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The custumals of the Cinque ports c.1290 - c.1500 : studies in the cultural production of the urban record

Croft, Justin P. (1997) The custumals of the Cinque ports c.1290 - c.1500 : studies in the cultural production of the urban record. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85986) (KAR id:85986)

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This thesis is a study of the cultures of writing and record publication in the medieval English town. Its source material is the corpus of surviving custumals from the Cinque Ports, produced between c.1290-c.1500. Through examinations of the custumal manuscripts, this study seeks to understand both the practice of record publication and the social, political and ideological context in which it took place. It engages with arguments which have sought to explain the relationship between literate practices and the societies in which they are found, and recognises the need to see the act of writing as an agency in the ordering and negotiation of social relations. A corpus of custumal texts has been located, and the characteristics of the manuscripts from the period c.1290-c.1500 are described in chapter 2. Chapters 3 and 4 are case-studeis of the custumals of Sandwich and Faversham (Kent), and pursue the detailed codicological and textual anlyses of custumals produced c.1300-c.1415. Dating for production is suggested in each case, and is used to enable the reconstruction of closely defined contexts for record production. External evidence is used in order to understand the political, social and cultural environment in which such records were made. Consideration is given to the motivation of urban governments in the making of records. Chapter 5 addressed the implications of the evidence of the Cinque Port custumals for the study of the relationship between literacy and orality, and for the further consideration of customary law. Finally, it assesses the evidence for the emergence of a book-culture in the administration of fourteenth century towns, and its relationship to the contruction of social and cultural identities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85986
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Cinque Ports; custumals; Medieval manuscripts
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:23 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 21:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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