All archives have a purpose; their collection, organization and deployment is never neutral. Historians take from the archive those fragments that seem to us to prove a particular case, or to enrich the story we wish to tell. But it is hard for us — in our teaching, in our writing, perhaps also in our thinking — to capture the endlessly protean nature of the archive. This article tries to capture some of the ways in which an archive sustained certain stories and how it frustrated others. The tale told here is unapologetically local: it engages with a particular community at a particular time. The objective is to reconstruct something of the way in which archives made sense to early modern people.

The article resituates the town archive of Great Yarmouth — the ‘Yarmouth Hutch’ — in its original context at the heart of...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this article.