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The Roman rolls of Edward II as a source of administrative and diplomatic practice in the early fourteenth century


  • The author is most grateful to Professor David D'Avray, Dr. Malcolm Vale and Dr. Patrick Zutshi for their helpful comments on this article.


This article addresses the debate on petitioning between England and the papal curia in Avignon during the reign of Edward II (1307–27). The first part of the article attempts a comprehensive historiographical survey of petitioning on the continent and in England during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while the second part suggests a new methodogical approach to the topic, which is illustrated by means of case studies. The main sources of the article are the Roman rolls, which are preserved at The National Archives and enroll petitions sent from the English chancery to the papal curia. Where possible, these English records have been matched with the papal responses to the petitions, recorded in the Registra Vaticana and Registra Avenionensia. Arguably, the cross-examination of secular and ecclesiastical sources allows a comparison between different administrative practices and will help to redefine the nature of diplomacy in the early fourteenth century, challenging some of the existing historiography.