Many thanks to the readers who offered their assistance in interpreting the list of collective names in the Book of St. Albans. Dr. Boli hopes that, working together, we have all given some help to our original correspondent, C. Simon, in return for the precious entertainment he has given us.

In addition to the amusement it provides, the list is also valuable to the historian. It was printed in the late 1400s, and doubtless compiled from older lists. Note the sudden appearance of seething resentments in the collective terms for certain figures associated with the church:

a school of clerks
a doctrine of doctors
a converting of preachers
a pontificality of prelates
a dignity of canons
a discretion of priests
an abominable sight of monks
a lying of pardoners

Is anything else needed to explain the Protestant Reformation?


  1. Clay Potts says:

    Dear Dr. Boli,

    You only need read down farther in the lists for the more likely explanation:

    a lunacy of Lutherees :-)

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