English Medieval Legal Documents ›
9.1 - Online Databases Available on the Web

The following open source databases are freely available on the web and the URL's listed were active as of the date indicated.

American Society for Legal History. H-Law Archive of websites important for legal and constitutional historians. 1995-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~law/websites.htm#English (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Includes links to English legal history materials.

Ames Foundation. Ames Foundation Web Page.
Notes: Available online at http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/ames_foundation/main.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Includes a list of their publications and an on-line version of Bracton's De legibus which will be the first in a series of on-line publications in English legal history. It also contains a direct link to Seipp's Index and Paraphrase of All Printed Year Book Reports (1268–1535): <http://www.bu.edu/law/seipp>

Bancroft Library. Columbia University. Digital Scriptorium . Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley, 1999-.
Notes: Available online at the following URL's: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/scriptorium/ or http://purl.oclc.org.libproxy.usc.edu/ATSRW/digitalscriptorium or http://www.scriptorium.columbia.edu/ (accessed June 26, 2007)
Abstract: "The Digital Scriptorium is an image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts, intended to unite scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research." Institutions participating include Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Texas at Austin, Johns Hopkins University, New York Public Library, and the Huntington Library of San Marino. The coverage is broad both in subject and geographical areas, but it does include legal materials.

Boynton, G. Robert, ed. Calendar of Patent Rolls . Iowa City: University of Iowa Libraries, 2003-.
Notes: Available online at http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/patentrolls/ (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Searchable rolls:
Henry III. 6 vols. 1216-1272 (the first 2 vols. up to 1232 are actual Latin transcripts of the full text. After that date the references are English summaries.);
Edward I. 4 vols. 1272-1307
Edward II. 5 vols. 1307-1327
Edward III. 16 vols. 1327-1377
Richard II. 6 vols. plus supplement 1377-1399
Henry IV. 4 vols.1399-1413
Henry V. 2 vols.1413-1422
Henry VI. 6 vols. 1422-1461

British Academy - Royal Historical Society. Joint Committee on Anglo-Saxon Charters, and Simon D. Keynes. KEMBLE. Cambridge: The Committee, 1997-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/chartwww/charthome.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Based on an ongoing project to prepare a new edition of the corpus of Anglo-Saxon charters. The constitutent volumes in the series, each representing the charters formerly preserved in the archives of a particular religious house, are published for the British Academy by the Oxford University Press. When completed, the series will comprise approximately 30 volumes. Some of this material is mounted, in some cases in provisional form, on this website.
Among the contents:

British National Library and National Archives. A2A: Access to Archives; the English strand of the UK archives Network.
Notes: Available online at http://www.a2a.org.uk/ (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: The A2A database contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales and dating from the eighth century to the present day. Lists close to 10 million items held in 414 record offices and other repositories.

British National Library and National Archives. A4A: Archives for All.
Notes: Available online at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/partnerprojects/a4a/ (accessed 10/2/07) Abstract: Archives 4 All is the fourth phase of the Access to Archives (A2A) programme which is developing partnership projects to establish and reinforce connections between archives and local communities. The website features collections from archives and community groups around England. Catalogues from the projects can be searched on the A2A database at: http://www.a2a.org.uk/

Carter, Sarah and University of Kent . Lawlinks.
Notes: Available online at http://www.kent.ac.uk/lawlinks/ (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Provides links to legal sources on the internet. Sponsored by the University of Kent Library.

Everhart, Deborah, and Martin Irvine. The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, 1994-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Continually updated, the Labyrinth provides free, organized access to electronic resources in medieval studies through a World Wide Web server at Georgetown University. The Labyrinth's menus and links provide connections to databases, services, texts, and images on other servers around the world.

Fray, William C., and Lisa A. Spar. Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Documents . New Haven, Conn.: The Avalon Project, 2000-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.yale.edu.libproxy.usc.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/medmenu.htm (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: An archive of ancient, medieval and renaissance documents. Part of the The Avalon Project Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy of the Yale Law School.

Fray, William C., and Lisa A. Spar. The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School : Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy . New Haven, Conn.: The Avalon Project, 1996-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.yale.edu.libproxy.usc.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm (accessed 6/26/07)
Abstract: Contains digital documents relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government. Among the major collections is one for ancient, medieval and renaissance documents, which is accessible online at http://www.yale.edu.libproxy.usc.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/medmenu.htm (accessed 6/26/07) This collection includes: extracts from Anglo-Saxon Law; the Assize of Clarendon, 1166; Magna Carta, 1215; Statutes of William the Conqueror, taken from Stubbs, Charters, 83-5.

Great Britain. National Archives. DocumentsOnline.
Notes: Available online at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/ (accessed October 2, 2007) Abstract: Includes over one million wills, many from the medieval period, although none before AD 1000. Metadata for each document is provided and the images may be downloaded for a fee.

___. National Archives On-Line Catalogue and Web Site.
Notes: Available online at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/?source=home (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Formerly known as PROCAT (Public Record Office Catalogue) the Catalogue contains 10 million descriptions of documents from central government, courts of law and other UK national bodies, including records on family history, medieval tax, criminal trials, etc. Includes a listing of all the publications of the PRO, now renamed the National Archives. The ARCHON Directory includes contact details for record repositories in the United Kingdom and also for institutions elsewhere in the world which have substantial collections of manuscripts noted under the indexes to the National Register of Archives. From the fully indexed DocumentsOnline page, full text documents can be downloaded for a small fee. The Search the Archives page http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/searchthearchives/ allows you to search globally across eleven of the resources, including the ones described above.

___. National Register of Archives. Notes: Available online at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/default.asp (accessed October 2, 2007) Abstract: The NRA contains information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history.

Halsall, Paul. Internet Medieval Sourcebook; IMS . New York, N.Y.: P. Halsall, 1996-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Links to medieval texts and sources on the Web, both short "classroom sized" extracts, and full documents. Specifically designed for use in teaching. Contains a page on medieval legal history which includes the full text of selected Anglo-Saxon laws, the laws of William the Conqueror, the Domesday Book, various charters, and crown pleas, taken from Maitland, Select Pleas of the Crown, 1200-1225. This resource is included in ORB, the Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies.

Harbin, Andrea R. NetSERF, the Internet Connection for Medieval Resources. Washington, D.C. Beau A.C. Harbin, 1995-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.netserf.org/ (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Sponsored by the Department of History at the Catholic University of America. A general medieval site, but it includes access to primary legal materials. It includes a searchable glossary of medieval terms.

Kelly, Susan E., and Sean M . Miller, eds. The Electronic Sawyer an Online Version of the Revised Edition of Sawyer's Anglo-Saxon Charters, Section One (S 1-1602) . London: British Academy - Royal Historical Society, 1999-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/chartwww/ ;The electronic Sawyeravailable online at http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/chartwww/eSawyer.99/eSawyer2.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: An online (revised, augmented, and updated) version of P. H. Sawyer's Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography (1968), covering S 1-1602. The 'Lost and Incomplete' texts (S 1603-1875) are to be treated separately. Prepared under the auspices of the Joint Committee on Anglo-Saxon Charters by Dr. S. E. Kelly (1993-8), and adapted for this website by Dr. S. M. Miller (January 1999).

King's College, London, and National Archives (Great Britain). Henry III Fine Rolls Project . London: King's College, 2005-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/home.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Aims to publish the Fine Rolls of Henry III from 1216 to 1248 in English calendar format, in both print and electronic form. Taken from series C 60 in the National Archives at Kew. The print version will be published by Boydell and Brewer. The fully searchable electronic version provides free access, and also free access to digital facsimiles of the rolls. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and it is hoped that a second three year project will complete the publication down to the end of 1272.

Medieval Genealogy. Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy .
Notes: Available online at http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/index.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Although intended for genealogical research, this site contains links to a wealth of online legal resources including exchequer and chancery rolls, common law records, charters, manorial records, as well as links to the PRO online catalog and current digital projects such as the King's College Henry III Fine Rolls Project. Their searchable abstracts of feet of fines project initially covers the period 1360-1509 and includes a list of published editions, arranged by county, with links to the abstracts on this site,

Palmer, Robert C. English Legal History Materials. Houston: University of Houston.
Notes: Available online at http://vi.uh.edu/pages/bob/elhone/elhmat.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: An online textbook of medieval english law, with copious full text or extended excerpts of the original documents.

Royal Historical Society (Great Britain), and University of London. The Royal Historical Society Bibliography; a Guide to Writing About British and Irish History.2002-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.rhs.ac.uk (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Updated 3 times a year. The Royal Historical Society bibliography is a database containing 420,000 records on British and Irish history, including relations with the empire and Commonwealth during all periods for which written documentation is available - from 55BC to the present. The bibliography includes books, articles in journals and collective volumes, and review articles, incorporating the content of the print annual bibliographies. Includes data and links to the related websites Irish history online and London's past online. Links to online full text, where available.

Schriber, Carolyn P. ORB; the Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies . Memphis, Tenn.: Rhodes College, 1995-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.the-orb.net/ (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: A cooperative effort on the part of scholars across the Internet to establish an online textbook source for medieval studies on the World Wide Web, it includes links to existing medieval resources. The ORB encyclopedia contains only peer reviewed articles, the ORB library provides links to primary sources, the graphics section is a collection of scanned images, and the reference shelf contains tables, timelines etc. It also includes a complete index to the Rolls Series.

Seipp, David J., and Carol F. Lee, eds. Legal History, the Year Books: Medieval English Legal History : an Index and Paraphrase of Printed Year Book Reports, 1268-1535. 2003-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.bu.edu/law/seipp/index.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Also known as Seipp's Year Book Abridgement, this searchable database indexes all those year book reports printed between the years 1378 and 1535, and a large number from 1268 forward. Of these reports, more than 4,000 from 1399 forward have been fully indexed and paraphrased. Includes lists of manuscript and printed editions, and a bibliography of works about the year books. It also guides the reader to later and prior proceedings of individual cases and to all case references in abridgments and other sources.
This project is described on the Ames Foundation web site, "The Ames Foundation is sponsoring a project to create a free, publicly-searchable database containing an index and paraphrase of all printed Year Book reports (cases argued and determined in English law courts between 1268 and 1535). There are now 22,004 records in this database, which includes all case reports printed in the entire chronological series of Year Books. All records in the database identify the opening line of text (incipit), the length of the report, a full citation, and a unique identifying number, and, where possible, the type of lawsuit (writ), the names of parties, names of other persons and places mentioned, cross-references to the Abridgements and to related cases, and statutes cited or quoted. All cases before 1481 name every justice and lawyer who spoke or was mentioned in the report. All cases before 1481 that have never before been translated from the original Anglo-Norman law French have been substantially paraphrased. Full lists of keywords and descriptions of the process and pleading are given for all case reports from 1399 through 1481. Some records index and paraphrase cases that are only printed in the Abridgements under alphabetical headings, and more of these Abridgement cases will be added over the coming years. The website also contains lists of all early printed editions of the Year Books and Abridgements, most of which may be consulted (by license) through Early English Books Online by searching by Short-Title Catalogue number. In addition, the website contains a list of Year Book manuscripts (which will be updated this summer), and a bibliography of articles and books about these sources. It is hoped that the records in the database will, before too long, be linked to images of the 1678–1680 Vulgate edition of the Year Books to which the records correspond." <http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/ames_foundation/seipp.html>

Selden Society, London. Selden Society Web Site.
Notes: Available online at http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/selden_society/pub.html (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: The Selden Society is the only learned society and publisher devoted entirely to English legal history. This includes the history of the law, the development of legal ideas, the legal profession, the courts and legal institutions, individual judges and lawyers, legal literature and records, the languages of the law, legal portraiture and costume. Their website includes a complete list of their publications, with brief summaries, their supplementary series, lectures and pamhlets.

University of Cambridge. Faculty of Law. British Legal History. Selected links on the web. Notes: Available online at http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/resources_history.php(accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Links to full text sources and relevant web sites.

University of Houston., and National Archives (Great Britain). The Anglo-American Legal Tradition; Documents From Medieval and Early Modern England From the National Archives in London. Houston, Texas; London : University of Houston Law Center; National Archives (Great Britain), 2007-.
Notes: Available online at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/ (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Documents from Medieval and Early Modern England from the National Archives in London digitized and displayed through the O' Quinn Law Library of the University of Houston Law Center, by license of the National Archives. Sponsored by the University of Houston Law Center and by the University of Houston Department of History. This ongoing project has license to include court records from ca. 1272-1650. For that whole range the license covers the series CP40 (plea rolls of the court of common pleas), KB27 (plea rolls of the court of king's bench ), E159 and E368 (the two memoranda rolls series), and E13 (the plea rolls of the exchequer of pleas ). The license also includes the C33 series (Chancery orders and decrees) from its origin to 1650 and JUST 1 (itinerant justices' rolls) from 1272-1350. Lesser series covered by the license include material from exchequer equity books and material from the Duchy of Lancashire and from Cheshire.
The database includes guides to paleography and overviews of English legal history, as well as links to other websites of interest to legal historians.

University of London. Institute of Historical Research, and History of Parliament Trust (Great Britain). British History Online .2003-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.asp?pubid=153 (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: Continually updated. British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Contains primary records, including court records, as well as the entire records of the Victoria County History project.

University of Oxford. Oxford Digital Library. Oxford: University of Oxford, 2001-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.odl.ox.ac.uk/ (accessed June 5, 2007) (some materials restricted to members of the University of Oxford)
Abstract: Continually updated, this web site offers central access to digital collections of Oxford libraries. It includes digital facsimiles of complete manuscripts, scanned directly from the originalsof over 80 early manuscripts now in institutions associated with the University of Oxford.

Wisebrod, Dov. CataLaw: United Kingdom. 1996-.
Notes: Available online at http://www.catalaw.com/region/UK.shtml (accessed June 5, 2007)
Abstract: CataLaw is a searchable catalog of catalogs of law on the Internet. It arranges hundreds of legal and governmental indexes into a single meta-index. CataLaw: United Kingdom contains a collection of Internet resources about law in Great Britain. It includes links to the texts of laws, government documents, court documents, and other legal literature, as well as links to courts, law libraries, universities, and government offices.

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