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Provisioning a medieval monastery: Durham cathedral priory's purchases of imported goods, 1464-1520

Threlfall-Holmes, Miranda (1997) Provisioning a medieval monastery: Durham cathedral priory's purchases of imported goods, 1464-1520. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study analyses the information contained in the obedientiary accounts of Durham Cathedral Priory relating to the priory's purchases of wine, spices and iron. It focuses on the years 1464 to 1520, for which particularly complete records exist. Those relevant to this study are the bursars', communars', hostillars' and sacrists' accounts. The administrative system in which these accounts were produced is outlined, and the main features of the accounts themselves are described. The priory's purchases of wine, spices and iron are then discussed. For each commodity the varieties purchased, the measures used and the prices paid by the priory are surveyed. The consumption suggested by these accounts is discussed, and the priory is found to have had higher levels of wine and lower levels of spice consumption than was common in contemporary households. The bursars' purchases of iron show a trend towards the use of locally produced rather than imported iron, and suggest that the local iron industry may have been expanding earlier than has previously been thought. The priory's methods of purchasing goods are discussed, and it is found to have been becoming increasingly reliant upon Newcastle to the exclusion of other supply centres. The merchants supplying the priory are also studied and several distinct groups are identified. The careers of several Newcastle merchants are pieced together, and the relevance of this evidence to the question of Newcastle’s economic health in this period is addressed. Appendices tabulate the contents of the relevant sections of the obedientiary accounts and list the merchants mentioned, showing the level of involvement of different individuals in the priory trade and the degree of overlap that existed between the suppliers of different commodities.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1997
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:39

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