Exchequer and Chancery: Cartae Antiquae Rolls
This series consists of rolls containing transcripts of mainly royal charters from the reign of King Edgar to that of Edward II, but mostly from the reigns of William I to Henry III.
Of the handful of Anglo-Saxon charters, those of Edward the Confessor predominate. The rolls also contain a minority of non-royal charters. Some of the rolls contain collections of charters recording royal grants of privileges to churches, which include St Paul's and Ely cathedrals, Holy Trinity priory, London and Chertsey abbey.
The series as at present constituted contains some 1098 enrolments, including duplicates, written in many different hands. The earliest of the rolls appears to date from the reign of Richard I.
A rough catalogue of the rolls is in PRO 31/16/41
A third transcript made by Joseph Stevenson about 1834-39 is in PRO 31/8/37
The reason for the compilation of these rolls is unclear. It has been suggested that their initiation represented an attempt to extend the system under which charters and other deeds could be enrolled on the pipe rolls (E 372) for safe custody.
In 1939 the editor of the first ten rolls, Lionel Landon, concluded that there was no single underlying motive for the establishment of the series. They were simply the result of filing, the need to preserve 'a number of miscellaneous and unconnected documents which, for whatever purpose, had come into the treasury and were of sufficient importance to make their conservation advisable'.
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