The Inquisitions Post Mortem for Richard III

The Richard III Society has most generously agreed to a large grant that makes it possible to calendar the inquisitions post mortem for Richard III (1483-5). The existing calendars run from 1236-1509, but with a large gap from 1447-85 including the Wars of the Roses that needs to be filled. Important in itself, tackling the IPMs  of Richard III is an important first stage to bridging the gap and also to making the whole series accessible and searchable digitally. It will be a prototype for the full calendar eventually intended for the whole period 1447-85.

The calendar will be largely based on the model developed for the volumes covered 1422-47. All information in the documents will be calendared, including jurors' names. Original as well as modern dates will be given and both original and modern place names. The calendar will be published online in periodic installments, both on this project website and on British History Online. The version on this website will include rich semantic markup, modelled on the online text for 1399-1447, to enable sophisticated searching. Both versions will be freely available.  There will also be a print publication, jointly or solely by the Richard III Society, to which the project team will additionally supply an introduction (probably by Michael Hicks) and an index.

The original IPMs will be photographed at The National Archives, processed at the University of Winchester, and any doubtful readings checked against the originals.  A preliminary list compiled from The National Archive list and the Record Commission's Calendarium of 1828 points to a total of about 240 chancery and exchequer IPMs to be calendared. They vary in size, of course. Although there are less extents, some late IPMs contain complex land settlements reciting enfeoffments, deeds, final concords and common recoveries. Balancing the short IPMs with the very long, it is planned that the calendar can be completed in 240 days, or two years part-time  for a half-time researcher. Calendaring a document makes it unlikely to be consulted in the original again – indeed, one motive is to preserve the originals – and it must therefore be correct. The digital text will be carefully checked. The introduction and index will follow. Print publication will probably be late in 2017 or in 2018.

Calendaring the IPMs will begin  on 1 March and is expected to continue until 28 February 2016. The University has drawn up a job specification, advertised the post, and has appointed Dr Gordon McKelvie as Researcher on a half-time contract for the first six months, which are to be funded by the University. All being well, this contract will be extended for a further eighteen months, to be almost entirely funded by the Richard III Society. Additional funds will be sought to bridge the small  gap, ideally for the indexing, and towards the cost of publishing the book, perhaps from within the University but ideally from some outside source. Dr McKelvie will be accommodated at the University and will be a member of University staff. He will be supervised by Professor Hicks.

Dr McKelvie is a graduate (MA and M.Litt) of the University of Glasgow and graduated PhD from Winchester with his thesis on ‘The Legality of Bastard Feudalism. The Statutes of Livery c.1390-1540' in 2013. Since graduating he has taught at the University and researched part-time for the New Victoria History of the County of Hampshire, The National Archives's Ward 2 project, and on the Mapping the Medieval Countryside project. He is familiar with the National Archives and with IPMs. Some training in calendaring and the technology will be provided.

The grant from the Richard III Society is very substantial and is all that makes this calendar possible. The project team are most grateful to the Richard III Society and so indeed should be all fifteenth-century historians.