RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoCM 51
Extentover 200 items
TitleWarham, William (?1450-1532)
DescriptionRecords (acta) of Archbishop Warham, largely comprising routine working documentation associated with institutions to benefices, and comprising:
episcopal professions of obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the Pope (CM 51/1-29);
deeds of presentation or collation to benefices, notarial instruments of resignation from benefices, and associated documentation (CM 51/30-205);
visitation comperta [1511].

The deeds of presentation or collation are usually endorsed with the date on which the appointment was approved and registered, and details of the mandate to induct. Included amongst these documents are 'notes' concerning particular appointments, summarising the essential details in each case, which would appear to be drafts of the entries in the Archbishop's register.

The documents comprise the earliest coherent collection of archiepiscopal acta held by Lambeth Palace Library.

One slightly unusual document amongst the acta is the draft of a licence for the marriage of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon (CM51/115). This is the only such document of this kind in this collection, but has been left in the context in which it was discovered amongst the material relating to benefices. This document is of particular interest as it was not entered in Warham's register, and no record has been found of such a document actually being issued.

Latin, except for CM 51/203.
ArrangementThe documents did not retain any original order, and have been arranged chronologically and numbered consecutively. Where it is obvious that supplementary documents, such as letters of proxy or gifts of advowson, have been submitted in conjunction with a particular appointment, they have been grouped with the relevant deed of presentation. In some instances where there are several documents relating to the same event these are numbered sequentially.
FindingAidsCM 51/30-205 catalogued by Frieda Midgley: 'Archbishop Warham's Acta: an evaluation of the appropriateness of modern cataloguing standards to medieval records' (report, MA in Archives and Records Management, University College London, 2001), including details on the administrative context and significance of the documents. The catalogue descriptions include date, type of document, benefice, place name, and personal name. Abbreviations used in the catalogue descriptions:
BCL Bachelor of Civil Law
BCnL Bachelor of Canon Law
BCn&CL Bachelor of Both Laws
BMed Bachelor of Medicine
BTh Bachelor of Theology
DCL Doctor of Civil Law
DCnL Doctor of Canon Law
DCn&CL Doctor of Both Laws
DMed Doctor of Medicine
DMus Doctor of Music
DTh Doctor of Theology
LicCnL Licentiate of Canon Law
MA Master of Arts
STP Sacrae/Sanctae Theologiae Professor (Professor of Sacred Theology).
There is also a brief description of the acta in the Lambeth Palace Library Annual Review 2001, p. 24.

The visitation comperta are uncatalogued.
PhysicalDescriptionLoose documents. The documents were dirty and damaged on arrival at Lambeth Palace Library. Conserved and stabilised 1990-1991, but the majority remained faded, mould-stained and fragmentary. For images of documents before conservation, see LR/L/19/22.
CreatorNameWarham, William (?1450-1532), Archbishop of Canterbury
AdminHistoryThe archiepiscopal acta cover aspects of the Archbishop's responsibilities concerning his episcopal business, including documents relating to institutions to benefices (the majority of the Warham acta), and his business as a metropolitan and legate of the apostolic see (including professions of obedience from bishops). The documents were accumulated throughout the administrative processes preceding the final record made of each institution in the Archbishop's register.

The process of installing an incumbent in a living had several phases: presentation of a suitable candidate by the patron of the benefice (via the formal presentation deed); declaration that the candidate was found fit for the post (admission); grant of the cure of souls (institution). If a benefice was in the gift of a bishop or the archbishop himself (because the living was part of the temporalities of the see, or because the right of appointment had been devolved to him under canon law), the acts of admission and institution were combined (collation).

The acta document benefices becoming vacant by the death, resignation or deprivation of the previous incumbent. Most commonly the resignation of an incumbent resulted from his institution to another benefice, although it could precede it. The act of resignation was performed in the presence of witnesses, and an instrument attested by a notary public was drawn up in evidence. An unusual exception to these notarial documents found among the Warham acta is the resignation of John Banester of the canonry of Southram, in the collegiate church of South Malling, Kent, on 19 April 1512 (CM51/186), signed by John Banester himself along with four witnesses, rather than being attested by a notary public.

If an incumbent was too ill, elderly or otherwise infirm to fulfil his duties, the Archbishop could appoint a coadjutor to take responsibility for the fruits and administration of the benefice, and the service of the cure, who was bound to reserve a pension for the previous incumbent from the fruits of the benefice: for instance, in the institution of William Broke to the vicarage of Tenterden, Kent, on 9 September 1512 (CM51/200), on the condition that the previous incumbent, Peter Marschall, received a pension of 20 marks per annum.

Direct exchanges of livings were also possible, for instance the institutions to Balinghem, Calais (CM51/143 and CM51/150) and St Nichasius, Calais (CM51/155), but only with the express permission of the diocesan. If both livings were within the same diocese, the Archdeacon (or his official) or the Commissary General could be instructed to proceed with an inquiry in the usual fashion, but where two dioceses were involved, one bishop would accept responsibility for conducting the inquiry and authorisation, and would then accept the resignation of the incumbent from his own diocese and appoint the other man to the vacant benefice, after which he would instruct the other bishop to do likewise.

When it came to the notice of the archbishop that a benefice was vacant, he would order an inquiry both to establish the truth of the statement which had been made regarding the cause of the vacancy, and to discover the suitability of the new candidate for the living, if one had already been presented. This inquiry was generally the responsibility of the Archdeacon, who could also be empowered to proceed to institution if the outcome of the inquiry were satisfactory. This mandate to induct was generally addressed in the first instance to either the Archdeacon of Canterbury (or his official) or, if the living were exempt from the jurisdiction of the Archdeacon, to a Commissary General (or his deputy), as was the case in Calais, though this distinction was not always adhered to. If the Commissary General were unavailable, the mandate could be addressed to a rector or vicar. Similarly, in deaneries of immediate jurisdiction, the mandate could be addressed to the Dean, or failing that, to a rector or vicar.

The actual act of institution was symbolised with a ring or biretta, and is not directly represented in the acta. However, the acceptance of institution by a duly appointed proxy was admissible, a process attested by the presence of letters of proxy amongst the acta. Appointments to vicarages required an oath of residence, but this could also be taken by proxy and renewed in person at a later date.

The final phase in the paperwork associated with institutions was registration. The deeds of presentation or collation, and in some cases the attestations of resignation, are usually endorsed with the date on which the appointment was approved and registered, and details of the mandate to induct. Also included amongst the acta are 'notes' concerning particular appointments, summarising the essential details in each case, which would appear to form the basis of the entries in the Archbishop's register. Throughout the medieval period, the register was the main record of both diocesan business and archiepiscopal administration.

The majority of the Warham acta relate to institutions within the diocese of Canterbury, but there are some records relating to the vacancy administration of Chichester (11 Mar 1506 - 5 Oct 1508). Due to his metropolitical authority, the Archbishop of Canterbury could perform institutions and collations outside the diocese of Canterbury. However, livings which were in the collation of a bishop because they were part of the temporalities of his see could not pass into the collation of the Archbishop during vacancy administration as the Archbishop could only take responsibility for spiritualities. They therefore passed to the collation of the King and consequently rarely appear in the Archbishops' registers. However, benefices in the gift of the King are represented in the form of presentations by royal letters patent.

The other significant additional responsibility of the Archbishop represented in the acta was his jurisdiction over the diocese of Thérouanne, encorporating Calais and Picardy, which was founded on a Papal grant made by Urban VI in December 1379. Institutions relating to this jurisdiction appear alongside regular Canterbury business in the register and are not distinguished.
CustodialHistoryFound among the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills at Somerset House and transferred by the Public Record Office to Lambeth Palace Library in 1974. The documents retained no original order on arrival at Lambeth Palace Library. The material associated with institutions to benefices would originally have constituted 'files' of documents (strung together by the holes in each left hand margin), accumulated by the administrative processes which preceded and underlay the final record made of each institution in the Archbishop's register.

These are the earliest series of original archiepiscopal presentation and resignation deeds to survive.
RelatedMaterialCf Warhams' Register in Lambeth Palace Library, which complements the acta. Episcopal acta sometimes supplement the official record of institutions to benefices found in register entries. When documents among the acta are undated the date could usually be supplied by reference to the Register. Presentations by royal letters patent generally appear in the published Calendar of Letters Patent, with the exception of that made in 1507 for Pihen, Calais (CM 51/53).

Related material may be found elsewhere in the Carte Miscellanee: see D. M. Owen, A catalogue of Lambeth manuscripts 889 to 901 (Carte Antique et Miscellanee) (1968).

See also A. C. Ducarel's index to Warham's register.

Show related Persons records.

Related name records
43Warham; William (?1450-1532); Archbishop of Canterbury?1450-1532
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