First published in 1905, these two volumes together reproduced the text of Rawlinson MS. B 408 from the Bodleian Library in two parts. They consist of a preface followed the full Middle English text with glosses. The initial section of the manuscript is slightly older and consists of prefixed liturgical pieces such as the Articles of Excommunication. This follows the common historical practice of combining manuscripts to encourage their preservation. The remainder of the text presents the reader with the Register of the Estates of Godstow Abbey.
The manuscript was initially created as a translation of the Latin register in order to allow the nuns, who were literate in English but not Latin, to manage their own estates. This manuscript was, at the time of publication, the only known complete English-language cartulary made for a monastic house. It holds significant implications not only for the status, linguistic development and usage of the English language, but also for women’s history in the church and their socioeconomic agency, along with the ability of language to both restrict and open doors. The text includes its own introduction in which the founding of the Abbey by Dame Edyve of Winchester, first Abbess of Godstow, is recounted, followed by deeds relating to the local area.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Prefixed Liturgical Pieces. 1. Articles of Excommunication. 2. The A.B.C. of Devotion. 3. Metrical Versions of Church Offices. 4. Metrical Church Kalendar. Part 2. Introductory Part of the Register. 1. The Prologue. 2. The Chronicle of Godstow. 3. Deeds Relating to the Foundation. Part 3. Register of Estates. 1. Berkshire Deeds. 2. Buckinghamshire Deeds. 3. Dorsetshire Deeds. 4. Gloucestershire Deeds. 5. Hampshire Deeds. 6. Lincolnshire Deeds. 7. Middlesex Deeds. 8. Northamptonshire Deeds. 9. Oxfordshire Deeds. 10. Oxford City Deeds.