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Family history and 
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Earliest mention of the name
Cambridge sometime between 1282 and 1349.
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The earliest known mention of the name Glenister is in the records of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge dating from the 13th century.
The Corpus Christi archives
In the archives of Corpus Christi College are number of documents relating to the Gild of St Mary, a predecessor of the college, and dating from between 1282 and 1349.

Among these documents are the Bede Rolls, which contain a list of names for whom prayers were offered by the gild, including a William Glenester. The old English word bede becomes bead in modern English, and in this context means prayer.

I have not seen the original documents, but I was directed by the college archivist to the excellent transcription in Cambridge Gild Records edited by Mary Bateson, and published by The Cambridge Antiquarian Society in 1903. This describes the original document as:

Written on a single membrane measuring 35 1/4 inches by 7. The injunction to pray and the list of names are written in ecclesiastical minuscules.
Text and translation
The following text was extracted from page 14:
Orate fratres et sorores pro aldermano et confratribus et sororibus gilde beate Marie Cantabrigie semper virginis et pro omnibus benefactoribus vivis et defunctis. Orate pro animabus fundatorum et fundatricium fratrum et sororum et omnium benfactorum dicte gilde et omnium fidelium defunctorum quorum nomina hic infra scribuntur.

My translation of this is:

Pray, brothers and sisters, for the alderman and for the brotherhood and sisterhood of the gild of the blessed Mary forever virgin, of Cambridge, and for all benefactors, living and dead. Pray for the souls of the founding brothers and sisters and all benefactors to the guild and all the faithful departed whose names are written below.
The names

The text is followed by a list of names, some identified by trade (eg John le Chesemonger, Godefrei le Heymonger), some by place (eg Margaret de Abyngtone, Andrew de Hicchen, William de Parys), and some by attribute (eg Margaret Fyndsilver, Thomas Outlaw).

The list includes on page 15: ..., Richard Algod, William Glenester, Felicity Hernys,

What does this tell us?
The answer is "not much". We cannot tell with certainty when he lived, where William lived, or what he did. It appears unlikely that he was a member of the Gild, since he is not mentioned in any of the membership accounts.

The most likely reason for William's inclusion in the roll is therefore that he made some gift to the Gild at some time between 1282 and 1349.

This tells us little about the origin of the name, except that at this stage of its use, it was not directly connected with an occupation, nor with a place.

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Last modified 2017 Mar 05 18:42:05