Sunday, July 27, 2014

Whilst working on the project, I have stumbled across several exciting discoveries which turned out to be not so promising or as unique as we had expected. For instance, whilst we initially thought we had struck gold upon stumbling across Richard of Connington and Adam of Lincoln (there’s an Ufford near Lincoln) who spent time at the friary of Stamford, we have now realized that finding Sandford/Sampfords etc. close to Affords/Assfords/Alfords etc. and friaries is not so uncommon as we had anticipated. For instance, I stumbled across a Sandford manor in Somerset within twenty miles of both the friary at Bridgwater and the village of Ashford.
I also have stumbled across numerous red herrings. Many took the form of entries in the indexes of the Victoria County Histories for Richards of Sandford/Sampford as well as a few Adams of A-, which almost all turned out to be men living centuries after our period, or merchants and mayors, clearly not members of holy orders.
I also ran into many more “red herrings” of a less convincing nature, pure coincidental juxtapositions of various people and places involved in the project. I recorded one interesting example in my notes on the Sandford in Worcestershire, when I found the following index entry: “Sanford, Hen. S. J. Ayshford, iv 36 . . . see also Sandford.” Seeing a Sandford in the same name as an Ayshford excited me, never mind that it involved a Henry and not a Richard or Adam. It, of course, was a total red herring.
For another, take a look at the following section of my notes which features the Great Dissolver himself and a Richard living in Sandford:
Sandford on Isle of Wight
•             Henry VIII visited his son Richard Worsley at Appuldurcombe in 1538.
•             Richard seems to have been a common name there amongst the Worsleys; Sir Richard Worsley purchased the manor in 1781.

Once I realized how common such coincidences actually were, I stopped recording them in my notes, even as curiosities. One thing is certain: England has an abundance of Richards, Adams, and Sandy-bottomed-river crossings!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The project has been proceeding nicely these past weeks. Today, whilst searching the internet for information on English friars and pocket bibles, I stumbled across this article:

It reminded me of how lucky I am to participate in unlocking this precious book’s secrets. It was also very neat to see Dr. Gwara’s quote about how books like the Breslauer Bible were used by Dominicans or Franciscans; we now know ours was almost certainly used by Franciscans thanks to the work we did with Dr. Webb at Stanford.

These past weeks, I have spent most days deep in the bowels of the Thomas Cooper Library, shifting through the hefty, red tomes of the Victoria Histories of the Counties of England. Some of the books are old and filled with yellowed paper pages which crack when you turn them, but their information is very rich and detailed. Dr. Gwara sent me a list of potential Samfords/Sandfords in Britain; my job has been to research information about them so as to determine which ones ARE and are NOT likely candidates. In my research, I have relied upon the Victoria Histories extensively, but also upon internet resources as varied as Google maps and local town councils’ histories. Here is an abbreviated example of my notes on three Sandfords/Samfords:

  Sandford             SZ5481  Hampshire          England               

o   Not recorded in The Historical Gazetter of English Place Names b/c Hampshire isn’t finished

o   On an island with no friaries according to Rohrkasten’s map of friaries

o   Closest friary is Southampton (founded before 1250), 23 miles away across a channel.

o   Victoria County Histories

§  Benedictine Priory of Appledur Combe owned land in Sandford. (v2 231)

§  Sandford had a mill (v v, 175)

Sandford             SO8545 Worcestershire England               


·         There is a settlement of a few houses on the satellite map which could very well be this Sandford today.

§  The nearby Severn Stoke is only 7 miles from Worcester Cathedral; Sandford is therefore less than 7 miles from the nearest city containing a friary, Worcester Friary established prior to 1230. Promising, very promising. It also apparently had a theological library—see citations under vch notes

§  It doesn’t turn up anything on google, indicating that it is not a place of great modern significance


·         Doesn’t show up as a Parish, but is present on the map as “Sandford” with what appear to be markings indicating a settlement.


·         Is present as a part of the parish of Severn Stoke. It has no sub areas.

·         It appears to be on a major road heading south from Worcester

o   Victoria County History


·         “The parish of Severn Stoke, inclusive of the hamlets of Clifton, Kinnersley and Sandford, has an area of 3,326 acres, about two-thirds of which are devoted to pasture” iv 192-7

·         “The village of Severn Stoke lies at the foot of a fairly steep hill, about midway between Worcester and Tewkesbury, on the high road connecting those places. It contains several cross-timbered houses. The church of St. Denis, which stands low near the river bank, is backed by the dark woods of Severn Bank. Near it is the rectory; a little to the north of the village there is a pound.” 192-7

·         “mile north, on the Worcester road, is the hamlet of Sandford, where there are brick and tile works on the river bank.” 192-7


I have covered around twenty-five Sandfords in my notes thus far, with eight more to examine, two of which are in Scotland (making them unlikely candidates). Another promising candidate is Sandford-on-Thames, which I will discuss in detail in a future blog post.