Lodge, Eleanor and Robert Somerville, eds., John of Gaunt's Register, 1379-1383 (vol. 1 and 2) (London: Camden Society, Third Series, v. 56 and 57)
Text name(s): John of Gaunt's Register
Number of pages of primary source text: 412
Dates: 1370 - 1408
Archival Reference: London, Public Record Office (National Archives), Duchy of Lancs. Misc. Books 14
- Original language included.
County/Region: Lancashire; Cheshire; Bowland; Halton; Derby; Lincoln; Beaufort; Nogent;
- Charters, Deeds
- Account Roll
- Law - Secular
- Women / Gender
- War - Military History
- Family / Children
- Nobility / Gentry
- Towns / Cities
John of Gaunt (1340-1399), the first duke of Lancaster, was the third surviving son of king Edward III of England. He is most commonly remembered for the influence he exercised over the English throne during the minority of his nephew Richard II and for siring the Lancastrian kings. The manuscript reproduced here contains copies made by the clerks of the Lancastrian Chancery of documents that passed under the Duke’s Privy Seal and other administrative documents. These copies were not always accurate; dates in particular were often falsified. The register is, nevertheless, of value to historians, particularly those who are interested in studying the financial and administrative organization of the Lancastrian estates. The estates of the duchy were so extensive
and so widely spread that for this reason alone the register would be of varied interest. Their administration was of necessity so complicated that we get an organization rivaling in its completeness the royal government. Several documents also deal with wardship, marriage and military service.
Appendix I (pp. 413-6) offers a collation of the enrolment with original documents in London, PRO P.L.3/1 and also includes the text of two writs in Anglo-Norman not enrolled in the register. Appendix II (pp. 417-8) in an addendum in the register that follows the treaty transcribed as entry no. 1199. Appendix III (pp.419-20) is a glossary of French terms not in Godefroy’s Lexique or in his Dictionnaire.
The introduction (pp. ix-xlix) describes the register and its contents, and also addresses the governing structures in the Lancaster and notes some of the issues that surface in the register. For example, that the register covers a period including the Peasant Revolt of 1381 and includes the king’s manifesto about the peasant risings is noted, as is the register’s engagement with Scottish affairs and its inclusion of the duke’s letters home from Spain.