The Remembrance Books of Southampton differ from town’s other municipal administrative records in that they do not reflect the formal routine of the office or administration, but rather the irregular record arising out of informal activities. In the later Middle Ages, with the growth of municipal autonomy, the town’s leaders developed wide powers (of ill-defined scope) to punish offenders against the law and the town’s customs, to amend town laws, to arbitrate in disputes, to regulate trade and industry, etc.

This growth in informal administrative activity led to an enhanced role for the Town Clerk, originally the clerk and keeper of the records of the town courts, but now also a secretary to the town council and auditors. It was the Town Clerk who kept the books and entered in them such notes as he thought fit.

The books cover the period 1303 to 1602 and are divided into the first, second and third books of remembrance. Some have been published in the Southampton Record Series.


Further reading:
The Third Book of Remembrance of Southampton, 1514-1602, by A L Merson (ed), pxi-xxi. (HS/l)


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