Milton Abbey Customary 1317

Here is the first page of the customary:

The first line reads (I think): David Le Oean holds one messuage and one furlong of land paying per annum 3s 8d.

The document, which is in the British Library, tells us the names of tenants, their land holdings, their service obligations, field names, and other information of great interest to the history of Milton Abbey in the 14th century. The document was put together by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey shortly after the disastrous fire of 1309, when all their documents were lost.

On other pages are listed freeholders, life holders, virgatarii, and cottagers. Their land holding and service provided to the Abbot seem to be very feudal, with many days of work per year in reaping, sheaving, threshing. ploughing and carting for little or no reward. The monasteries were no better as landlords than the rest of the aristocracy.

The writing of the manuscript is in Anglicana font and very neatly written.

We are trying to transcribe this ourselves, but would welcome any input. Contact us if you would like to help.

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