These two volumes provide a scholarly edition of all the 185 charters from the period before the Norman Conquest that survive from the archiepiscopal cathedral of Christ Church Canterbury. Many of the charters exist in variant versions, and these are assessed for their authenticity. More of the Christ Church charters are preserved on single sheets of parchment from every century down to the eleventh than have survived from any other English church. Christ Church, indeed, has more authentic original charters, including many from the seventh, eighth and especially the ninth centuries, which are so rare elsewhere. There are also forgeries - at least from the beginning of the ninth century - which were produced over a longer period than those from other churches. So these volumes provide an essential foundation for Anglo-Saxon diplomatic.
But in view of Canterbury's importance, as the first English bishopric and metropolitan see, the documents edited here (together with the critical commentaries and the Introduction) provide essential evidence for English political, ecclesiastical, social and economic history over more than four centuries, for the development of the English landscape, and (since many of the charters are in Old English) also for the development of the English language. For any scholar interested in the evidence for England before the Norman Conquest, these volumes are a source of fundamental importance.
Professor Nicholas P. Brooks is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Birmingham, having been Professor of Medieval History there from 1985 to 2004 and also Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1992-5). He is the author of numerous books and articles on Anglo-Saxon political, ecclesiastical and military history, and is in particular an expert on the Archbishops and Cathedral community at Christ Church Canterbury in the pre-Conquest period. He was General Editor of Leicester University Press's 'Studies in the Early History of Britain' from 1978 to 1999 and of Ashgate Publishers' 'Studies in Early Medieval Britain' from 1999 to 2007. He has been since 1995 the Chairman of the joint Research Project of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society on 'Anglo-Saxon Charters.' Susan Kelly is an independent scholar and expert on Anglo-Saxon Charters. 1979-85: Clare College, Cambridge (BA, PhD) 1985-91: St Catherine's College, Oxford (Rank Foundation Junior Research Fellow; British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow) 1991-6: Research Fellow, Dept Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge 1996-7, 1998-: Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham 2008: Visiting Fellow, All Soul's College, Oxford