Charters on Single Sheets

About 300 Anglo-Saxon charters (of one kind or another) survive in what would appear to be their 'original' form, written on single sheets of parchment. About 200 of these charters satisfy all of the available tests of authenticity, are written in hands judged to be contemporary with the given date, and thus constitute a foundation for our knowledge and understanding of Anglo-Saxon palaeography, diplomatic, and much else besides. Others prove on inspection to be later copies, or forgeries, made sometime during the long Anglo-Saxon period (before the end of the eleventh century), but as such are no less significant in their different ways.
The great majority of surviving single-sheet Anglo-Saxon charters are to be found in the British Library, in the collections formed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Edward Dering, Sir Simonds D'Ewes, Sir Edward Harley, Sir Christopher Hatton, Thomas Astle, and others. A single collection of charters, formed in the eighteenth century, is to be found in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. There are also significant quantities in the archives of Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Exeter Cathedral. A few others are to be found in local record offices, or still in private hands.

All of these charters have been published in facsimile (see side menu). Modern digital images of the great majority (if not yet quite all) of these charters are available from this website. Images are provided of both sides (face and dorse) of each charter. The images have been loaded into a 'Single Sheet Database', in accordance with a 'Classified List' of charters on single sheets, compiled by SDK for general purposes in the 1990s, and made available separately from this website as a pdf file; but the database can be used in various ways. 


Copyright in these images is vested in the libraries, record offices and archives in which they are held. For this reason, access to the database has to be controlled by password, and it must be understood that the images may be used only for purposes of private study.


The BA-RHS Joint Committee on Anglo-Saxon Charters is most grateful to the libraries, archives, record offices and other repositories where these charters are held for their collaboration in making this material more readily accessible on this website. More specific information is placed under Acknowledgements.