11 May 2023
Medieval and Renaissance Women: full list of the charters and rolls
We always say, never start a blogpost with the words, 'We are delighted to announce that'.
So, in true time-honoured fashion, we are thrilled to release a list of all the rolls and charters digitised as part of our Medieval and Renaissance Women project. There are 25 rolls and 219 charters in total, in addition to the 93 manuscript volumes that we announced in a previous blogpost. The Medieval and Renaissance Women project has been made possible thanks to generous funding by Joanna and Graham Barker.
The seal of the Empress Matilda, between 1141 and 1142: Add Ch 75724
Here begins the list. This may take some time, but it's worth it, we promise. From the top... The will of Sibylla Frances of Dunwich. A confirmation by Sybilla of Kaversfeld, widow of Hugh Gargate, to Bicester Priory of land in Stratton. An acknowledgement by Marie, abbess of St Stephen’s Abbey, Soissons, to the Knights Templar of Mont-de-Soissons. A sale by Katherine von Solmesse and Salentin, lord of Isenburg, her husband, to Baldwin, archbishop of Trier. A letter of attorney from Ismania, widow of Laurence Berkerolles. A certificate for the safe delivery of Margaret of Anjou to Louis XI of France. A chirograph of Fredescendis, abbess of Maubeuge, granting land to Guarin, abbot of Vicogne…
Actually, why don't you simply peruse the list for yourself? It's great fun, we promise (again)!
Confirmation by Sybilla of Kaversfeld, widow of Hugh Gargate, to Bicester Priory of land in Stratton, early 13th century: Add Ch 10608
You can download the full list of charters and rolls here, with links to the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts site and the Universal Viewer. There, you'll be able to read these manuscripts in full and for free from the comfort of your own living room.
Excel: Download Medieval_and_renaissance_women_digitised_charters_rolls_may_2023 (this format cannot be downloaded on all web browsers)
Mortmain licence by Joan of Kent, princess of Wales, for Michael de la Pole, Lord Chancellor, to grant property to the Maison Dieu of Myton, 1383: Egerton Ch 2130
Acquittance by Tomasina de Damis, abbess of the monastery of Santa Giulia, Brescia, to Mafeus de Monte, 1409: Stowe Ch 565
The documents included in the project represent women from all levels of medieval society, from merchants and landowners to nuns and abbesses, from nurses and shopkeepers to noblewomen and queens. They also span a huge variety of different types of documents including grants and confirmations, chirographs and letters with original signatures, leases and genealogies, indentures and religious statutes, licenses for marriages and acknowledgments of divorce, and wills in which women passed on their property and determined their legacy after their deaths. Most importantly, all these manuscripts show medieval and early modern women exerting their own agency and making decisions that influenced not only their own day-to-day lives but also the communities to which they belonged.
The opening of the will of Margaret Paston, 1482: Add Roll 17253
A portrait of Helena Snackenborg, Marchioness of Northampton, from her genealogy, c. 1640: Lansdowne Roll 9
Petition by Joan Astley, nurse of Henry VI, for an increase in salary, 1424: Stowe Ch 643
Over 100 of the documents contain seals that belonged to women or women-run institutions, with many featuring portraits or emblematic images relating to their owners. Some, such as the foundation charter of Bordesley Abbey by Empress Matilda (Add Ch 75724) have even survived with their own seal bags, delicately woven in different coloured silks.
The seals of over 100 women and women-run institutions digitised as part of the Medieval and Renaissance Women project
Seal bag enclosing the seal of Empress Matilda, between 1141 and 1142: Add Ch 75724
Our senior imaging technicians photographed all the seals in the project using an imaging technique called raking light (where light is directed at an object from an angle parallel to the surface) to ensure that all their fine details, legends and sculptural reliefs could be captured.
Seal of Liece, daughter of Ralph of Rouen, 2nd half of the 12th century: Harley Ch 50 B 23
Seal of Idonia of Hurst, 4th quarter of 12th century to 1st quarter of 13th century: LFC Ch XXV 20
We hope you enjoy reading about the stories and lives of the women featured in these incredible items.
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