Collection RC0495 - British legal instuments collection (Late Medival to Post-Regency)

Title and statement of responsibility area

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British legal instuments collection (Late Medival to Post-Regency)

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  • 1336-1825 (Creation)

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Physical description

81 items : parchment.
Manuscript and printed – Latin, English, Scots.

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Scope and content

This artificial collection of documents consists of 81 manuscripts, including deeds, charters, instruments of sasine, obligations, letters patent, wills, probate certificates, and manorial court proceedings, placed into 76 separate groupings. Most of the documents are English, concerning Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Hampshire (including Isle of Wight), Kent, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Rutland, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire. Some are Scottish, from Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Peeblesshire, Perthshire, and West Lothian. One was drawn up in Louth, Ireland while under British rule. Among the notable names occurring in these documents are North of Kirtling, Addington of Harlow, Cotton of Leswade, Primrose of Chester, Paston of Paston, and Shelley of Horsham. Also included, in envelope A, are several pieces of seals which have broken.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

There have been several accruals. Nos.1-69 and 77-79 are believed to have been acquired from a London auction by Bertram Rota in the 1960s, perhaps in the interest of providing palaeographic materials for a course at McMaster. The provenance of Nos.70-74 and 76 are not known. No. 75 (29-1995) was donated in 1995 by R.H. McNairn. His father, William Harvey McNairn, of McMaster University, Toronto, had purchased the document on 13 June 1916 from Reginald Atkinson, bookseller, in London, England. W.H. McNairn was a professor of geology but also produced scholarly papers on medieval history. Receipts and a letter from Atkinson pertaining to the purchase, together with a cardboard sleeve once used to house the item, are located in the master file. A typescript transcription of the item itself has been included with the document.


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Further accruals are not expected.

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