BL MS Add. 24066, f. 5r
Editions and Translations
Believed to have been written by Ranulf de Glanvill (c. 1112-1190), Henry II’s Chief Justiciar, the Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Regni Angliae is often simply referred to as Glanvill. Written in Latin sometime between 1187 and 1189, Glanvill is thought to be the first treatise on English common law mostly focusing on the Exchequer and writs. Many modern scholars now believe someone else wrote Glanvill, but they cannot come to a general consensus on who, but they can agree it was someone close to the king with intimate knowledge of the curia regis. The discourse begins with a prologue praising Henry while the rest of the tract contains fourteen books, each of which discusses various legal actions and how to go properly about them in the king’s court.
Importance for the Study of Angevin History
Glanvill provides the first known form of the curia regis or procedure in the court of Henry II. Before the Tractus, little was written about royal court procedure and became the first textbook for lawyers of English common law. Glanvill provided previously unknown insights into the workings of how the curia handled both civil and criminal law under a king who was frequently out of the country. It set the precedent for future treatises on English common law.
Assize of Clarendon
1. Bodleian Library, MS. Rawlinson, C. 641, fol. 19.
2. British Library, MS. Royal 14, C. II, fol. 275.
1. Hovedon, Roger. Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, edited by William Stubbs. Vol. 2. The Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages 51. London: Longman and Company, 1869. (cii-cv; 248-252)
2. Peterborough, Benedict. The Chronicle of the Reigns of Henry II and Richard I A.D. 1169-1192, edited by William Stubs. 2 Vols. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1857. (Vol. I: 108-111; Vol. II: cxlix-liv)
3. Stubbs, William, ed. Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History: From the Earliest Times to the Reign of Edward the First, 8 ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895. (140-146)
4. Adams, George B. and H. Stephens. Select Documents of English Constitutional History. New York; London: The Macmillan Company, 1901. (14-18)
5. *Douglas, David C. and George W. Greenaway. English Historical Documents, 1042-1189. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953. (407-410)
6. Stephenson, Carl and Frederick G. Marchman, ed. Sources of English Constitutional History: A Selection of Documents from A.D. 600 to the Present. New York; Evanston; London: Harper & Row Publishers, 1937. (76-80)
The word assize comes from the Old French word assize meaning to sit. The authority of an assize came from those sitting, or present. Therefore in early 1166 Henry II and his barons gave authority to the Assize of Clarendon by virtue of their presence. The assize had twenty-two articles written as instructions for the King’s justices. The core of the assize was in the first nineteen articles, in them it was prescribed how to form a jury of presentment, how sheriffs were to assist in the apprehension of suspected criminals, and how royal authority superseded any liberties in the case of serious crimes. The twentieth article concerned prospective member of religious houses and colleges, and the twenty-first article stipulated that those found guilty of heresy at the earlier council of Oxford were to be treated as outlaws. The last article asserted that the Assize of Clarendon is to be in affect as long as the king willed it.
Importance for the Angevin Empire:
The Assize of Clarendon was not motivated by anti-clericalism but rather Henry II’s desire for a competent implementation of the law; which was hindered by ecclesiastical liberties. It is important to view the Assize as fitting a part of larger legal reforms. For example, the assize did not supplanted customary law but supplemented it. The 1166 Assize of Clarendon incorporated the private jurisdictions of local communities into the larger framework of royal justice. This is because only after the local community had given names of those suspected of committing a serious crime would royal justice take affect. One of the enduring medieval legal traditions from the Assize was the jury of presentment, which was formed by twelve men from a hundred and four from a borough. They gathered at the shire court and provided names of individuals suspected of committing a crime.
1. Hurnard, Naomi D. “The Jury of Presentment and the Assize of Clarendon.” The English Historical Review 56, no. 223 (1941): 374-410.
2. Pollock, Frederick and Frederic Maitland. The History of English Law: Before the Time of Edward I. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898.
3. Stubbs, William. The Constitutional History of England: In Its Origin and Development. Vol. I. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1891.
4. Warren, W.L. Henry II. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973.
5. ----.The Governance of Norman and Angevin England 1086-1272. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Athenaeum Press, 1994.
The Pipe Rolls
Extract from the 1194 pipe roll
The original pipe rolls can be found in The National Archives (UK), E372
The Publications of the Pipe Roll Society. London : Pipe Roll Society, 1884-Ongoing.
From at least as early as 1130 A.D., the public treasury of England (the Exchequer) began to keep extensive financial records. These records, known as "The Great Rolls of the Pipe" from the rolled up parchments on which they were originally written, continue in a nearly unbroken series from the mid-12th century up until the year 1833 A.D. They contain both debts owed to the Crown as well as expenditures for a given year, taken from audits usually performed around Michaelmas (September 29th). In addition, the rolls also describe the movement of prisoners, name custodians of royal lands, and provide details of local governance. The identities and operations of royal officials and the royal bureaucracy are also discernible by and through the Pipe Rolls.
While debate continues over when exactly the Exchequer began operating, it is clear that the Norman kings had a great interest in administration and centralization. More specifically, the Rolls begin to date in a continuous series from 1155-56, the start of the reign of Henry II. They are some of the earliest financial and bureaucratic records available from the Middle Ages, and vastly outstrip contemporary Continental archives. Not only do the Pipe Rolls allow historians access to an unparalleled wealth of data from all levels of English medieval society and governance, the existence and activities of the Exchequer had vast consequences on the social and political development of medieval England as a whole. The monarchy could extend its power down through magnates and communities to individuals themselves; in turn individuals had a more direct sense of involvement in the affairs of state. The rapid rise of documentation in the royal court and bureaucracy in turn stimulated use and familiarity with the written word in the lower levels and regions of England.
Bartlett, R., England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings: 1075–1225. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 2000.
Chrimes, S. B., An Introduction to the Administrative History of Mediaeval England. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1966.
Clanchy, M. T., From Memory to Written Record : England, 1066-1307. London : Edward Arnold, 1979.
Warren, W.L., The Governance of Norman and Angevin England 1086–1272. London: Edward Arnold, 1987.
Ronald W. Braasch III
(C) London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra A XVI, f. 9.
(R) London, The National Archives (TNA), E164/2, ff. 52-67v.
(N) London, TNA, E36/266, ff. 20-47v.
(C) London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra A XVI, ff. 3-40.
(H) London, British Library, Hargrave 313.
.Editions and Translations
FitzNigel, Richard. Dialogus de Scaccario: The Dialogue of the Exchequer. Edited and translated by Emilie Amt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007. [facing page Latin and English].
-----. Dialogus de Scaccario: The Course of the Exchequer. Edited and Translated by Charles Johnson, F. E. L Carter, and D. E. Greenway. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. [reissue with corrections of Johnson’s 1950 edition; Latin and English].
-----. De necessariis Observantiis Scaccarii Dialogus, Commonly called Dialogus de Scaccario. Edited by Arthur Hughes, Charles Crump, and Charles Johnson. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902. [Latin].
Madox, Thomas, ed. History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England. London, 1711. [Latin]
The Dialogue of the Exchequer, begun in 1177 and completed several years later, was essentially an instruction manual on the process, procedure, and inner workings of the oversight of England’s revenue system. It was written as a dialogue in which a teacher introduced a theme. Then, a student asked questions about the topic and the teacher would answer and elaborate to ensure that the pupil understood. The Dialogue was written in what might be called medieval court Latin; therefore, it is important to keep in mind that fitzNigel was contemplating French terminology in the composition of his Dialogue. The first book focused primarily on describing the responsibilities of offices and definitions of important terms, while the second book presided over how certain calculations should be done. For the twenty-first century reader, it may be best to think of the Dialogue an in-depth “Frequently Asked Questions” page of a website, which provides understanding to commonly encountered problems.
Importance for the study of Angevin history
The penning of the Dialogue corresponds to the rise of the Angevin dynasty in England. Following his coronation in 1154, Henry II commissioned Nigel the Bishop Ely to restore England’s fiscal administration, which had lapsed under Stephen. By 1160, Nigel’s son Richard had become the king’s treasurer. Richard fitzNigel completed his Dialogue in Henry II’s lifetime, which characterized at a minimum the complex governmental bureaucracy developing in England at the time. It was also representative of the increased genre of academic literature present in the twelfth century, alongside works such as Gratian’s Decretum.
British Library. “Dialogue of the Exchequer.” Magna Carta Manuscript Series. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/dialogue-of-the-exchequer.
Brown, A. L. The Governance of Late Medieval England, 1272-1461. London: Edward Arnold, 1989.
Warren, W. L. The Governance of Norman and Angevin England, 1086-1272. London: Edward Arnold, 1987.
Richardson, H. G. "Richard Fitz Neal and the Dialogus De Scaccario." The English Historical Review 43, (1928): 321-40.
Yale Law School. “The Dialogue Concerning the Exchequer, circa 1180.” The Avalon Project. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/medieval/excheq.asp.
Angevin Diplomatic Agreements
Foedera, conventiones, literae, et cuiuscunque generis acta publica inter reges Angliae et alios, ed. Thomas Rymer (20 volumes, 1727-1735). [A collection of many diplomatic documents transcribed in their original language]
Rymer's Foedera: Syllabus in English with Index, 1066-1654, ed. D. Hardy (3 volumes, 1869-1885)
We know from Rymer’s Foedera that the reign of Henry II produced several diplomatic treaties, of which only one remains. The surviving document details the number of knights Flanders needed to supply to the King. Other documents include Henry accepting the homage and fealty of the Kings of Ireland and Scotland, as well as him making peace with the King of France and his own sons after the Great Revolt. Treaties from Richard reign frequently involve his crusading exploits, especially temporary cessations of violence with France to support that end. From John’s reign comes the most known treaties, notably those dealing with his disputes with the pope and the insurrection of his barons. Marriage contracts are frequent, as marriage itself was a form of diplomatic peacekeeping.
While the treaties themselves differed in form and style, they are indicative the new way that treaties were formed during Henry II’s reign. The treaties were made out in both rulers names, with both rulers typically being present during their creation. These meetings took place in “middle ground” between the lands of both rulers. In the case of Henry’s treaties with the Kings of France, they took place in the marches of Normandy. They were created in duplicate so both parties would have one. During Richard’s reign we see England adopt a more standardized format for the treaties, which had been popularized in France. Especially important was the use of proctors, who were authorized to deal on the ruler’s behalf, with the understanding the ruler would be held by oath to deals made in his name. Under John we see the most significant attempt to standardize and keep record of diplomatic documents. The royal chancery transcribed documents issued under the royal seal on yearly rolls.
Chaplais, Pierre. 2003. English Diplomatic Practice in the Middle Ages. London ; New York : Hambledon and London, 2003.
Annals of Clonmacnoise
Title page of Denis Murphy's 1896 edition
Murphy, Denis. The Annals of Clonmacnoise: Being Annals of Ireland from the Earliest Period to A.D. 1408, translated into English A.D. 1627 by Conell Mageoghagan and now for the first time printed. Dublin: University Press for the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1896.
Only survives in English translation. See below.
In 1627, Conell Mageoghagan, a historian from County Westmeath, per the request of his brother-in-law, translated into English an “old booke” of Irish annals, which have come to be known as the Annals of Clonmacnoise. These annals trace Irish history from the “earliest period” (Creation) until 1408. The Irish manuscript on which Mageoghagan based his translation has since been lost, and thus his translation is the only lens through which these annals survive. Unfortunately, Mageoghagan tells us that the manuscript he was working from was in acute disrepair, and sections of it were often missing or difficult to read. Furthermore, Daniel Murphy points out that in several places Mageoghagan even informs the reader that he does not intend to include certain passages “for brevity’s sake,” or because he was “loath to translate” them. Nine full manuscripts of his translation are extant, one of which has only been uncovered in the early part of the 21st century, and two more manuscripts contain only citations from these annals.
The Annals of Clonmacnoise, along with the Annals of Inisfallen, Ulster, Tigernach, Roscrea, Boyle, and the Chronicon Scotorum contain virtually identical descriptions of events from 432 to 911, leading many scholars to believe that this group of texts are based on a hypothetical “Chronicle of Ireland.” Within this time period, scholars have identified certain segments that seem to focus on major ecclesiastical events and deaths in different geographic areas, suggesting a moving authorship in various churches and monasteries for the Chronicle. After 911, this group subdivides and the Annals of Clonmacnoise fall into what Grabowski and Dumville has called a “Clonmacnoise group-text,” though the Annals being discussed should not be confused with the hypothetical text on which the Annals of Clonmacnoise, Tigernach, and Roscrea are based. This distinction and other differences in dating has lead Daniel McCarthy to instead refer to the Annals of Clonmacnoise as “Mageoghagan’s Book,” as Conell Mageoghagan himself referred to the “old booke.”
Importance for the study of Angevin history:
The dates of these annals cover the period prior to, during, and several centuries after the Angevin entrance into Irish history, despite some unfortunately-timed lacunae. Beyond their inherent value as a record of contemporary (or near-contemporary, as some entries are post-dated) Irish events, these annals also provide a window of study for events outside the island that Irish annalists had taken note of, such as the Becket affair. The majority of the annals death with obituaries of important figures or conflicts involving a great deal of violence. However, these annals are not comprehensive and what is not included can sometimes be just as telling as what is included. These annals were primarily intended for an ecclesiastical audience, although over time they took on a more secular lens, so they can be used for following changes in church and monastic practices as well.
The “Annals of Clonmacnoise” should be examined in context of Irish Annals more generally before drawing Angevin-specific conclusions. Perhaps most importantly, the Irish Annals as a genre provide Irish-language records of events and provide a historical perspective to the study of the “Angevin Empire” outside of the royal family’s circle. These entries are useful for the study of Angevin history, in fact, primarily because of the peripheral role that the Angevins hold within them.
Wace's Roman de Brut
London, British Library, Egerton MS 3028, f. 001r
Durham, Cathedral Library, C. IV. 27, f. 1r-94r (D)
London, British Library, Additional, 45103, f. 13r-85v et 98r-166r (P), c. 1275
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, français, 1450, f. 112vb-139vc et 225ra-238ra (H), c. 1225-1250
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, français, 794, f. 286rb-342rb (K), c. 1200-1233
Lincoln, Cathedral Library, 104 (A. 4. 12), f. 1r-108r (L)
London, British Library, Egerton MS 3028, c. 1325-1350
Le roman de Brut par Wace, poète du XIIe siècle, publié pour la première fois d'après les manuscrits des bibliothèques de Paris avec un commentaire et des notes par Le Roux de Lincy, Rouen, Frère, 1836-1838, 2 t., [iv] + xvii + 399, [iv] + 368 + 17.
Le roman de Brut de Wace, éd. Ivor Arnold, Paris, Société des anciens textes français, 1938-1940, 2 vol.
De Wace à Lawamon, éd. et trad. Marie-Françoise Alamichel, Paris, Association des médiévistes anglicistes de l'enseignement supérieur (Publications de l'Association des médiévistes anglicistes de l'enseignement supérieur, 20), 1995, 2 t., xi + 616 p.
Esty, Najaria Hurst, Wace's "Roman de Brut" and the Fifteenth Century "Prose Brute Chronicle": A Comparative Study, Ph. D. dissertation, Ohio State University, Columbus, 1978, iv + 572 p. (p. 272-572).
Weiss, Judith, Wace's Roman de Brut. A History of the British. Text and Translation, Exeter, 2006.
La geste du roi Arthur selon le "Roman de Brut" de Wace et l'"Historia regum Britanniae" de Geoffroy de Monmouth. Présentation, édition et traductions par Emmanuèle Baumgartner et Ian Short, Paris, Union générale d'éditions (10/18, 2346), 1993, 347 p.
Le Roman de Brut, finished around 1155, is considered to be the first vernacular “history” of Britain. Writing in Norman French, Wace considered his work to be more of a “translation” than an original chronicle, having used Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regnum Britanniae as a model/base. In turn, Wace’s Brut served as a model for several poets and writers of history. Starting from the mythic foundations of Britain under Brutus, the Brut follows the subsequent development of Britain drawing from a multitude of sources. The Brut is also well-known for its contributions to the burgeoning Arthurian mythos, containing both the first mention of the Round Table and the name Excalibur as Arthur’s sword. Much of the secondary literature about the Brut is concerned with this legendary perspective.
Importance for the study of Angevin history:
The political climate in which Wace wrote almost certainly informed his writing of the Brut. Wace is believed to have written the Brut from around 1150 to 1155, during the tumultuous accession of Henry II. Important Angevin figures such as Henry (who commissioned another work from Wace, le Roman de Rou) and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, for whom Wace wrote his Brut, were patrons of Wace. The text itself offers a glimpse into the political history surrounding some of Henry’s predecessors and highlights the crucial political elements of mid-twelfth century England.
Arnold, Ivor, “Wace et l'Historia regum Britanniae de Geoffroi de Monmouth,” Romania, 57, 1931, p. 1-12.
Buttrey, Dolores, “Authority refracted: personal principle and translation in Wace's Roman de Brut,” The Politics of Translation in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, éd. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Luise von Flotow et Daniel Russell, Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 2001, p. 85-106.
Hanning, Robert, “The social significance of twelfth-century chivalric romance,” Medievalia et Humanistica, n. s., 3, 1972, p. 3-29.
Mathey-Maille, Laurence, “Traduction et création: de l'Historia regum Britanniae de Geoffroy de Monmouth au Roman de Brut de Wace,” Écriture et modes de pensée au Moyen Âge, VIIIe–XVesiècles), éd. Dominique Boutet et Laurence Harf-Lancner, Paris, Presses de l'école normale supérieure, 1993, p. 187-193.
Meneghetti, Maria Luisa, “Ideologia cavalleresca e politica culturale nel Roman de Brut,” Studi di letteratura francese, 3, 1974, p. 26-48.
Vine Durling, Nancy, “Translation and innovation in the Roman de Brut,” Medieval Translators and Their Craft, éd. Jeanette Beer, Kalamazoo, Medieval Institute Publications (Studies in Medieval Culture, 25), 1989, p. 9-39.
Weiss, Judith, Wace's Roman de Brut. A History of the British. Text and Translation, Exeter, 2006.
Liber de Servis Majoris Monasteri
Bibliothèque Municipale Tours, MS. 1376
Liber de Servis Majoris Monasterii, ed. A. Salmon, (Paris, 1845)
Liber de Servis Majoris Monasterii, ed. Ch. L. Grandmaison, Publications de la société archéologique de Touraine 16 (Tours, 1846)
The monastery of Marmoutier complied the Liber de Servis Majoris Monasterii, also known as the “Book of Serfs”, in c. 1070. The bulk of the documents are from 1032-1064. An additional fifteen documents were added after 1070 with the latest dated to 1097. Overall, the Liber has 127 records of the “dealings” between Marmoutier and its serfs. This unique collection provides some of the most detailed accounts we have from this period concerning disputes over ownership and social status. These records include gifts of serfs, auto-dedition (when an individual would give themselves over to Marmoutier as a serf), and disputes of servile status.
Importance for the study of Angevin history:
The Liber provides insight into the early eleventh century record-keeping within Anjou. Marmoutier chose to compile this unique combination of documents after obtaining a large amount of property over a short period. This document is unlike any other records kept by any other monastery because of its subject matter and the detail it provides. The description of disputes also provides insight about how society disputed social status and determined someone's social status.
Barthélemy, Dominique. “Le livre des serfs de Marmoutier et les problèmes du servage dans la France du IXe siècle.” Bulletin de la Société Nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1993, 1995. pp. 61-63
Fouracre, Paul. "Marmoutier and its Serfs in the Eleventh Century," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Vol. 15 (2005), pp. 29-49.
Fouracre, Paul. "The 'Book of Serfs' of Marmoutier (Eleventh Century): Reflection on the Development of Servitude," in Familia and Household in the Medieval Atlantic Province, ed. Benjamin T. Hudson. (Tempe: ACMRS, 2011), 123-140.
Vatican City, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Reg. Lat 173, f. 1r (via DigiVatLib)
(Unique) Vatican City, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Reg. lat. 173, ff. 1-8v. This is the first quire of a composite manuscript containing texts related to St. Michael of La Chiusa (ff. 9r-62v) and the Opusculum of Fulgentius (ff. 63r-94v). For further info see Andreas Wilmart, Bibliothecae Vaticanae: Codices reginenses latini (Vatican City, 1937), vol 1: 407-409.
"Fragmentum historiae Andegavensis," in Chroniques des comtes d'Anjou et des seigneurs d'Amboise, ed. Louis Halphen and Renée Poupardin (Paris, 1913), 232-246.
The so-called "chronicle of Fulk le Réchin" (no title is provided in the unique manuscript) is a first-person narrative purportedly written by Count Fulk IV le Réchin (r. 1067/8-1109). The narrative begins with a short summary of his family history until the time of his uncle Geoffrey Martel, At this moment, Fulk appeared to want to narrate his own family history but the narrative instead proceeds to relate the coming of Pope Urban II to Angers, the preaching of the First Crusade, and the departure of the crusade expedition.
Importance for the study of Angevin history:
The Chronicle of Fulk le Réchin was produced nearly sixty years before the accession of Henry II, and was almost certainly lost or unknown to any writer of his reign. It's relevance to Angevin history, therefore, stems from what it tells us about the rise of the Angevin dynasty in the eleventh century, and the tensions that began to arise as a result of Angevin power in western Francia. As a written record of the reflections of a lay prince, it is also precious evidence of the use of literacy and of the importance of memory and reputation among the aristocracy. Fulk repeatedly invokes the probitas of his ancestors, a term equally important at the court of Henry II, by which time it would begin to be associated with the qualities of chivalry. The resort to writing and history as a response to crisis in Fulk's reign, which also saw the production of the Anjou genealogies and the earliest iteration of the Latin dynastic history Chronica de gestis consulum Andegavorum also foreshadows similar flowerings of literary production and experimentation in the reign of Henry II, when history and family history once again became a major concern of writers and courtiers.
This page will offer detailed guides to some of the major sources of Angevin History.