Kirkby’s Inquest, and Inquisition of Knight’s Fees, the Nomina Villarum for Yorkshire. Main text in Latin, but Preface and Indices in English. The Surtees Society, 1866. Hdbk. Green cloth boards, faded gold lettering on spine. ‘Illustrative Documents’, and detailed Indices (‘Index Nominum’ and ‘Index Locorum’) at the end. 543 pp.
Serious medievalists know all about the Surtees Society. It was founded in 1834, and is still going strong. Victorian antiquarians would have been loath to miss a copy of any of their publications. Its prime aim has always been publish “manuscripts illustrative of the history of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, principally of County Durham and Northumberland in North East England”. However, sometimes, as in the present instance, they strayed further south into Yorkshire.
This volume is a sort of 13th century follow-up to the Domesday Book. A working knowledge of medieval Latin is required; but any medievalist worth his or her salt will already have that, one presumes.
A bonus for lovers of ephemera: slipped in between some of the introductory pages is a wad of rather handsome bookplates from 1953, inscribed 'For the Library of the Gild of Freemen of the City of York'.