Catalogue description Exchequer and Chancery: Cartae Antiquae Rolls

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Details of C 52
Reference: C 52
Title: 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.

Date: c1189-c1327
Related material:

A transcript of the rolls made before 1645 is in the British Library, Harley MSS 84 and 85. Another transcript made in the seventeenth century is in Northamptonshire Record Office, SH 174-176.

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

Separated material:

Some of the rolls formerly in this series are now in C 47

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: Latin
Physical description: 39 roll(s)
Publication note:

The contents of the first twenty rolls have been published as The Cartae Antiquae Rolls 1-10, ed Lionel Landon (Pipe Roll Society, new series, 17, 1939); The Cartae Antiquae Rolls 11-20, ed J Conway Davies (Pipe Roll Society, new series, 33, 1957). Many of the individual charters have been printed in publications by record societies, and used in the compilation of the Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, completed for the reigns of William I and II (1913), Henry I (1956) and Stephen (1968), but still in preparation for the reigns of Henry II and Richard I.

Unpublished finding aids:

A detailed catalogue of all the rolls, with introductory material, was compiled by C G Crump in 1922.

Administrative / biographical background:

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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