings ‘procuratus’, ‘denarii sancti Petri’, and ‘pensiones’ (f.34r); miscellaneous short pieces, the last two being the Latin oath to be taken by a Summoner, and a summary of it in English, stating that he is to act ‘... wythoute frawde, gyle, or falshede …’ (f.43r).

The arms combine the arms of the see of Canterbury on the dexter side (whose charge is the pallium), with Bourchier’s personal arms on the sinister: these include the water-bouget, punning on the family name.