Cathedral rolls conservation project - the story so far
Among the archives of Winchester Cathedral is an important resource of 1,354 medieval parchment rolls revealing details of life on the Cathedral's manorial estates. Nearly 400 are extremely fragile and cannot be unrolled without causing further damage.
- April 2011: An exciting project to conserve the most fragile rolls got under way, thanks to grants of £10,000 by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust and £1,000 from Hampshire Archives Trust.
- June 2011: completed conservation of 13 compotus (account) rolls; one relating to Chilbolton could be precisely dated (1534) for the first time.
- September 2011: completed conservation of 21 compotus (account) rolls and 3 obedentiary rolls (accounts of almoner, chamberlain and anniversarian of St Swithun's Priory); a Canadian scholar was delighted to be able to consult a 14th century account roll for the first time in many, perhaps hundreds, of years.
- October 2011: work began on the manorial court rolls. We continued to promote the project in a formal talk to the Cathedral Fellowship and to four groups of Cathedral Guides who saw the conservators 'in action' and decided to adopt the project for their fundraising events next year.
- December 2011: another obedentiary roll - a diet account roll - conserved. This was one of the most difficult rolls to conserve, requiring a monumental 85 hours of work.
- January 2012: completed conservation of 21 manorial court rolls. One relating to Godbegot manor, Winchester in 1518/19 includes this snippet: 'it is ordered by this court to all tenants of this liberty that henceforth urine and water otherwise unclean will not be discharged into the common gutter within Goodgygete aforesaid to the nuisance of the inhabitants there under penalty if anyone of them offend on their part - 20d.' Curiously, a letter to the local newspaper related to similar problems in the city in January 2012!