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1329 -1364 Books

When Adam returned to Oxford from Norwich he took his collection of books with him. It is quite clear from the entry in the Communar Rolls for 1364 that the expense of carrying this library was far in excess of that more usually expected for the monk students. Some earlier examples are shown below for comparison. The handful of shillings spent on carrying the books of students back to Oxford was the run of the mill, yet the cost of moving Adam's collection back to Oxford was 113 shillings and 4 pence, and that was before he incepted as a doctor! We should remember that Adam lived a full century before the arrival of the printing press in Europe and the only way a scholar could acquire a new book was through the laborious task of copying by hand. Illuminated books may have been reproduced in the scriptorium of every monastery in the land, but completion of these illuminated manuscripts took a lot of time, up to a year for a substantial tome. To amass a large collection of books was therefore a labour of love that only the most enthusiastic and talented scholars would take time over.
It is also interesting to compare the expenses of carrying his books back to Oxford with the relatively small sum he was granted to get himself back to university.

Communer/Pittancer Rolls

DCN 1/12/18 (1329-30)

Item in expenses Alexandri de Hykelynghe de Oxonia x (s)

DCN 1/12/22 (1341-42)

Walter de Stokton in expensis suis versus oxon   v(s)   viii (d)

DCN 1/12/23 (1343-44)

In cariag librorum dominus Etturius de Tunstale et aliorum versus Oxon v (s)

In cariag’ librorum et diversitorum rerum dominus Johannis de Wetele vi (s)

In cariag’ librorum et aliarum rerum dominus Walteri de Stoktone de oxon iiii (s)   vi (d)

Expensum scholarius versus Oxon post Festum Sancti Michaelis xxix (s)


DCN 1/12/30 (1364)

In expensis Ade de Estone versus oxoniam et circa cariagionem librorum eiusdem cxiij (s) iiij (d)
Expenses for carriage of the books of Adam of Easton back to Oxford: 113 shillings and 4 pence.
Item habeat sufficiens pro expensis dicti Ade versus oxoniam in aestate xii (s) 1111 (d)
Item: to have sufficient expenses for the said Adam to travel to Oxford in summer 12 shillings 4 pence