It is clear from many of the surviving records that relate to Adam's life, that the cardinal had a substantial book collection. This would have represented a valuable inheritance. However on his death the administration of his will (which unfortunately has never been found) proved unusually complicated. When Adam looked after the administration of Simon Langham's will, all the legacies were on their way to new homes within two years of Simon's death. Yet the entry below from the Close Rolls shows that the most important legacy the great scholar had to leave himself - his books - were still in transit nearly ten years after his death. Perhaps Adam died intestate but this would have been exceptional for the time in which he lived and for such an eminent Churchman. The fact that the Close Rolls account is corroborated by the second entry from the Norwich Cathedral Records of a payment for the books to be carted on from London, suggests that the date of 1407 is unlikely to be an error in the record.
Adam’s library has since been scattered. The impact of the Reformation was to some extent mitigated by Tudor scholars such as Archbishop Parker, thanks to whom at least two of Adam’s books can be found in the Parker Library of Corpus Christi college. Fire was a less forgiving enemy and has ensured that none of the books that we might have expected to find amongst the collection of Norwich Cathedral have survived.
Nonetheless the handful of Adam’s books that still survive offer us evidence of his intellectual tastes and interests:
Close Rolls - membrane 35 - October 1407 To the collectors in the port of London of the petty custom and of the subsidy of 3s. upon every tun of wine and 12d. in the pound. Order without taking custom or subsidy to deliver to the prior and convent of Holy Trinity Norwich certain books in six barrels, which were to them bequeathed by Adam late cardinal, and are now brought to london from Rome, provoided that by colour of this command nought save the books be delivered without such payments.
Norwich Record Office - Communar's Roll 1407-1408, DCN 1/12 41 (3rd paragraph of the roll)
Item - for carriage of the books of the cardinal (from London to Norwich) 12 s.
Known survivals from Adam's collection
Bernadus de Giordano - Medical Treatises, inscribed "Liber ecclesie norwycen' per magistrum Adam de Eston monachum dicti loci" (now in Avignon Bibl de la Ville MS996)
Berengarius Biterrensis - Inventarium Iuris Canonici, inscribed "A liber ecclesie Norwicensis per magistrum Ade de Estone monachum dicti loci" (Now in the Parker Library of Corpus Chrisi College, Cambridge MS74)
Guillemus de S Amore - Collectiones catholice et canonice scripture, inscribed "A liber ecclesie Norwicensis per magistrum Ade de Estone monachum dicti loci" (now in the Bodlein Library Oxford MS Bodley 151)
Richardus Armacharius - De paupere salvatoria inscribed (at the front of chapter vii) "Liber dominus Ade de Estone monachi Norwicensis" (now in the Parker Library of Corpus Chrisi College, Cambridge MS180)
Death and Legacy >