I have divided the following History into chapters for the sake of distinctness, and facility, and convenience of reference. At the end of each chapter the reader will find collected, under one point of view, the chief authorities for the statements there made. Of one or two of these sources of information I would desire here to speak very briefly. And,

1.  Of the Register of the Priory of Blyth, which I have quoted indifferently by this title, or by that of Registrum Prioratus de Blida, or simply by the title of the Blyth Register. It is No. 3759 in the Harleian Library. It consists of 158 folios, and is 12 inches in length, 8 inches in width, and somewhat less than 3 inches in thickness. Sir Frederick Madden is of opinion that the great bulk of this valuable volume was written between the years 1290 and 1310. It is a MS. very creditable to the monks of Blyth, and is written in better ink, a better hand, and on better materials than the Welbeck Register, No. 3640 of the same library.

It contains a transcript of ancient and original charters, made, I doubt not, during the time in which the Convent of Blyth was presided over by William Burdon, a man of active and business-like habits, namely, between 1273 and 1303. These transcripts are followed by documents, of later date, relating to transfers of monastic property, agreements between the convent and distant bodies, such as the corporation of Lincoln, and other matters. In a neat, small hand, at the beginning of the volume is written this date, "31 die Januarii, a. d. 1725-6." Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, was a great collector of books, in print and manuscript, which were preserved and augmented by the Earl, his son, and afterwards purchased by the British Museum. The father died in May, 1724, so that the above date is probably in the handwriting of the son. The Register appears to have once been in the possession of Sir Gervase Clifton, for Thoroton, in the preface to his History of the County of Nottingham, acknowledges his obligations to him for the loan of "The Book of Blyth."

2.  Sir W. Dugdale, in the first edition of the first volume of the Monasticon, printed in 1655, gives the foundation and other charters of the Convent of Blyth, "ex rotulo chartarum Prioratus de Blida nuper penes Willielm. Saunderson de Blythe." This roll must have been a series of copies, and not the original charters. The transcriber appears to have used his own discretion in omitting those passages which, in his opinion, were unimportant, or, rather, which were tedious through repetition. The editors of the new edition of the Monasticon have, in their history of the Priory of Blythe, reprinted these charters, as given in the original edition, with omissions and errors which might have been prevented by reference to the Chartulary in the British Museum. Let me, however, acknowledge my obligation to this reprint for one good service. The Confirmation Charter of Henry II., as copied in the Blyth Register of the Harleian Library, ends abruptly with the words "Teste Thom. Cancell." without mention of other witnesses. This omission is supplied in the modern edition of the Monasticon, from Saunderson's roll given in the first, which furnishes us with the names of Roger Earl of Warwick, Robert de Dunstanville, and Ralph de Broc.

What has become of the roll of William Saunderson I am unable to state.

3. I have made frequent extracts from the Domesday Survey. The abbreviations used by the Norman secretaries for caruca and carucata appear to be so indiscriminate that I have uniformly used the latter word, carucata. If the hide and carucate were the same, and contained 100 acres (vide Encyclopaedia Metropolitan, part 12, p. 330, and Sir Henry Ellis's General Introduction to Domesday Book), the exclusive adoption of the word carucate in the following pages is not without its difficulties, as may be seen, e.g. at pages 15 and 16, where an inordinate quantity of land is thus assigned to the boardmen and villeins. Perhaps when speaking of these two classes of men as having so many car, the Survey should be understood as meaning ploughs, and not quantities of land. It is much to be wished that some able and accomplished scholar would undertake the elucidation of this great national monument, which to Englishmen generally is at present a closed volume. A greater contribution than this could not be made to the illustration of the ancient condition of our country, physical and moral: and I know of no man better fitted for the task than my friend Mr. Hodgson Hinde.

It remains for me to perform a very pleasing duty, that, namely, of acknowledging the kind assistance which I have derived from others in the completion of this volume. To the gentleman whom I have just mentioned, my old schoolfellow and friend, who for many years represented Newcastle-upon-Tyne with distinguished ability and integrity—John Hodgson Hinde, of Acton Park, Esq.— I am deeply indebted for various information of the most valuable character, communicated at all times with the utmost courtesy and kindness.

To Viscount Galway, M.P., of Serlby, to William Leigh Mellish, of Hodsock, Esq., and to Edward Chaloner, of Hermeston Grange, Esq., I beg to offer my warmest thanks for the very handsome and confiding manner, in which they have laid open to my inspection and use their documents and evidences.

To apportion the just meed of grateful acknowledgment to other noblemen and gentlemen from whom I have received aid would be impossible, if attempted, and if possible, I fear invidious. I beg therefore generally, for much kind interest and much valued information, to express my obligations to his Grace the Duke of Norfolk; his Grace the Duke of Newcastle; Lord Monson; Sir Charles Anderson, of Lea, Baronet; Arthur Larken, Esq. of Balderton Hall, Newark; H. M. Vane, Esq. Eaton Place, London; Sir C. G. Young, Knight, Garter King of Arms; Rev. Joseph Hunter, Torrington Square, London; C. C. Wright, Esq. Shireoaks; H. E. Walker, Esq. Blyth Hall; J. Horncastle, Esq. the Yews, Tickhill; Rev. James Raine, York; Henry Heming, Esq. Sparken, Worksop; Messrs. Mee and Burnaby, Retford; Charles Jackson, Esq. Doncaster; M. Ellison, Esq. Sheffield ; J. G. Weightman, Esq. Sheffield ; and — Townsend, Esq. Southwell.

Blyth Vicarage, Worksop,
November 22, 1860.