The Six Articles, 1539

    The Six Articles brought evangelical advance under Henry VII to a full stop and resulted in the resignation of 2 bishops

    John Colet and the Convocation of 1512

    The sermon of the great English humanist John Colet in 1512 is as good a summary as any of the ills that the leaders of English society perceived in the English clergy.

    Dominic Mancini

    Dominic Mancini and ‘The usurpation of Richard III’ Not much is known about Dominic Mancini’s life; but he was probably born before 1434, and therefore somewhere around 50 when heRead More

    Polydore Vergil and Historia Anglia

    Polydore Vergil was a renaissance scholar, who wrote a history once much referred to in studies of Richard III. His text is now very much suspect and most historians agree has too many inaccuracies and biases to be relied on. None the less, it’s worth giving a bit of background about him – he was no mean scholar.
    But the main reason for the post is to give you all access to the text itself. This text is an extract from an edition which is now out of copyright. It was produced in 1844 for the Camden Society in 1844, edited by Sir Henry Ellis. I have further extracted the text covering the period from Edward IV to Richard III

    Crowland Chronicle

    The Crowland Chronicles and 1483 The Crowland Chronicles give one of the two most authoritative sources for the events of 1483 and indeed the reign of Richard III. Below isRead More

    The Last Will of Richard II

    The Last Will of King Richard II, 16 April 1399 In the name of the whole and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, of the most Blessed MotherRead More

    The Fieschi Letter

    This famous letter was written by Manuele de Fieschi, a sober Papal notary not given to telling porkies as far as we know. The letter appears to be genuine. ItRead More

    Statute of Winchester 1285

    The Statute gives an insight into problems Edward I faced with crime, and the halting steps taken to address it

    The Ordinances of 1311

    The attempt by the Barons to resolve differences they had Edward I and put an end to the crisis caused Piers Gaveston.

    The Coronation Oath of Edward II, 1308

    The oath is pretty standard; except ‘the just laws and customs that the community of your realm shall determine’. Now that’s very new – commitment to monarchy not monarch.

    Writ of summons to Parliament, 1295

    The parliament of 1295 was sandwiched between war with France and with Scotland, and the king needed money. Edward I was not above pushing the panic button and appealing to patriotism.

    The Story of Cynewulf, 755

    In 755, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle records the story Cynewulf, the King of Wessex, and his struggle for leadership with Cyneard and Sebright. It is the earliest piece of writtenRead More

    Letter of Anselm to Pope Paschal

    The relationship between Anselm and William Rufus was a difficult one; still two men more unlike you could hardly hope to meet. Anselm was ascetic, intellectual, hard working, conscientious andRead More

    The Treaty of Westminster, 1153

    By 1153, Stephen and Henry II had fought each other to a standstill. The basic terms of the final treaty had probably been in each parties’ mind, but it wasRead More

    Song against Richard of Cornwall

    Any chance to hear the authentic voice of ordinary people is rather exceptional for the early and mid medieval period – but here’s one example. It’s a political song ofRead More

    Description of the Battle of Lewes, 1264

    The passage below comes from the chronicles of William of Rishanger, and normally pretty reliable observer, though not at the battle itself.  Earl Simon passed that night without sleep, givingRead More

    The Provisions of Westminster, 1259

    The Provisions of Westminster set into law the reforms of the rebels, outside the constitutional matters covered by the Provisions of Oxford. In fact, Henry III and Edward I wereRead More

    The Song of Lewes, 1264

    This is part of a book for which copyright has expired, digitised by Google. There are a few passages that haven’t digitized very well. Where, with my limited Latin, IRead More

    The Forest Charter, 1217

    So here’s the reason why Magna Carta is Magna – because of this, smaller, Forest Charter. The Royal Forest really ticked off anyone who wasn’t the king. At times, RoyalRead More

    The Provisions of Oxford, 1258

    The Provisions of Oxford are one of the most radical documents in English history, if such a sentence means anything – they were such a change from the medieval wayRead More

    The Assize of Clarendon, 1166

    Henry II and his justices had an enormous impact on the development of the English legal system. This Assize concerns process rather that any changes in the law itself, andRead More

    The Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164

    The Constitutions are part of the struggle between Henry and his Archbishop – Thomas Becket – and between Church and State. Thomas initially accepted the document, deserting his bishops underRead More

    The Character of Henry II

    Henry was well known by Peter of Blois, who worked at court – much to his despair. The survival of documents gives us a relatively rich understanding of what HenryRead More

    A 12th Century Village

    This contemporary survey gives an insight into the economic and social life of the country at this time. Notes in blue are my text.  Survey of the Manor of Elton,Read More

    The Charter of Liberties of Stephen

    In essence, this is a Coronation Charter. Stephen arrived on the throne without too much debate or trouble, given the problems that were later to arise. However, there would alwaysRead More

    The Hundred Ordinance, 939-961

    This Old English legal text regulating the schedule and procedures of the hundred courts was, based on its contents, likely produced during or soon after the reign of King EdmundRead More

    Treaty of Wedmore, 878-890

    The treaty came after Alfred’s victory at Edington. After the battle, the Viking leader Guthrum was baptised, and became Alfred’s adopted son. This ‘Peace of Wedmore’ is referred to inRead More

    The Burghal Hidage

    Alfred’s Burghs would not just make the life of the Vikings in 892 a misery – they often formed the basis of England’s towns

    The Tribal Hidage

    The Tribal Hidage is a fascinating document; a chance survival that gives us a glimpse of the tribes and proto-kingdoms that formed in the 6th and 7th centuries. There’s a goodRead More