Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220


This Project, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was a collaborative enterprise between the Universities of Leeds and Leicester.

The Project’s objectives were to provide an accurate records of the manuscripts, especially those containing literary materials written principally in English from c. 1060 to 1220. This will constitute a properly formed and exceptionally valuable scholarly resource for use by the Project and all interested researchers.

The analytical work of the Project amounts to a mapping of the production of this material in terms of place, date, scribes and resources, and probable purpose. It situates English textual compilation in its full cultural context, bridging the traditional periodization of ‘Old’ and ‘Middle’ English and bringing to prominence a significant corpus of material whose importance for understanding the impact of the Norman Conquest and its aftermath has never before been investigated.


The project began on May 1, 2005 and finished on August 30, 2010


From the conception of the project to the final delivery, we aimed to identify, analyse and evaluate all manuscripts containing English written in England between 1060 and 1220; to produce an analytical corpus of material from late Anglo-Saxon England, through the Norman Conquest and into the high Middle Ages; to investigate key questions including the status of written English relative to French and Latin; and to raise awareness of agenda informing the production of so many texts in English during this important period.

Pursuing these aims has allowed the project to bring to light a number of important discoveries:

  • Hundreds of texts are written in English between 1060 and 1220 right across England. Their extent varies from the big homilaries to single annotations in manuscripts. A whole range of kinds of writing is done in English: laws, sermons, saints’ lives, land charters, medicinal recipes, prayers;
  • English is written and used with Anglo-Norman and French, showing a picture of continuity and change, a world of linguistic and cultural layers where English, Latin and French, old and new, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman are interleaved.
  • We have also discovered that many of the categories traditionally used investigating manuscripts and texts are unrealistic and restrictive; for instance the terminology for describing manuscripts and scripts; the way we conceive of the manuscript page – many of the most interesting discoveries we have made have been in the margins of texts, which contradicts the common idea that marginalia is less important than what is in the centre of the page; the ways in which we casually consider scribes, their training and their work without real thought to how the scribes were trained, what scriptoria (institutional manuscript production centres) consisted of, etc..

Project Team


  • Professor Elaine Treharne
  • Dr Mary Swan
  • Dr Orietta Da Rold
  • Professor Jo Story

Research Associate

  • Dr Takako Kato

Senior Research and Administrative Assistant

  • Hollie Morgan

Research and Administrative Assistant

  • Owen Roberson

PhD Students

  • Thomas Gobbitt
  • Kate Wiles

Research Assistants

  • Thomas Gobbitt
  • Johanna Green
  • Sanne van der Schee
  • George Younge

Research Assistants under the Postgraduate Work Experience Scheme

  • Zoë Enstone
  • Rob Payne
  • Simon Patterson

Research Assistants under the GCSEs Work Experience Scheme

  • Molly Hogan, Leicester Grammar School (June 2009)
  • Helena Cooper, Leicester Grammar School (June-July 2010)


  • Dr Danielle Maion
  • Dr Mark Faulkner
  • Dr Helen Foxhall Forbes


Da Rold, Orietta, ‘English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220 and the Making of a Re-source’, Literature Compass, 3 (2006), 750-66 The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220, edited by Orietta Da Rold, Takako Kato, Mary Swan and Elaine Treharne (University of Leicester 2010), available at 095323195X

Producing and Using English Manuscripts in the Post-Conquest Period, edited by Elaine Treharne, Orietta Da Rold and Mary Swan, New Medieval Literature 13 (2011) (Brepols, forthcoming 2012) ISBN 978-2-503-53653-8.

NeDiMAH (Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities)

The Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (NeDiMAH) is one of the Research Networking Programmes funded by the European Science Foundation. It lasts four years from 24 May 2011 until 23 May 2015. The Network NeDiMAH’s activities include organising workshops, conferences and networking events that will allow the examination of the practice of, and evidence for, digital research in the arts and humanities across Europe.


The NeDiMAH encourages and supports collaborations and networking among European scholars active in the Digital Humanities.

NeDiMAH intend to the classification of digital arts and humanities and to the establishment of (1) a map visualising the use of digital research across Europe, (2) an ontology of digital research methods, (3) a collaborative, interactive online forum.

The main aim of NeDiMAH is to allow arts and humanities researchers to develop, refine and share research methods that allow them to create, and make best use of, digital methods, collections and infrastructure.

Working Groups

Participants in NeDiMAH are structured into six working groups:

  • WG1. Space and Time (Group Leader: Leif Isaksen, UK)
  • WG2. Information Visualisation (Group Leaders: Fredrik Palm, Sweden and Orla Murphy, Ireland)
  • WG3. Linked Data and Ontological Methods (Group Leader: Christian-Emil Smith Ore, Norway)
  • WG4. Developing Digital Data: Building and Developing Collections of Digital Data for Research (Group Leader: Jean-Phillipe Mague, France)
  • WG5. Using Large-Scale Text Collections for Research (Group Leader: Karina van Dalen, NL)
  • WG6. Scholarly Digital Editions (Group Leaders: Matthew Driscoll, Denmark and Elena Pierazzo, UK)


Website of Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities

Telma (Traitement ELectronique des Manuscrits et des Archives)

The platform Telma (Traitement ELectronique des Manuscrits et des Archives) (Electronic Processing of Manuscripts and Archives) is available at [1] and gives access to several publications and text corpora, with cross-corpus research as well as specific interfaces.

Medieval texts and charters

  • Actes royaux: ongoing edition of royal charters given by Philipp III (1270-1285) and Philippe IV (1285-1314) of France
  • Cartulaire de Nesle : edition (text + digital images) of the lay cartulary of Nesle (France, Côte-d’Or, arr. Montbard, cant. Laigne), preserved in the Condé Museum (Chantilly, Musée Condé, série GB, XIV F 22). Written between 1269 and 1282 for Jean, lord of Nesle, in Burgundy, this cartulary contains 82 charters.
  • Chartes originales antérieures à 1121 conservées en France’: new edition of all ca. 5000 original charters preserved in France issued before 1121 (i.e. from 304 A.D. to 1121). Digital images will be added in 2012.
  • Enquêtes menées sous les derniers Capétiens: edition of around 150 administrative inquiries done upon the order of Philipp III (1270-1285) and Philippe IV (1285-1314) of France
  • RELMIN Le statut légal des minorités religieuses dans l’espace euro-méditerranéen: textual database of all legislative texts concerning religious minorities in Christian and Islamic societies in the Middle Age
  • Ordonnances de l’Hôtel


  • CartulR – Répertoire des cartulaires médievaux et modernes: repertory of 8500 medieval and modern cartularies, of more than ### institutions
  • Catalogue de manuscrits liturgiques médievaux et modernes: catalogue of liturgical manuscripts
  • Luxury Bound: catalogue of ca. 3700 illuminated medieval manuscripts from the Lower Countries


Ménestrel (standing for “médiévistes sur le net : sources, travaux et références en ligne”) is a French network providing an international online resource directory for medievalists.

Created in 1997, its primary aim is to develop an information network of medieval studies on the internet. The core group was gathered by the journal Le Médiéviste et l’Ordinateur and associated researchers and professionals from the library and information sciences.


  • promote the development of European resources for Medieval Studies (esp. in French, but not exclusively),
  • increase the international visibility of Medieval Studies,
  • create a free, critical, online directory of resources available on the internet
  • promote the integration of Information and communications technology in Medieval Studies (for researchers and students)


The network is organised with a Scientific Board, an Editorial Board, the Redactors community and occasional contributors.

  • The Scientific Board gathers 9 scientific experts from several European institutions. As of Febr. 2012: Jacques BERLIOZ (École nationale des Chartes), Alain DIERKENS (Université libre de Bruxelles), Michele C. FERRARI (Mediëvistenverband, Erlangen), Claude GAUVARD (Université Paris 1), Véronique GAZEAU (Centre Michel de Boüard – CRAHAM Caen), Jean-Philippe GENET (Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale de Paris), Pierre MONNET (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), Agostino PARAVICINI-BAGLIANI (SISMEL, Florence-Lausanne), Jean-Claude SCHMITT (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales).
  • The Editorial Board is elected by the community and coordinates the activities of the network as well as the editorial coherence of the website.
  • The community (Assemblée des rédacteurs) gathers 78 redactors, being responsible for thematic rubrics.
  • Contributors: authors of some part of the text, but not being responsible for maintaining and updating the resources


The directory has 4 main categories:

  • Medievalists on the map (Lieux et Acteurs de la recherche): directory of research institutions, symposia and congresses
  • Field guide to the web (Répertoire de l’internet): Selective and critical guide on medieval resources. Main rubrics are: Animal world, Archaeology, Art History and Visual Studies, Book History, Digitised archives, Digitised manuscripts, Diplomatics, Food, French Languages and Literatures, History of law, Illumination, Medieval England, Medieval Germany, Medieval Islam, Medieval Japan, Medieval Latin, Medieval Latin Hagiography, Medieval cartography, Medieval encyclopedias, Medieval epigraphy, Medieval philosophy, Medieval theatre, Old Icelandic literature, Palaeography, Polyptychs & early medieval inventories, Religious History, Science & technology, Sigillography, Texts-Spain, Typography for medievalists
  • The Middle Ages in your library (Le Moyen Âge en bibliothèque): directory of libraries, catalogues of medieval manuscripts, Reference works, Text corpora, Journals
  • Menestrel Collections: papers and publications, mainly on epistemology and digital humanities