Fraser, Constance, ed., Northern Petitions Illustrative of Life in Berwick, Cumbria and Durham in the Fourteenth Century (Durham: Surtees Society, vol. 194)
Text name(s): Northern Petitions Illustrative of Life in Berwick, Cumbria and Durham in the Fourteenth Century
Number of pages of primary source text: 268
Dates: 1250 - 1450
Archival Reference: PRO
- English - Middle English
- Translated into English.
- Original language included.
Translation Comments: Each item included in the edition is given in translation followed by the original text and editorial notes.
- British Isles
County/Region: Northumbria; Berwick; Cumbria; Durham
- War - Military History
- Economy - Guilds and Labor
- Material Culture: Food, Clothing, Household
- Royalty / Monarchs
- Towns / Cities
- Economy - Crafts and Industry
- Economy - Trade
- Clergy - Priests, Bishops, Canons
During the reign of Edward I, the practice of petitioning was established to deal with complaints against royal administration. Individuals and groups sent letters to the king, his representatives, or parliament, asking for assistance in a wide variety of grievances. This volume (a continuation of Fraser’s earlier volume, Ancient Petitions relating to Northumberland, 1966) contains petitions from the fourteenth century related to Berwick, Cumbria and Durham. Topics of the petitions include trade, defense, franchises, and legal, financial, and clerical petitions. Due to the subject regions’ proximity to Scotland, there are also a large number of petitions for compensation of war damages. The petitions are translated and calendared in English with the original Latin and French included. French entries can be found at the Anglo-Norman Hub online.
In a short introduction (4 pages), Fraser describes the establishment of machinery for dealing with complaints against the royal administration during the reign of Edward I. Fraser also describes the shifting borders between England and Scotland from the tenth to the fourteenth century, noting that the documents in her edition illustrate the difficulty of life in fourteenth-century northern England. Brief introductions also precede each of the three divisions of documents (Berwick, Cumberland, and Durham).