Anne Coyne , Thursday 29th July 2021 at 7:00pm, on ZOOM

Passcode:   996229 (if required)

This presentation investigates the contribution made by the religious community towards the settlement of Newark during the fourteenth century and formed part of an MA dissertation that also examined the mercantile community and its connections.

Newark was situated in the diocese of York of the medieval Catholic Church, however the Archbishop was not the only spiritual over-lord with influence over the town.  The Lord of the Manor was the Bishop of Lincoln and the third influencer was St Katherine’s Priory without Lincoln who held the advowson of the Parish Church.

There were several important religious guilds in Newark however most of the extant information relates to the Trinity Guild who became the first town corporation in the sixteenth century.  The deeds of the guild contain details of property exchanges of both religious and other persons and the relevant street locations.  St Mary Magdelene Parish Church contained many chantries, sixteen of which were founded in the fourteenth century and the details of the foundations and their founders provide an appropriate vehicle to study the religious community.  In the absence of wills for the fourteenth century the final source covering property transactions are the feet of fines.

The key areas of study include the identification of the local hinterland through chantry patronage and founder connectivity, and the importance of the Newark chantries was also assessed in comparison to other towns and cities.  The physical distribution of tenements held by the religious community were also studied to understand what they reveal about the development of Newark and its townscape.  All the sources contain many references to various surnames derived from place names, or toponyms, the survey conducted reviews the migration of the religious community versus that of the mercantile and other burgesses.  The study also reviews the impact of the Black Death in relation to the religious community.

The study is set in the background of the changing times of the fourteenth century and the historiography of the decline following the end of the thirteenth century and the presumed age of transition that followed on the heels of the Great Famine and the Black Death.  In some ways the study confirms these trends, however in other ways it contradicts these theories.