Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society News     

Dr Constance Fraser

The society is sad to record the death of Dr Constance Fraser, at the age of 84, on 4 June. From 1975, she was a member of the Wakefield Court Rolls committee and, from 1983 for almost thirty years, its general editor. During this period, eleven volumes of edited court rolls were published, no less than four of them her own work and a fifth the product of her collaboration with Kenneth Emsley, a member of the society who died in 2012. An obituary will appear in the Journal in 2014.

Dr Constance FraserDr Fraser was an extra-mural lecturer at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She was a distinguished record scholar who published a remarkable range of work over a period of six decades, from 1953 to 2011.

It was in reviewing the last of Dr Fraser’s volumes for the series, the court rolls for 1433-1436, that in 2012, Professor Angus Winchester described the Wakefield Court Rolls project as ‘in the vanguard of raising awareness of the richness of manor court records’, and this is an achievement for which she was in great part responsible.

A congregation of over 100 attended a memorial service at Tynemouth parish church on 13 June. The society was represented by Dr Brian Barber, her successor as general editor of the Wakefield Court Rolls series. On display at the service was this characterful portrait of Constance, painted in 1975 by the North Shields artist, Tom Manson.