Skip to main content

Wilkins's Concilia and the Fifteenth Century

  • E. F. Jacob

Hearne greatly disliked Wilkins. His diaries have many severe reflections upon the Prussian upholder of the dynasty he hated; to him ‘that rascal David Wilkins’, vain, mercenary and pushing, was the type of industrious pedant with little judgment who would edit and publish anything that he found remunerative, and spoil good material in the process. This waspish temper, that at times vents itself in scandalous comments on Wilkins's private life, may have partly resulted from the fact that Wilkins took up two enterprises with which Hearne had been in some degree concerned: a second edition of Humphrey Prideaux's Marmora Oxoniensia (which he never carried out, the work being ultimately entrusted to Michael Mattaire and published by him in 1732), and a new edition of Spelman's Concilia, ‘ the Councils’, as Hearne always called them. The antiquary had been anxious to do both. He curtly refused help to Wilkins over the Marmora, and in regard to the Councils he tells us that Atterbury had originally proposed the editing of Spelman to himself, “ but it was after my retirement upon account of the oaths; and so I thought fit to decline and waive it “. Naturally he was still interested in the project, and rather apprehensive about it after the way in which Wilkins had edited Selden's works (1726). ‘This vile editor ‘was his comment then, and he acidly notes that Wilkins had been working upon the Concilia at a much earlier date, but had been ‘put by ‘by the Archbishop in favour of some other man.

Hide All

page 91 note 1 Hearne's Collections (Ox. Hist. Soc), ii. 364 (‘an ambitious, conceited man ‘); v. 97 (‘he would fain be looked upon and accounted a very great Man ‘); ibid., pp. 157, 260 (‘knavish Hanoverian ‘); vi. 51 (Wilkins most deservedly ‘put by ‘for the LL.D.); vii. 260, 283, 380 (‘it seems, Wilkins will do anything for a Penny, and is guided and directed by the Booksellers ‘); viii. 385; xi. 296 (‘all observe him to be very perfidious and false, and to be a very great enemy of the Church of Eng-land’).

page 91 note 2 Op. cit., ix. 341; cf. his remarks on Wilkins's marriage with Lord Fairfax's sister (pp. 64, 134).

page 91 note 3 Op. cit., ix. 96, 126.

page 92 note 1 Op. cit., xi. 115.

page 92 note 2 ‘A most incorrect edition ‘: ix. 135.

page 92 note 3 x. 22.

page 92 note 4 viii. 385.

page 92 note 5 Mr. Burton, in 1728; x. 22.

page 92 note 6 xi. 115.

page 92 note 7 xi. 119.

page 93 note 1 xi. 123.

page 93 note 2 Sir Henry Spelman and the Concilia ( Publ. British Academy, xvi.), PP. 35 –7.

page 93 note 3 Hearne, , op. cit., xi. 285. Perhaps this was somewhere about 1709, when Wilkins, was a young man of twenty-four and ‘mightily caressed in London by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Sarum and Ely and Dr. Grabe’, op. cit., ii. 162.

page 94 note 1 Bishop Nicolson's Epistolary Correspondence, ed. Nichols, John ( 1809 ), ii. 430–1. “ It cut him to the heart to be asked, as he was lately by a great man in a sarcastical manner, ‘What, have not your Whig friends provided for you?’”.

page 94 note 2 Op. cit., ii. 436.

page 95 note 1 He did it ‘tuo hortatu’, as he observes in his preface to the Arch-bishop ( Concilia, I. ii.), when he gives an account of this Oxford period. He says he spent three years there before going to Cambridge.

page 95 note 2 Arch. Wake, Epist. 20 (Misc. Letters, iv.). My thanks are due to the Wake Trustees and the Librarian of Christ Church, Mr. J. G. Barrington Ward, for facilities to consult this great collection.

page 95 note 3 Wilkins's letter of thanks for the privilege of being taken into the Archbishop's family is dated 15 April, 1716 (Arch. Wake, Epist. 20).

page 95 note 4 Wilkins's edition of the Coptic New Testament (1716).

page 95 note 5 Wilkins to Wake, 21 Feb., 1715/16.

page 95 note 6 Ibid., 11 April, 1716.

page 96 note 1 Wilkins to Wake, 20 May, 1716.

page 96 note 2 Ibid., 3 June, 1716.

page 96 note 3 Ibid., 2 Oct., 1716.

page 96 note 4 Ibid., 15 March, 1715/16; 12 Sept., 1716; 2 Oct., 1716; 25 Nov., 1716; 10 April, 1717.

page 97 note 1 There are summary, but not always very accurate, descriptions in Kitchin, G. W., Catalogus Codicum MSS. Ædis Christi ( Oxford, 1867 ), pp. 70 –1.

page 97 note 2 From C.C.C., Oxon, MSS. 154 and 183. They are addressed by Tanner to ‘The Rev. Dr. Wake, Rector of St. James', Westminster’.

page 98 note 1 Appendix, pp. 57–58, 90–98.

page 98 note 2 Fos. 439 seq. At the end of the transcripts Nicolson writes thus (fo. 452): ‘Here, Sir, are the transcripts which you desir'd. I have (as I told you in my letter by the last post) seen some of em in the Extracts which my cousin Pearson made for you out of their Register-Book of Transactions sede vacante: But, even in these, you will find some difference in words mistaken by the Clerks, and the compareing 'em together may be of some use to you. I am afraid what you had from Durham was in too contracted a manner to be very serviceable to you. Am sure the notes which Mr. Rowel sent hither were extremely concise; and, if I understand him right, they are the same which both you and Mr. Atter bury had from him. Mr. A. (you see) thinks it worth his while to view the Records, and other evidences, himself, tho’ I do not believe that he will be much wiser by any searches he makes in his own person, I heartily wish you had taken leisure for the like methods. I should then have hoped for the happiness of seeing you in this Diocese; which is a favour which (I perceive) your Adversary does not design me.’

page 98 note 3 Fos. 43 seq.

page 99 note 1 CCCIV, fo. 101.

page 99 note 2 CCCV, fo. 219.

page 99 note 3 CCCV, fo. 283.

page 99 note 4 Fos. 1–407.

page 99 note 5 Fos. 301–517.

page 100 note 1 Pp. 329–93.

page 100 note 2 Concilia, II. 331 f.

page 100 note 3 They should more correctly have been printed at the end of the first paragraph in Concilia, II. 333.

page 101 note 1 This sheet has been inserted, still loose and unnumbered, but in its correct place, in Wake CCCIV. It may have been overlooked when the Archbishop had the transcripts, which make up this volume, bound.

page 101 note 2 Arch. Wake, Epist. 20. Wilkins to Wake, 30 May, 1716. F.5.2. = MS. Bodley 454 ( S.C. 2409).

page 101 note 3 A similar case occurs over the Oxford Articles of Reform in 1414 ( Concilia, III. 360 seq. ). Wake had printed Tanner's transcript of them from C.C.C., Oxon, 182, in an Appendix to his State of the Church. He wrote in the margin of his own copy (now in Christ Church, Wake MS. CCC, p. 89), which Wilkins doubtless used, a reference to another copy in the Cottonian Library ‘in fasciculo Oxon ‘. Wilkins followed up this reference, and collated the CCC. text with that of the ‘Oxford bundle ‘(Faustina, C. VII). He then felt justified in giving this extract his three stars ( Concilia, III. viii., erroneously paged as 358, rectius 360).

page 101 note 4 Fos. 43 seq.

page 101 note 5 The English Historical Library, 2nd ed. (1714), 101. “We wait impatiently for a New Edition of these Councils: and the Worthy Under taker (if God please to bless him and us with the continuance of his Health) will amply answer our Expectations. He will be able (out of Junius’ Collection and other dormant Manuscripts) to make large additions; and to insert them, appositely translated, in their proper places. He'll finish the Pains which Mr. Somner long since took to collate all the Saxon Pieces (already printed) with the Original MSS., and to correct the Translation. He'll give us necessary prefaces to the whole, subjoin a convenient Glossary, and (in a word) do all that's requisite to the rendring of such a work as compleat as we can do with it.”;

page 102 note 1 Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep., p. 468. These are B. IV. 18, B. IV. 24, B. IV. 26, and B. IV. 41. B. IV. 26 Wilkins used for the acts of the Provincial and the General Chapters of the Black Monks in 1422 and 1423( Concilia, III. 413–17, 419–27). He acknowledges this help in hispreface to Wake ( Concilia, I. ii.).

page 103 note 1 “ Felices pro sagaci, quo pollet ingenio, addendo emendationes.” Did he perhaps write some of Wilkins's more notorious abbreviations ?

page 103 note 2 Concilia, I. ii.–iii.

page 103 note 3 MSS. Add. A. 179–84 (S.C. 28413–18). These were bought from the Leeds Castle sale.

page 103 note 4 MS. Add. C. 64 ( S.C. 28419).

page 103 note 5 List of the Books and Manuscripts… removed from Leeds Castle ( London, 1831 ), no. 23.

page 103 note 6 Bibliotheca Phillippica (Sale Catalogue of 06, 1898, Sotheby & Co.), p. 98. No. 504 was a volume of Wilkins's collections for the Concilia.

page 104 note 1 And Spelman's own notes; for, as Tanner put it: “ If it be expected that your Edition should render Spelman perfectly useless, it will be convenient then to take in all his apparatus and notes, to which you may make proper strictures and additions.” Powicke, , Sir Henry Spelman and the Concilia, p. 36.

page 105 note 1 Concilia, III. 358, combining Wake CCCXVI, fo. 165 (the writ of summons, also printed in State of the Church, App., p. 87), and CCCXV, fos. 331–333 (royal writ for collection of the grant made by this Convocation from Reg. Chichele, II. fos. 125 v–126).

page 105 note 2 It should not be necessary to refer the reader to the observations of Haddan and Stubbs on Wilkins's first volume.

page 106 note 1 Eulogium Historiarum, ed. Haydon, (Rolls Ser.), iii. 412.

page 107 note 1 Wilkins leaves out “to go as well as to send to the General Council.”.

page 107 note 2 Concilia, III. 314.

page 107 note 3 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1405–8, 417.

page 107 note 4 Ibid., p. 392.

page 107 note 5 Concilia, III. 306.

page 108 note 1 Reg. Roberti Mascatt (C. and Y. Soc), pp. 105–6. The summons to the Council at Oxford occurs in Bishop Repingdon's Register, Lincoln Register 15, fo. 23d, a reference kindly supplied by Canon Foster.

page 108 note 2 Concilia, III. 320, 329–30.

page 108 note 3 Ibid., III. 309–10.

page 108 note 4 “Bishop Wilkins has taken from it (the Continuator's narrative) his account of the Councils of Oxford and London in A.D. 1408 and A.D. 1409.” Eulogium, III. li.

page 109 note 1 Concilia, III. 339.

page 109 note 2 Statuta Antiqua Universitalis Oxoniensis, ed. Gibson, S., p. 221.

page 109 note 3 Statuta, pp. 222–3.

page 109 note 4 Fasciculi Zizaniorum, ed. Shirley, W. W. (Rolls Ser.), p. lxxiii.

page 110 note 1 Concilia, III. 508–11, 571–2.

page 110 note 2 On whom, see Kingsford, C. L., English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century, p. 62.

page 110 note 3 Concilia, III. 413 seq. The Durham MS. used by him gave the date 1422. The correct year is 1421. See Pantin, W. A., “ Chapters of the English Black Monks, 1215–1540.” Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc, 4th Ser., vol. X, p. 254.

page 111 note 1 E.g. Concilia, III. 472–3, where he has inserted the variæ lectiones under the second, but not under the first of the documents numbered II and III.

page 111 note 2 Quoted in Burnet's History of the Reformation, ed. Pocock, ( Oxford, 1864 ), IV. 153 n. See Pocock's valuable note to illustrative document, XXXVII, p. 148 (to Book II, part I, p. no).

page 111 note 3 Inner Temple, Petyt MS. 55, fos. 85–99 v.

page 111 note 4 Note 2.

page 112 note 1 Its relations to Cotton, Tiberius B. XII, and the famous Lambeth CCXI should be explored in the fullest detail. Henry Wharton, as the editor of the Bekyngton correspondence pointed out (Rolls Ser., i. xi.), saw that there was a close link between these MSS., but the point is not carried further.

page 112 note 2 Bodleian Qu. Catalogue, Ashmole, ed. Black, and Machray, , p. 410.

page 112 note 3 Like Cotton, Tiberius B. XII, noted above and perhaps the damaged Tiberius B. VI. It is interesting to note the hand of the notary Richard Caudray on fo. 146.

page 112 note 4 Concilia, III. 471; Ashmole 789, fo. 226 v–227; Concilia, III. 482–3 (to Chichele alone).

page 113 note 1 Concilia, III. 472–3; Ashmole 789, fo. 220.

page 113 note 2 Ibid., 484; Ashmole 789, fo. 222 v; Petyt MS. 55, fos. 97–8 v.

page 113 note 3 Ibid., 486. Evidently this was the intention of ‘the letters‘ bought by John of Obizzi (29 March).

page 113 note 4 Ibid., 485–6; Ashmole 789, fo. 221.

page 113 note 5 Ibid., 486; Ashmole 789, fo. 221 v.

page 113 note 6 Petyt MS. 55, fo. 88. This is the sole source for the second appeal.

page 113 note 7 Ashmole 789, fo. 224.

page 113 note 8 Concilia, III. 473; Ashmole 789, fo. 206.

page 113 note 9 Ibid., 476; Petyt MS. 55, fos. 95 v–96.

page 113 note 10 Ibid., 478; Ashmole 789, fos. 227–227 v.

page 113 note 11 Ibid., 476–8; Ashmole 789, fos. 227 v–228; Petyt MS. 55, fos. 94 v–95 v.

page 113 note 12 Ibid., 473, and Ashmole 789, fo. 220 v; III. 475 and Ashmole 789, 225 v.

page 113 note 13 Ibid., 479; Ashmole 789, fo. 206 v; Petyt MS. 55, fo. 98 v. A second letter came in October. Concilia, III. 480; Ashmole 789, fo. 208; Petyt MS. 55, fo. 99–99 v.

page 113 note 14 Ibid., 479; Ashmole 789, fo. 207; Petyt MS. 55, fos. 98 v–99.

page 113 note 15 Ibid., 479–80; Ashmole 789, fo. 207 v; Petyt MS. 55, fos. 91 v–92.

page 114 note 1 Concilia, III. 480–2; Ashmole 789, fos. 225 v–226 v; Petyt MS. 55, fos. 89 v–90 v.

page 114 note 2 Ibid., 483–4; Ashmole 789, fos. 209–10 v.

page 115 note 1 England und Rom unter Martin V (Quellen und Forsch. aus ital. Arch. v. Bibl., VIII. 2), pp. 289 seqq.

page 115 note 2 The most important volumes in XXXIX are Nos. 5, 6 and 7A. No. 5 (Martin V) is in the hand of a seventeenth-century copyist, and the letters are frequently undated; they are obviously excerpted from another manuscript, since the marginal references of the older volume are given, up to fo. 265. No. 7A contains briefs both of Martin V and Eugenius IV, and is important (esp. fos. 128–9) for the relations between Martin and Bedford and Eugenius and Bedford (fo. 147 v). Like no. 5, it is a later copy, though I should not like to specify its date. No. 6, the volume chiefly used by Rinaldi, is a contemporary fifteenth-century series of extracts from Martin's register of briefs. The best English material lies between fos. 49–58. Cf. also Haller, , op. cit., p. 250, n. 4.

page 115 note 3 D. VII. 101.

page 115 note 4 Barberini MSS. lat., no. 2001.

page 115 note 5 Col. Papal Letters, VII. 24–5, with MrTwemlow's, note.

page 116 note 1 Cal. Papal Letters, VIII. 64–5.

page 116 note 2 Because he only concerned himself with the Papal briefs in this connection.

page 117 note 1 The subject of Chichele's letter to Bishop Robert Hallam in Royal MS. 10, B. IX. fo. 59.

page 117 note 2 Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 332, 332 v; Concilia, III. 391–2.

page 117 note 3 Ibid., fo. 335, 335 v. A copy of this is among the MSS. of the Dean and Chapter of Wells: Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep., Appendix, p. 360.

page 118 note 1 Raccolta di concordati su malerie ecclesiastiche tra la sanla sede e le autorità civili (Rome 1919), pp. 165–8.

page 118 note 2 IV. 108(old ed., IX. 731).

page 118 note 3 Mercati, op. et loc. citt.

page 119 note 1 Foedera (1740), IV. pt. iii, 88.

page 119 note 2 Cal. Papal Letters, VII. 85.

page 119 note 3 Ibid., VII. 144.

page 119 note 4 Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 282.

page 119 note 5 Ibid., fo. 282 v.

page 119 note 6 Ibid.; cf. fo. 283 v (10 April), when Lyndwood and William Browning are directed to inquire ‘de et super ecclesiis appropriate infra eosdem archidiaconatus et valore eorundem, necnon de consolidacione et dotacione vicariarum, si que fuerint in ecclesiis huiusmodi’.

page 121 note 1 Following a petition of the Commons to Henry V in 1416: Rot. Parl., IV. 31.

page 122 note 1 Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 10 v.

page 122 note 2 Ibid., II. fo. n v.

page 122 note 3 Ibid., II. fos. 11 v–12.

page 123 note 1 Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 12.

page 124 note 1 Reg. Chichele, II. fos. 12 V.–13.

page 124 note 2 Ibid., fos. 13–14 v.

page 124 note 3 Concilia, III. 381 seq.

page 125 note 1 On the difficulties to which it gave rise see Rashdall, , Universities, ii. 380 seq.; Gibson, S., Statuta, pp. cxiii–xvi. The actual decree is in Gibson, , op. cit., p. 48.

page 126 note 1 Concilia, III. 399; Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 23 v. seq.

page 127 note 1 Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 28 v.

page 127 note 2 Ibid., II. fo. 25.

page 127 note 3 Op. cit., p. 256 and n.

page 128 note 1 Concilia, III. 436.

page 128 note 2 Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 43.

page 128 note 3 Ibid., fo. 44 v.

page 129 note 1 Cf. the daily adjournments from Wednesday, 13 May, to Saturday, 23 May, 1415, because the Archbishop was occupied in the King's business: Reg. Chichele, II. fo. 4. Again, in 1428 (July) Chichele was constantly busy ‘in concilio Regis ‘and could not attend: Ibid., II. fo. 70 v.

page 131 note 1 Add. MS. 6190, fo. 147, Wilkins to Tanner, 19 Feb. 1744.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
  • ISSN: 0080-4401
  • EISSN: 1474-0648
  • URL: /core/journals/transactions-of-the-royal-historical-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *

Related content

Powered by UNSILO


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed