Archives

This section of the website provides information on the separate 'archives' in which the surviving charters came to be preserved. The reference is not to modern repositories, such as the British Library, but to the religious houses (episcopal sees, monasteries, nunneries, etc.) among whose muniments or in whose cartularies and registers the documents were preserved in the middle ages. The charters from any one such archive, whether an episcopal see or any other form of religious house, have come to be preserved since then in a number of different modern libraries, museums, collections, or institutions.
The section reflects the basic principle upon which the 'Anglo-Saxon Charters' project is organised. It was recognised from the outset that surviving texts have to be edited, criticised and understood within their respective 'archival' contexts. It is also recognised, however, that the charters preserved in any one 'archive' have to be understood within the wider context of all other documents of the same kind, of the same region, or of the same period. Indeed, the archival principle is a key element in the modern criticism of charters: with a few significant and interesting exceptions, observed connections (e.g. unusual features, or details of formulation) between charters of the same apparent date, yet preserved in different archives, are most likely to represent a connection between the charters at the point of production in the Anglo-Saxon period, which can become an important consideration in the editing and criticism of the texts, as well as a valuable tool in the assessment of their wider significance. In effect, distinctive features which seem to be confined to charters preserved in a single archive might have to be explained in terms which applied within the religious house in question, whereas features seen to occur in charters of, say, a particular period, preserved across two or more archives, might be explained more naturally in terms of a common denominator, which might have been the agency of production.
Each of the archival 'profiles' accessible from the side menu serves as a brief introduction to the archive in question, comprising some general information on the religious house in question, and basic details of the composition of the archive (single sheets, cartularies, etc.), sometimes with additional information on any other records which happen in each case to be available (house chronicles, collections of obits, lists of benefactors, etc.). The separate introductions in any published or forthcoming archival volume will naturally take matters further, including an extended account of the history of the religious house in question from its foundation onwards, information on its endowment (as first recorded in the Domesday survey), and so on.
The archival profiles originated in 1991-3, as part of a survey of all 'archives' from which charters have been preserved. The profiles are made available here as work in progress, for general information. They remain subject to correction, modification, and updating.
The 'archives' in which charters have been preserved are listed below, grouped according to the number of charters preserved from each of the religious houses in question. 

1 ‘Major’ archives, comprising over 100 documents

2 Archives comprising between 10 and 60 documents

 
3 ‘Minor’ archives, comprising less than 10 documents, arranged geographically
Charters preserved in 'minor' archives are necessarily grouped together on a regional basis, and published in that form. Northern Houses, ed. Woodman, forthcoming, begins with the charters from York Minster (above), but includes additional sections for texts from Durham, Beverley, Ripon, and Lowther Castle. Midland Archives, ed. Kelly, in preparation, comprises sections for charters from 11 archives (Cirencester, Chester, Coventry, Eynsham, Gloucester, Hereford, Much Wenlock, Oxford, Pershore, Winchcombe, Wolverhampton), and Southern Archives, ed. Kelly, in preparation, comprises sections for charters from 11 archives (Abbotsbury, Amesbury, Buckfast, Cerne Abbas, Christchurch [Hants.], Cranborne, Milton Abbas, Plympton, Romsey, Tavistock, Wherwell). It is intended that the several charters preserved at religious houses on the continent (listed below) will be brought together in the same way.
THE SOUTH WEST (to be edited in Southern Archives, unless otherwise states)

EASTERN ENGLAND

THE WEST MIDLANDS (to be edited in Midland Archives)

THE THAMES VALLEY (to be edited in Midland Archives, unless otherwise stated)

NORTHERN ENGLAND (all edited in Northern Houses)

THE CONTINENT (to be edited in Religious houses in Flanders and France)

OTHER ARCHIVES
There will be a need for a volume gathering together about ten 'unprovenanced' charters (several of which might in fact have come from the same [unidentified] archive), perhaps including any further additions to the corpus, and perhaps including a general introduction to the series, with information on the documents themselves, on archives and single sheets, and on the use made of charters in the pre- and post-Conquest periods, extending to the antiquaries and collectors of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

  • <List to be added.>

<Ballidon charter in Midland Archives.> <S 96 (Malm 49) and S 308 (Malm 50) belong with this group.>
 
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October 2011