Working lunches in the 14th century

Dr Brian M Collins

Winchester College Archives contains tens of thousands of documents, many relating to the College founder, William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester.

Recently I translated document number “1” (Winchester College muniments ref WCM1) which is the only surviving household account roll for the bishop. It contains daily details of food eaten at and guests coming to the bishop’s table for 6 months in 1393. The names of the guests provided me with an insight into the business being conducted at “working lunches” but I needed to translate primary documents from many other archives to identify the details and results of that business.

The main discovery is that a deal was done on 21 and 22 August 1393 between the bishop and the monks of St Swithun to allow the rebuilding of the cathedral nave in return for the monks’ agreement to religious reforms and to pay for the rebuilding.

Documents from other archives needed to complete the research include:

  • Winchester College Archives
  • Hampshire Record Office
  • The British Library
  • Devon Record Office
  • Durham Cathedral Library 
  • The National Archives
  • The Vatican Library

If you want to research the history of your area of Hampshire you can learn how these Hampshire archives can help you;

City of Winchester Trust

City of Winchester

Winchester College

Local History groups