About the project

The overall aim is to collect, edit, and interpret the royal acts issued in the names of two English kings, William II (reigned 1087 to 1100), and his brother Henry I (reigned 1100 to 1135), who was also duke of Normandy from 1106 until 1135. Royal acts, mainly charters but also writs and other letters, are the prime documentary source for the period, providing the means to understand the workings of the realm in a way not possible from chronicles and other narrative sources.

This edition differs from previous work on documents of this period by treating beneficiary archives as a unit. Although the king issued documents for his own reasons in many circumstances, for example royal proclamations, treaties, royal letters, and writs concerning fiscal administration, these rarely survive. What remains, therefore, is very largely the material in whose preservation someone had a direct interest. Most documents, even those representing the exercise of the king’s power such as the appointment of bishops or abbots, survive through the archive of the beneficiary who received and retained the documents. Different beneficiary archives tell different stories. The organization of the edition presents, for the most part, beneficiary archives with a headnote to explain the background, including the motivations behind seeking the king’s seal and the reasons for preservation.

When complete, the edition will include several hundred beneficiary archives. The acts are not distributed evenly between them: almost half are contained in just thirty archives. The files currently available on this site represent about an eighth of the material to be included in the final edition, which will be published as a multi-volume book.

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5 comments on “About the project

  1. Ann-marie Simpson says:

    This is such an exciting project. I’ve recently llocated via the NA a grant of William II to the newly founded Battle Abbey (now held in West Sussex Archives) which refers to land and tithes in ‘the berewick of Brundall -where i now live. This will be of great help in our local hisory research and hopefully this project may also help at some point in that way.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I think you are referring to Regesta no. 348, which you’ll find printed in Dodsworth and Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum, iii. 246, no. xiii. A forgery I’m afraid, like many if not most Battle charters. Good luck with your researches!

  3. Ann-marie Simpson says:

    Thank you very much for your reply. I’m disappointed to learn this document is a forgery as I have just ordered a photocopy at some expense from the West Sussex Record Office! It is also listed in the National Archives. why would the NA lust a forged document?

  4. Ann-marie Simpson says:

    I would appreciate if you would let me know more about the possiblility of this document being a forgery. Is this in the general domain? ie are the National Archive and West Sussex Record office aware of this? are you saying that Willaim II never in fact made such a grant to Battle Abbey (St Martin’s church) or just that the document of 1312 is a forgery? I am researching land holdings and usage in Brundall and this is very improtant to that research ie whether or nor it is correct that Battle Abbey held tithes etc from Brundal.

  5. Please send me an email detailing exactly what document you are looking at and we’ll discuss further. Email details are on the ‘people’ tab.

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