chapter  15
12 Pages

Scribes and Notaries in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Hospitaller Charters from England

A search through over 3,000 charters from the surviving cartularies of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England produces a meagre list of twenty-fi ve individuals from the witness lists who are designated as being in one way or another responsible for the preparation of the document in question (Table 1).1 For the purposes of comparison, a similar search through the 10,300 dated English charters in the DEEDS2 database at the University of Toronto, covering the period 1100-1307, produced twenty-six names in a similar context (Table 2). For the most part, these individuals are clearly scribes, whose responsibility it was to compose and copy the record to which they attached their names. Those who “hanc brevem/cartam/convencionem/quietam clamanciam scripsit” seem to have been on a par with those “qui hanc cartam fecit”3 or “composuit”.4 On occasion, from the third quarter of the thirteenth century, an ecclesiastic identifi es himself as the notarius.5 With the exception of the notaries6, however, there are no references to scribes in the witness lists in either Hospitaller or

1 Note that full bibliographical references for the short titles or abbreviations used throughout to identify sources, both published and unpublished, appear at the end of this paper.