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Surtovsky society and its publications of sources on the history of England in the Middle Ages and early Modern times





UDC 930.1 (09) (410)


© V.P. MITROFANOV Penza state pedagogical university of V.G. Belinsky, department of ancient history, Middle Ages and archeology of e-mail:

V.P. Mitrofanov - Surtovsky society and its publications of sources on the history of England in the Middle Ages and early Modern times//PGPU News of V.G. Belinsky. 2010. No. 15 (19). Page 92-94. - Article is devoted to characteristic of the organization of Surtovsky society in Great Britain and to the review of its publications of archival sources throughout the XIX beginning of the 20th century on the history of England in the Middle Ages and during early Modern times. The structure of Surtovsky society is shown in article and the general characteristic of some types of the published sources is given.

Mitrophanov V. P. - Surtees society and its papers& publications on the medieval and early modern England& history//Izv. Penz. gos. pedagog. univ. im.i V. G. Belinskogo. 2010. No. 15 (19). River 92-94. - The article is devoted to the characteristics of the Surtees society in Greate Britain and its publications of the archive papers on medievel and early modern England& history. The author shows the Surtees society organization structure and analizes some kinds of the archive papers published in the XIX and the begining of the XX centuries.

In the 19th century in Great Britain a number of national and regional scientific historical organizations which were engaged in research and the publication of various written historical sources was formed. In this work we will stop only on a general characteristic of one of the first historical societies, namely, Surtovsky historical society which exists and now. It was called in honor of Robert Surtis (1791-1834) who in the first half of the 19th century was known in scientific circles of Great Britain as & & антиквар&& and the writer, the author & #34; History of the county palatinate Darem" and some other works and, this society which died shortly before emergence. One of his friends and colleagues James Rein (1791-1858) who became his first secretary (or officially & & президентом&& - V.M.) was the founder of society, reserving this position for many next years.

Society was founded by it on May 27, 1834 for the purpose of research and the publication of archival sources & #34; lighting mental activity, morals, religion and public условия" the northern counties of England, i.e. the territory which was once belonging to one of early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdoms - Northumbria [1; 5]. However subsequently

the publication of sources was not limited only to such subject. Let's notice that in the first years of its existence thanks to James Rein's efforts 17 volumes of sources from archives of Great Britain on the history of this region were published. Let's notice that though society specialized in the publication of archival sources of northern counties, but nevertheless it was considered and is considered not regional, but national historical society.

For the modern reader will know rather interestingly the basic rules of surtovsky historical society adopted at a general meeting of his members in 1848 and corrected then in 1863

First of all, in & #34; Правилах" (Rules) was noted that the total number of members of society should not exceed 350 people [1; 5]. Thus, the extensive way of development of society, so and its transformation into a certain amorphous and purely formal organization was at once closed. In & & правилах&& it was written down that & #34; boss общества" is its president. He has 24 deputies (& #34; вице-президенты") and also the secretary and two keepers, i.e. are actually kind of his office. All these officials made Council, five members which were so-called & #34; кворумом" i.e. a constant working shouting -


gan which carried out conducting the current work of society. All officials, except the president-boss were elective. Their election happened at a general meeting of members of society. They were elected for a period of three years. & & Pravila&& allowed their re-election for the subsequent term. In cases if positions of the secretary and the keeper were released, then Council had the right to appoint new people to these positions, but then at the nearest meeting of members of society these appointments had to be approved [1; 5].

On & & Pravilam&& of the society Council had to gather three times a year on time. Such terms defined the first Tuesdays of March, June and December. The place and time of a meeting were defined by Council, and the secretary of Council brought this decision to the attention of all members of society [1; 5].

the June meeting was considered as the annual meeting. Therefore the secretary of Council invited all members of society. to its meeting & & Pravil&& allowed the secretary of Council to bring together an urgent meeting of Council in necessary cases, but consent not less than 5 members of council, i.e. so-called & & кворум&& for this purpose was required. In rules it is established that members can be elected by vote at any meeting and according to the procedure which has to be defined by three members of society. And, & & one black sphere from ten исключает&&, i.e. it was necessary to collect not less than 316 votes if all 350 members of society were present and voted [1; 6]. Obviously, it was supposed that not always at a meeting there will be all members of society and, therefore, figures will vary on the established formula depending on number of all being present and voting members of society.

& & Pravila&& provided payment of membership fees by each member of society of 1 guinea (i.e. 21 shillings - V.M.). In case of failure to pay by any of members of society of membership fees within 2 years, that its membership in society stops the Keeper. On the raised money of members of society publications of sources just were also organized. And, in & & правилах&& made a reservation that the publication of sources can be carried out as in original language (for example, on Latin or on Old English languages - V.M.), and in modern English.

After the publication of sources each member of society received one copy free of charge. It was provided also that if the publication of any given source is carried out in several volumes (it was the frequent phenomenon subsequently - V.M.), then Council as far as possible also had the right to distribute them free of charge among members of society.

Besides made a reservation that a part of circulation will remain stored at office of Council. Council determined the price of each volume of the edition. In & & правилах&& it was written also down that each edition of sources will join heraldic attributes of R. Surtis.

every year officials of society are obliged to carry out calculations of financial receipts

and expenses of society with the subsequent reports on it at general meetings of members of society. And in editions of sources in & #34; Предисловии" each volume these data were published.

In & & правилах&& it was written down that modification in & & правил&& is admissible and any member of society can offer them. However previously Council has to consider such offers on changes and in advance bring the information about them to each member of society [1; 6].

Thus, Surtovsky society was the non-state organization, so the government did not finance its activity. It existed and also also Pravila&& society was engaged in publishing at the expense of means of the members. or on other actually its charter are thought rather over. They assumed, first of all, collective approach to adoption of the main decisions at general meetings of members of society. At the same time & & правила&& allowed also existence of small constant working body of society on number. it is interesting that in & & правилах&& societies the fee size to authors for their done work on preparation of manuscripts for the edition did not make a reservation. Obviously, this issue was resolved separately in each case.

Since 1835 the Surtovsky society already began the publication of sources and during the H1H-beginning of the 21st century did huge work, having published a huge number of unique archival sources in the basic in language of originals. so far (i.e. by 2010 - V.M.) published over two hundred volumes. So, in 2008 the 212th volume of publications of sources under edition of R. Britnel in whom documents of the city of Grossgeyta, in Durham from 1312 for 1531 were published [2 was published; 953].

However, some publications of sources were carried out by very small circulation and did not even intend for free sale, and only for members of society. Nevertheless, it was extremely important for historical science because from now on historians not only Great Britain, but also other countries had good opportunities for their scientific research. Certainly, within small article it is impossible to give the exhaustive source study analysis of all published sources. It is a problem of a big separate research. Therefore we will stop only on a general characteristic of the sources published in XIX - the beginning of the 20th century (they are available in book-depositories of St. Petersburg and are quite available to the domestic English Veda - V.M).

If to speak about classification of the first editions of the sources i.e. which were published the specified time period, then it is possible to see that, for example, on the period of early medieval England about seven volumes were published. A number of volumes it was published on the period of the English story with XI (after Norman gain - V.M.) till the 15th centuries. Most of all sources were published on the English history of the 16-17th centuries during this period. And, among all these publications materials church and monastic is-dominate

PGPU NEWS of V.G. Belinsky • Humanities • No. of 15 (19) 2010

of tochnik. So, for example, church and monastic chronicles, reports of parish heads on the county Durham [3], descriptions of church property in the Counties of Yorkshire, Durham and Northumbria are published [5, 6]. It is possible to note as the advantage of these publications and the fact that in & #34; Введении" to each volume of publications of sources the authors-originators gave very detailed historical digressions about that place or the region to which this source belongs. So, for example, to publications of wills on the town of Neresborough (the County of Yorkshire - V.M.) the author F. Collins gave detailed statement of history neresborough with X1-X11 of centuries and to the middle of the 16th century, i.e. until emergence of the first written wills in this town [5; 1-XX11]. The publication of these sources is carried out in 2 volumes. And in one more volume wills on other northern counties are published [6]. Are published including the wills made in the 14-15th centuries [7, 8, 1]. These volumes and the fact that in them wills of peasants, yeomen, dzhentr, citizens, i.e. representatives of different social groups of the English society of the 14-17th centuries are published are of interest. All this considerably increases their value and gives good opportunities for studying a property status of representatives of various estates and social groups of the English society of an era of the Middle Ages.

Among editions of Surtovsky society during the period till 1914 there are also publications of business sources, such, for example, as tax lists of the cities of the North of England, records of merchants of the trading company of the city to the New-Kastla-na-Tayne, & #34; Book of acts of the city of Beverli" [9]. There are even publications of records of the company of holders of inns [10].

society published also some sources on gender history, namely the autobiography of Alice Thornton from Yorkshire [11] (the town of East Newton - V.M.). Much published biographies and diaries of representatives of various social groups of medieval England. Especially it should be noted the publication of diaries of some English yeomen of the 16-17th centuries who allow the researcher to look at events of social and political life of the country of that time kind from within. So, for example, the diary of Adam Eyre, the yeoman from Yorkshire, allows to understand better many lines of economic and everyday life of this category of British. Also events of social life of church parish of Peniston where Adam Air lived are reflected in it. Records of the diary belong to 1647-1648 [12; 1-118].

Publications of these and many other sources it was carried out as by researches of authors in local archives of northern counties, and in storages of the British museum. Sometimes historians needed many years to carry out collecting istoch-

nicknames in archives to process them and then to publish. Therefore publications of sources of one look sometimes lasted for several years.

If to follow well-known classification of written sources in a domestic historiography, then it is possible to conclude that publications of the Surtovsky society noted above the period generally it is documentary and narrative sources.

More thorough source study analysis of publications of Surtovsky society, in my opinion, is possible and necessary within separate more considerable work on volume.

In conclusion we will note that the sources published by society give the fine chance to modern historians English Veda to be engaged in development of questions of social and economic history, religious questions and also cultural history questions, gender history, English heraldry and partly even in the political history of England of the period of the Middle Ages and early Modern times. Let's notice also that up to the present the sources published in these series were used in works of domestic historians not enough. They are a little used and in an English-speaking historiography.


1. The Publications of the Surtees Society. Vol. 121./Ed. by Ardrews C. O. L., 1912.
2. M. Hale, R. Hawkins, C. Wright. List of publications on economic and social history of Great Britain and Ireland in 2008//Economic History Review. 2009. Vol. 62. P. 953-956.
3. The Publications of the Surtees Society. Vol. 22. Ed. By J. Raine. L., 1850.
4. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 84. Ed. by J. Barmly., 1888.
5. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 110. Ed. by f. Collins. L., 1905.
6. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 112. Ed. by J. C. Hodgson. L., 1906.
7. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 104. Ed. by F. Collins. L., 1902.
8. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 116. Ed. by J. W. Clay. L., 1908.
9. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 93. Ed. by J. W. Boyle and F. W. Dendy. L., 1894.
10. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol.105. Ed. by F. M. W Dandy. L., 1901.
11. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. 62. Ed. by Ch. Jackson., L., 1873.
12. Adam Eyer. A Dyurnal, or Catalogue of all my Accions and expenses//Surtees Society Publications. Vol. LXV. Ed. By Ch. Jackson, Darham, 1877.
Jacob Mark Emory
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