One thing I’ve been involved in over the past few months has been the production of a new visitor guide for Puttenham church. It’s been an educational experience knocking the first draft into shape over several revisions, and making sure the contents are not only accurate but easy for the non-specialist to understand as well. The new guide is now in its final version and the copy I have in front of me confirms that it has been worth all the effort put in behind the scenes. I don’t know when it will be available to buy from the church (it should be shortly if it isn’t on sale already) but now you have even more reason to pay a visit to Puttenham!
It’s looking like I’ll be able to spend more time in Puttenham this summer than I have in recent times, so I’m planning to use it as an opportunity to work up a few bits I’ve had in the pipeline related to the parish. Partly because of becoming involved in producing the new church guide, and partly for other reasons, I’ve found myself thinking about Puttenham church in new ways this year. It’s also led me to reexamine the fabric of the church more closely. There’s no escaping the medieval fabric of Puttenham church has taken one hell of a clobbering in the post-medieval period but, as with anything medieval, the longer you spend with it, the more that slowly emerges from unpromising circumstances.
I posted the first fruit of this initiative yesterday, in the form of a piece of medieval clerical prosopography setting out the evidence for three (well, two-and-a-half) previously unknown rectors of Puttenham in the fourteenth century. It also presents the best evidence I have come across so far for the Black Death striking the parish. And because I’m so good like that, I’ve included an updated list of all its known pre-Reformation rectors. I don’t think there’s anything unique or especially unusual about the evidence, but studying history at a parish level is so often about revealing the “ordinariness” of a place – I hope it may strike a chord with readers who have conducted (or thought about conducting) similar research elsewhere.