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Primary Source Collections and Guides: England

The most extensive single collection of primary resources from Medieval England is Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores, also know as the 'rolls' series, which consists primarily of chronicles, letters, treaties and charters. It is supplemented by modern series of critical editions such as the Oxford Medieval Texts series. However, many English primary sources are available through periodical publications of public and private scholarly organizations such as the Camden Society, Royal Historical Society and Pipe Roll Society. These publications are indexed in the Mullins Text and Calendars guides. Supplementing these sources are a number of published compilations available at Penn and special collections that are available on microform through the Center for Research Libraries.


London : Royal Historical Society, 1958.
Index to texts and calendars issued by organization such as the Camden Society, Royal historical society and other societies focusing on the Medieval Period.
Van Pelt Reference: Z2016 .M8

London : Athlone P., 1968.
Guide to local historical and archaeological publications not included in Mullins' Texts and calendars indices.
Van Pelt Reference: Z5055.G6 M8. Search Franklin to determine which publications are availble at Penn.

Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press, 1975.
"a systematic survey of the printed materials relating to the political, constitutional, legal, social, and economic history of England, Wales and Ireland down to 1485."-Pref.
Van Pelt Library: DA130 .B5
A listing of all the volumes in the Rolls Series, which is described below under the heading Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi scriptores. Each listing provides an abstract that frequently describes the content and importance of the volume; cross references to other relevant volumes in the Rolls Series are provided.

London : Longman & Co., 1858-96.
This basic collection of source materials for the study of medieval England is known as the "Rolls Series." It primarily consists of chronicles but it also contaings inportant significant numbers of letters, treaties and charters. Some volumes are cataloged individually in Franklin, but the main collection of over 200 volumes is cataloged as a group under the title of the series.
Van Pelt Library: 942D C46
London : Offices of the Royal Historical Society, 1983.
Indexes serials produced by organizations begun after 1957.
Van Pelt Library Reference: Z2016 .M8
London : Royal Historical Society, 1987.
Lists primary sources published by academic societies in Scotland.
Van Pelt Library: DA750 .S25 ser.4 v.23. Search Franklin to determine availability.
"Includes records of eyres, lay subsidies, higher clergy, religious houses and urban government."
HeinOnline allows you to search or browse all 176 volumes of the English Reports, Full Reprint along with its "Index of Cases" and "Index Chart." This collection encompasses the decisions of the English Courts prior to the commencement of the Law Reports in 1865. It represents reprints of 275 separate series of reports, arranged by the English Courts: House of Lords, Chancery, Rolls Court, etc. The English Reports, Full Reprint contains over 100,000 cases reprinted verbatim and spans the years 1220 to 1867.
Turnhout, Belgium : Brepols, 1997.
Provides information on over 5,000 Latin texts by over 2,000 writers who were born in England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales, or who were born elsewhere but lived in the British Isles when they wrote.
Van Pelt Library Medieval Studies (Rm 405, non-circulating): Z6605.L3 S5 1997
LION is a searchable, full-text collection of over 250,000 works in English and American Literature. Separate databases include English Poetry (700-1900), English Drama (1280-1915), Eighteenth-Century Fiction (1700-1780), Early English Prose Fiction (1500-1700), and The Bible In English (990-1970).
London : Bohn, 1846.
Histories of monastic institutions, cathedral and collegiate churches. Also available online at
Van Pelt Library: BX2592 .D84 1846, complete sets also in Storage and Rare Books Libraries.
The rolls of parliament were the official records of the meetings of the English parliament from the reign of Edward I (1272 – 1307) until the reign of Henry VII (1485 – 1509), after which they were superseded by the journals of the lords and, somewhat later, of the commons. The rolls, which amount in total to over four million words, were first edited in the eighteenth century and published in 1783 in six folio volumes entitled Rotuli Parliamentorum ( RP) under the general editorship of the Reverend John Strachey. This new edition reproduces the rolls edited in RP in their entirety, plus those subsequently published by Cole, Maitland, and Richardson and Sayles as well as a substantial amount of material never previously published, together with a full translation of all the texts from the three languages used by the medieval clerks (Latin, Anglo-Norman and Middle English). It also includes an introduction to every parliament known to have been held by an English king (or in his name) between 1275 and 1504, whether or not the roll for that parliament survives. Where appropriate, appendices of supplementary material are also provided, including information about the parliament in question derived from sources other than the roll. Much of this supplementary material consists of petitions to parliament.
Munich: Kraus Reprint, 1981.
Van Pelt Library: HC251 .B71
Leicester, Earls of. Library (Holkham Hall). Ms. 683.
Van Pelt Microtext: Microfilm 2218
A taxatio is an assessment for taxation and the taxatio with which this database is concerned is often called the Pope Nicholas IV taxatio because it was carried out on the orders of that pope. For nearly 250 years virtually all ecclesiastical taxation of England and Wales was based on this extremely thorough and detailed assessment. It is a unique source for the medieval period: no other complete survey of its kind survives for any part of medieval Europe.
London : H. M. Stationery Off., 1955-72.
Documents on international relations.
Van Pelt Library: 942D G793.32
Brighton, Sussex, England : Harvester Press Microform Publications, 1985.
GUIDE: Reference Folder #282, available from the Center for Research Libraries through Interlibrary Loan.
DESCRIPTION: The Center has received microfilm for the following parts: part 1: Arundel-Cotton Nero; part 2: Cotton Otho-Cotton Roll; part 3: Egerton-Lansdowne; part 4: Royal-Add. Roll.
Available from the Center for Research Libraries through Interlibrary Loan.
Modern editions, usually with translations. Includes mostly chronicles and saints lives.
Texts are distributed throughout the Library. Do a title search for oxford medieval texts in Franklin to find a complete listing of works held at Penn (the above link is to just one work in the series).

GUIDE: Mullins, E.L.C. (Edward Lindsay Carson). Guide to the historical and archaeological publications of societies in England and Wales, 1901-1933. [This is the guide to publications of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, which are not included in Texts and calendars.] Van Pelt Reference: Z5055.G6 M8.
GUIDE: Mullins, E.L.C. (Edward Lindsay Carson). Texts and calendars: an analytical guide to serial publications. Van Pelt Reference: Z2016 .M8.
GUIDE: Mullins, E.L.C. (Edward Lindsay Carson). Texts and calendars II : an analytical guide to serial publications, 1957-1982. Publications of the English record societies and the Index Library on microfiche : analytical catalogue listing the title and price of more than 1300 volumes. Van Pelt Reference Z1003.M6P976.
DESCRIPTION: This microfiche set reproduces the texts and calendars issued in general collections or in series by English local societies, both public and private, that are listed in the Mullins' guides listed above. The originals (with a few exceptions) are part of the Library of the Royal Historical Society. The microfiche set is arranged by the Mullins' number assigned to each society. The publications of each society are or will be cataloged separately in CRLCATALOG.
Available through Interlibrary Loan from the Center for Research Libraries through interlibrary Loan. Many series are already owned by the Penn Libraries. Search for each series in Franklin to see if we own it.

GUIDE: List of ancient correspondence of the Chancery and Exchequer preserved in the Public Record Office. List and Index Society, v. 15; Van Pelt Library Stacks: CD1040 .A25 no.15.
DESCRIPTION: "This set contains more than 12,400 individual documents spanning the reigns of King John to King Henry VII and includes State papers; correspondence of kings, bishops, Popes, knights, noblemen, royal servants, and Lord Chancellors, and medieval and other records. Topics covered by this collection include: the diplomatic relations between Britain and France; the political struggles between king and barons; ecclesiastical elections; sieging of castles; packing of wool; trading; escapes from imprisonment; protection of lepers; enclosures; keeping of servants and falcons; and even the slowness of letters in transit. It is a useful source for the study of economic, military, diplomatic, ecclesiastical, social and literary history. The originals are part of the records of the PRO Special Collections (PRO S.C. 1/1-64)."
Available from the Center for Research Libraries Through interlibrary loan.

Brighton, Sussex, England : Harvester, 1985-.
GUIDE: British literary manuscripts from the British Library. Van Pelt Reference: Z6621.B86 E5 1984.
DESCRIPTION: This set includes material from the Sloane collection. Entries from the British Library's catalogs of manuscripts precede each reel. Prominent works include four texts of The Canterbury Tales (Sloane 1685, 1686; Add. MSS. 5140, 35286), The Legende of Good Women (Add. MS. 12044) and Troilus and Cresseid (Add. MS. 12044). There is also a rich cache of religious and devotional material. CRL owns Parts 1-2 of this Series.
Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries.

From the Cambridge University Library. Chronicles, genealogies, letters and other documents related to land, law, politics and religion.
Available through Interlibrary Loan from the Center for Research Libraries.

Cambridge, United Kingdom : Chadwyck-Healey, 1988.
GUIDE: Martin, G. H. The Husting rolls of deeds and wills, 1252-1485: guide to the microform edition. E-8613.
DESCRIPTION: This set contains transcripts of more than 22,600 deeds and testaments disposing of real property from the Court of Husting, the principal court of medieval London. The deeds specify details of the property, names of owners and tenants and other information about individual properties, streets, markets and other features of London.
Available through ILL from the Center for Research Libraries.

Brighton, Sussex, England : Harvester Press Microform Publications, 1985.
GUIDE: Reference Folder #282, available from the Center for Research Libraries through Interlibrary Loan.
DESCRIPTION: The Center has received microfilm for the following parts: part 1: Arundel-Cotton Nero; part 2: Cotton Otho-Cotton Roll; part 3: Egerton-Lansdowne; part 4: Royal-Add. Roll.
Available from the Center for Research Libraries through Interlibrary Loan.

London : R. Bagshaw, 1806-1812.  
Call#: Van Pelt Library J301 .H5  
This set covers 1066 to 1803.

A database of the Paston, Cely, Plumpton, Stonor and Armburgh Papers, containing full-color images of the original medieval manuscripts that comprise these family letter collections along with full-text searchable transcripts from the printed editions.

Resource for the study of Britain and its place in the world during the medieval and early modern period (c. 1100-1800), including key printed sources for English, Irish, Scottish and Colonial history as well as original manuscripts.

Primary publications from the Selden Society & the Ames Foundation, digests, abridgments, and modern encyclopedias that formed the foundation of early English law. Includes English Reports (1220-1694) and Statutes of the Realm (1235-1713).