This article seeks to counteract the tendency of some recent historians to underrate antiquarian studies in medieval England. It demonstrates the flourishing antiquarianism of the fifteenth century, first especially among the monks and later among the clergy and even the laity. The monks did research on local history in order to prove the antiquity and legal rights of their houses, while the ‘seculars’ viewed the subject more broadly. It is usually impossible to assess exactly to what extent a scholar engaged in antiquarian studies for practical reasons, and to what extent his motive was objective, intellectual curiosity; however, the evidence suggests that by the end of the century the latter motive was gaining ground.
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