Here is the latest run-down of new additions to the library, based on our recently updated New Books display. Whereas last month’s entry focused on collected correspondence, this time I have picked out some examples of new volumes from some of the many local records societies whose publications we hold, and which cover a range of regions and areas. Our English local history collection forms a significant part of the library, and this is continually expanding largely because of the regular output of such societies.

Firstly we have the Dugdale Society and their latest publication – Coventry Priory Register. The Dugdale Society was founded in 1920 and named after Sir William Dugdale, a seventeenth century antiquary from Warwickshire. Their stated aims are ‘publishing original documents relating to the history of the County of Warwick, fostering interest in historical records and their preservation and generally encouraging the study of local history.’


Forming Volume XLVI of the Dugdale Society’s Main Record Series, Coventry Priory Register has been carefully produced from an original set of over 250 fifteenth-century folios, kept in The National Archives. It shows in great detail the extensive range of property and land owned by the priory at the time, and the rent that was received. Within the volume the Register itself is preceded by a very helpful contextual introduction from the editor, as well as a series of specially produced street plans for Coventry in 1411, which are certainly a valuable accompaniment to the original source.

Another addition to the local history collection comes from the Wiltshire Record Society, which has recently published their 66th volume – The Minute Books of Froxfield Almshouse 1714-1866. Unsurprisingly the Wiltshire Record Society publishes historic documents concerned with the history of Wiltshire, and was established as an independent organisation since 1967, having formerly existed as part of Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.

Froxfield Almshouse, the subject of this latest volume, has a fascinating history going back to its foundation in the 1690s, and is in fact still open today as The Duchess of Somerset Hospital. The almshouse was originally built to ‘accommodate 30 poor widows’ on a budget of £1,700 left by Sarah duchess of Somerset in her will. This generous benefactor not only provided the initial start-up costs, but also made many other stipulations to ensure the future sustainability of the almshouse, and the care of the women living there. The resulting legacy of successful management is reflected in the minute books, which are a valuable source for studying how the almshouse was run from day to day, as well as providing the bigger picture of adaptation to change across the years.

As well as the two societies discussed, we have also received Volume 103 from the Lincoln Record Society, entitled Lincolnshire parish clergy, c.1214-1968 : a biographical register. Part I, The deaneries of Aslacoe and Aveland. These are just a few examples of the numerous local history societies represented in the library, with others including the Surtees Society, the Chetham Society, and the Devon and Cornwall Record Society, which have all been active for over a century.

Below you can find the full list of new books which feature on the current display: