Success for ancient ‘mission impossible’

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A project deemed by experts as ‘a mission impossible’ has been successfully completed by two retired teachers from Nuthall after six years.

Marie Roberts and John Doyle teamed up to embark on a special book project in 2008 and were told that the task of deciphering complex medieval Latin text, from the original Cartulary , was “far too difficult to undertake.”

But the never-say-die spirit of the pair has paid and Marie, of Boden Drive, and John, who lives in Ayscough Avenue, have celebrated the completion of a new publication entitled The Beauvale Cartulary.

Just ten copies of the rare limited-edition book have been printed and both Marie and John have paid tribute to Peter Foden, who they described as “ a brilliant translator of medieval Latin”.

“He has played a key role in our success and without his expertise and guidance we would surely have lost our way,” said Marie.

The Cartulary was originally written on vellum by monks of the Carthusian order at Beauvale Priory near Eastwood between 1343 and 1506. The new book contains 360 pages and its topographical entries include mention of Brinsley, Kimberley, Newthorpe, Selston and Watnall Chaworth.

It records the gifts of land given to maintain the monks who spent most of their lives in prayer.

It was decided that Marie, who was a teacher at Eastwood’s Priory Catholic Primary School, and John, who taught at Ilkeston’s St John Houghton School, should celebrate the launch of their new book at somewhere special, and Beauvale Priory Tearooms, close to the ruins of the priory, proved to be an appropriate choice.

Benefactors and those who have supported the book project were welcomed by hostess Ann Whyte, who lives at Beauvale Priory, and in celebration they were treated to a special tea party.

Funding for Marie and John’s book has been generously provided by The Beauvale Society, Nottinghamshire county councillor John Handley and from the late David Taylor, a former Mayor of Broxtowe, among others.

The original Cartulary is in the British Library which has given special permission for ten copies of the new book to be published.

“With this publication we have brought the Cartulary back to the area where it was written and students, historians, academic institutions, local people and anyone curious about the past will be able to have access to it.”said Marie.

“ I would like to thank the British Library for its co-operation, as well as Paul and Diana Redgate of Willey Farm, Steve and Liz Doona, Canon John Berry, Nuala Furlong, Kathleen Doyle, and Ann Whyte, for the part they have played in helping our cause.”