The cartularies of Adam Fraunceys and John Pyel offer a rare detailed description of the land acquisitions of two wealthy merchants of the late 14th century. Both men rose from lowly origins to become members of the elite which governed the city, and ultimately to be mayors of London. While engaging in lucrative commercial activity and holding senior administrative and political posts in the capital, they were also carving out for themselves rural estates centred upon manors in Middlesex and Northamptonshire to which they might retire, bringing themselves and their families within the milieu of the county gentry. The cartularies not only provide a wealth of information concerning the lands held by Pyel and Fraunceys, but also tell how they were acquired and, by inference, why. They are, therefore, important documents of late medieval social history, charting the rise within a generation from obscurity to gentry status of members of an increasingly influential middle-class, but perhaps more interestingly, revealing the hopes and aspirations of the individuals concerned.
This volume will contain a calendar of both cartularies with a full introduction to the lives and careers of their owners.