Archive for the ‘KCL Doctoral Students’ Category

Andrew Bukerel’s fine – a note from Ian Stone

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Ian Stone is a research student at King’s College London, working on producing a critical edition of the Liber de Antiquis Legibus, a thirteenth century manuscript written and compiled in London. Ian writes about a discovery in the fine rolls:

As an undergraduate interested in medieval London, I recall reading Gwyn Williams’s study of the capital in the `long thirteenth century`.  I was mesmerised.  Since then, many of Williams’s conclusions have been challenged, but that should not detract from the quality of his writing.  Above all, he had an ability to bring the energy and drive of London in the thirteenth century to the page.  Simply put, it made me want to know more.

So it was that, whilst studying for my MA, I decided to research one of the most prominent families in his work: the Bukerels of London, after whom the road Bucklersbury in the City of London takes its name.  Like any good student of the thirteenth century, my research began with the records – and of course, the Fine Rolls of Henry III are now the most accessible of all of those records.  As one would expect, a family which provided London with at least six sheriffs, five aldermen, two royal chamberlains and one mayor frequently appears in the chancery records.  One of the most enigmatic entries was that to be found on the Fine Roll in November 1221 relating to Andrew Bukerel.  Andrew was the eldest son of Andrew and Idonea Bukerel.  By 1220 he was Henry III’s royal chamberlain in London, responsible for supplying the court with wine, spices, wax and other luxury items.  So close in fact were his links to the court, that he’d actually helped to cover the costs of Henry’s second coronation at Westminster.

In November 1221, we learn that Andrew had fined 4,000 marks with the king, and that his pledges included several noteworthy people, perhaps most interestingly, Hubert de Burgh, the justiciar and effectively regent of the kingdom.  We are not told what this enormous fine was for; it took some further enquiry for me to learn that it was to hold more office – this time as Warden of the Exchanges at London and Canterbury for three years.  This lucrative role would have placed Andrew in charge of the exchange of all the silver coming into the country at these two places.  No wonder the fine was so great.

What this entry on the Fine Roll did show, however, was the company that Andrew was keeping.  Aside from Hubert, his other pledges are five leading citizens of London, including his brother, and later heir, Thomas.  What is clear, then, from this entry is that already by 1221 Andrew was extremely well connected in London.  This must have helped his later career.  He was an alderman of Cripplegate Ward in London.  He was later to serve as sheriff for two years, and mayor for almost six years.  Only three men have ever served as mayor, consecutively, for a longer period.  What we can see in 1221 is that these bonds of connection between leading citizens in London were already formed, and working in one of their interests.

What it further shows is just how close Andrew was to the real power at court, Hubert de Burgh.  This fine was subsequently cancelled, for which no reason was ever given.  One is given to wonder what role Hubert might have really been playing in all this.  Did he cancel the fine, in return for some of the profits of the exchanges of which Andrew was master?  This sort of shady deal would, of course, be one that would be kept hidden from the records.  Every trace of this fine could, however, not be removed from view, and in this one brief entry, there is much to provoke further historical enquiry.

Revealing Records V

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Abigail Stevenson writes about another successful instalment of the Revealing Records conferences:

On 24 May 2013 the fifth annual Revealing Records conference was held at King’s College London. The first Revealing Records in 2009 was the brainchild of Ben Wild, then a PhD student at King’s, and responsibility for organisation has been shared between King’s PhD students ever since. This one-day postgraduate conference provides a welcoming environment for postgraduates to present their research, share ideas and meet others in the academic community.

Professor Julia Crick (KCL) kicked off the morning session, delivering a keynote paper discussing late medieval forgeries in imitative script. The first panel was chaired by Abby Stevenson (KCL) and featured papers from Johannes Depnering (Oxford) who spoke about finding aids in medieval manuscripts and Stephen Lubell (IES) who discussed his work on sixteenth century Hebrew typography. Panel two was chaired by Katie Har (Oxford) and contained papers from Sophia Moesch (KCL) on Augustinian thought in Alcuin’s writings; Alison Hudson (Oxford) on dispositive clauses in late tenth century England; and Hanna Kilpi (Glasgow) on the flexible identity of lesser aristocratic women in twelfth century Yorkshire.

Professor Jonathan Phillips (Royal Holloway) opened the afternoon session with the second keynote paper of the day, discussing his work on Caffaro of Genoa. Panel three, chaired by Giorgio Lizzul (KCL) featured Bláithín Hurley (Cambridge) on music in the renaissance Venetian casa and Katherine French (Oxford) on monastic craft production and its social impact in England, 600-800. Dhwani Patel (KCL) chaired the final panel of the day. Dan Spencer (Southampton) presented a paper about the early sixteenth century account books of Southampton, investigating the role of the town in developments in gunpowder and fortifications; Emily Corran (UCL) spoke about the oath of calumny in medieval canon law; and Kenneth Duggan’s (KCL) paper explored how to interpret medieval English legal records and the problems and benefits of using printed editions and modern technology to aid research. Dr Alex Sapoznik (KCL) gave the closing address.

Organisers and speakers at Revealing Records V. (Thanks to Sophie Ambler for the photo.)

Organisers and speakers at Revealing Records V. (Thanks to Sophie Ambler for the photo.)

Rochester cathedral and castle

Friday, April 26th, 2013

On a very wet and chilly day in March, a group of KCL PhD students and friends visited Rochester. Beginning at the cathedral:

Rochester cathedral

where we saw the remaining part of a thirteenth century wall painting in the Quire, showing the Wheel of Fortune:

User comments

After lunch, to the castle, with expert commentary from Marc Morris, author of Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Medieval Britain, who explained the architecture and history, particularly the famous siege by king John in 1215:

Marc Morris (right) with a damp but fascinated audience

Marc Morris (right) with a damp but fascinated audience

Thanks to Marc, to Sophie Ambler for the photos, and to Ian Stone, who organized the visit.


Hilary Mantel and Henry III’s Elephant: A Contribution by Dr Richard Cassidy

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Henry III’s elephant keeps cropping up. I have just started reading Bring up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel (her sequel to Wolf Hall). And Thomas Cromwell is thinking about monasteries, and relics:

‘In the year 1257, an elephant died in the Tower menagerie and was buried in a pit near the chapel. But the following year he was dug up and his remains sent to Westminster Abbey. Now, what did they want at Westminster Abbey, with the remains of an elephant? If not to carve a ton of relics out of him, and make his animal bones into the bones of saints?’

She has evidently done her homework. If only she had written earlier, we would have had a great intro for the Fine of the Month.

Revealing Records IV

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The Revealing Records conference held in the Council Room of King’s College London on Friday 25 May was a great success with papers being given by doctoral students from Britain and the continent.  The programme was as follows and will shortly be forthcoming as a podcast.

Programme of Events

Panel 1 – Authorship, Genre and Intention
Joanna Thornborough (St Andrews): What is a Saint For?The Medieval Passiones Kiliani and the Problems of Audience
Katherine Har (Oxford): Interlacing legal writing with historical narrativein the Leges Anglorum Londoniis Collectae

Panel 2 – Language and Form
Christine Voth (Cambridge): Putting the King in a Royal manuscript:Re-assessing the Alfredian connection in London, BL, Royal 12. D. xvii
Adam Mowl (King’s College London): Humanist Rhetoric and Political Thought inFifteenth-Century Italy: Bartolomeo Scala’s Oratio on Federico da Montefeltro

Panel 3 – The Record: Image and Reality
Hetty Kaye (UEA): King John’s chamber: a development in royal privacy?
Giorgio Lizzul (King’s College London): Subsidising the Republic?The Greedy Rich in Poggio Bracciolini’s De Avaritia and Quattrocento Society

Panel 4 – Audience and Response
Frances Durkin (Birmingham): Preaching the First Crusade:the chronicle accounts of the responses to Pope Urban II’s call to the cross
Mark Whelan (Royal Holloway): The Ordensbriefarchiv of the Teutonic Order:Exploring Hungarian and Teutonic relations during the Fifteenth century.

Panel 5 – Transmission, Preservation and Legacy
Alison Ray (UCL): The pecia system and its use by the cultural milieu in Paris, 1250-1330
Michael Schonhardt (University of Freiburg): Ortus ventorum sunt comfi philosophorum –the scientific diagrams of the Arnstein Bible: knowledge between Bernard and Abelard

There were keynote talks by Simon Keynes (Cambridge) and Serena Ferente (KCL), while proceedings were summed up by Alice Taylor (KCL)

Thanks were given to Dhwani Patel and William Stewart-Perker (KCL) for organizing the day.


Delegates at the Conference Dinner

Leeds International Medieval Congress 2011

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Several PhD students from King’s recently attended the Leeds International Medieval Congress, which took place 11-14 July. Three of David Carpenter’s students, Richard Cassidy, Katherine Harvey and Sophie Ambler, presented papers in a panel entitled ‘Silver, Simony and Sermons: the ideal and reality of wealth in the reign of Henry III’, which analysed aspects of Henry’s financial resources and the views of some of the prominent churchmen of his reign on how money should be spent by those in power. During the panel, Sophie spoke about the Fine Rolls project and the project blog.

Posted on behalf of Sophie Ambler

King's Doctoral Students at the IMC