Manuscript on paper.
Folio. Manuscript in brown ink in a C16th French secretarial hand, dated with entries from 1570 to 1596, later notes added in margins dated up to 1635. First a quire of 32 half page leaves, second quire of 6 full page leaves, third part with two half-page quires of 12 and 14 leaves, forth a quire of 36 full page leaves, with 16 leaves cut out of the second half, last leaf blank, final quire of 12 half page leaves. The second third and fifth “Repertoire”. Age yellowing, some leaves a little soiled and frayed at edges, the odd spot or mark. Quires sewn into limp vellum wrappers, vellum cut away from upper cover, yellowed and stained with age on the lower.
A most interesting manuscript from the end of the sixteenth century which comprises registers of parcels of land from the wine growing communes of Graves and what is now know as l’Entre-deux-mers, the communes or towns of Bègles, St Eulalie, Saint Mexens, St. Michel, Saint Eloy, Saint Rémy, L’ambarès, Saint Colombe Notre-Dame-de-la-Place, Puy Paulin etc.
These registers were used to record the placement of the parcels of land, the quality and quantity of the produce, and the rents generated from them, particularly for the local nobility who owned the land. The manuscript takes the form of tables, on half page quires, of each area ‘Graves”, “St. Colombe” etc followed by pages of full explanatory notes on the production of these parcels of land.
The manuscript is of great interest as Graves is considered the birthplace of claret. Graves wine production for export dates back to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who married Henry II, King of England, creating a flourishing trade between both countries: wine versus coal and iron. In the Middle Ages, the wines that were first exported to England were produced in this area. It was at the centre of wine growing in Bordeaux until the Medoc was drained by the Dutch in the C17th century.