The Bolton Priory Compotus, 1286-1325: Together with a Priory Account Roll for 1377-1378

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Most knowledge of medieval monastic economy in England is drawn from the estates of large and wealthy Benedictine establishments in the midlands and south. Bolton Priory was by contrast an Augustinian priory in the Yorkshire dales, modest in size, poorly endowed, located in an unyielding farming region, and faced with daunting financial problems. The Compotus, a unique thousand-page book of the accounts of the Priory, provides comprehensive and rich details of all aspects of its affairs. The Priory's dealings with Italian wool-merchants (to whom it owed heavy debts), the build-up of its estate, the running of its granges, the patterns of household food consumption, and the devastating impact of agricultural crisis compounded by damage inflicted by marauding Scottish raiders, are all fully documented. IAN KERSHAW is Professor of History at the University of Sheffield; DAVID M. SMITH is director of the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, University of York.