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British Library Soon to Digitize its 1000th Manuscript

February 2014

The British Library has been producing state-of-the-art digitizations of its early manuscripts, many of them containing Anglo-Saxon texts. A newly released list reveals that the institution will soon have reason to celebrate a grand jubilee: it is about to digitize its one thousandth medieval manuscript.


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June 2011

"Early English Laws" Project’s First Stage is Coming to an End

"Early English Laws", a project aiming to publish new editions and translations of all English legal codices before Magna Carta, is scheduled to finish its first objectives and publications this year.
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Early English Laws:
The new standard resource for law-making in medieval England


"Early English Laws" is an ongoing research project at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London and the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London to edit, translate, and critique all early legal codes, edicts and treatises composed in England up to the time of the Magna Carta in 1215. The materials will eventually be made available online and in print and form a great resource for literary scholars, palaeographers, anthropologists, linguists and historians alike.

Having been provided with funding by the AHRC for the first three years from 2009-2011, the project’s first stage is now slowly coming to a close. By the end of the year, several of the project’s initial objectives will have been brought to completion: The first texts to be published are re-edited passages of the two standard editions of the Anglo-Saxon laws and Charters, Felix Liebermann’s Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen (Halle, 1903–16) and William Stubbs’ Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History (Oxford, 1921). These will be joined by digitalized and marked-up images of many relevant manuscript folios (click here for an example: Ine’s law, c.675 A.D. British Library, London, England: MS Burney 277). There will also be a conference held in Copenhagen in September to discuss the latest research in law-making and legal interpretation in medieval Western Europe.

Although the number of goals that will be achieved this year is substantial, the overall “Early English Laws” project is much greater in scope and expected to take ten years to completion. It is planned to re-edit and translate more than 150 early English legal texts, extending chronologically from Æthelberht of Kent (c. 600) to the first issuance of Magna Carta (1215). Each edition will be provided with full commentaries. An ‘interactive collaborative component’ will be added to the site, allowing interpretative contributions from professional scholars to interested users. The site will also boast comprehensive resources on early law, including essays on issues of law, language, archaeology, palaeography, and codicology, glossaries in Old English, Latin, and Anglo-Norman, and a regularly updated bibliography and links.