fact that we know even the little that we do know about Alberto raises the question of why any information at all about such a historically unexceptional person should have survived. We can eliminate the obvious hypotheses, namely parish records of births, communions, and deaths, or tax records or membership lists of guilds. None of these exist for the relevant places and times.
Instead of such archival sources, it is from the annals of four different cities that we glean our information about Alberto. The persons responsible for writing up
still further afield to earn their living at the hardest jobs, with just one supreme ambition, namely to succeed at placing stone upon stone in their mountains to be able to die there under a roof, saying: ‘I’ll die in my valley and in my house!’ 4
In the final decades of the nineteenth century, the rapid pace of industrialisation stimulated erudite gentlemen to try to preserve or recapture the collective memory of ways of life that were disappearing. Some of these devoted their energies mainly to folklore, while others did archival research
foreigners was channelled by specific elite groups to further their political programmes: the model of London guildsmen deploying mobs to intimidate foreign merchants and/or craftspeople holds for most of the periodic attacks on aliens in the capital from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 to the Evil May Day of 1517.
The later Middle Ages is the first time when the archives allow us to go beyond the level of generalisation and to humanise the immigrant experience in England. Above all, the records of the alien subsidies of 1440–87 demonstrate vividly
archival home, a facsimile
(or increasingly, an online digital image) has often played a key role
in the research. If there is a difference in the social
circumstances of facsimile use, the amateur reader or private owner may
even have an advantage of proximity and intimacy in the touch of the
page. Manuscript facsimiles vary widely in their rarity and expense, of
course, but the most expensive, when
Hilduin install the Benedictine Rule at St-Denis. 5 Writing in the mid-tenth century, with the benefit of the Rheims archive, Flodoard noted at this point that Hincmar, ‘to fulfil by deed what he had recommended by word, also submitted himself to monastic life along with the rest, chastening his own body and subduing himself in spirit’. 6 This was a young man determined not just to talk the talk but to walk the walk: things not so easy to combine in a life that from 829 until 845 oscillated between court and more than one cloister. 7
. France et al. (eds), Statutes of the Realm , 11 volumes in 12 (London: George Eyre and Andrew Strahan, 1810–28), at vol. I, 226.
34 Summarised by Andrews et al., History of Bethlem , 96; A. Luders et al (eds), Statutes of the Realm , 11 volumes in 12 (London: George Eyre and Andrew Strahan, 1810–28), at vol. I, 226.
35 Richard Neugebauer, ‘Medieval and Early Modern Theories of Mental Illness’, Archives of General Psychology , 36 (1979), 477–83, his seminal article, was an expanded version of his earlier piece
. In many
ways the strength of this study of the Lacys lies in its replicability. There
were many other families like them. From the commencement of the great
series of chancery enrolments during King John’s reign, there exists a vast
body of data, which, when combined with baronial acta and contemporary
narratives, provides sufficient raw material upon which to base comprehensive analyses of the careers of specific men and particular families.
A brief thirteenth-century ‘charter roll’ of Lacy deeds exists at the Hereford
Cathedral Archives that
friendly association, however, the stereotypes were rather less loaded and not usually overtly satirical or critical. At various points from the late thirteenth century, for example, the royal Exchequer used visual representations of ‘nations’ as a means of cataloguing and cross-referencing its rapidly expanding archive. Here, the weapons, hairstyles and dress (or undress) of the Welsh, Irish and Scots clearly referenced barbarianism. 20 In contrast, the king’s subjects in Aquitaine were simply depicted in the act of tending vines and treading grapes, a reference to the
59 Joel Lefebvre, Les fols et la folie (Paris: Klincksieck, 1968), cited by Angelika Groß, ‘La Folie’. Wahnsinn und Narrheit im spätmittelalterlichen Text und Bild (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1990), 10.
60 OED , s.v. sot.
61 Enid Welsford, The Fool: His Social and Literary History (London: Faber & Faber, 1935, rpt 1968), 121.
62 Pfau, ‘Madness in the Realm’, 21.
63 Pfau, ‘Madness in the Realm’, 26; Paris, Archives Nationales series JJ book
subsidies was still hampered by the inaccessibility and cumbersome nature of the relevant records. In 2015, W. Mark Ormrod and his research team released the website ‘England’s Immigrants, 1330–1550’, which includes a complete database of the contents of these and certain other relevant archival materials. 23 This resource greatly facilitates further analysis both of the origins of denization and of the immigrant groups who found their way to England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 24
Since the alien subsidy records lie at the heart