Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ragman Roll

" If you mean the observation as a sneer at my ancestry," said the knight with an assumption of dignified superiority and composure, " I nave the pleasure to inform you, that the name of my ancestor, Gamelyn de Guardover, Miles, is written fairly with his own hand in the earliest copy of the Ragman-roll."


" Right, right, that's right too—I should like to see the son of Sir Gamelyn de Guardover on dry land myself—I have a notion he would sign the abjuration oath, and the Ragman-roll to boot, and acknowledge Queen Mary to be nothing better than she should be, to get alongside my bottle of old port that he ran away from, and left scarce begun. But he's safe now, and here a comes—(for the chair was again lowered, and Sir Arthur made fast in it, without much consciousness on his own part)—here a comes—bowse away, my boys—canny wi' him—a pedigree of a hundred links is hanging on a tenpenny tow—the whole barony of Knockwinnock depends on three piles of hemp—respice finem, respice funerrv—look to your end —look to a rope's end.—Welcome, welcome, my good old friend, to firm land, though I cannot say to warm land or to dry land—a cord for ever against fifty fathom of water, though not in the sense of the base proverb—a fico for the phrase—better sus. per funein, than sus. per coll."

The text above is from Walter Scott's "The Antiquary".

On August 28, 1296, Edward I of England held a Parliament at Berwick, where he heard cases presented by Scottish nobles, as to who should wear the crown of Scotland. Edward had the nobles sign oaths of loyalty to him. Signings such as these began by 1291, and were used by Edward to manipulate the nobles to his advantage. These signed papers became known as the Ragman Rolls. From the Encyclopedia Britannica, the term may derive from the Statute of Rageman, referring to reporting required of clerics by a legate named Rageman. John Balliol was the temporary beneficiary of Edward's maneuverings.

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