Project to explore political role of Archbishops of York from 1304–1405

Today we launch ‘The Northern Way’, an innovative research project investigating the political role of the Archbishops of York from 1304–1405.

With funding of almost £1 million from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the 33-month project will be managed in collaboration with the University of York, with the support of the Chapter of York Minster. A true project of discovery, historians and archivists will explore records generated by and from the Archbishops of York to investigate their role in one of the most turbulent periods in British history.

The project has two complementary strands. The principle aim is to make the key records of spiritual governance more digitally accessible, searchable and free. This will be achieved through the digital indexing of archbishops registers held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, the University of York, and at regional and national archives. These registers will also be linked to new evidence taken from the many ecclesiastical records held at The National Archives.

Another ambition is to explore the tension between the archbishops’ spiritual and political leadership during a century of instability, warfare and famine. This includes focusing on the individual roles of northern archbishops as confidants of English royals and senior officials.

Co-Investigator of the project, Dr Paul Dryburgh, Principal Records Specialist at The National Archives, said:

‘The records held at The National Archives are an important piece of the puzzle in understanding this tension. Throughout the fourteenth century successive archbishops of York held key roles within royal government. They worked closely alongside individual kings and were supported by their clerks, many of whom came to Westminster from across the northern diocese. In many ways they can be described as a true northern powerhouse.’

To find out more and to see how you can get involved, visit the project website and Twitter feed (@tnorthernway), the Borthwick Institute for Archives website and look out for posts on The National Archives’ blog.

Tags: ahrc, archbishop, arts and humanities research council, borthwick institute for archives, research, university of york, york, york minster