The Ames Foundation

The Ames Foundation, under the literary directorship of Professor Charles Donahue, Jr., of the Harvard Law School, is pleased to announce that the final proofs of the following volume are now available on this site:

21 MARCH 1374 – 28 FEBRUARY 1382

edited and calendared by
Marcia Stentz,
formerly Archivist of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives
Archives of Manitoba
with the assistance of and an introduction by
Charles Donahue, Jr.
Paul A. Freund Professor of Law, Harvard University

This volume continues the Ames Foundation’s series of volumes independent of the Year Books of Richard II. We have recently converted this series into an ‘eseries’, in which an electronic book in PDF format accompanies the publication in a traditional paper format.

The work edited here, the act book (register) of the official of Ely diocese dating from 21 March 1374 to 28 February 1382, has long been known to scholars of church history and canon law as the fullest register of an English ecclesiastical court that survives from the fourteenth century. Controlling the contents of this large book while it was in manuscript, however, was difficult and time-consuming.

With this in mind, Marcia Stentz, produced a calendar of its contents as her doctoral dissertation under the direction of the late Michael Sheehan. Much of the calendar, however, makes no sense unless one is already familiar with the underlying Latin of the register and books like it. The Foundation, therefore, commissioned Dr Stentz to edit the full text of the register, making use of her calendar in place of a full translation. (Much of the register is common form, of interest only to students of common form, who will use the Latin.)

Technology aided in three ways. First, the Cambridge University Library produced a splendid set of digital images of the manuscript, which we have, with the kind permission of the keeper of Ely Diocesan Records, posted on this website with a stable URL. Second, the use of web publication in PDF has allowed us to create a volume with all the apparatus of a traditional Ames volume while saving the cost of printing, paper, and binding. We left the size of the pages the same as those of previous Ames volumes to allow printing and binding of a traditional Ames volume by ‘print on demand’. Copies of it may be purchased from William S. Hein & Co.. The online PDF (which is one large file so that the hyperlinks will work) prints in two volumes. Front matter for the second volume is included. Third, in the PDF version we were able to hyperlink the references from the sessions of acta to the cases themselves and back again. More broadly we have hyperlinked all the internal references to cases by name and to indvidual acta to the text of each. The hyperlinks in the PDF are indicated by the use of a slightly grayer type. (Hovering over them produces a pointed finger.)

The Latin text of the documents is transcribed in full, interspersed with the English calendar. The PDF contains 1300 pages: 139 pages of “front matter” (plus an additional 6 for volume 2); (preface, contents, introduction, and tables), 1006 pages of text, and 149 pages of “back matter” (abbreviations and bibliography, index of persons and places, index of subjects, glossary).

As indicated above, the work will be published in two formats: the PDF online, which carries the ISBN 978-1-941232-02-6, and a cloth-bound version in two volumes, which carries the ISBN 978-1-941232-03-3 for the two-volume set. Both versions have the same page size and numeration. The cloth-bound version is bound in maroon and matches the traditional Ames format. Volume 1 contains the front matter, three sets of administrative acta, an outline of the 113 sessions of the consistory court over course of the register, and compiled acta of cases begun in 1374, 1375, and 1376. Volume 2 contains compiled acta of the cases begun in 1377, 1378, 1379, 1380, 1381 and 1382, and the back matter.

Final proofs of the PDF version may be accessed here at no cost and and, when finally published, will be available through HeinOnline for those with access to a subscription. The cloth-bound version will be obtainable from William S. Hein & Co. To order click on Ordering Information.

Final publication of both versions should follow shortly after the first of the year. In the meantime, if anyone notes an error in final proofs, please get in touch with us.


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This page last updated 11/24/14 . Contact Rosemary Spang with comments.
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